1⁄35Andy's Indy Track Technique
- Testors Liquid Glue in the Glass bottle - dries slowly, joints remain flexible for at least 1/2 hour after application.
- Straight edge - to push against links to ensure straight run.
- Jig/Assembly guide - again, to keep things in line. Mine is a piece of scrap wood with another length of wood nailed in place to hold runs of links straight (see photo).
- Hobby knife, file - to clean up links.
- PATIENCE - talk about tedious work, but the results are worth it!
- Optional - Brown pop, brewski, beverage for those moments when patience is stretched thin!
A. I cut all links off sprue and put them into a film container. Much clicking of the snippers to drive the wife nuts! May need to turn the TV up.
B. As I'm building other stuff and taking breaks I clean up the links, removing any sprue attachments and cleaning up ejector pin marks. Ejector pin marks that are recessed get ignored or I put a little white-out in them. Cleaned up links go in another film container. I have a little stockpile of links on the go all the time. It's easy to clean up 20 links a night over a few weeks. It takes a few minutes each time, rather than going nuts doing them all in one tedious, long session. For some PzIII/IV tracks Iíve found that the fit between links is a little tight. For these cases, I use a needle file to shave a little off the Ďmaleí side of the connectors on each track link. This takes a few seconds per track link. Again, doing 100 or so at a time is tedious, but that means you can fill a film container and have enough links ready for assembly.
C. Assembly of the links happens when I know I have about a half hour of modeling time (uninterrupted, so pee first!) and the running gear and lower hull are fully assembled. I leave the drive sprocket off. Keeping this separate makes it easy to pop the run of links off when dry (see photos). I have a long piece of wood (about 100cm by 20cm) with a thin piece of wood nailed onto it (about a cm wide, and half the length of the board. This is one straight edge. I use a metal edged ruler as the other straight edge. I place a half dozen links together, then brush the joints lightly with Testors liquid glue (comes in the glass bottle). I add a few more links, repeat until I get a length that looks about right (95 links or so for a Pz. III chassis in this case).
D. That completed length of track is allowed to dry flat on the board for about 10 to 15 minutes. I test the state of the track by attempting to pick it up. If links fall off, it's not ready! Once ready, the length of track is flexible, but won't fall apart with gentle handling. I then put the length of track around the running gear. I don't glue the run together, but I make sure there is a nice join under a road wheel (or in the upper run if that part is hidden). If the run is too long (as shown) itís easy to pull off the extras.
E. I sagged the tracks between the return rollers a bit by pressing down gently with my finger. As always, I seem to end up with too much sag compared to the vast majority of photos, but it's very hard to get just a little sag.
F. I get a short run of tracks and put them under the opposite bogey wheels, and leave the run of links to dry overnight. So I do one run one session, and the other side another time. The short run of links for the other side prevents the tracks from going askew when drying.
G. After the glue is dry, I pop the whole run of tracks off the running gear so I can paint the tracks/running gear separately before final assembly and weathering. You can handle the run pretty easily, and if there is any breakage, itís easy to fix, and you already have the right shape for final assembly.
What you see in the photos is the assembly of one run of links for my
PzIIIJ. Iím really trying not to put too much sag in the links. They
shrink a bit when dry so occasionally Iíve had to add another individual
link before the tracks fit again. Alternatively, you can move the idler
wheel about to adjust track tension (just like the real thing!).