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Built Review
135
M5A1 Late Tracks
T36E6 Tracks late type for M5 M8 (workable)
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by: Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

introduction

Traction for fully tracked vehicles is always a problem, particularly as conditions get wetter and muddier. For the M5A1 light tank and the M8 HMC variant, the T-16 rubber block tracks with their smooth face just weren't working well enough. Grousers were carried that could be mounted to the tracks, but late in WWII a new steel cleat track was developed. The T36E6 track offered the option of improved traction, but added 500 lbs to the overall weight of the tank. I don't know how much the grousers weighed, but they weren't necessary with the new tracks, which worked much better on muddy ground.

AFV Club came out with a set of individual link T36E6 tracks several years ago, along with the standard T16 tracks and suspension for the M3/5/8 vehicle series. It wasn't until last year that they came out with a decent kit of the late M5A1, and they have been advertising a "soon" to be released M8 HMC. As both of these vehicles could be seen with the steel cleat tracks, this is a handy set for the modeler to have.

the tracks

The box is fairly simple, opening on the end and with the instructions presented on the back in two steps. No glue is required. Simply remove the track shoes and end connectors from the sprue, clean up the attachment points and slip the end connectors over the pins. Friction should hold everything in place. The steel cleats are arranged on each shoe with one cleat forward and two to the rear. Make sure you have all of them facing the right direction.

There are a total of 6 sprues in black plastic with 24 shoes and 48 end connectors on each one, for a total of 144 track links. 66 links are reportedly all that is needed for a full run, giving you a total of 12 spare links to mount on the vehicle, or to replace links in the event you should lose one (or more) to the carpet monster. Detail on the individual track faces is excellent, with details on both front and rear. I did not see any sink marks or ejector pin marks. The end connectors also have excellent detail. There is a small ejector pin mark on the inner surface which I don't think will be visible when completed. Assembly is somewhat tedious as the parts are small, but easy.

The track runs are fairly flexible, and as workable, allow you to assemble the run and put them in place. However, they aren't sturdy enough to put them on and run the tank around. It would be best once in place to run a little glue along them to hold everything in place.

I test fit the links around a drive sprocket from both AFV Club and Academy. They fit around both with no problem. Unfortunately, the Academy Stuart is an early variant that did not use these tracks. The instructions include directions on how to modify the Tamiya drive sprocket so that the track will fit around it.

Included in the AFV Club M5A1 kits is a single sprue of the T16 indy link tracks, also in the same black plastic, to use as spare links. They are the same quality and assemble just as easily, with the same fit as the T36E6 tracks. Some of the track shoes had what appeared to be a slight depression in the center of the shoe face.

conclusion

If you are looking to detail a late variant of the M5A1 or the M8 HMC these tracks are an excellent choice. As individual track links, they are well detailed, although as mentioned, a little time consuming to assemble. I found mine online for about $14.00 US, including shipping. Prices varied considerably, as did availability. I think this is a great accessory kit for any late Stuart variant.
SUMMARY
Highs: Very nice detail, ease of assembly and they look great on the kit. No glue needed.
Lows: Indy link tracks are always a little tedious to put together. Small parts may be a big challenge for some.
Verdict: This is a well made, simple addition to enhance your model kit.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: AF35020
  Suggested Retail: $10-18.00 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 08, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.47%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.65%

About Russ Amott (russamotto)
FROM: UTAH, UNITED STATES

I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...

Copyright 2017 text by Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Good review Russ. When I used this set for my M8 HMC project, I found that friction would hold most of the end links on, but it was very fragile, and some were loose enough to become problems. Wanting to make sure I had something that would sit naturally on the road wheels, my solution was to use MircoScale's "Liquid Tape" which is white glue that you apply and it then becomes tacky. This allow the end links to still be flexible, while having some adhesive help to keep the carpet monster from getting them. The finished set looks really good.
NOV 08, 2010 - 11:00 AM
James, thanks for getting this up. Jesse, thanks for the tip. Good info.
NOV 08, 2010 - 11:07 AM
A good review with clear pictures but rather you than me having to sand down all those ejector marks, at least they are raised rather than needing to be filled.
NOV 12, 2010 - 10:04 PM
One of the problems I found trying to fit the AFV Club T16 tracks onto the Tamiya M5A1 is that the mounts for the return rollers are too thick and will interfere with the T16 track teeth. The Academy return roller mounts are no problem. I also had a problem with loose links so maybe I'll try using some diluted white glue on mine.
NOV 19, 2010 - 07:32 PM
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