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strikeeagle801

Dragon "magic tracks"

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Hey guys

Got a new M1A1 AIM today in the mail from 88phantom, opened it up and noticed the 5 bazillion little rubber links to make the tracks. After the initial shock wore off at how many parts there are, I started to wonder how I was going to put these things together, and thought I'd better ask here. So, what's the secret? How do you put these things together and have them come out looking somewhat decent?

Aaron

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Hey guys

Got a new M1A1 AIM today in the mail from 88phantom, opened it up and noticed the 5 bazillion little rubber links to make the tracks. After the initial shock wore off at how many parts there are, I started to wonder how I was going to put these things together, and thought I'd better ask here. So, what's the secret? How do you put these things together and have them come out looking somewhat decent?

Aaron

Not having seen the tracks in the M1 kit, I am assuming from your description that they come with seperate rubber pads that you attach to the individual track blocks? If so, I would just glue the pads to the blocks, assemble the tracks into runs, then paint them as you would band tracks or other link tracks. For the Abrams, I would spray them in a dirty or dusty color, depending on the color scheme you are painting it, then dry brush the tracks pads in a dark gray to show where the dirt has ben rubbed off the pads through contact with the ground.

In my experience, the Magic tracks, not being workable and able to stay together by press fit, are best assembled by using a strip of masking tape to hold them together while you assemble short lengths. Usually I would do one length that would be formed around the front idler wheel, a long flat bottom and top and one run that goes around the spocket. Once I have test fit everything to make sure I have them the lengths they need to be, I then use Testors liquid glue, brushing some on while they are still attached to the tape, and letting it set up just a little so that the tracks will hold together. Then, once I am confident they will hold together by themselves, but while they are still flexible, I remove the tape and place them around the running gear, without gluing the seperate runs to each other. Let them dry, then you can remove the seperate runs and paint them. After everything is painted, you can add them to the running gear, and glue the individual runs together in place. I did this on my Elefant kit and it worked well, except for the fact that after I had all the runs glued together, I realized that the tracks were 2 part affairs, with alternating toothed and untoothed tracks, and I had glued all the toothed tracks togther, and was left with a bunch of toothless tracks. The kit still sits unfinished in a box somewhere...

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Thank's for the reply. This is actually my first tank kit ever, so I don't have any experience with any type of track..which is adding to my nervousness.

Aaron

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Thank's for the reply. This is actually my first tank kit ever, so I don't have any experience with any type of track..which is adding to my nervousness.

Aaron

Whatever you do, don't paint the tracks silver or rusty orange! :) I would start with overall very dark gray or dark brown, then weather and drybrush over that. Once you are done, most of it will likely be hidden by weathering, but it will provide the dark recesses and add depth.

Remember, tanks go THROUGH the terrain they are traversing, not over it, and will quickly pick up whatever dirt and dust they have just plowed through. Missing Lynx is a good site for getting an idea of how some other armor modelers do their thing. Armor was my first and longest interest in modeling, and I still dabble. The trick to the link tracks is knowing when the glue has set up enough to pretty well hold the links together, but not so much that they can't be wrapped around the idler or driver sprocket. They may fall apart on you if you try it too quickly or use too much glue, but thats part of the learning curve on link tracks. The long flat bottom and top run are no biggie, especially since the M1 doesn't have any track sag on top, and its hidden and could be pretty much left off if you so choose.

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Also dont sag the track. Its whats known as "live" track and has little to no sag in it. If you were to take the track off and lay it on the ground it would curl at the ends.

I also second th no rust comment. If anything paint the tracks your dirt color of choice then modify to taste. If you have it running on concrete put a slight sheen on the end connectors and black on the pads on the inside and outside of the track. This is to show where the rubber has become exposed after running. The ONLY time you will se rusty abrams track is if it has been presure cleaned and left to sit for a while after a good run.

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Would there happen to be a relacement track out there that might be a little more "beginner friendly" than these things? Thank's for the tools, tips and sites there Guys. I'm sure they will help out a bunch, but I'm still pretty intimidated by these things. I don't want to get through this whole build and then screw up the tracks. Ya know?

Aaron

ps. I just looked at the directions again, and they don't even say how many links your supposed to put on each track. Now logic would say devide the total in two *dummy* because there are two tracks, but do they give you any extras or anything?

Edited by strikeeagle801

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Not that I saw, but I might have missed them. There are so many parts in there! This is the new-tool one as well, if that makes any difference. I know that Dragon had an M1 out before this one.

Aaron

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AFV Club does a set of press together non glue workable track for about 15 bucks. I have a set for my AIM kit. Really easy to put together. Assembly is a little more fiddly but the end result is much better than the magic track.

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I think I saw them at Spruebrothers, but they did not say what kit they were designed for. Does AFV Club make an M1, or are they meant for the Dragon kit, or are they pretty generic?

Aaron

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Karl Logan (Doog) has a very good tutorial on Armorama for assembling indi-length tracks.

He uses Testors liquid cement and lets the runs cure for an hour, then "wraps" them around the roadwheel, final drive/sprocket assembly.

I tried it with two 1:72 kits and found curing time was less but the method does work.

:cheers:

MikeJ

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I think I saw them at Spruebrothers, but they did not say what kit they were designed for. Does AFV Club make an M1, or are they meant for the Dragon kit, or are they pretty generic?

Aaron

They were made befopre the dragon kit came out but they fit it just fine. Dragon did their homework on the drive sprockets and AFV did their homework on the track. win win situation there. No mucking about with glue and tape and waiting for it to be at the right flexibility. Just pop them together and GO. I did both runs of track in an afternoon.

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Karl Logan (Doog) has a very good tutorial on Armorama for assembling indi-length tracks.

He uses Testors liquid cement and lets the runs cure for an hour, then "wraps" them around the roadwheel, final drive/sprocket assembly.

I tried it with two 1:72 kits and found curing time was less but the method does work.

:cheers:

MikeJ

Problem with magic track is the link end connectors dont curl correctly as they would on the real thing so you get an odd stepping effect with them. With the AFV club track the track links basically connect like the real thing and look more convincing when the connectors settle into the drive sprocket. Its hard to explain but ill see if i can get a shot up of what i mean tomorrow. Now its time for sleeeeeeeppppppp zzzzzzzzzzzz

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HERE's the tutorial madmike talked about. I bookmarked it when Mike first mentioned it some time ago.

Although the M1 uses end connector tracks, the tutorial above should still be of use as Dragon chose (as HWR MKII noted) an odd way of replicating them.

If you completely want to skip on the individual link tracks you might want to ask someone with a Tamiya M1 to swap for their vinyl tracks.

Personally, I like individual track links better. They're really not all that hard to assemble. Just try a section of 10 links or so, for practice. Even if you do mess them up, you can still hide them under the side skirts. :worship:

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When I did my AIM (both of them) as serving in Iraq, I just clicked the track links together in groups of 10 at a time, with a little dab of glue on the end connectors before assembling. On my second one, I tool a pin vise and a tiny bit and drilled out the end link connectors and the guide horns for some better detail (I'm sorry, I do not have a digital camera to take and post the pics).

The raised pin marks on the pad were easily sanded away (far better than trying to fill and sand!)

I also did not do the top track run on either kit as the side skirts hide them. I just did enough to wrap around the drive sprocket and front idler wheel.

I painted mine with Model Master asnd Polly Scale acrylics (MM Jet Exhaust for the metal portion and PS Grimy Black for the track pads). Did a burnt umber oil wash and scrubbed them down with MiG Pigments (Desert Sand) for weathering.

Edited by MattN

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