Modeling in General
General discussions about modeling topics.
Vinyl track and wheels
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North Carolina, United States
Member Since: November 27, 2012
entire network: 26 Posts
KitMaker Network: 5 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 08:28 PM UTC
I know there has been a lot of discussions in forums regarding problems with some of the rubber band tank tracks made of vinyl based materials. I would like to open a discussion that would include wheeled vehicles and tire parts having the same problems.
I would focus my comments here to having recently found several split tires on models within a display cabinet located in my home office. Being in a controlled environment, I don't think those issues are a factor. Also the subject models are all within 5 to 7 years of age. I have also found a melted down tire and have found several that while intact have left stains and some that have ruined the finish on the shelving. Some have been left unpainted and some have been painted with acrylic paint. There doesn't seem to be a difference in that painted and unpainted tires have both been subjects of disintegration.
At this point I am about ready to give up on these vinyl parts be they tires or tracks. I would like to know of others if they have had similar experiences with these parts.
I am beginning to think there is a basic compounding issue within the industry regarding the base formulation, plasticizer, or additives being used.
Appreciate the thoughts of others on this matter.
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Stockholm, Sweden
Member Since: November 29, 2006
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Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 11:28 PM UTC
I can add that the vinyl (or whatever soft material it was) tires softened the styrene of the wheel hubs so that it looked as if the edge of the hub had melted from heat.

I gave up on vinyl a long time ago. I store vinyl tyres and tracks in the garbage bin.
/ Robin
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North Carolina, United States
Member Since: November 27, 2012
entire network: 26 Posts
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Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 02:54 AM UTC
Yes, I neglected to mention that had also happened to me in my original post. I have also experienced styrene parts in contact with vinyl parts over time "melting away". It seems to me that there is an inherent chemical incompatibility with the vinyl formulation and styrene and/or other plastics and polymers. My experience with the display cabinet was a tire on a polyurethane finish and another atop a plastic laminate shelf. The polyurethane finish softened and when wiped came off down to the stained wood. The plastic laminate discolored and is soft to the touch.
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Washington, United States
Member Since: March 15, 2009
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Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 09:27 AM UTC
Without knowing the exact chemical compounds in the rubber or vinyl tracks or tires, you really can't predict what will happen to them in conjunction with heat, or chemical compounds found in plastic shelving or wood painted/varnished surfaces (this also goes for model paints and mold release agents). Therefore, I try and stay away from rubber or vinyl items in model kits. I've had pretty good luck with resin or metal replacements, but even resin can have drawbacks. But, I also have some Tamiya vehicles which have been on the shelf for over 20 years now without problems (two M113s and an M551), so it just depends on the quality of the vinyl too. I also have a Monogram 1/4 ton truck and 37mm gun manufactured in 1959 that I built as a kid-- and the vinyl tires are as good today as they were in 1959 when I built it. So I think it just depends on what the model is. Real rubber will almost always be a problem when it comes into contact with polyeurethane surfaces, since the polyeurathane compounds off-gas for long periods of time, and so will many other plastics. And the impurity of sulfur compounds in model product rubber can vary have a tendency to break down rapidly. My recommendation is to display your models on glass surfaces, which don't exude or off-gas chemicals over time, that will help at least with the reaction between the rubber and the shelf material.
VR, Russ
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Rhode Island, United States
Member Since: March 05, 2014
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Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 05:15 PM UTC
I can't stand vinyl parts and will go to extreme lengths to replace them with resin, styrene, metal or anything else in order to avoid using them. I do have a couple of models that have vinyl tracks on them so I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they self-destruct.

Anyone ever noticed Dragon Styrene doing the same thing?