I also made one small tweak to the last post, which I shall repeat here. When you mark the long strip for the tread base, the three measurements should be...
2 1/4” --- 5 15/16” --- 1 5/8”
Small tweak, but it’ll make things easier.
So, last time I left off with me going blind measuring out tread links one after another. You need lots of them, each measuring 1 7/16” x 3/8”. You can break out the pencil and ruler or...
Helpful Hint - If you’ve got a measured cutting sheet like the one I use, you can just make a simple jig. It’s what carpenters use when they have to cut multiples of the same object. By setting the ruler on a certain line and moving the cardstock to a certain line, I know that every piece will be the right measurement and square on the sides. I machined out almost 150 tread links in about an hour and a half.
I doubled up all the links and pressed them between wax paper and under a book. This made them solid and very straight. If you end up with a few “halves” that are a bit too thin or too short, don’t worry about it. Center the ones that are too thin, line up the ones that are too short (or too long, arguably) with one end of the other half. Most of these will end up being your under-the-tank tread links. You’re going to want about 35 links per side, plus a few spares (just in case).
Go through your tread sides and pair them up so you’ve got a right and left for each set of treads. Make sure the ones you’re least pleased with end up as the inside pieces. For example, the left side of the left-hand tread is going to be facing the world, but the right side is going to be facing the inside of the tank. Make sense? You may want to mark these so you don’t lose track of which is which.
I cut a few extra pieces of card to be the tabs for this tread assembly. They’re 1 3/16” (to sit across the base) with some extra on either side. Size doesn’t really matter here. I wanted them big enough to give me a solid contact point, but small enough that they wouldn’t interfere.
Three of these tabs went along the 5 15/15” length of the tread base--two at the end, one in the middle. Two more slightly thinner ones went right inside the other two marked-off sections at the start of the curve. Clamp these as best you can, because you don’t want a lot of play in them.
Once the tabs are dry, take the tread base--that long strip you cut last week--and match it up to one of the sides. I used the outside piece since this will get seen the most and this is the one I’ll have the most control over during assembly. Add glue and clamp the tabs to the side. Double-check before locking the clamps down and make sure nothing’s slipped. You may need to push and prod a few tabs to the right position and then clamp them there.
Those curves you worked into the tread base should be wrapping around the big wheel on the front and back of the side piece. Bend this gently so it all lines up. Make a quick pencil line at the point where the curved section levels out and becomes a straight edge again. I added another tab just past this point. While it was drying, I also snipped off the excess card on the tread base (anything that extends past the horizontal top).
Once that last tab is dry, I clamped it in place against the side. Again, it takes a little tweaking to get the base to sit just right around those curved ends. I took a lot of time on these, because that curved section of track is probably going to be the most visible part of this whole assembly.
With all the tabs dry, it was time to add the other tread side. Again, this should probably be the inside half of the tread set. Glue the tabs and set the side on top. Odds are you’re not going to have any clamps or clothespins that can reach the tabs now, but there is a big opening at the top you can fit your fingers in. Press each tab into place. Make sure the whole assembly stays square, too. This is going to be one of those awkward times where all you can do is sit and hold the thing for twenty minutes or so. Personally, I decided it was finally time to crack open the first season of Dollhouse while doing these two sections.
Helpful Hint - Keep checking on these tabs. The glue is going to make them curl up as they dry, which means less surface area and less hold. Just move your fingers from tab to tab, pushing them down and holding them in place.
You may notice there’s one blue tab almost in the center of the tread. That’s just there to help keep the center of the whole assembly square. You don’t need it, but it does help add to the solidity of the whole thing.
I also cut a few strips of card that were 5” by 1 3/16” wide. These got folded in half to be consummate V’s. One got tucked into each end of the treads, and one straddled that tab in the middle. The treads were strong enough now to hold up Under The Dome with no problem, which means they’ll survive tabletop warfare.
Now it was time to add the actual tread links. I took one of the tread guards and set it down over this tread assembly. This let me know just how much was going to get covered and what sections of the treads were going to be seen. I marked this off with a pencil.
As I mentioned above, the curves are the big focus point, so I wanted to make sure those got extra care and attention. I started at the front (the pointier end) right at the visibility line I just sketched. I placed one tread link just above the line and started working my way down. There’s about 1/16” gap between each one, but I was eyeballing it so it might be a hair more or less. The real thing here was to take my time and make sure everything was even and level. I also tried spacing one or two ahead so I could avoid ending up with a link that sat on one of the sharp corners or something.
You may come across a tread or two that’s slightly longer or has a gap on one end because of different sizes. I talks about this up above. Make sure the good edges face the outside of the tread and they line up there. It’s far less likely anyone’s going to see the underside of the Baneblade between the two tracks. If they do... well, one way or another, they probably won’t be seeing it for long.
Once the treads were in place I made a pile of disks with my 1/8” hole punch. I put a tiny drop of glue on the side between each tread link and used my hobby knife to put a disk there. These are the pins that hold each link together. If you’re careful you can also use them to help disguise any gaps or irregularities along the edge.
Helpful Hint - Let’s say you’re really, really detail crazy. You probably want some aquillas on these tread links, don’t you? One of the easiest ways to do this is to use some of the many 40K fonts floating around out there. They’ve got three or four versions of the aquilla (even an Inquisitorial one) There are rulers in Word so you can figure out just how big they are and print out ten or twelve of them on heavy paper. Just add them on top of some of the links once they’re in place. You can also use these “font details” on other parts of the tank or on other projects.
And there you have it solid, usable treads for the Baneblade model. We now return you to your regularly scheduled template.
I may need to take off a week for this new project I’m on, but next time... everybody’s favorite part.
Guns. Lots of guns.