Motorcycle Tips
Carbon Fibre

General Tips



December 11, 2001
When adding tires to the wheels painted with metalizers, its easy to get metallizer paint on the to the tires. Either from the parts touching or from your fingers. To minimize this problem I put masking tape around the wheel that the tire will fit on. Weaken the tape's grip by sticking to you pant leg, etc. to reduce the tape's adhesion. I then slide the tire on. The tape acts as a shield to keep the tire from touching the painted wheel. Once the tire is in place, you can pull out the tape. If I do get metallizer on the tire side walls, I used a cotton bud dipped in lacquer thinner to clean off the paint.  

This is the technique used by Junt-Kong Chan to apply Tamiya's tire decals.

  1. Use a pen and ruler to draw on the back of the decal backing paper a line which runs through the center of all the decals (the '@' of the GOOD@YEAR or 'G' of EAGLE). Do this before cutting the decals out.
  2. Make sure the tire is clean of dust and dirt.
  3. Cut the decal out of the backing paper, make sure that the cut made is very close the the lettering printing, if possible cut into the clear portions just next to the printing. Now you'll have the piece of decal + backing roughly the size of the lettering.
  4. This is a little tougher, place one of the the decals on the tire. Don't wet the decal yet! Align until it looks 'right', I guess right probably means that
    • for GOOD@YEAR the 'G', 'Y' and '@' rest on roughly the same radius around the tire. This is usually on the peak of the tire sidewall.
    • same for EAGLE
    • or you can use a ruler to measure to some fixed points around the wheel (really, this is too much work!)
  5. Wet the decal with a wet finger and press down, careful not to move the decal out of place. Keep pressing down for about 3-5min (the longer the better) and it'll come off nicely. Let it dry before doing the next decal.
  6. Remember the markings behind the decal paper? Use a ruler and align the marking to the center of the first decal placed and center of wheel nut. Now you'll have GOOD@YEAR and EAGLE properly aligned on one side of the tyre.
  7. Sometimes I use the spokes of the wheel as points for alignment too.
If you have not noticed it, the placement of the printings on both sides of the tire sidewall in the real world is like this: Tire outside Tire outside
Outside Inside

Tire Mould Lines
If you build kits that have rubber or vinyl tires, there is an easy way to remove the centerline seam. Placing the wheel and tire assembly on a low speed power drill and run coarse sandpaper over the tire to remove it. Then use a finer sandpaper to give the tire a uniform "scrubbed" look. Don't use a high speed tool like a Dremel, it turns too fast and will generate a lot of heat that could damage the tire and you might injure yourself.

Tire Warmers
GP motorcycles use heated wheel covers to pre-heat the tires before going on the track so the motorcycles will not be running on cold tires. It is very simple to make these using facial tissue. Here is how to do it:

  • Cut several pieces of facial tissue (don't use bathroom tissue as it will disintegrate when you wet it) to the proper size.
  • Wrinkle up the tissue. Ball it up and smooth it out again.
  • Dip the tissue in a 50/50 mix of water and white glue.
  • Drape the wet tissue over the tire and use a blunt instrument (ie. eraser end of a pencil) to position it and wrinkle it up a bit.
  • Brush some thinned white glue over the tissue.
  • Let dry thoroughly and paint as usual.
  • Add wires, markings, etc. to finish the cover.

This is a technique used by military modellers to make bed rolls, sheets of canvas, etc. The thicker the material the more layers of tissue you should use. Looks very convincing once painted.

This technique could also be used to make rider's gloves, umbrellas, etc.

Valve Stems
Sooner or later you will break off a valve stem when cleaning up the mould lines on the wheels. Or when washing the wheels before painting.

To replace a value stem, simply CA glue a small length of wire to the original location. Then add a drop of Kristal Klear of white glue to the end of the wire. This will represent a cap. Once dry, you can shape the cap and then paint the valve stem.

Contact Coaster
Last revised on: March 2, 2004
Copyright 1998-2003, Kenneth W. Hartlen. All rights reserved.

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