FV432 Family
Friulmodel 1:35 Scale Track Set No. ATL-114
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
This new set of metal track links from Friulmodel is designed for the Takom Model FV432 kits; 2066 FV432 Mk. 2/1 and 2067 FV432 Mk.3 Bulldog to directly replace the link and length plastic track provided in these kits.

The set consists of 214 white metal links, 216 pin bolt heads on 9 casting blocks and two coils of 4mm brass wire to cut up for the track pins. There are also two small sheets with instruction notes, one is specifically for the FV432 tracks but the other is a generic sheet found in all Friulmodel sets and some of the comments don't apply with this set so don't take these literally. In fact, the only notes applicable here are 2, 3, 5 and 7.

Instructions sheet.
Metal parts

The separate pin bolts are attached to each link after the wire pin is inserted to give the bolt head on both sides of the link and you should note the links aren't handed meaning the added bolt heads with be on the outside on one side of the model and on the inside on the other, this isn't an issue just something to note.

Each track link is cast with nicely done link and pad details and as usual there is some minor clean-up required with a couple of small pour burs to be trimmed from each link, the size of the burs varies between links but all require clean-up to some degree.

The links prior to clean-up showing the varied burs on the links.

The wire for the track pins needs to be cut into 8.5mm lengths but I would suggest just 8mm to ensure there is enough clearance for fitting the pin bolt later, the thin wire is easily cut, I lay the wire on a steel ruler as a cutting board to measure the length and cut with a hobby knife blade (#11 or such) at the same time.

After clean-up the track pin holes will need to be drilled out using a 0.4mm drill bit, you should set the drill bit into your pin vice with only 8.5mm of the drill bit exposed so you don't drill all the way through the links.

Setting the drill bit length and drilling out the link holes as above.

Assembly is quite straightforward by fitting one link into the next and inserting the wire pin, any problems inserting the pin can be fixed by slightly moving the links until the holes align and the pin slips into place. Holding the wire pins with stout tweezers while feeding this into the holes will save any finger damage and make then process easier.

The pin bolts and the pins cut to length.
Assembly of the tracks and the additional pin bolt to be added.

After fitting each track pin, (you may wish to assemble a run of links before fitting the pin bolts) the separate pin bolts are added but this proved to be an interesting exercise as the bolts are extremely small (about 1mm in length) and being round were quite difficult to handle. I initially cut the bolts from the casting blocks and attempted to then fit these into place but holding with tweezers didn't quite work out, so I then tried using the tip of a sharp blade to 'pick up' the bolt and slip this into the link hole. As the tolerance for the bolt and hole was quite fine this proved difficult as there was no leverage while using the blade to hold the pin. I ended up slightly enlarging the bolt hole and the bolt fitted easier but this isn't the best option as it creates quite a bit of additional work and after assembling about 20 links using this method it was obvious something easier was needed.

From here I used a pair of clippers to cut the cast bolt blocks firstly in half and then separated each bolt with the excess metal "handle" still attached. This gave a good grip on the bolt and was then able to be inserted into the link bolt hole without the need to enlarge the hole and after the cyanoacrylate had cured I simply cut away the excess metal with a sharp blade, this proved to be a far quicker and easier method for fitting the pin bolts. See images.

Cutting up of the pin bolt casting to make assembly easier as above.
Fitting the pin bolts using the separated bolts as described.

Fitting the tracks:
The assembly notes don't say how many links are needed for each track run but the Takom kits use 91 links per side so that should be the same for the Friul links? Fitting the assembled track to the Takom kit sprockets sees a perfect fit for a quick and easy replacement of the kit tracks, not there is no track sag on the FV432 tracks apart from a very subtle sag along the central top run so make sure the links are tight enough to prevent any additional sagging.

The assembled Friulmodel tracks provide a noticeable increase in detail definition over the plastic kit tracks as a direct comparison will show especially the outer edges and pin bolts as well as between the track pads, they also include the small pad retaining bolt on the inside of each link.

Comparisons of the Friulmodel metal tracks and Takom plastic kit tracks showing the additional level of details with the Friul tracks.
The assembled metal tracks fitting perfectly to the Takom kit sprockets without any problems

This set of metal tracks from Friulmodel is nicely detailed with good track link definition with just the usual clean-up required for the metal links prior to assembly, the additional pin bolts require a little more work but the result gives a marked increase in detail definition. The assembled links are accurate, robust and articulate very well making for a excellent update to the kit tracks to prove the additional detail.

Rating 8/10

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Thanks to Friulmodel for the review Set.

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Page created November 23, 2017

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