|Assembling Vac-Formed Wheel Pants
Small Paint Brush (#2 or so)
Several stationary clamps
Sharp scissors - preferably the curved type
220 grit wet/dry sandpaper
Liquid Weld Cement for styrene plastics
Squadron Green or White filler putty (or equiv.)
.062" Dia. Styrene Rod
Primer and paint of choice
|I prefer using Liquid Weld Cement for plastics as it gives a better
joint, and won't leave the plastic brittle like Cya. There are several
brands available that will work well. Check the plastic model
section of your hobby shop and use what they have available.
Caution: Don't use thin Cya on any styrene plastic parts, it
crystallizes the plastic and renders it very week and extremely
|Several small stationary clamps will be used to clamp the two
halves of the pants together while the glue is drying.
|The typical plastic parts will come on a carrier sheet similar to
one like this.
|Evergreen .062" Dia. plastic rod is used to reinforce the joint
between the two halves, glued to the inside of the wheel pant.
This is the same type plastic as the wheel pants are made
from, so will make a good strong seam using the liquid weld
|To get started, cut the parts from the carrier sheet leaving a lip
approximately 1/4" wide around the part. Cut the bottom wheel
opening to rough shape, but slightly undersize, to gain access to
the inside of the pants for gluing. You'll accurately cut the
opening to shape and true up the edges after the pants are
|Align the L. H. and R. H. halves and clamp them together using the
stationary clamps. Look in through the wheel opening to be sure the
halves are nicely aligned. You can also use your finger to feel around
the inside for any misalignment as well. Sometimes you can actually
feel a misalignment that the eye won't see. Remember, getting it set up
correctly before gluing will make cleaning up the seams later a whole
lot easier. Once you're happy with the way it looks, glue the two halves
together together by applying the cement along the seam with a brush,
allowing the glue to wick into the seam.
|Working through the wheel opening, take a strip of the .062"
Dia. styrene rod and form it to roughly fit the inside seam on
the pant. It doesn't have to be perfect, close is close enough
|Using the liquid cement, work through the wheel opening and
glue the styrene rod into the pant along the seam. Apply the
cement with a brush allowing the glue to wick into the joint.
|Once the glue has dried thoroughly, use a scissors or a
fingernail clipper to cut the styrene rod off flush with the wheel
|Then using a sharp (preferably curved) scissors carefully trim
the lip off from around the outside of the pant. At this point the
seam will look a bit shabby, but don't let that bother you, it'll
clean up nicely.
|Begin filling the seams by using either a file or a Dremmel sanding
drum on a rotary tool to remove the lip left by trimming the excess
plastic in the previous step. Then, using Squadron Green (or White)
putty, also available from the plastic model section of your LHS, fill the
seams around the perimeter of the pant. Use just enough putty to fill
the gaps without a lot of excess that will slow the sanding process
|When the putty has dried thoroughly, sand the seam smooth
using 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper, wet. By wet sanding, the
putty will come down much more quickly, but won't scratch or
gouge the plastic.
|With the seams rough sanded and in pretty good shape, cut
the final opening for the wheel into the bottom of the pants and
clean up the opening to its finished state.
|Do a finish sanding on the seams, repairing any small
irregularities as needed to prep for paint. This would be a good
time to prime the pants to check for any remaining stubborn
flaws in the seam. When you're happy with the way the pant
look, you're ready for color.
|And finally, paint the pants and add the desired trim using
either paint, or vinyl trim and mount the pants on the model.