Link and length tracks and painting

I am working on two kits right now with the link and length type tracks that aren’t workable once done. It’s my first time working with anything but rubber band tracks and I was wondering how people paint these. Obviously you need to drape them over the wheels to get the right sag and length while they are setting up, but can you remove them once the glue has cured to paint them or do people typically paint these one the vehicle? I am hoping once they are glued they can be removed as I don’t see myself being able to paint them on the tanks. Any insights would be helpful before I start tackling these

You should be able to remove them by slipping off the idler and drive sprocket. There are those who paint the whole assembly on the tank. Good luck.

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Okay phew this is what I was hoping for.

One option would be to build them up over the running gear but leave the track run open at one end, paint, and put back on with only one joint to cement. Another would be to build the tracks complete over running gear that is in place on the suspension but kept loose, disassemble for paint, then slide everything back into place.


I assemble the model fully - road wheels, tracks and all. I then prime and base / camo paint the whole model. The tracks and rubber on the road wheels are brush painted and weathered on the model. It sounds crude, but, it doesn’t take any longer than futzing with wheel masks etc. The results are good enough to win awards at regional shows.



If you are very careful with the glue you can assemble the track, drape it over the wheels, tape it temporarily while the glue sets, and then carefully remove the track for painting. Keep the track as two separate runs - one across the top, and one underneath, so they join at the sprocket and idler. But for German interleaved wheels (Tigers, Panther) I leave the wheels loose as a press-fit on the axles, then glue the tracks to wheels and sprocket so the whole thing is a single lump (like the old Roco mini-tanks). These can be pried off for painting, and access is easier than you’d think! It all depends on the tank…


I build the track in either one single run with an unglued gap at (usually) the drive sprocket or I build them in two runs with unglued gaps at the drive sprocket and the idler wheel.

I do this for link-and-length tracks and indy-link plastic tracks (which I build like link-and-length).

One tip: After allowing the glue to start drying, but while it’s still soft and the tracks are flexible, mold them around the suspension and secure the unglued joints with short strips of tape. Set them aside to dry hard over night.

There is usually some shrinkage between the links as the glue dries out hard, and if the tracks are dried while on the suspension, you might find that they have shrunk and no longer fit well.

This is why I generally build indy-link plastic tracks like link-and-length. The overall effect of shrinkage can be controlled a lot better. I usually construct the bottom, flat run from bottom dead center of the first road wheel to the last as a separate “length” and also the two short runs up from the first and last road wheels to the drive sprocket and idler wheels, respectively. (I leave off the two or three links that form the upward curves from bottom dead center to the short straight runs.) After I let these dry hard overnight, I’ll finish up the entire track run in either one or two lengths. This also makes it much easier to handle since there’s not so much “floppy” just glued together stuff.

The long lengths are usually easy to remove, paint and replace. Sometimes I find I need to leave some of the wheels loose from their axels, so some testing as I go is usually in order to figure out the best process for each different model.


Cheers. Is there a glue that is better than the other for tracks? I’ve read slower curing is better but would Tamiya extra thin be considered slow curing or should I grab something else?

The two kits I am workmen on both have individual track links, I though they were link and length by they are actually Indy tracks

@barkingdigger & @SdAufKla what what Tom & Mike said covers my approach to it.

I will add that I like the slower setting Testor’s Liquid Cement much better for L&L or Indy link tracks than Tamiya Extra Thin or any other Cement I’ve used.


I have done all three types of track, rubber band, indy-links and link-and-length. Unfortunately, I can’t remember how I did the Tamiya Hetzer, which was the link and length one I did most recently! However I am in principle against gluing them onto the vehicle and painting the whole thing afterwards, as I prefer to treat the tracks separately to the vehicle until I get to the weathering stage. I’d go with the guys who favour building the tracks in two runs so they can be slipped off and on again. I use Revell cement, the one with the hypodermic type needle to control where the glue goes. It is comparatively slow setting.

I use exactly the same stuff.

I usually give the tracks about 10 minutes or so to start drying before I try to mold them around the suspension. If they’re too floppy and “bendy,” I just wait a little longer. The glued up tracks will reach a malleable state that’s a little stiffer than most “rubber band” vinyl tracks - still soft enough to mold easily but dried enough to hold together well.

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That sounds just about right time wise to me :grinning:

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Is this the stuff I can looking for? I can’t find the stuff with the needle applicator in Canada and it can’t be shipped internationally.


Yes, the orange bottle Testor’s Liquid Cement is what I use for Indy link or link & length tracks.

Couple of suggestions on Testor’s LC.

  1. The tall narrow bottle is prone to tip over. Sometimes one can find a nice wide aerosol can lid that the bottle fits into nicely.

  2. I have an empty Tamiya extra thin bottle relabeled Testor’s that I use. The Tamiya brush is much better than the Testors brush, plus the Tamiya bottle is more stable. Odor is also less with the Tamiya bottles smaller opening. (Yes, basically I’m saying Testor’s is clueless about how to package this product.)

  1. Testors Liquid Cement is my favorite LC for general assembly too most of the time because its slower and doesn’t evaporate as fast most other LC’s.

Perfect thanks. Was getting worried I wouldn’t be able to do my tracks for awhile. This store was one of the few in Canada that had testors liquid cement in stock and thankfully its close by. I am just about out of my current bottle of Tamiya, so thanks for the tip, I’ll transfer the testors over to it

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Thats because Testors is pretty much clueless about their products in general.

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“Thats because Testors is pretty much clueless about their products in general.

Quoted for Truth!

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Is Humbrol more common in Canada? Here in the UK it’s pretty much everywhere, and its Liquid Poly is much the same as the Testors stuff - longer set time, rubbish bottle & brush - good for gluing tracks.

I love Humbrol poly. I mix a 50/50 bottle with Humbrol and Mr CementS (light blue) and use it almost everywhere.

Regarding the tracks: I glue everything. It is a bit harder to paint and weather but much easier to assemble and keep the model in one piece. You can also try gluing all of the suspension (wheels, arms, rollers, idler, sprocket and track) and not glue the arms and roller, idler, sprocket to their mounting point on the hull. A bit more time consuming proccess but still easy to paint after (Usually works with models that have nice fixed positions for the suspension arms)

I painted them off the tank,glued them in place,then touched up and weathered in place.