The first time I constructed a tank, I rather foolishly glued the treads in, then sprayed the whole thing black, then started working from there. This was a bad idea, as I found myself wasting quite a bit of time and effort trying not to get paint on the tracks when I was painting the body, and vice versa. So, here's the easy way for all you lazy treadheads. Note that this works best for tanks with clearly exposed treads, like the Chimera or Leman Russ variants.
First, construct your tank and paint it, leaving out the treads, of course. At this point you'd best paint on any squadron markings or anything else that would be made more difficult by the presence of treads. Like so:
Second, clip out your tank treads and mount them with Blu-tack on a suitable surface, like this here box from a Warmachine heavy jack. Since they're gonna be half-embedded in the tank anyway, there's no need to file off any mould lines. Just clip as close as you can with your flush cutters and that should do the job.
|Lord Commissar: In consummate rows. By the Emprah, I said CONSUMMATE!|
After that, the fun bit! Drybrush the treads with whatever metal suits you. Here I'm using Leadbelcher. If you're not particularly experienced with the brush, this is a good time to practice getting a good, consistent drybrush, since you can respray and try again if you make an error without any significant loss of detail.
|Lord Commissar: Why is this bit so SHINY?! By the Emprah - f*** it, it's going on the bottom of the tank anyway...|
|You can use Warplock Bronze for Tin Bitz, Leadbelcher for Boltgun Metal and Reikland Fleshshade for Vermin Brown. I think.|
Almost there. All we have to do now is glue on the treads. Protip: Start from the top, work your way round, and save the biggest piece (usually the bottom) for last. This prevents any fiddly moments with those tiny pieces with the single tread. I use Tamiya Plastic Cement for this.
And that's that. Hope this helps. Now to continue with the miles and miles of bloody blacklining...