Italeri T-136 Tracks for M108 / M109
For many years, Italeri’s M108 and M109 series were the only kits available of this vehicle. Last year, Tamiya released the Italeri kit under their name so now, Italeri have released a track set for their own series, while Friul Models has two sets designed for the Italeri kit series but are of later designs. Recently, both AFV Club and Kinetic Models released variants under their names. AFV Club has released a set of tracks for their model while Skunk Models have released a set for Kinetic Models.
Within a side opening box, we find a bag with four identical sprues and an instruction sheet. The sprues include tracks and a jig on each. In my sample, three of the jigs came loose in transit but were within the bag. The rear of the box shows the Italeri variants to which these tracks apply.
Looking at the instructions, they cover assembling the tracks but nothing about what must be done to the base kit to adjust the tracks for best fit. The plastic is soft and easily cut, filed and cemented. I highly recommend using a thicker glue, such as Testors Model Master in the hypodermic dispenser, for assembly.
Hotter glues may cement the tracks to the jig. The tracks are in both link and lengths. The links must be assembled to articulate around the drive sprockets and idlers.
The jigs are designed to slide into each other, I glued them together instead. This allowed me to place the track pad sides first, then the track pins. Care must be taken as both sides of the track pin end connectors are not the same. I had a length of the track to help me orient the pins as I worked. Assembly was quick after sanding off the sprue attachment points. This was easy due to the soft plastic used.
I no longer have any of the Italeri kits and never bought the Kinetic Model kit so I tested it on the only M109 I have which is from AFV Club. The fit was very good but I noted that the tracks were getting stiff as though the glue went onto the pins even though I was careful.
References on line
1. ISO Group which manufacturers track shoes for the M109.
2. 2. M108/M109 Walkaround by David Doyle, Squadron Publications.