Each of the road wheels was cleaned and given some additional weathering before reinstalling on the steel axles. We dry brushed steel enamel to simulate wear and tear to the steel road wheels. Pictured to the right we have installed in the track links which really adds new life to this once tired Tiger. We will apply the same treatment to the right side.
We replaced the existing axles with 1/4 inch steel rods and picked up a pair of aftermarket final drive transmission hubs for a more realistic look. The resin casting was not particularly good and required sanding and drilling out the holes for the M3 hex head screws. However, once they were installed and given a coat of red oxide primer, the overall appearance is good.
We removed the rubber spacers that came with the original kit and replaced them with 1/4 inch nylon tubing. We took this opportunity to clean up each individual road wheel while some additional base coat where needed. We will also add some dry brushed steel and flat black highlights for additional wear.
We discarded the stock sprockets which were nothing more than a front and rear spoked plate separated by a nylon tubing spacer. We started with a used pair of sprockets from an old Armortek Tiger as the basis for our new sprockets. The spacing on the sprocket teeth will fit the FOA track links but the Armortek sprockets are too narrow. In addition, the Armortek units are drilled for a much larger axle/bearing which would not work for our 1/4 inch steel axle. After failing to come up with a workable solution, we opted for another approach.
We found a pair of early production sprockets cast from a machinist in Hong Kong which we drilled out to the correct axle diameter. So far, so good.
The "new" sprockets had a similar issue in that they were about .125 too narrow. After drilling out the center, we elected to cut the sprocket in half, use the axle as a guide to widen the two halves and then fill in the gap with sculpting epoxy. Our old friend Wes did the honors in his machine shop and we were back in business.
In the picture on the right, we see the Tiger running gear before we decided to tear it down and rework some of the components. The road wheels are made of styrene plastic and while the surface detail is pretty good there is a tremendous amount of wobble between each wheel. In addition, both the rear idler and sprocket wheels lack sufficient detail and really don't complement the tank. The tracks are made from a tough styrene and were treated with several coats of Tamiya Red Brown.
The running gear for the Tiger consists of the main drive sprockets, rear idler wheels, the road wheels and the track links. The sprockets for the FOA Tiger come in several pieces separated by a spacer made of nylon tubing. The road wheels as well as the track links are fairly accurate for a mid to late production Tiger and the level of detail is pretty good with the exception of these spacers. We will focus our attention on improving the sprockets, idler wheel assembly and the road wheel spacers.