Clear as Mud
by Frank Eason


Here is my almost award winning technique for making muddy tires. I'm no expert by any means and I say almost award winning because the tires I painted on my Tamiya Chevy Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) British ww2 desert truck....whew!!; got a compliment from a judge at the AIR/ARM contest I attended a few weeks ago. That made me feel good. Then they proceeded to tear apart my poor little truck. Oh well, I just have to try harder on seams as that's what killed me apparently. Any way how to make muddy tires.

I started with the black rubber tires which came in the kit. They were already black but if not paint yours black or what ever color you like to use for tires. Now I was stuck with a weathered truck with showroom new tires!!! Not good. I proceeded to take some tamiya desert yellow paint and slop it on. Not too thick, not carefully at all, and not in any sort of uniformity. Goes against everything your used to right? After spending all that time making sure no vehicle color was on your tires and no tire color was on your rims.... now I'm suggesting to slop on desert yellow all over the place!!! War is hell.

I let the yellow dry and then came back and dry brushed on my super secret rubber color mixture of enamel paints (gray and black mixture - patent pending). I took care not to let any of the tire color get down into the space between the treads as I wanted this to stay stained with the muddy yellow. I also left some yellow smeared around on the side walls. I would like to thank and unknown hunter at work as I stared at his muddy truck at work in the parking lot one day during lunch. I envisioned his muddy tires as I worked on the LRDG Chevy. I find myself staring at the oddest parts of vehicles these days...never know what you might see and learn from. Beats the kit instructions... they said to paint the tires just black. What do they know about dear hunting in Tokyo anyway?

So that's about it. The good news is if you don't like it keep working it until you do. You can always paint them black again and start over. Oh I also did my typical black wash on the hubs but also tried a second wash of dark brown which seemed to give it a nice North Africa distressed look. I'll quote the unknown judge who said "these wheels are beautiful!!! But look at this seam!!!!" A roller coaster of emotions that day but a lesson learned. Also cleaned house at there raffle so felt good on the drive home. Hope this helps any car, truck, or softskin builders out there.