Thanks for all the info rampa. You're breaking the ice ahead of me
As to the number of links, good idea, should count mine.
As to the road wheels coming unscrewed, welcome to the club! I'll give Mato the benefit of the doubt and say that they expect most people to disassemble this tank for painting, but at least 60% of the fasteners on my example were loose! On the 1st run w/the electronics tacked-in, I lost one road wheel and two suspension arms!
As to the stripped wheel screw heads, yep I had those too, and had to take some from my electronics donor plastic Tiger. Also to my surprise, the suspension arm mount bolts are phillips head, and are easily stripped. Again, the hex-head bolts in the original plastic Tiger are a better alternative. I'll probably end up switching those out when I paint this thing.
And lastly, yeah, those trannys are a lil shaky. That main angle piece that holds the motors is a lil thin and has a bit of flex to it.
I don’t mean to hijack your thread, and I’ll write more in my own review when I’m done, but if one was considering this tank, no way would I pay the full $499 (I got mine on sale for $399). Sorry to say, but $300 - $350 is more like it.
A few bumps in the Road
1) Shambrick - Regarding the tracks I thought the same thing, a little loose. Actually one side of my tank was way too loose - had one too many links - removing a link made it the same as the other side. I have a set of tensioners I bought from Phil which I haven't installed on anything. In fact I don't really know how to install them even on a plastic tank. There are no instructions and I couldn't find anything very clear on the internet. I think you're right it would be a pain to install on the metal tank.
2) My road wheel axles are comming unscrewed. WhenI took everything apart and put it back together I didn't use threadlock. Also the hex socket seems to strip. (There is another thread about screw heads stripping on HL tanks.) I wish there were some high quality stainless steel axles available. It would be nice to find some stainless steel lag bolts to do the job, but the the axle part is 3.9 mm and the thread is 3 mm.
3) So anyway, I put the tracks on and did some tests. First the top speed is definitely not too fast - seems to be scale appropriate. The torque is incredible. I'm sure the tank could go up a straight wall, 90 degrees, if the tracks had traction and the parts held out.
4) Now the big problem - the parts didn't hold out. I was trying to go up a very steep incline, something close to 60 degrees. It was on a rubberized mat to improve traction. It made it about half way and then one track stopped moving, although the motor was spinning. So naturally I thought I had stripped the gears on one side. But after removing the gearbox and taking it apart I could see than the gears themselves were fine. The problem was in the gear axles (not sure this is the right term.) See the photo - I don't mean the final drive axle, but the narrower rods that the other gears spin upon. If you look at the close up photo I think you can see that the axle in the middle is straight, and the ones above and below are bent. So the gears were not meshing properly. Funny that the brass parts - the gears - held up, and the steel (I think) axles did not. So now I'm not sure what to do other than not trying to torture test the tank like I did.
I know there are some very high quality gearboxes for Tamiya made from stainless steel, and there are regular steel 3:1 gearboxes for HL, but as I said, it wasn't the gears themselves that was the problem for me. The gearbox axles are 3 mm, so I might try some 3 mm stainless steel rod cut to the right length (32.8 mm). If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!