Spade Ace Models 1:35 Scale Track Sets # SAT-35093
Review by Terry Ashley
The set consists of 160 white metal links and a coil of 0.65mm steel wire to cut up for the track pins, there are no instructions or other notes included with the set.
The actual T91E3 track links are 21 inches wide with a pitch of 6 inches (the pitch is the distance between the track pin centre lines), this equates to 15.24mm and 4.35mm respectively in 1:35 scale. The kit links are 15.7mm wide and pitch of 4.4mm to give a difference of .46mm in width which isn't a lot but it has some implications when fitting to the available M41/M42 kits.
The track links are quite cleanly cast with nicely done link details that includes the inner track retaining bolt and the amount of clean-up varies with some links not requiring any clean-up while on others there is quite a bit of excess metal to be removed.
The track pin holes are all fully hollow and there is no drilling required before assembly which is nice to see but the biggest problem is the steel wire provided for the track pins. The wire is extremely hard steel and cutting to the required 15mm lengths is very difficult and requires the need for heavy duty clippers, this makes getting the pins cut to the required 15mm precisely is not easy at all. To add to this when cut the ends have a sharp point due to the clipping process and filing this square is again very difficult if not impossible given the hardness of the metal and small file area, I also tried annealing the wire through a flame but while this made it a little more pliable cutting the wire was till extremely difficult.
In short after using heavy duty clippers to cut three pins and finding the sharp ends dug unto the sides of the wire holes in the track links during assembly I simply gave up and substituted the wire provided with softer 0.6mm copper wire which allowed the pins to be cut precisely to the required 15mm with nice square ends using a #11 blade for a better appearance when fitted.
Also shown are three pins cut from the softer 0.6mm copper used to assembly the tracks.
Assembly itself is quite straightforward really by fitting one link into the next and inserting the wire pin and securing with a dab of thicker cyanoacrylate on each end to hold the pin in place, once into a rythem the track run was assembled in no time. The assembled track runs are extremely robust being metal and articulate freely allowing easy fitting to the target kit.
The actual late M41/M42 uses 75 links per track run and you will need to use only 74 kit links to get the correct track tension when fitted to the kit, this 1 link difference is probabaly due to the small difference in track pitch and the extra "play in the track join but is of little consequence and is not at all noticeable with the track runs added to the kit.
I also test fitted the track to the older Tamiya M41/M42 (re-issued kit) drive sprockets and the fit was not good as the spacing of the drive spocket teeth and the track tooth holes didn't quite match and the track won't fit around the sprocket as it should, also the extra width makes it quite hard to fit the links over the sprocket and some modification will be needed to get the tracks to fit properely.
Track links fitted to Tamiya M41 drive sprocket showing the fit issues as above.
The assembled links are robust and articulate very well although the extra width has some implications when fitting to the kits but nothing too dramatic. As there is no requirement for track sag on the M41/M42 kits they can be used if you prefer metal track.
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