The T51 track
was very similar to its predecessor, the T41 track, in that both
were smooth-faced on both sides of the track. However, the rubber
on the T51 was thicker on one side, whereas the T41 had the same
thickness on both sides. What this means is, as you assemble these
T51 tracks you need to make sure that you have the thicker side
consistently on the same side, and position the thicker side on
the outside of the run around the suspension. The added thickness
gave these tracks more durability.
The T51 track
was commonly seen on the the M4, M4A1 75mm, M4 composite, and early
M4A2 Shermans, as well as the earlier M7 Priest. (In a pinch, you
could also use them on an M3 Lee or early M4 or M4A1 Sherman, as,
in scale, the thicker side is not appreciably more noticeable than
the T41 tracks these tanks typically used.)
AFV Club's set
is notable for its inclusion of duckbill end connectors, which were
designed to give the tank greater "floatation" and disperse
the vehicle's ground pressure. Unfortunately, there are not enough
duckbills for a full run of track. In reality, these often broke
off from the track through use and abuse. But if you want to represent
a complete run, you'll need to buy a second set of tracks.
I've built both
this set and the T48 tracks, and I offer this word of caution: not
all drive sprockets are created equal. Meaning, the track as completed
may not sit properly on the particular vehicle you're building.
It's best to put together a run of 10 to 15 links to make sure they
will situate themselves between the spokes of the sprocket. If you
have problems, you will either need to resort to an alternative
sprocket or different tracks.
pretty simple, if tedious. There are ejector pin marks on the flat
side of the tracks that need some scraping. I do this while the
parts are still on the sprue to make them easier to handle. You
may need to clean up the tracks some more after they are removed
from the sprue.
use jigs to keep the tracks in place while attaching the end connectors.
I prefer to just assemble them freehand, about 10 at a time. The
connectors fit on the pins with only an occasional end connector
needing to be opened more to accept a pin. While ostensibly "workable,"
there is not much of a friction fit so the links easily fall apart.
A simple solution is to place a dab of white glue onto each pin
(or dip the pins into a small puddle of glue). The glue gives enough
adhesion to keep the track together; even after drying, they can
be worked around the suspension with some care.
are glued to the center of the small end connectors, the duckbills
should be installed after the track is in place on the suspension,
since you will invariably get some model glue onto the pins and
"weld" them in place. You don't want to use white glue
on these since you won't have the secure bond you need to keep the
duckbills from popping off. Paint and weather them as you would
rubber band tracks.
Indy links were
borne out of one of those "be care of what you wish for"
situations, when they were at the top of modelers' lists of wants
in the last decades of the previous century. When Dragon started
producing kits with nothing but 400+ piece tracks, the novelty quickly
wore off. They still make sense on German and Soviet tanks, with
their distinctive sagging tracks. But on U.S.-made tanks, there
was no sag and indy links should not vary much in overall look from
rubber band tracks found in Tamiya, Academy, or AFV Club kits. To
really show these indy link tracks off best, one needs articulated
suspensions, such as those on Shermans from Tasca or, to a more
limited extent, Italeri. Or, if you want to display a tank that
has thrown its track or has been damaged.
But if you want
to go this route, these tracks from AFV Club are easier to assemble
than Dragon's (which have shorter pins) and considerably less expensive
than Model Kasten or Friulmodelissimo. And they'll provide hours
of mindless activity while listening to a ball game or your favorite