Friday 22 February 2013

Vinyl tracks, hot screwdriver

Time to assemble the tracks for the Abrams tank. The instructions simply say to use a hot screwdriver. Searching online did not give me that much information. I guess every modeller needs to find out for himself how to do it without messing it up.

The idea is to put the four pins through the holes at the other end, then use a hot scredriver to flatten the pins like a rivet. The result should look like a small mushroom, preventing the pin from fitting through the hole again. My immediate questions : 1) how hot? 2) how much pressure?

I started by holding a screwdriver in a candle flame for 5 seconds (nothing), than 10 (still nothing), than 15 ... until the plastic started melting. At 25 seconds, it became hot enough to melt the pin.

I pushed it down, which did flatten it, but I pushed too hard, I think. A combination of pushing too far down and too much heat ruined the pins : the plastic burnt and stuck to the screwdriver and nothing of the pin was left to keep it in place.

The first track is no success, even though it does remain closed. It looks like it barely holds together. I do not want to test how much force it can take. The model is not meant to actually be played with, so it's no real disaster.

For the second track, I heated the screwdriver less and pushed down slower and not all the way down. I stopped about 1/2 mm from the actual track. Now the intended "mushroom" effect is much more obvious and how I intended it.

An angled view may give you a better idea of how big I left the "head" of the pin.

Below is how it looks assembled on the actual tank. I've yet to decide how to paint the tracks, but I can finish the rest and do that later.

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