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To rust in piece?

Forum for Armortek Owners to Meet, chat and share knowledge. You are advised to check 'official advice' before carrying out any modifications.
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Stephen White
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To rust in piece?

Post by Stephen White » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:34 am

Health and Safety Warning: to be read in conjunction with a strong drink and a pinch of salt.

I was moved to post this after reading an exchange on Daniel's Mk IV thread about how to rust tracks.

Every now and again, I like to tilt at windmills and rusted tracks is a fair target. "Weathering" seems to be ever more popular with the plastic modellers and some take it to extreme. "Rusting" is very "on trend" as the fashionistas say.

Paul says the Tank Museum asked for their Mk IV to have rusted tracks. But they're museum people, used to seeing vehicles in various states of preservation. Admittedly, they do operate some of their vehicles but I suspect they are responding to the very popular notion that tracks on a model of an operational vehicle should be rusted.

So what's the evidence?

- Modern tracks are powder coated alloys which do oxidise of course if not used but don't exhibit that distinctive redish "rust".

- The inside surfaces of any track in contact with the running gear and in regular use will be polished to bare metal.

- Older steel tracks will oxidise more heavily but only if not in regular use. The "rust" will only be evident in parts which have no rubbing surface. That will quickly disappear with running.

- Tanks in museums and storage do show rust but it's usually much more pronounced on unprotected armour than on the tracks:

Image

It's of course a matter of choice and some will see beauty in rusted tracks. A more realistic and appropriate approach might be to apply some very restrained oxidation but expect to hear an irate sergeant major shouting "get those ..... tracks cleaned".

Personally, I avoid rusting effects pretty much without exception. Having spent best part of a working life on tanks, I don't think they have any place on an operational armoured vehicle. I now stand ready to be shot down in flames.... but I did say I like tilting at popular windmills.

Happy model building to all.

Stephen
Last edited by Stephen White on Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dennis Jones
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Dennis Jones » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:07 am

Totally agree Stephen. Get out there and get a bit of natural mud on them.

Dennis.

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Adrian Harris
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Adrian Harris » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:31 am

Tilt away :D

This is the operational StuG which I photographed at Koblenz:
DSC_0228-reduced.jpg
The whole track appears to have been painted DunkelGelb.

The flats of the track are black from the rubber of the tyres.

The horns appear to be rusty, but this looks to be transfer from the inside faces of the road wheels, which are definitely rusty.

Adrian.
R.I.P Margaret I.L.Y

simon_manning
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by simon_manning » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:01 pm

good topic! you are right stephen rust is a dodgy subject on tanks, as for german ww11 tanks proberbly none at all, but in the perspective of looking back thats how the rust gets a hold on the modellers imagination, its old so therefore it must be rusty, i love to see a well weathered vehicle, it brings the build to life, regards simon.

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Steen Vøler
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Steen Vøler » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:58 pm

Here are some Pictures of a Sherman clos to my home. Not much rust on the tracks here even after many many years out in the open.
Attachments
038.jpg
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cheers
Steen

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Christian Steinhauer
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Re: To rust in piece? Let rust rest in piece!

Post by Christian Steinhauer » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:50 pm

Hello everybody,

on my opinion rust on tracks ist senseless. In my army time i was driver on a Leo1 and the tanks that where not moved half a year have a very thin rusty surface. After an hour driving in sand all metall parts are blank. It is like sandblasting.
I think the missinterpretation comes from the bad pictures in the old books about tanks. May be the modellers think the mud was rust. I have seen rust only on after war pictures where some tanks stood over years on the fields.
I think weathering/oldering is a fine thing for a display model but not for running modells, they will older each round in the garden and in a more natural way as with brush or can.
But for the men who like oldering I got a tip, no one shows these scratches near the crew hatches. The wehrmacht tankers wear nailboots and modern crews often have stones in the profiles of the boots, these will cause a lot of scratches near the hatches.
Have fun building, Kind regards
Christian

