Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Doublewide Chimera Treads

In the old days when you could call GW mail order and order any sprue you wanted, the standard way to give tank double wide treads was to order an extra wheel sprue and an extra tread sprue for each tank and just double them up (maybe with a plastic spacer). But in these days of limited bitz availability, I needed a way to get the same effect with fewer parts. Luckily I have a lot of extra LR tread sprues (because of a mailorder mixup back in the late 90's) but could never get the trolls to send me more wheels. So I developed this method for extending the wheel sprue (the gray one below) so that one complete wheel sprue will do one complete double--wide tank. You still need two tread sprues though.
The LMBT and Chimera chassis road wheels are really only there to give you something to glue the treads to. Unlike most model tanks, the wheels don't really show beneath the treads and the tread links don't come off. So half a wheel should be enough to support a tread . So I use a razor saw to cut each road wheel in half, then glue one half to the inside of the tread module, and the other half to the outside.
Twelve road wheels plus the two bigger drive wheels is kind of tedious. That's what books on tape are for. They don't have to be pretty because they won't show. Centering the large drive wheels on the side with no pin is a little tricky--use the edge of the drive plate to get it aligned in such a way that it'll hold a tread. Because that's all it really needs to do.

Next glue the treads to the half-wheels just as you would if the whole wheel were there. I use plastic solvent glue (the black bottle below) because it gives a much more durable bond to plastic parts than superglue. Throw away the included plastic applicator and use the bare wire to lay down your bead of glue. As always when appplying old black-sprue LR treads to a chimera model, start at the top and work down both sides because the treads don't fit and you want the gap out of sight at the bottom. The new gray chimera tread sprue doesn't have this problem.
When the treads are glued on, it would be possible to do something like take a big hunk of milliput and use it to glue the two halves of the tread module together. But I was out of milliput so I needed another way to space the tread sides out while holding them together. By experimenting around I discovered that three slotta bases stacked up make a spacer just the right thickness. Everybody has lots of extra slotta bases and they're cheap and available, so that's what I use.

First cut a notch in one base to accommodate the dingus that sticks in from the outside of the outer tread plate:
The placement of this one spacer, on top of the wheels, shown below:The rest of the spacers just stack up on top of the wheels with no problem. Use plenty of solvent glue both to hold the slotta bases together and to bond them to the wheels where they touch.

Then just glue the other plate of the tread module down and clamp or rubber-band it overnight:There's the finished tread module. Now go make another one.

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