I am an experienced aviation kit basher who from time to time enjoys a switch to AFVs. Many new releases provide multi-part tracks in hard plastic rather than the 'rubber bands' f previous years. I must say that I find these quite challenging to apply such as a satisfactory finish is achieved!
It's difficult to ask others to describe their technique with a view towards using it yourself, but I thought I'd set down what I think the main points are are perhaps other users can describe within that framework what they do generally or specifically.
Commonly, tracks are divided into single elements, and multiple elements ranging from small to large. The essential first step being to remove all flash and/or moulding impefections from the track units and the idlers/sprokets/wheels and bogies. These are often delicate and/or small mouldings on scales lower than 1/48.
I've found that applying single tracks around drive sprokets/idlers (front and back 'wheels) demands that the teeth of each 'half' of the sprocket/idler are exactly aligned so that individual track segments will lie across them at or very close to 90 degrees. I've tried lining up the parts on extended track segments to ensure precise alignment but have had only a measure of sucess- how do others ensure correct alignment both sproket half to sproket half and track element to sproket. I suspect that alignment is achieveable through adopting a single session approach rather than a piecemeal one such as will allow 'fine tuning' to be done before the adhesive dries.
It is essential to get mainwheels bogies/idlers placed so as to accommodate the track correctly and precisey. I hae found that best results have been achieved when assembly is completed in the single sitting rather than any staged process, ie if wheels/idlers/bogeys are cemented in place and allowed to dry before track placement, any misalignment is almost impossible to correct. I wonder how others tackle this?
The longer multiple links parts require some bending to represent the manner than track sags between idlers/bogeys etc. To apply these parts onto the wheels without some kind of bending results in unrealistic 'dead-straight' tracks running across the top of the wheel assemblies. Do others introduce 'sagging' and how do they do this?
Where tracks travel from under the main wheels to the drive sproket/idler, this results all to often in a less than convincing angle from the flat (under the wheels) to the upwards (to the sproket/idler) and I find use of the single track elements to blend to two track lengths in a convincing, neat way very challenging indeed. The same being true for the connection between the top track and the downward/upward track elements going around the spokets/idlers. I avoid gluing the sprokets/idlers until my track elements line up, but all to often have a residual space never the right size for the completing track link! The gap being too wide or too narrow! What do thers do?
I like look of injection moulded tracks, but I must say my 'end results' can look a dogs dinner!
Any tips/references? I appreciate the need for care, patience and precision in part placement but are there any techniques others use in addition to ensure their results meet with their expectations?