Fixing Rubber Band Tracks

Of the (many) headaches I’ve had with AFV Club’s Achilles Mk.IIc, one of the most persistent has been the tracks.

AFV Club provides a set of soft, flexible “rubber band” tracks representing the T51 flat rubber block-type track common to many VVSS vehicles. At first I was jazzed about these, since individual links freak me out a bit. Everything was going swimmingly, until I discovered that the tracks were too short. When I tried stretching them, the plastic solvent that is supposed to work just fine on these tracks didn’t, and they snapped at the join. I reglued them, this time with Gator’s Grip and CA, and when to test fit them again.

This time, a track snapped along a link.

Now…this presented a problem. With the amount of tension the tracks would be under, I had zero faith in just regluing the links.

Actually, my first thought was to say screw it and pick up a pack of Friuls. Which I did. And they didn’t fit the drive sprockets. So…back to the rubber bands. Two problems remained, though.

First, the tracks being too short.

Second, the one track being broken at a bad place.

I decided to test the length issue first by working the intact track over one side of the Achilles. It took a bit of stretching, but it fit! I wonder if the warmer spring weather has helped give the tracks a bit more spring. Whatever the case, I’m not complaining.

The second problem was a bit harrier. The track needed to be repaired, but in a way that would keep it intact and give it some flex. My original plan was to use some thin strips of brass, but these were too thick to slide between the track plates, so instead I used a piece of PE fret from a left over set. I cut this to the length of about four links, bent it into a “C”, inserted it on either side of the break, and bent the opposite sides down flat.

I have to say…the brace works like a charm and provides plenty of strength to the damaged link. Obviously this fix would be a bit more iffy on something with very exposed tracks (though you could probably still hide it under a wheel), but with the Achilles’ largely-concealed upper track run, this fix is basically invisible.

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