U.S. T91E3 Track Links (Workable)
for M41/M42

Trumpeter 1:35th Scale Kit # 02038 (TK-08)
Review by Terry Ashley

AFV ClubAFV Club

The kit:
This set of individual T91E3-Track from Trumpeter is not designed for any particular kit and could be used for any of the available M41/M42 kits.

The set consists of 160 individual links, 160 track pads and 320 link pins all in chocolate coloured plastic along with an assembly jig to aid assembly. The links come two to a sprue and need a bit of cleanup of the sprue burs and some minor flash on some but not all links. The track pads are easily cut from their sprues but there is more cleanup of the attachment bur and as the attachment overlaps the pad a little you need to carefully smooth out to top pad surface, also the two pin marks on the underside of the pad have the occasional lip that needs removing so the pad will sit flat on the links.

Plastic links and assembly jig.

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 15.1mm wide and pitch of 4.4mm to be only fractionally narrow than the original but nothing to get excited about.

The links have good rib details and also includes the pad retaining bolt nicely defined on the inside face of each link with separate link attachment pins forming the track pin bolts but lack some detail as a consequence of this duel purpose. One minor issue is the guide teeth appear to be slightly under sized but not that noticeable.

Images showing the link parts, note the minor flash on some links
and the pin marks covered by the separate track pads

Track links with the pads glued in place.

The box includes an assembly guide on the back but the assembly is very straightforward with each link fitting into the next and held in place with the two pins provided, the jig supplied aids in the assembly by holding the links in place as you fit the pins. I also glued the track pads to the links before assembling the tracks for easier handling and also to avoid any possibility of gluing the track pin while attaching the pads.

There was a small issue where the pins didn't fit deep enough into the link holes, this left too much of the pin exposed and the link join a little delicate, to remedy this I drilled the large link holes a little deeper allowing the pins to fit further into the links also making a more robust join.

The actual M41/M42 uses 75 links per track run and you will need to use only 73 kit links to get the correct track tension when fitted to the kit, this 2 link difference is probably due to a fractional 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.

The assembled track runs are quite robust and have excellent details but you should still handle with care to avoid any of the links coming apart as they do only have small attachment pins and not full with wire pins like metal track links.

Link assembly

Fitting the tracks:
The track fit around the AFV Club M41 and M42 kit drive sprockets is not totally snug with only about half the contact area making good contact and slightly opening up the tooth holes in the links would allow them to sit better. The actual track is "live" meaning there is tension on the link joins and the track will curl up on itself when not fitted to the vehicle, this also means there is no appreciable track sag between the top return rollers as is seen with "dead" track used on WWII German and most Soviet tracked vehicles.

I also test fitted the track to the older Tamiya M41/M42 (re-issued kit) drive sprockets and again the fit was not as that good and either opening up the tooth holes or modifying the few teeth to allow a better fit would improve the sit around the sprockets.

Track links fitted to AFV Club M42A1 Duster kit suspension.
Track links fitted to Tamiya M41 drive sprocket showing poor fit.

This is a nicely detailed set of replacement M41/M42 track links with good track link detail but the amount of clean-up and assembly is almost that of the metal track options but the end result is a nice looking set of replacement tracks although a little work is needed to fit to the respective kits..

Rating 8/10

M42 Duster
Walk Around #5705
Squadron Signal Publications
M41 Walker Bulldog
in action #2029
Squadron Signal Publications
A History of the
American Light Tank Volume 2
R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books
US Army Manual
TM 9-2350-201-12

76-mm Gun Full Tracked Combat Tanks
M41 (T41E1) and M41A1 (T41E2)
Thanks to my credit card and Hobbyeasy for the review kit.

Page created April 17, 2012

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