Grizzly (Sherman M4A1) Sexton
(Canadian tracks)

Friulmodel 1:35 Scale Track Set No. ATL-127
Review by Terry Ashley

The Canadian Grizzly Tank was basically the US Sherman M4A1 built in Canada with just a few modifications such as the British No.19 radio suit and most notable the inclusion of Canadian built bogie units that featured three larger ribs on the front of the each bogie and the use of Canadian Dry Pin (CDP) tracks that didn’t use any rubber which was in short supply after the Japanese overran the rubber plantations in Asia. It also used a revised 17 tooth drive sprockets with the CDP tracks as opposed to the 14 tooth drive Sherman sprockets.

The Grizzly chassis was also the basis for the Sexton SPGs also built in Canada which mounted the British 25pdr and was basically the equivalent to the US Priest 105mm Howitzer.

The Set:
This set of tracks from Fruilmodel has a title that covers most bases as “Grizzly (Sherman M4A1) Sexton (Canadian tracks” and provides you with a set of Canadian Dry Pin (CDP) tracks and the revised 17 tooth sprockets

The set consists of 200 cast track links, the four sprocket halves plus the coil of 0.4mm wire for the track pins. There is also an additional mounting sleeve to use if required depending on the target kit, but this was not needed for the DML and Tasca kits used for this review.

Metal parts

Casting is good overall with nicely defined rib details on the links with most Fruil tracks you need to check that all pin holes are fully drilled out using a 0.4mm drill bit; this is a fairly quick process as most didn’t need any real drilling just clearing out any casting residue from the holes. Assembly of the drive sprockets is also straightforward with the two halves mating perfectly and glued together using thicker cyanoacrylate for a stronger bond.

Detail on the sprockets is nicely done with well-defined bolt head detail although the raised outer ring may be a little too close to the outer tooth ring but this is just a very minor point and probably not issue on the final model.

Assembled drive sprockets and clean=up links with pins cut to length ready for assembly.

After link clean-up the track assembly is straightforward with the wire provided cut into 11mm lengths, this is best done using a steel rules as a cutting board so you can use the measurements on the ruler to cut each pin the right length as you go.

Assembly of the links is then very quick and easy from here in the usual manner for assembling Friul tracks of fitting one link into the next and slipping the pin into place and securing the end with a dab of thicker cyanoacrylate, the full track run of 98 links per side doesn’t take that long once you get into a rhythm.

Link assembly, use tweezers to 'feed' the wire pin into the links to avoid them bending if hitting an obstruction
Images of the assembled track run details.

The tracks are not handed which means on the left side of the vehicle the wire pin hole will face outwards while on the right side the pin will face the hull, this isn’t a real problem as the end of the pin sits basically flush with the link pin boss, if any of the wire pin protrudes just file this flush once glued in place.

The assembled track runs are quite robust as you would expect with metal track and can take fairly rough treatment if you like to treat your track rough.

Fitting the Drive Sprockets:
The sprockets are basically designed to fit the DML Sherman kits with the hole in the sprockets slipping straight over the central axle on the kit final drives without any alterations required, once the track is fitted this tends to hold the sprockets in place without any gluing to allow the track to move if required? I have test fitted the track to the new DML Sexton kit (#6760) suspension with the only issue being the 98 links sat a little loose even with the idlers rotated to their maximum and reducing the run by one link and reposition the idler for a taught fit could be a better option but test fitting will determine if 97 or 98 links best suits your build.

Assembled tracks fitted to the DML Sexton kit.
Note the tracks are a little loose using the 98 links and reducing by one will improve the track tension.

Fruilmodel Fruilmodel

To fit the sprockets to the Tasca Shermans a little minor surgery is needed the final drive axle by removing the raised ribs on the axle stub just leaving the central rounded core which then resembles that of the DML kits, you don’t have to worry about the appearance of the axle as it’s hidden anyway, just trim until you have a good fit to the sprocket. The outer axle pin designed to hold the normal Tasca Sherman drive sprocket in place by way of the trapped poly cap can stay as this doesn’t hinder the fit of the metal sprockets and does actually help keep the sprocket the right distance out from the final drive housing. Leaving the pin also means you can easily use the normal Sherman sprocket if you wish to change the track on your model at any time with track made up of 98 links for a good fit.

Modifying the Tasca final drive axle stub to take the metal drive sprockets as per the text above.
Fruilmodel Fruilmodel

When fitting the track to the target kit running gear you should ensure the idler is positioned to get a good straight top track for although these are dry pin tracks no sag is evident on photos with the track tensioned correctly.

This is a nicely done set of Canadian CDP track with minimal clean-up and very straightforward assembly along with the appropriate replacement drive sprockets and can be used on any applicably Sherman based kit.

Fitting of the drive sprockets to the target kit is straight drop replacement for DML Shermans and with just fairly minor alterations to the Tasca kit final drive axles to fit.

Rating 9/10

R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books
ISBN 0-89141-080-5
Modeler's Guide to the Sherman
MMIR Special.
Ampersand Publishing
Thanks to Friulmodel for the review Set.

Page created April 1, 2013

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