Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Armourfast T-34 track mod Mk. II (simplified version)

While I was quite pleased with my ‘Mk. I’ track modification technique I received some very useful feedback from different sources about how this mod might be further improved. There were two main issues that were raised by folk, the first was the thickness of the finished tracks and the second was the fiddeliness of the individual track separators that I added.

Above: My T-34 track mod version 1 - a little too thick and complicated?

The track thickness issue raised the point that I had – in fact – approached my mod in completely the wrong way. I had built up the Armourfast track by inserting rectangles of plasticard in between the raised groves so that I had a level surface onto which to add my net curtain segments. In fact, what I should have done was to trim down the raised grove so that they lay level with the recessed groves in the track.

Above: Here you can see me attaching the wire track seperators to my Mk. I tracks, you can also clearly see how I built up the tracks with white plasticard.

So, in my Mk. II version it was a simple process to sand down the raised runners in the tracks until the track was quite thin and relatively even.

I did this using my Dremel and a sanding wheel, but if you have access to a fixed orbital sander you could do this part of the mod far quicker and more accurately and the result could be even thinner and even. As it was I had to go over my Dremelled track surface with a fine sanding block to smooth out the uneven job I did with the hand held sanding tool.

Above: Using a hand-held sanding tool it can be a bit tricky to get a uniformly level surface, you also have to watch your speed as the plastic tends to melt rather than sand if your Dremel's setting is too high. Lastly, do wear a mask as the plastic dust gets everywhere.

Next I rethought my use of the track separators in my first attempt. I had glued short pieces of wire at regular intervals onto the level track to represent the raised track links. In between these separators I then placed my small rectangle of net curtain fabric, representing the T-34 waffle tread.

Thinking about it, it would be a lot simpler if I just left out the separators and cut one long length of net curtain – the same length and width of the track – and glued it right round the flat track surface.

In this way I cut out a couple of intricate operations, and despite the time it took to sand the tracks down in the end it was a lot quicker and simpler modification. I could see how this simplified technique would perhaps be preferable to the war gamer and could be utilized to produce a small run of tracks in order to create an armoured squadron of T-34s.

NEXT: Painting the tracks

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