is a company that makes aluminum tools which assists in the intimidating job of correctly forming plastic individual link (and other types of) tracks for 1/35 tank kits easy and accurate. These tools work great with Dragon "Magic" and DS tracks, Tamiya "rubber band" tracks, and many others.
After buying several of the newer Dragon Stug III series "Smart Kits," as well as a couple of their very nice Panzer III kits, I realized I had a bit of a problem. Either I needed to spend some serious dough for several sets of metal tracks, or I was going to have to assemble and use the nicely detailed, but very intimidating ,"Magic" track individual track links. The primary reason I prefer metal track is that the weight of the metal links sag very realistically and make the model look very lifelike.
the track tool
After requesting help online, a very helpful suggestion was received from Timothy Funnell, who directed me to HobbyTrax. This company makes a series of aluminum track forming tools, or jigs, primarily for German armor subjects. These tools make the process of assembly and forming of tracks much easier and very accurate. I found the appropriate 4 plate set for the Panzer III / Stug III late series, and ordered them. The price was $38.95 for the complete set, which I thought was reasonable, as it was less than one set of aftermarket metal tracks would have cost me. Other sets start as low as $14.95.
The tools came in the mail in less than one week! Having received them, their assembly took all of 5 minutes. You simply take two aluminum plates per side, (they are clearly marked so it is (nearly) impossible to mess them up, insert three screws, washers, and nuts to properly space the plates apart and hold them together. (Insert three screws into one plate, place a washer on each screw in between the two plates that make up each side, then add the second plate, then the nuts, which you finger tighten). The jigs are now ready to use! The shape of the outside of the tools is the exact shape appropriate for the vehicle you are modeling, including any "track sag" between return rollers, etc., and the space between the plates accommodates the guide horns of the tracks.
Once I had them assembled, I did two test runs - one on a set of Tamiya "rubber band" flexible tracks for the Panzer III, and a second test of several links of Dragons' "Magic" tracks links from a Panzer III kit, (these links were the 40 cm solid guide horn type). Rubber band style tracks can be "warmed up" with hot water, placed on the jig and cooled. Once cool they should retain the proper shape.
HobbyTrax has a how-to section which can be found here:
Track and Tool Tips
Both track types fit the jigs beautifully and, based upon the outside shape of the tools, will make forming the track properly an absolutely foolproof task to accomplish. I am very satisfied with the design, quality, craftsmanship, and execution of this product.
Very Highly Recommended!