M551 Sheridan Track Links
Friulmodel 1:35 Set No. ATL-87
Review by Terry Ashley


This set of metal tracks is for the M551 Sheridan and is obviously designed for the Academy kit (#13011) but could also be used on the old Tamiya kit if desired.

The box contains 200 handed metal track links in two plastic bags plus a length of wire for the track pins and replacement drive sprockets and idler wheel to address one issue with the Academy kit. Minimal cleanup is required with just one small pour burr to be cut off each link but you will need the pin holes drilled through to fully open these up ensuring you don’t drill all the way though damaging the opposite pin bolt included on the link.

Metal track links and pin wire
Metal drive and idler wheels

This is best done by inserting the appropriate sized drill bit in your pin vice the exact depth required so when you drill the link will butt against the end of the pin vice stopping it going through the end, this way you can happily and quickly drill out the pin holes without worrying about going right through.

Track pins cut to length and the links showing the very minimal cleanup needed
Set drill bit depth in pin vise to safely drill through the link

Detail on the links is very good with well defined end pin, track pad and the two inside guide teeth. The tracks links represent the real links nicely and are far better than the Academy kit vinyl tracks.

After cutting the wire into lengths assembly is quick and easy but you should take care as the outer section of the link can bend quite easily during handling so make sure this is okay before inserting the pin.

After fitting the links together a small dab of cyanoacrylate in the locating hole ensures the pin will go nowhere.

The metal idlers and sprockets require a bit of cleanup with a pour bur to be removed and some of the holes will need cleaning out. The shape of the lightening holes is not quite right as this should be teardrop shaped and not round as on the metal wheels but this is easy to fix with an old X-Acto blade. The new wheels simply replace the Academy kit wheels without any problems.

Views of the Academy and Friulmodel Idlers and Drive Sprockets
Image of real drive sprocket from Toadman's M551 reference CD

The assembled track runs articulate freely and fit snugly around the metal drive sprockets as they do with the Academy kit sprockets if for some reason you still wanted to use these?

This articulation allows the gentle track sag along the top track run to be represented nicely but ensure the track tension is enough so this is a continuous sag and not exaggerated like on German/Russian tanks.

Assembled tracks around the metal rive sprocket

A very nicely detailed track set for the Sheridan and while there is not marked track sag required the details such as the link depth and link details is far better represented than on the Academy kit tracks as well as the inclusion of the improved idler and sprockets to give a more realistic finish to your kit.

This set fixes a couple of the issues with the Academy kit but you may also like to check out Vodnik's review of the Academy Sheridan to see everything else you need to fix on the kit.

Highly recommended.


Thanks to my Credit Card and the excellent service from Rainbow Ten for the review set.

Page Created March 19, 2006

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