Recently I was contacted by a good friend that had run into a little problem after starting the weathering process of his D 640 A Workable Tracks for Leopard 1 Family of tanks from Meng. The replacement tracks are brand new to the scene and offer one of the best alternatives to using kit supplied tacks. Fully workable, these tracks assemble quickly and easily as well as coming with a low price tag making them even all the more inviting.
An excellent review of these tracks can be found on the Leopard Club Website: http://leopardclub.ca/reviews/Meng/tracks-leo-1/ as well as a borrowed copy of the review here within the MSC Review Connect.
The “little problem” my friend ran into, as well as a few others I found online, is the similar issue that crops up from time to time with some Link-n-length, Magic Tracks and even some DS’s; that the some solvent based weathering products are basically either releasing the adhesive bond between the links or eating their way through the plastics in the weathering process of the track makeup.
Here we see an example of what happened from using a solvent base weathering product on these Meng Tracks. The track pins have disintegrated resulting in the break up of the tracks.
The best and safest viable options to eliminating this problem is the use of an Acrylic wash like Vallejo’s Model Wash.
These washes are true acrylic and water based which has no effect on the plastic whatsoever. The Acrylic washes, as with the paints, dries quickly so care will be needed to the application but this is limited to large flat surfaces usually where some tiding can occur if not either cleaned of after applying or blending in with a dry brush stippling effect to soften the edge.
After priming and painting the tracks, a clear coat is advisable to not only protect the work you have done but also the clear coat allows for better manipulation of the effects just after the application.
Here I have used the Black Model Wash to enhance the rubber track pads on the run. Simply apply the dark wash and allow drying. With Acrylic Model Wash, as with any washes made with acrylics, you do not want to get ahead of yourself and wash too much surface area at one time. The inherent properties of any water based acrylic is to dry quickly. If you apply too much wash over to large of an area that you can clean up or work with your efforts might be doubled if they dry before you get to them.
But with thoughtful preparation, you can move right along with the weathering process and complete the task in relatively the same amount of time that you would normally with a solvent based wash.
When adding localized or pin washes, if you dampen the area slightly with water as the water will act as a carrier such as in solvent. Then simply add your washes. After a few minutes drying time, feel free to added varying colors for contrast and depth.
If you wish to darken areas more, simply add another layer of wash which will naturally darken the area more. It is best to build up effects in layers over several applications rather than trying to cover all at once.
The washes are great for select coloring of certain areas such and panels and hatches or in this case the small rubber pads on the inside of the tracks. Dampen the area that you wish to darken and with a small brush treating the application as a pin wash, touch the center and the water carries the wash to the extents of the section inside the lines. This will give a subtle look to the rubber without having to individually paint each on and worry about masking or staying in the lines.
If you happen to go outside the lines, simply take a flat brush barely damp with water and coming in from an angle clean the excess wash off, drying the brush on a clean towel often.
In the end, not only can you get some excellent weathering results from using these acrylic washes your Meng tracks, and I suspect others brands of tracks as well, will be completely unaffected by the water based effects unlike with some solvent based products.
Model Wash from Vallejo is ready to go straight out of the bottle and can be thinned with water to make lighter washes or filters. Another fine alternative to solvent based washes and effect is to simply use any water based acrylic paint such as Model Color or Model Air. The process is just as you expect, thin with water until you have the constancy you are happy with and apply in the same fashion as described with the Model Washes.
I have found this to be the best alternative for washes and effect on the Meng D 640 A Workable Tracks as well as other tracks that have come apart while applying weathering to my models due to the use of some solvents. Outside the Meng Tracks show in this review, I do feel the disintegration of the plastic due to the use of solvent based washes is not typical and maybe segregated to these particular track links. I have used solvent based product over the years and mostly noticed only some adhered joints loosening and coming apart as a result.