Dave Boller
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Dave Boller » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:43 pm

Hi Guys. Here's my 2 cents on this. I agree, light and sparingly is the way to go. I think it's over done on alot of models. There's two reasons for this I feel. First, the tanks we see today in museums have accumulated decades worth of rust that would not have been on them "back-in-the-day". A lot of modelers prefer color photos as a guide for this, not black and white, which would mostly date the tanks as being from post-war photos. Hence, more and deep rust would be apparent on these vehicles. (Rust, it should be noted, has different qualities to it with age as well.) So they see this, and that's what they aim for. The other reason is, painting rust-effects and getting it to look good is a challenge. It's not easy to do it and get it to look right. You don't just crack open a jar of rust-colored paint and think you nailed it. There's a knowledge and skillful, blending and layering of different tones and colors involved. If you happen to have the knack for it, you'll tend to want to show it off in your work. In such pride however, is a natural tendency to over-do it. You'll see some really fantastic, spot-on looking paint jobs of rust, and yet, totally unrealistic for a war-time vehicle. Too heavy and too extensive. Maybe more realistic for an Aberdeen Proving Ground display, but not much else. (Please, I don't want to get started on that one!) Rust is a slow, corroding process, that takes years to deeply pit and rot a metal surface. The average life-span of a WW2 tank during the war, was mostly measured in months, not years, due to obsolescence or casualty. Look at what tanks were in use at the start of the War, and what existed by it's end, only several years later. So, if your display is a war-time setting, it should have a rather new look to it with NOT alot of rust. Mufflers and exhaust pipes should have the most amount because of the great heat they generate, and the quick corrosive effect that entails. I like to use construction equipment as a modern-day equivalent. When I go by a construction site, I'll stop to take a close look at the treads and bogies on say a tractor or crane, noting the rust, grime and mud effects there. I find this to be a good, reasonable guide for my builds. The rest is skill.
Last edited by Dave Boller on Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Dale jordan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:06 pm

Here are some photos of my 71 year old LP2 Bren gun carrier tracks . They have had no work done on them .. Dale



Image


Image


Image

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dennypatterson
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by dennypatterson » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:10 pm

:roll: :lol: rusting, if you drive your cent over hohne or sennelarger ranges you will not have any rust!!!!!and stephen in your picture is it a cent arv towing whats left of a conqueror? and if so when and where? denny.

Fabrice Le Roux
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Fabrice Le Roux » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:52 pm

Good topic, Stephen

Ignoring all the argy-bargy about freedom of artistic expression --"JE SUIS OXIDISED" etc
my position is that weathering a model should add to the unseen narrative of the vehicle, how it has been used and where, and for how long.

The colour of a track derives from the chemical composition of the steel, its age and what it has been exposed to. The proportion of manganese in the steel results in a darker patination. This can be seen in some British tanks in museums compared to contemporary vehicles from other nations. However patination, as opposed to iron oxide rust, takes time to develop naturally (obviously it can be manufactured for bronze sculptures etc too). Once formed the compounds are more stable, robust and harder to abrade than rust. So a 70 year old museum queen may have very patinated links, but as soon as the vehicle is moved or driven, this will be rubbed off. The resulting bright areas will rapidly rust over , but the patination will probably take many years to redevelop. The Koblenz Stug above displays this pattern of wear. Many museum vehicles have spent years in the open air before being moved inside. So the aged patinas may never redevelop, which leads to some debate in museum circles about preservation versus restoration of artefacts.

If possible, it is always better to find contemporary photos of your chosen subject to assess the track colour from. WWI had no colour photography, of course, but the Mark IV had steel plate track links, not castings, so manganese is not an issue. A more difficult question to answer is were tracks factory painted? This applies to any vehicle at the start of its operational life. Many museum vehicles, especially older or more valuable static exhibits, appear to have had their tracks painted. Again restoration or preservation? Vehicles spray painted in the field often ended up with sections of track oversprayed, at least until the tank had driven a few miles.

