A couple of weeks ago I commented on trying to figure out how many freight cars I need for my layout. A commentator noted that as I swap out the wheelsets I should be painting them. They were absolutely correct. While most of my rolling stock isn’t weathered yet, the perfect time to paint wheelsets en mass was as I am going through replacing them all with fine scale ones so that everything that is on the layout for testing when trackwork is done has reliable wheels.
With that in mind, I ordered a couple of painting holders for wheels. I bought two laser cut styrene holders from Modelers Choice. They come in two sizes, for 33″ and 36″ wheels. Each holds eight wheelsets, or enough to do two cars at a time. With two, I can paint enough wheels for four freight cars in a couple of minutes. The parts are thick laser cut styrene and just slot together. They are tight and it takes a bit of fiddling to get the wheels in, but once in, they stay in place. I found that they need an elastic band wrapped around the middle after the first couple of batches to minimize the amount of paint getting onto the wheel tread that needed to then be cleaned off.
Its a fairly quick process, and I was doing a batch every time I was doing some airbrushing on other projects. Once painted, the parts of the holder slide apart and let the wheels out. Its much easier getting them out than it is getting them into the holder.
I found that for the most part, the mask holder does its job and keeps paint off the tread of the wheel. Once done, a quick clean of the axle end points, and of the treads and the wheels are ready to go.
Over the course of the past couple of weeks I’ve managed to paint enough wheels for every car that’s currently on my layout, with a couple of spare sets for the pile of kits to be built in the drawer.
Finished batch of painted wheels.