“Splash” is copyrighted by Charles Many and is used with his permission.

Rock Creek Falls, Georgia

 

 

Link-by-Link Track Made Easy

 by Bill Wolfe

 

No one, but no one HATES “link by link” tracks more than I do

I have even gone so far as to call Tamiya and order ‘rubber-band’ tracks for DML kits that I wanted to build, but didn’t want to deal with the tracks!

 

I knew I was going to have to deal with them sooner or later, I have done the link by link thing on a few models but the ‘Nashorn’ showed me that I didn’t want to do it very often. I had to find a way to make this part of model building quicker and a little bit more fun (remember the reason we build these things. . . .FUN!!!)

 

Now I can’t really take the credit for this tip: I read it somewhere, but I wanted to pass it along for anyone who might have missed it.

Here is what you’ll need:

The first and most important thing is a jig to help you keep the track runs going as straight as possible. I made this one from .040 styrene with a length of styrene channel along the edge. This will help to keep the tracks moving along a true course. The second thing you need is, of course, a hobby knife with a sharp #11 blade and fine point tweezers

 

Third on the list is plastic cement and a FINE pointed brush to apply. Now the secret tip item. As you can see from the picture, you’ll need some Scotch tape.

Here’s how to do it: Cut your links from the sprues, cleaning them up as best you can. Pay attention to the edges that will be up against the styrene channel. Place the scotch tape sticky side up, with one small piece on each side to hold it down on your work surface

Using your tweezers, pick up the first link and place it down on the sticky tape. Make sure to position it with the rest of the run in mind, this first one will determine how the rest of the run turns out. Use about as many links as needed to run the length of the bottoms of the road wheels. Take the pointed paint brush, dip it into the glue bottle and touch it to the area where the next link will mate to the first.

When you’ve finished a run of links: WAIT! The biggest problem I had before this tape method was trying to pick up the run of links too quickly and watching them fall apart all over the work bench. I waited about 2-3 minutes after the last link of the run had been added. This may not seem like enough time, but the tape will help hold the links together while you are bending them around the curves of the sprocket or making them sag between return rollers. If you wait too long they won’t bend as they should and will become too stiff and brittle.

 

 

 

Cut the tape ‘holders’ and pick up the track run with the Scotch tape attached to the bottom of the run. Place them on the vehicle where they go. Bend them as you move along the road wheels and return rollers. Use small pieces of tape to hold each run together. The sections will be attached to one another with super glue after they have been painted, washed and drybrushed.

 

Work your way around the road wheels with run after run, (This tank took 4 runs) taping them to one another as you go.

 

Once in place, leave the tracks overnight to dry. The next day the tracks will be solid and ready for the paint treatment. You could also glue them in place on the vehicle as you go using the tape to hold them and paint the vehicle and tracks at the same time. I wanted to do some other work on the lower hull of this model before I add the tracks. This is why I wanted to try this tape method.

 

 

 

 

 

While this model (ICM’s “LUCHS”) does not have tracks as long as some other models, it gave me the feeling that I could now tackle a model with longer track runs and still keep my wits about me. One word about link by link tracks: Some people will spend hours filling sink holes on the track pads and inside surfaces. Keep in mind that when the model is finished there will only be about 10 or 15 tracks that you will be able to see the inner or outer surfaces of and only these should get your attention and valuable model building time!

New Stuff has a listing of what the delivery trucks brought us!

Future Releases has info from ICM – – Roden – – Miniart – – Masterbox – – Osprey Publications – – Trumpeter scale models  – – and more

 

 

 

M54A2 Gun Truck

By Gil Gonsoulin

 

When AFV Club announced they were going to release a five ton M54A2 gun truck, the first thing that came to mind was to make the gun truck version of it. Since they had also released an M113A1 ACAV, which I had already purchased, I thought this would be a perfect match. The plan was to mate the ACAV to the 5-ton. Little did I know how wrong that was going to be.

 

M54A2 Gun Truck

 

Starting with the M54A1 kit, things went downhill quickly. Most of the gun trucks didn’t have the winch on them. The bumper on the kit is made to attach to the winch, not directly to the truck’s frame. To make it fit you’ll have to do some sanding. The kit stated that the front wheels are steerable, however if you follow the instructions they won’t be. A lot of the locator pins are very small, so alignment can cause problems. Also there are some very small fragile parts with large sprue attachment points.

 

M54A2 Gun Truck

 

I modified the trucks exhaust stack with plastic tubing. The armored doors and windshield cover were made from plastic card stock. The PSP matting came from some old Belgo ones I bought many years ago. They are the best and interlock just like the real ones.

 

M54A2 Gun Truck

 

Now on to the M113A1 kit. This kit has been touted as being the best one out there – –  well not the one I got. There were a lot of fit problems and some wrong parts locations. Also some parts that were not in the kit. The first real problem was the body itself. The side was bent in and would not straighten out. After trying many times I went to the parts box and found an old Academy Fitter kit and used that body tub. AFV’s top, front, and rear parts were a perfect fit. The AFV kit shows some parts on the inside of the engine cover, however there is no engine supplied in the kit. They also show the instrument panel in the wrong place. I could find no pictures of it where they have it. The kits 50 cal ammo box cradle is too far forward and blocks the fit of the gun shield.

 

M54A2 Gun Truck

 

I also used many of the Fitter interior parts to add details that were missing or molded onto the AFV kit. Many of the extra parts in the interior came from the parts box. The come-alongs were made with parts from Accurate Armour and RB turnbuckles. The ladder on the trucks rear was made from a Plastruct ladder and parts from the spare parts box.

 

M54A2 Gun Truck

 

Both the M54 and M113 were painted using Model Master Olive Drab. Weathered using Windsor Newton oil. The truck’s tires painted with Tamiya Rubber Black, Dirt color I model Master Acrylic dark tan. To sum it all up, this was a build from Hell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“”Quarter Light” is copyrighted by William Wolfe and is used with his permission     

  New Orleans, Louisiana