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Built Review
Black Traks
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]

Originally published on:


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.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: Black Traks
  Suggested Retail: £10.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 05, 2011

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

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...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks, Darren. Every LHS in the US carries "BlackenIt," I think it started out as a product to discolor model railroad tracks. If I can get a container of this stuff, I'll do a comparison. TankRat's "Black4Track" is very good because it's reusable, unlike BlackenIt. The problem is having to deal with TR.
APR 05, 2011 - 10:03 AM
Thanks for reviewing this Darren. It seems like the overall process is a bit on the complex side, but I really like the results and wouldn't mind picking some of this up when it becomes more affordable over here in North America. The 5 min approach looks very nice, as does the 4m40s approach.
APR 05, 2011 - 01:19 PM
Bill you may have missed it by this product should be good for three sets of tracks as long as the 3 liquids are not contaminated. Thank you Jeremy.
APR 05, 2011 - 02:14 PM
Thanks for clarifying that, Darren.
APR 06, 2011 - 04:18 AM
I actually like the look of the link with the degreaser not used as to me that is the most realistic looking link for a operational tank. The properly treated links are too rusty looking and thats fine for a derelict tank but not an operational one. Just my opinion. Roy
APR 06, 2011 - 04:39 AM
Why not wash and dry your metal tracks and then put them in vinegar? Can't beat real rust at an affordable price.
APR 06, 2011 - 04:50 AM
After a phone call with Tim at TI there may be something in the pipeline that will be of interest to you as you are not keen on the rusty look.
APR 06, 2011 - 11:09 AM
I used this recently and got more of a dark brown rather than a rusty look, more like the coating applied to tracks. Maybe I left them in longer Although the instructions seem complicated I found them easy to follow, once I had found three suitable tubs to put the baths in, then it was just do stage 1, wash, stage 2, wash and so one The only thing I forgot, and it is important, is I did my tracks after they were assembled. CA resists the solution so you can't have any anywhere visible on the tracks or you will get shiney bits
APR 06, 2011 - 12:28 PM
Chris did you use a water bath between each chemical bath and did you wait for the tracks to dry after the water bath before putting them in the next wash?
APR 06, 2011 - 02:15 PM

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