WE210 Workable Track Link Set
Miniart 1:35 Scale Kit #35323
Review by Terry Ashley

The kit:
This new set of individual link workable WE210 tracks from Miniart follows on from the recent release of the T41 Workable Track Link Set (35322) with the only difference being substitution of the outer track pad halves, parts Ei for the T41 set parts Eg. As both the T41 and WE210 tracks had the same dimensions apart from pad thickness this is entirely appropriate.

The WE210 (or WD-212), sometimes also referred to as 'Double I' or 'Waffle' tracks due to the pad shape was designed for use on British and Australian M3 Grants and Lees and is the thickest of the rubber block tracks used. The deep cut-outs were designed to deal with the desert sand in Nth Africa and many 8th Army Grants were fitted with the WE210s but were considered rare on M4 Shermans apart from some early British M4s and M4A1s.

This set of WE210 workable tracks is also included in all of the Miniart M3 Grant kits release to date.

The actual WE210 track dimensions were:
16" wide
6" pitch (pad width)
I have been unable to find the actual thickness data for the WE210 tracks apart from a reference in SoS that they were 'about' 1inch thicker than standard rubber block tracks, but it doesn't say if that refers to T41 or T51 tracks? T41 blocks were 3 ¼" thick and T51 blocks 3 ¾" thick. So, I can't make any definitive determination at this point unfortunately.

This equates in 1:35 scale to:
11.62mm wide
4.35mm pitch

The kit tracks were measured using electronic callipers and averaging out over 4-5 measurements taken as there were minor differences noted on each take.
11.62mm wide
4.25mm pitch (-0.1mm)
2.92mm thick

So, as you can see all measurement are either exact or less than 0.1mm difference which is really getting into the extreme nit-picking category and certainly nothing to get excited about and for all intents and purposes spot on.

WE210 tracks mostly used for:
The Sprues:
The kit consists of 26 sprues with 672 parts in light grey plastic.

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Track parts removed from sprues and sprue burs trimmed ready for assembly

The quality of the mouldings is excellent with crisp clean details overall, although there is some fine flash on some of the end connectors, this is on about 6-7 end connectors at the same position on every sprue runner with the amount of flash varying on each, the remaining end connectors were free of any flash. It is best to remove this flash while the end connectors are still attached to the sprue runner for ease of handling.

Fine flash on 6-7 end connectors in the same position on each sprue runner
Also note the half circle notch on the ends of the short track pins.


Each track pad is in two halves and being a flat rubber pad both sides there's not a lot you can do to mess these up, the two end connectors were shared with the adjacent link with 79 links making up one full track run. The end connectors are very well done with good detail definition including the retaining bolt head.

The links are designed in a way that allows you to assemble these as workable or just glued together fixed in position and as this is live track with no sag there is no need to assemble the lot as workable unless you really want to? Each end connector has two short pins with half round notches on the ends that fit into indents in the track pads.

Workable Track Assembly:
As with the T41 tracks, I assembled 14 workable links around the drive sprocket to first road wheel and 14 workable links from the last road wheel to around the Idler (this is to allow for adjusting the Idler position for the proper tension). The remaining 57 links for the top (30) and bottom (21) runs were simply glued together.

You must of course as with any plastic type tracks remove the parts from the sprue runners and clean-up the attachment burs, this is quite a straightforward operation with the plastic being quite easy to work with but it does take a little time. For the end connectors, I cut these using a sharp blade as close to the part as possible and then held these firmly in a pair of stout tweezers while trimming any remaining burs. Once you get into a rhythm as with any individual track the clean-up is soon done ready to assemble.

No assembly jigs are provided and it can get a little tricky when fitting the end connectors into the track pads to make workable links and for this I made two assembly jigs from plastic card and strip to make things easier, one for the start-up link and the other for the remaining longer track runs.
The trickiest assembly is the starting links for the workable section as this required four loose end connectors to be captured between one track pad halves, not an easy task when everything is loose and you need to be very careful where you put the glue so the result is actually workable track.
To this end I made a small jig that holds three track pads and the four end connectors with the jig making sure these stay where they should be while gluing the inner pad half to trap the four end connectors in place. The use of the three links was to, 1. Assist in aligning the four loose end connectors and 2. Making sure the middle link doesn't go anywhere during the process.

The image below shows this jig and as it's white plastic card that basically gets washed out by the lighting, I have also drawn the outlines of the jig to show how it was made, the dimensions obviously match those of the kit track pads and end connectors.

Stater assembly jib from this plastic card and strip to hold the three links and four end connectors.
Assembly sequences for the 'starter' workable link.
1. Place the three outer track pads in the jig.
2. Place the four loose end connectors in the jig resting on the pads and add glue into the central trough on the pad,
the glue should be about level with the top of the trough but not overflowing.
3. Fit the inner track pad trapping the four end connectors taking care not to get any glue on the pins as per the text above.


