Modeling in General
General discussions about modeling topics.
Curious about tracks
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Queensland, Australia
Member Since: April 23, 2015
entire network: 4,648 Posts
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Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2015 - 08:47 AM UTC
Hi Everyone,
The last time I built a tank, it was 1986. Back then, the only armor models available were either Tamiya or Monogram where I lived. The tracks were always in grey/silver/black and melted together at one end with a hot knife. Track droop was accomplished by stick pins strategically pushed through the side of the hull and glued in place.
Lately I've been reading lamentations about Dragon's track system. Is anybody supplying rubber tracks anymore, or is it all done with single links joined together? Whose tracks look most correct doing the job?

Thanks for answering,

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Arkansas, United States
Member Since: June 29, 2009
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Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2015 - 11:41 AM UTC
AFV Club makes accurate "rubber band" tracks.
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United States
Member Since: April 15, 2012
entire network: 336 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, August 30, 2015 - 10:45 PM UTC
It depends a lot on the specific vehicle. The M4 Sherman, for example, had little to no sag in its tracks, while the upper run of track on a Panther or Tiger would often rest directly on top of the road wheels if the tank wasn't moving, and the Russian KV series of tanks were well-known for having tracks that sagged noticeably between the return rollers.

A number of model companies have switched to 'link and length' tracks -- individual track links for the areas of tight curvature (around the drive and idler wheels) and one-piece lengths for the sections where the geometry is easily molded (the upper run, the section under the road wheels).

Individual track links, if of a design that requires them to be glued together, allow the modeler to produce the same track sag that is molded into link-and-length track, at the expense of more work on the modeler's part -- they have to glue together links into a run, let the glue partially harden, then mold the run around the part of the track run.

Individual track links that are assembled to be 'workable' -- i.e., the links are snapped together or held together with pins or wire -- will automatically give you sag, but tracks not held together with metal pins or wire may be more vulnerable to breaking. Also, individual metal track links, such as the aftermarket sets made by companies like Fruilmodel or Spade Ace, will have a more realistic sag to them, as their weight will pull down the track runs where plastic tracks might be too light to sag realistically.

In the end, it comes down to the characteristics of the vehicle you're modeling and the effort you put into recreating the appearance of the actual vehicle. You can produce good results from any of them, but one type of tracks may be easier to produce a desired effect with than another.