Snow on the ground always makes me want to go outside & play with my cars, but if it’s any more than a slight dusting, you really need 4WD and proper big wheels - like the Clodbuster. 4WD buggies will struggle, and even “big wheelers” (Lunchkin, WW2, Montero wheelie) etc just don’t have the grip ... not without help, anyway. Snow chains will definitely help in this regard, so after years of disappointment I eventually got around to having a go at some, after seeing the examples in the Tamiya RC Guidebook decades ago.
This is a slight evolution on chains I’ve made before (& published elsewhere) in that a rubber band is used to take up any slack – meaning you don’t have to be quite as precise in the getting the lengths of chain precise – and any stretch caused by use should not be such a problem.
The Guidebook chains do appear to be able to be fitted & removed without any dismantling, so I’m not quite there yet – but it does seem to me that such chains might not stay on in use...
Things you’ll need:
- Chain – the chunkier it is the better it’ll last and work, but the less “scale” it’ll look – and you’ll probably also have a problem with it fouling on other parts – shocks on the Bruiser, motor wiring on a Lunchkin, etc. The chain I’ve used here is cheap alloy craft chain, sold by the metre on eBay. Your chain also needs to be one with formed – not welded - links;
- Rubber bands. The smaller/chunkier/newer the better;
- Stiff wire to tie the rubber bands to the chains;
- Cutters & pliers up to the job of cutting & bending your chosen chain & wire.
How many chains you make per vehicle is up to you – but in general it’s only worth bothering on driven wheels; as the rear wheels on the Bruiser are the only ones permanently driven I only made two.
How many runs across the tyre you make is another thing to decide – eight makes things a lot easier as it means you can just keep measuring/guessing halves, plus there’s a lot fewer joints to make – and you need less chain.
Carefully offer the chain up to the sidewall of your tyres – on the Bruiser (re-re) there’s a line part way up the sidewall so it makes sense to use that – I made it 272mm, so I cut two chains that length per wheel.
Cross chains I measured across the tread & up/down the sidewalls as 85mm, so I also cut eight of those per wheel.
The rubber bands I used were doubled over “#30” (2” x 1/8”/ 50.8mm x 32mm), and my “wire” of choice this time was cheap paper clips.
Open a link on one end of each of the “long” chain & close the links up again to form two separate loops.
Open links on each end of one of the short chains to join the two loops together.
Join the other seven short chains to one loop. You could count the links and/or measure the gaps, but to be honest I pretty much guessed them, having dangled the chains each time to find halfway each time, e.g. if you dangle the set by the chain joining the two loops together, that will give you the point 180 degrees away; dangle the set by that chain & the joiner will give you the points 90 degrees out...
Anyway, your chains should look something like this:
Now comes the tricky bit – not tying the chains up into a granny knot while you join the cross chains to the free loop ... once all the joints are complete, wiggle the chains around until they look as tidy as they can be. They should look something like this:
Next comes fitting the rubber bands – I trimmed my paper clips so I could easily tie them on, then cut off the pokey ends. In hindsight it would have been better to make the inner loop of chain longer (and the cross chains shorter) so the rubber band wasn’t quite so close to the hub, but you live & learn :)
Written by TB member Jonny Retro