Which segues to surface contamination. Most colour photos of tanks in action show the tracks to be(yup!)the colour of the ground around them. Rubber pads tend to show up dark, cleats and horns as bright steel. Also the contact surface between rubber roadwheels and the inside of the links often is dark, suggesting some deposition of the rubber scrubbed onto the link. The good news for working model builders is that you will get all of this for free. So is it worth painting the tracks at all? I believe it is for very good reason, it makes the model look heavier and more in contact with the ground. The grime and wear will all get added when you spend the first few hours driving around.

Tips for painting the tracks so that the paint stays on, as follows: If possible clean every link with a fine grit blaster to get a mechanical key, degrease, dry, prime with U-pol Acid Etch, dry 2-5 days, two coats of base colour (eg black for Sherman, red oxide for Tiger/Panther)dry 7-14 days min, assemble tracks, touch up coat applied. Allow 7 days to dry. Red oxided tracks laid flat then given wash of thinned black enamel to bring out recessed detail. Do outside first, when dry flip over and do inside/track horns. Allow lots of drying time before fitting to tank.

While I am not sure if Sherman tracks were painted black at manufacture, I am pretty sure that Tiger/Panther tracks were unpainted based on the few colour photos of factories from the end of the war. I do not know if earlier PzIII and IVs were delivered with painted tracks.

One last caveat. Galvanic corrosion, thou art a heartless bitch. If anyone feels the need to seriously self-weather your sparkling model masterpiece by driving it up to its sprockets in mud, then allow time to hose down the running gear and tracks in lots and lots of fresh water. Even better, take the tracks off, hose them and then coil them up and stick them in the airing cupboard. Take comfort in the realisation, that your model needs as much TLC as the real thing!

cheers, Fabrice

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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Steve Stuart » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:13 pm

Denny, I find that to simulate Salisbury Plain a good strip of 'Wilton' Carpet does the trick :twisted:

What is needed is a running area that we can use with out getting in the way of anyone.
I tried Dalton Barracks near Abingdon which has a tracked vehicle running area, but the H&S considerations with commercial skew means no joy there regretfully. It would have been superb.
Has anyone any ideas? I want to run my Tanks in conditions that will create a more natural wear and tear which will overlay a more basic paint scheme.
However events such as Tankfest do give an opportunity to go where there can be dust and mud!
Steve

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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Stephen White » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:19 pm

Interesting input all round. Seems to support the view that "rusty tracks" are largely a figment of modellers' imagination, particularly in the 1/35th world, supported by the range of products available.

I'm not, by the way, suggesting tanks (and tracks in particular) don't ever rust, far from it. I am suggesting though, that operational tanks in regular use rarely if ever exhibit signs of rust. The popularity of "rusting" is no doubt a result of the obvious point that most people's experience of tanks is in museums and scrap yards, not tanks in operational service.

These photos of an active Centurion show what an operational track looks like (thanks to Paul Scott):

Image

Image

Image

Image

Regards.

Stephen


Regards

Stephen
Last edited by Stephen White on Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Steve Stuart
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Steve Stuart » Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:17 pm

How hooked can the sprockets get before replacement?
Steve

David M Wilks
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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by David M Wilks » Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:21 pm

Excellent topic, our own Armortek Mythbusters, I had the same dilemma early last year and in the end studied heavy tracked plant at a nearby compound, and came to a similar conclusion, the Armortek tracks straight out of the box with a sympathetic paint wash, looks spot on .
There`s still the thorny subject of spare track links to discuss, as regards weathering /paint /rust, bring it on !

ps. what about the next Mythbuster item, ie rusty tow ropes ?

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Re: To rust in piece?

Post by Chris glover » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:40 pm

Why would tow ropes be rusty?.I wouldn't use one
A few weeks outside in the weather gives the ropes the authentic look me thinks
Chris

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