Does painting track slow down the cars?

StarCorps Monday, 6/19/2023

Don't get me wrong, grey plastic is sooooooper cool, as well as neon-orange. 

But if  I paint it, say with black or grey primer and then maybe sponge-detail oil streaked lanes, would that slow the cars down? 


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Uncle_Elvis 6/19/23

I actually have no clue. That said, if you do paint it, wash the track pieces in dish detergent (to remove the residue from the molding process) and use a paint/primer combo. What you do not want to happen is the paint to remain tacky after application (or pull up on the wheels of the cars). 

Adriel (3D) said to lightly sand the "gloss" off but not the color in one of his how to vids. Haven't tried it yet personaly.

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Chaos_Canyon 6/20/23

Short answer, yes. My tracks are primarily hand made and when I paint them it can toally change how cars perform - tends to slow them down and stops them turning as the surface has more grip. However, if you sand it lightly, that can help. The other thing I do is paint a clear over the top in quite a wet coat, so it smoothes out any of the paint surface that is a bit dusty and it's basically back to normal.

I'd suggest painting one corner first and then put it back an try some cars down it to see if it changes too much. Better to try a piece at a time than pull it all down, paint and reassemble it to find you have to do it again to repaint clear or sand it all.

I can say, "yes, the cars can slow down.". That being said, this is why.

I have to paint and repaint and add new colours to the Dino Run all the time. Multiple times a summer. With every new layer of colour or clear coat I test the speed of the tarmac to ensure I am getting better preferences out of a group of cars that are always used for this purpose. I now know the consistency of the group. 

Fresh spray paint is actually very Corse to the touch, especially the matt, eggshell, and satin finishes.  High Gloss isn't nearly as bad, however, you still get paint numbs that will interfere with smooth wheel spin.  

I come from Autobody Paint Polishing back ground. So, as was said  previously, sanding is important.  You need to level off the peeks and valley's in the paint, The "orange peel". The closer you can bring the paint back to plastic smooth, the faster the cars will be.  I believe a clear coat after colour is always best. You can put a thicker layer on and have more room to level the surface with out going through the colour.  The clear can often have a harder finish thereby protecting the colour from cars scratching when they crash.  

Preparing to paint is also very important, as stated above. Yes cleaning first. This removes waxes and oils from more than just production.  The most important part is bite.  You need to give all the plastic prices a scuffing first. You need to sand the plastic with Fine Emery Cloth or 220 Wet or Dry  sand paper.  The paint needs something to grab hold of, not that dis similar to the idea of velcro at a micro level.  The plastic track is far too smooth for the paint to adhere to properly.  If "scuffing" is not done in advance,  the paint will likely flake and peel off in short order.  

I sand the DINO RUN with several steps.  Starting with Every Cloth, Corse, Medium, and Fine. Then move to 400 and 600 grit Wet Sand Paper. I have once gone to 1200. Nearly brought it to shinny.  Almost too smooth, the cars couldn't get some grip and straighten themselves out when the spinning would start. End up just helicoptering down the track.

  • Wow. This was an indepth and excellent reply. Thank you. I was out of the country for a while and forgot to log back in here when I started rebuilding my track, So please don't take my silence for any kind of disrespect. I very much appreciate your perspective and expertise. — StarCorps
  • No problem. I forget to login as often as I would like to. The beauty of text, is that it is there to read whenever someone is ready to read. — Garden_Super_Speedway_Park
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1six4D 8/18/23

What kind of paint would you use for this and I imagine you'd use a primer too?

  • I have not setttled on a method, but I was thinking of a black spray with grey sponging and yellow lining - probably thinned down model acrylics. — StarCorps
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dr_dodge 8/22/23

has anyone used chalk board paint?  My cars are skating real bad, and I am hoping that would settle them down some.


  • That's an interesting idea. Might just be enough texture to have them grip a little. Do they have spray chalk paint? I've only ever used it from the can. — redlinederby
  • I've only seen it in the can, It's what we use on the wood slot car tracks — dr_dodge
  • That is a REALLY neat idea. — StarCorps
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WolfHound 10/7/23

Oh so chalk paint would help reduce spin outs on painted wood?

Has anyone tried and tested that? because i have a straight that is almost an instant spinout with it so smooth or maybe the cars iv tried so far are just pulling slighly to one side.

  • seems to somewhat — dr_dodge
  • I have added ribs to my flat plastic using metal tape, and .020 piano wire, simulating ribs in CT — dr_dodge
  • I have chalk painted track on my practice road track. It definitely slows cars down. I havent seen any real negative side effects with performance. I actually like it as it shows me which builds are fast and which need more work. The decrease in speed, i’ll say, is around 20-25% — CaShMoneyBoyS

I've been wanting to do a grey paint on the Lotta Speed Strip, too, but I also don't know about the out come.

If the track is all the same, the cars will still have an even chance of the out come, and it would also be easier to watch the cars. The slower they are (But with a reasonable amount of speed), the more 'Movie Magic' is given, because cars arn't going to go 250mph, slam into a curve, turn, then go about 200 so mph.

I'm thinking of using grey acryic, and that stuff is pretty smooth. 

An alternitive to that, though is cutting paper to the right size (Which would be pretty time consuming and mind numbing, and patience draining), coloring or staining it the color I want, then double sided tape to attatch it down.

But the double sided tape may not get all sides, and some edges may come up and cause cars to DNF. There would also be gaps, or spaces that you would have to take care of, because that to could make cars DNF.

So many things to think about.

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