The images above show the starter assembly sequence and once this is done the remaining workable links are easier to fit as only two end connectors are loose for each subsequent join and for this a simple longer jig was used consisting of a base sheet of card, two card pieces the height of the half track pad added to form a channel for the outer half of the track pad (part Ei1) and then two strips of outer plastic beams to hold the end connectors upright when fitted to the pad.

As you glue the inner pad half to trap the end connectors it's essential not to get any glue on the end connector pins to retain workability and after gluing each one, I pressed the pad halves together firmly with the tweezer points for 30 seconds to let the glue 'grab' and then tested that the pins in fact remained movable. Any that had contact with glue I moved back and forth until the glue grip was broken and they moved freely, then proceeded to the next one, this is safer than assembling the full 14 links only to find a link or two had glued solid at the end.
With the two 14 links workable sections done you can move on to the lengths glued completely together.

Simple longer jig for assembling the remaining workable links after the starter link is done as above.
4. Add the 'starter' link to the jig plus two more link halves and two end connector, add the glue as before just in the pad trough.
5. Glue the inner link trapping the end connectors again checking to make sure no glue has got onto the pins.
6. Continue until the required number of workable links have been assembled.
Assembled track sections before joining together to form the full tgrack run.

Glued Track Assembly:
You can simply glue the straight top and bottom track runs together as being live track there is no track sag evident in any case. There is no need for a jig to glue the links as the end connector pin design with the notch on the end will align the links as you press these with glue into the pad grooves. I used Tamiya Extra Thin Cement (normal type) throughout as this gives more working time and has less capillary action than the Tamiya super thin cement.

Use the same assembly process as with the workable links just glue these together as you go.

Assembly follows the same steps as with the workable tracks apart from gluing the pins and pads together so it's a lot quicker and I assembled the full top run of 30 links as one length but glued the bottom run into two sections with 11 and 10 links respectively to allow the ends to be joined as you fit the tracks around the running gear. The ends of the workable and solid track sections were joined using the same method as before forming the complete track run with the ends unjoined.


Joining the track ends:
Fitting the track around the running gear and then joining the ends as designed isn't that easy given the method of track assembly and I also wanted to be able to remove these at any time for test fitting or painting etc. To allow this I made a simple modification to the ends of the joining track pads, this involved gluing both the upper and lower track pad together on one end without the end connectors fitted leaving the pin holes open while on the other just the inner end connector was trapped between the pads leaving the other pin exposed (Step 1 below).

The exposed pin on the inner end connector and two pins on the loose outer end connector had the small notch trimmed off leaving a straight pin (Step 2 below). To join the ends after fitting the track around the running gear you simply fit the inside pad hole over the exposed pin (Step 3 below) and then fit the loose outer end connector pins to join the track runs together (Step 4 below), I found that the track tension held the end connectors in place without the need for glue allowing the tracks to be disconnected at any time by reversing the process, i.e. taking out the loose end connector and disconnecting the inner connector pin, all very simply. See images.

The track ends as per the text above.
Images showing the above sequences with the track fitted to the running gear.
Overall views of the fitted tracks showing the excellent end connector and pad details.

There are other methods of fitting the track to the running gear of course but I found this to be very easy in joining the track ends as well as easily removing the tracks again should you wish to. On kits that have the full sand fenders fitted the tracks will need to be fitted before the fenders attached mostly but this can be varied also, as always, the final decision is up to the modeller.

Fitting Tracks to Other Kits:
The assembled track runs fitted perfectly around the Miniart kit running gear as you would expect after test fitting to determine the optimum position of the idler axle/wheel for the correct track tension, the axle can be glued once this is established.

I also test fitted the assembled tracks to other available M3/M4 kit drive sprockets, these included kits from Academy, Dragon, Takom and Tamiya. All fitted perfectly except for the Academy sprockets which were about 1mm too narrow and had to be widened, see image showing the spacing needed. This will allow you to use these tracks on any of these kits you may wish to enhance the detail over 'rubber band' tracks.

The Academy drive sprockets needed widening to accept the Miniart tracks, but fit perfecty to the Asuka, Dragon, Takom and Tamiya M3/M4 kit sprockets.

Overall this set of individual link workable WE210 Tracks from Miniart has excellent details on the end connectors and the dimensions of the track pads are all but spot on with just very minor discrepancies. As with any plastic individual link workable tracks there is quite a bit of clean-up of the attachment burs and minor flash but I found as I progressed to the second and third full track runs that things got easier as you get into a rhythm and get used to the assembly process.

The assembly process allows you to either assemble the tracks as workable of glued together solid with the end connector pin design aiding in keeping the links aligned and spaced correctly. The inclusion of an assembly jig would have been helpful but making one up from plastic card and strip isn't that hard and aids with the whole process. The detail on the assembled track runs is very good and adds to the overall look and feel of the kit, making the time spent worthwhile IMHO.

This set can be used an any of the available M3/M4 kits to add detail definition for a relatively inexpensive track upgrade.

Rating 9/10


Son of Sherman Vol.1
Design & Development

Ampersand Publishing
R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books
ISBN 0-89141-080-5

Thanks to Miniart for the review kit.
to help the reviews continue, thank you

Page created November 16, 2019

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