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I have just received an original Airfix MK 1 Sherman, to do a comparision review for CMS site. Before I even opened the bag I notice some damage to the side of the hull from what looked like track rot. on opening the bag I comfirmed this is what has happened. This is an original 1961 type 1 header card model.
Track rot is caused when the plastizier from the vynle tracks or wheel attacks the plastic of a kit and chemically melts the plastic. This was a problem for Airfix with there silver tracks and was supposed to have been fixed when they changed over to black tracks, but I dont think it was ever solved properly. If building one of these older kits, paint the surface of the wheels and tracks with PVA or wood glue and let this dry before painting.
It May also be worthwhile looking at built up models to see if they are being effected by this problem.
I would suggest that anyone who has a collection of these older kits check them for damage. Infact i would check all older kits and put the vynle tracks or wheels in a seperate zip lock bag.
Anyone who might have an old 1/35 UH-1B Huey might have experienced the same problem with the "rubber" ammo belt which has managed to melt my rotor blades. Since then I have always tried to seperate the rubber bits in a kit to avoid this problem. It's definately worth checking all your old kits to check,
my son's Hornby railway set had been left in its box unused for many years. Went to unpack it and found its contents had been slightly disturbed so that track, station platforms, rolling stock etc were touching each other. Discovered track plastic sleepers embedded in (nay- melted into and homogenised with)the deisel engine's body - ruined
Thanks for the heads up, Ian! he heat and humidity in south Louisiana has been playing hell with my models, and rubber in general has not fared well. As far as figures, I tried a matte clear spray paint, that turns the (dried) figures sticky and gooey. I am currently working with a matte liquid coating... we will see...
I have taken to soaking all older style tracks in a solution of dish detergent, a small amount of bleach and hot tap water. Put it in a small plastic tub with the tracks. Shake the tub until it's foamy and let it be for 20 minutes. Rinse.
They will have a different feel to them. I've done this to vinyl tracks and rubber tires. They still might not last forever but I think it leeches out oil/whatever. Makes 'em easier to paint to. I usually coat with Tamiya gray primer.