Friulmodel ATL-77, US M-26 Pershing
T81 steel track links in 1/35-scale white metal for Tamiya or DML kits
by Frank De Sisto
Friulmodel ATL-77, US M-26 Pershing T81 steel track links in 1/35-scale
white metal for Tamiya or DML kits. Contains 180 links and 180 nut/bolt
castings, plus steel wire for track pins. Price: $30.00 USD.
This track set heralds the second change in the way Friulmodel manufactures
their track sets since they went to the “pin” attachment system.
When they went to that system, tracks were supposed to be “handed”
so that the sides with the pins would face in towards the vehicle’s
hull. However, for as yet unexplained reasons, Friulmodel track sets rarely,
if ever, had right- and left-handed tracks. With some track sets it was
a moot point, since the tracks themselves had no “direction”,
(for instance, T-34 tracks) meaning that they could simply be placed with
the pins on the inside, regardless. Other sets, such as the mislabeled
PzKpw III/IV Ostketten, (actually, Winterketten) had to be “handed”
since each side had extensions that had to face outwards in a specific
manner, in relation to the vehicle’s hull.
Well, for good or ill, Friulmodel has finally come to grips with the
situation by including cast metal nut/bolt combinations on separate sprues.
So, the modeler, after inserting the previously sized track pin, is now
instructed to seal the opening with these nut/bolt castings, held in place
with a tiny drop of superglue. Problem solved, although with much more
work for the modeler.
The first of these new-style tracks represent the T81 single-pin steel
skeleton tracks, as seen on the T26E1 and the so-called Super Pershing
as used in World War II, as well as on some M26s in Korea. They are cleanly
cast and require virtually no clean up. Some holes for the track pins
may be slightly clogged, so if using a drill bit to clear them out, use
one smaller than the actual hole, so that the track pins, once inserted,
will not tend to slip out again during handling. According to Hunnicutt’s
Pershing book, there should be 82 links per side
Although some modelers, myself included, originally used the model railroad
product called Blacken-It, to finish these tracks, I no longer do so.
If not properly neutralized, the acids in this product may eventually
cause deterioration of the links. This is especially problematic if the
modeler uses this method on the earlier, non-pinned tracks. The crimped
connections seem to be especially vulnerable to becoming brittle, and
along with their natural weight, often cause the links to become separated.
These days, after first polishing the assembled track run with a wire
wheel on a Dremel tooI, I finish the tracks with a mixture of one part
Floquil Grimy Black, one part Floquil Rust and one part Floquil Dio-Sol
thinner. I pour this mixture into a wide mouth jar, and then dip the fully-assembled
track band into it. I then hang it to dry, after getting most of the excess
to run back into the dipping jar. This very thin mixture also has the
advantage of helping to hold the track pins in place as it will fill the
holes around the wires with just enough paint to provide holding power.
The tracks are then finally over painted with the earth color of choice,
and the contact surfaces are hit again with the wire wheel to give a worn
NOTHING compares to this!
Chesapeake Model Designs is the exclusive North American importer and
distributor of Friulmodel products, but will ship worldwide. Note also,
that the price of these sets has again dropped down to $30.00 USD as a
result of currency fluctuations. Friulmodel products are available from
CMD at: www.chesapeakemodels.com.
New e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.