Sherman T49 type track
Friulmodel 1:35 Scale Track Set No. ATL-131
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
This set of tracks from Fruilmodel represents the Sherman T49 Steel Cleat track which was seen on USMC M4A2s in the Pacific and British Army Shermans in Italy and Sicily as well as on special vehicles such as the M32 ARV and others as applicable.

The set consists of 175 cast track links plus the coil of 0.5mm wire for the track pins. Each link is cast with steel cleat detail and end connectors cast in one piece including the retaining bolt. A feature of the links is most have the end connectors cast parallel with the link with about a dozen or so cast with the end connectors at an angle so they sit flat around the drive sprockets and idlers as they should. While this gives the correct ‘sit’ of the end connectors around the sprockets it means the tracks have to be assembled with the angled links in the appropriate position within the normal links and care is needed to assemble and align these correctly, more on this below.

Metal parts
The two different types of links with straight and angled end connectors.

Casting detail is good overall with just a few small burs needing to be trimmed from each link and as the pin holes are only in the end connectors most were fully hollowed out with only about 20% needing to be drilled out.

Links prior to clean-up

Assembly of these tracks is a little different from the usual Friul tracks as there is not one long wire pin used to join the links but two shorter pins inserted through the end connectors on both sides of the links. You firstly cut the 0.5mm wire supplied into 4mm lengths; this is best done using a steel ruler as a cutting board so you can use the measurements on the ruler to cut each pin the right length as you go.

Images showing the links after cleanup as well as the cut 0.4mm wire pins.
Link assembly
Assembled track runs, note I have marked the links with angled end connectors to aid in fitting to the running gear.

The correct spacing of the angled end connector links for both the DML and TASCA Sherman kits working down from the drive sprockets is 5 angled links for around the drive sprocket, 4 straight links, 1 angled link under the first road wheel, 25 straight links for the ground contact run, 1 angled link under the last road wheel, 5 straight links then 5 angled links around the idler wheels with the top run of either 30 or 31 straight links depending on the idler adjustment. That makes a total of 77 or 78 links needed for each track run with the actual Sherman using 80 links per track run so with only 2-3 link different for the metal links means they are only fractionally over scale in pitch (length).

When pushing the track pins firmly in place you will find the hole in the link itself will ‘grab’ and hold the pins in place using friction so most won’t need to be glued but adding a small dab of cyanoacrylate to the pin ends will make sure they don’t go anywhere.

The assembled track runs are quite robust as you would expect with metal track and it’s best to fit the track to the kit running gear before joining the ends together as it’s quite difficult to slip the metal guide horns over the bogies and drive sprocket after joining the track ends. Fitting the track ends around the drive sprockets will hold them in place while you insert the last two pins but you must then ensure the angled end connectors are positioned correctly in the process as above. You may also need to adjust the position of the Idler to better tension the track but test fitting will determine if this is needed?

Assembled tracks fitted to the Tasca Sherman running gear using 78 links.
Assembled tracks fitted to the DML Sherman running gear using 78 links.
This leaves the track a little loose and reducing the links to 77 and adjusting the idler position will
give better tension to the tracks.


This is a nice set of T49 Steel Cleat track with the links nicely detailed and only requiring minimal clean-up. The links themselves assemble very easily but you must ensure the proper alignment of the links with angled end connectors around the drive sprockets, idlers and first and last road wheels which does make assembling the track runs and fitting a little tricky, but the end result gives to correct sit of the links around the sprockets/idlers.

The T49 track is more appropriate for metal links as they are metal in real life without the usual Sherman rubber pads with the only thing to watch is when using “dead” individual links to represent “live” track is they will behave (sag) like “dead’ track if not tensioned correctly, so it’s important to get the track tension right for the proper top track run sit.

Rating 8.5/10

R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books
ISBN 0-89141-080-5
Modeler's Guide to the Sherman
MMIR Special.
Ampersand Publishing
Thanks to Friulmodel for the review Set.

Page created April 3, 2013

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