Saturday 20 April 2024

A Tale of Two Tracks - The Heller AMX-30/105 Kit

Several years ago I purchased three 1/72 scale Heller AMX-30/105 kits. At the time I was unaware of any issues with the kit and they joined the mountain of kits that have yet to be built.

A couple of years ago I did start making the kits and soon discovered the main issue with the kit is the vinyl tracks. I found them difficult to work with and lacking in detail.

The best fit I achieved on three tanks.

A typical section of broken track complete with evidence of repair efforts.

The tracks were difficult to fit and soon split - often in multiple places - and soon defeated all my usual repair techniques.

This was the more typical fit achieved - complete with post fit rip.

A brief survey of online reviews showed that I was not alone with having these track issues. The AMX-30/105 Construction review by Stephen 'Tank Whisperer' Brezinski is quite balanced with its comments, whereas the review by Scott Van Aken describes the tracks as being 'a joke'. He concludes with the remark 'Shame on Heller for foisting those things on us.'

AMX-30 served on a bed of split and broken tracks.

However I was not going to let issues with tracks prevent the construction of these tanks. My first thought was to use the strapping tape track replacement system I have used previously  

However, I wanted to see if I could print a replacement track system. First I needed to get files for a suitable track, so I purchased from Wargames 3D the files for printing an AMX-30 by VJM787.

A set of FDM printed tracks. the tabs on the side will be eliminated.

The advantage of purchasing the files is that it will allow me to print more AMX-30s without going back to the Heller kit. There is a different in the placement of the road wheels between the two models, however the issue can easliy be ignored as it 

Clipping off the old road wheels.

The suspension is left for the new tracks and road wheels.

Removing the road wheels was my least favourite of the process as the Heller road wheels are rather nice and had assembled with very few issues.

The new tracks complete with road wheels.

Another view of the refitting..

A better view of the road wheels.

All three AMX-30s fitted out with new tracks and road wheels ready for the paint shop.

I am happy with the way this turned out and all that is left is for these tanks to receive a paint job.