Ratrac 265 W
by Albert Türtscher
Photo and model: Adrian Humbel
The model of a Ratrac 265W was developed jointly by three Swiss model building friends (Adrian Humbel, Sebastian Frautschi, Melvin Müller) and presented to the public for the first time at Faszination Modellbau 2018, with 3 models at once. I was able to get one of the rare kits of this historical model, and since my colleagues never published building pictures, I would like to give you a little insight into building the model.
Ratrac 265 W by Adrian Humbel (Photo: Adrian Humbel)
Ratrac was one of the leading manufacturers from the 1960s to the 1980s and for a long time was synonymous at least in Europe with the name of a snow groomer, regardless of the manufacturer. I have put together more about the mutual history of these traditional snow groomers here.
The Ratrac 265 was first introduced in the USA in 1992 as the LMC 3700 CF, in Europe it was sold as the Ratrac 265. This snow groomer was technically ahead of its time, but it was also plagued by a few problems. It was one of the last Ratrac snow groomers, only the 400 followed with the same cab but different technology. The original for our model was built in 1996 and was still in use in 2018 at the Ganzsteinschanze in Mürzzuschlag in Austria, where it was photographed and measured by the Swiss model builders.
Original Ratrac 265 W in Mürzzuschlag, Austria (Photo: Adrian Humbel)
The chassis is a solid construction made of sheet metal parts, which I glued together in the oven with UHU plus endfest 300.
The fixed boom at the rear for the rear implement carrier is interesting.
Proven components from Pistenking were used for the swingarms, as well as for the chain tensioning, which is designed separately for each chain. This will certainly bring advantages when driving. The drive itself is via Pistenking flex shafts with noble Maxon geared motors, which I also use in the PB100 and PB400. Unfortunately, if you need the space, you can't get around these expensive parts.
The tracks are a feast for the eyes and correspond optically exactly to the original. Each bar is glued together from 2 precisely folded sheet metal parts and an end piece. They are screwed on with tiny M1.6 stainless steel hexagonal screws + washer, and of course true to the original with 2 screws per counter plate. The track brackets are printed parts that I previously painted silver. In total there were 1116 screws for both chains. These are the most complex and beautiful tracks I have assembled so far.
I chose a different design for the tires, you can usually see the LMC logo on the original tires. Melvin sent me a photo of Continental tires with the Ratrac logo. I modeled it in CAD and then had Modellbau Fuchs cast them out of rubber.
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