TH&B 70 ton Hoppers – new wheels

Chris Mears sent some Intermountain wheelsets to me last week, and this morning I got around to weathering them.  Here’s how it went.

I hate cleaning paint off of wheel treads, so I experimented with masking them.  I put a strip of Tamiya masking tape onto my cutting surface and sliced a strip 7/64″ wide.


For each wheel tread, I chopped off a 1.5″ section of the narrow strip of tape and wrapped it around the wheel.

IMG_2131 IMG_2132


With all of the wheel treads masked, I jabbed the axle end of each wheelsets onto a piece of styrofoam to stand them up.  I hit them from all angles with a cocktail of colours that I use as grimy black.


Once I’d spayed them from a few different angles, I flipped them over and repeated.  After a minute or two they were dry enough to handle.  I pulled the masking off of each tread and wiped the paint from the axle ends with a thin rag.


The grimy black serves as a primer for the three colours of powders I use for basic weathering of wheels and axles.  I like to do part of the weathering on my cars with the trucks off.  Once I’m satisfied with the carbody, I attach the trucks and hit the whole car with colours to represent dust and/or road grime. But for now, the trucks and wheels have their base weathering finished.

Check it out…


8 thoughts on “TH&B 70 ton Hoppers – new wheels

  1. Nice work, but it seems like alot of work for the desired result. Why not paint the wheelsets while in the truck frames, spinning the wheelsets as you go. Once the paint is cured in a couple of days, touch them with a wire wheel in a cordless Dremel. Paint pops off and polished treads result. It’s how I do all mine

    • You’re right Pierre, it is a lot of work. I might never use this approach again, but I learned from it. Let me explain my reasoning, however ill-conceived it may have been.

      I’ve always done it the way you described, except I never used the wire wheel to polish the wheel tread after it was dry. I would wipe the wheel treads when the paint was wet. This worked better when I used to use enamels, not so well now that I’m only spraying acrylics. Do you use the plastic wire wheel for this? I wouldn’t want to scratch the wheels with a wire brush that’s too course.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s