Easy Assembly of Bronco Workable Sherman Track links

by Peter Battle

What you Need

The Bronco track links are made up from several pieces

Remove all parts carefully from the sprues (extra care needs to be taken with the frame sections as they are fairly fragile) and clean up before considering assembly. Make sure you keep the different track pad halves separate as one side has locating pins.

Bronco’s assembly instructions suggest trapping the frame between the track pads then adding the end connectors but this results in a high risk of the glue running from the end connector to the track pad assembly and thereby losing the ability for the tracks to articulate. There is a better way, which all but assures the working nature of the tracks will be preserved:

Step 1 - Frame sub-assemblies:

Attach the end connectors to the frames first, not last. Use a simple "jig" to assist you by taking a section of .250 x.250 square rod and place a strip of double–sided tape along one edge. Use the tape that is as thin as regular tape, not the thick kind with a foam centre section - see picture 1. Place the frames along the tape so the protruding section is even on both sides of the frame. Take care to make sure all the frames are facing the same way, with the flat section (when looking at the end of each frame) facing the tape – see pic 2. Attach the end connectors to each side of the frame – see pic 3. Using the width of the Square rod as a visual guide, check that the spacing of all end connectors is the same for each frame set - see pic 4.

Allow time for each sub assembly to set, at least overnight, before proceeding.

Step 2 - Completing a run:

Using the same jig that you used for the frames and end connectors, place a small number (say 6) of the "inside face" track pad halves, face down, beside each other along the tape - see pic 5. Take a frame sub-assembly and facing the guide horns toward the taped styrene rod, slide the assembly over the outside edge of the first track pad so the frame rod sits in the outermost channel of the track pad and the other rod is clear of the pad (the loose rod will be used to joint the track loop eventually). Then take another frame sub–assembly but this time, hook the end under the edge of the first and second track pad halves. Gently press on the other end so that it stretches over the other ends of the pads and clicks into place with one frame rod sitting in the channel of the first pad and the other in the channel of the second pad – the frame will now be "locked" into place - see pic 6.

Now simply take a track pad "face" half and run a little thin Liquid Poly in the centre "rectangle" (note after taking these pictures I determined it best to use the track pad halves with the locating rectangular "pins" first, then use the other half for the track face as it allows better control of the glue run and makes a stronger bond). Take care not to allow the glue to run into the channels where the frame rods will sit. Using the tweezers, ease the face pad in place making sure that it fits over the top of the other half and trapping the rods of adjacent frame sub assemblies between the pads - see pic 7. Complete the sequence until the desired number of links have been joined making sure to trap the frame rod you originally left out between the last two track pad halves (separate short runs can be made and joined together later if desired). Bronco suggests 83 links be used in each run, and this was the perfect number for the Dragon Sherman III that I was using these tracks on (the Bronco tracks perfectly simulate the early T41 track pads but are a bit thin for the T51 tracks they intend to replace). This leaves plenty of spare links in case of mishap.

If you are faint of heart, or heavy handed, and the "snap fit" is too "horrible" to imagine, the alternative is to place one inside face track pad onto the end of the jig to hold it in place, then slide a frame assembly over the outside edge of the pad, then do the same on the other side. Then slip another pad under the frame rod protruding from the first pad and press that onto the tape. Slide a new frame section into place over that, then slide in the track pad under that frame, and so forth.