Friul tracks are great… the metal weight shows just the right amount of sag, the details are super realistic, and the way you can naturally “rust” the metal makes them fantastic. But assembly can be … tedious and often troublesome.
I wrote a long how-to article about this topic a while back. But one of the things I’ve struggled with is cutting the pins that bind each track link together. Each type of track is much different in design. A modern track link is much different than a German WWII Sd Kfz 9 is much different than a German Sd Kfz 11. Because of that, I’ve found that a strong brass wire can be better than a softer spooled wire like Friul included with the tracks.
But either way, there’s a challenge to assembling the tracks: how do you cut a bunch of precise length pins? Some people put a longer stretch of wire into the tracks and then cut them, others prefer to cut the pins to length first and then insert them. In my humble opinion, the easier method, especially if you’re using the softer spooled wire, is to insert then cut. Cutting them, however, is problematic because getting in close enough to the links to cut it to the right length (especially with smaller track links) can be tough.
I’ve tried a number of types of nippers but recently found some that I really like: Hakko CHP TR-20-50-M Soft Wire Micro Cutter. They are sharp enough to cut cleanly for both soft wire and harder brass wire. But they’re also cheap so you can easily replace if they wear out. You can’t really tell from the picture, but the jaws are bent upwards 45 degrees or so.
If you’re building metal tracks, or doing other types of work with wire, I absolutely recommend these!