Black tracks is a new product from a new company called TI Hobbies based in the UK, at the moment they only have one product on the market but it is a product that is in demand by modelers. Black Traks is a series of chemical baths that will leave a realistic finish to your Friul tracks.
The Black Traks product consists of three bottles (labelled one to three), each one of the three bottles contains 100 ml of the chemical for each stage. There is also an A4 double sided sheet of paper instructions.
Before using this product take the time to read the instructions carefully, and take special note of the safety precautions printed on the reverse side of the instructions. Before using any of the products in the set you are instructed to wash your links, or assembled track run, in warm soapy water to remove most of the contaminants on the Friul tracks, this will make the first stage when using the products easier and prolong the life of the degreaser.
The first stage is the degreaser which removes any grease and oil present on the links accumulated during the manufacture or assembly of the links and missed by the soapy water wash. As with all of the chemical washes in this product you should dispense them to a clean plastic container which can be disposed of after use, or kept for your next use of Black Traks. After removal from the degreaser the links need to be placed into water and then removed and placed on a towel to dry. This stage takes five minutes after which there is no visual change to the links.
The stage two wash is called a “conditioner” and I have no idea what exactly this wash imparts to the links, the instructions do spell out the importance of this stage and also states that the links MUST NOT be in the conditioner for longer than one and a half minutes, or an uneven finish will result after stage three. After this stage you again place your links or track runs into clean water and then remove and allow them to dry.
The third and final stage is where the colour change takes place, I should also tell you that this is the only stage that you are warned about the dangers of inhalation of gasses given off during the process. The instructions tell you to place the links or track runs into the solution for four minutes, you will see a colour change start to happen as soon as the links are placed into the solution. I removed five of the links in 20 second stages to see how much of a difference it made to the finish of the links; the first one was removed at 3minutes and forty seconds and the last at five minutes. After being removed from the solution they are placed into clean water before being removed and allowed to dry. The recommended time in this wash is 4 minutes but I prefer the look of the links closer to the 5 minute period.
The product provides you with the finish it is supposed to which apart from exact timings being required it’s easy to use. The chemicals and warnings about them do mean that care and forward planning are a must, and due to the exact timings that the product requires a timer. The only negative I can think of is the disposal of the washes after use is a nuisance. Other than that all I can really say about this product is that I will buy some more of it when needed as it has given me a finish I am happy with.
The cost of postage is important and postage to the UK is £2.50, to Europe is £3.50, and the rest of the world is £5.00. The three chemical agents that the kit warns you about are caustic soda, phosphates, and Selenium. The products in this set are reusable up to three times provided that they are not contaminated by one of the other chemical baths or water.
Highs: The finish is realistic and as advertised. Lows: There are some health concerns with the chemicals you are using in this product and disposal after use is a nuisance.Verdict: Highly recommended due to the realistic finish.
About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...