There are rights of passage being abandoned here! I am shocked! How can you be a wargamer if you haven’t nursed your burned and bleeding figures from trying to stick the ends of old Airfix AFV tracks together? Glue didn’t work ,so it was stiching with the nearest grey thread you could find or hot ironwork to melt the ends and hallucinations and crashing headaches for a few hours. Ah the joys! What are a few misaligned (model) limbs compared?! Wimps!
Yeah, it’s a shame so many wargamers have never experienced that.
I have the answer for you for Airfix and all vinyl/soft rubber type tracks – a staple from a stapler. Don’t use the stapler itself. Take a single unbent staple and stick the staple arms into both loose ends of the track – this can be a bit difficult sometimes, depending on the texture on the tracks. Once through, bend the arms of the staple flat. It will work like a set of clamps holding the track together. Sometimes for very wide tracks (think the Fujimi or ESCI/Italeri King Tiger models or the Airfix Tiger), two staples, side by side work well. I’ve used two staples in the past for Airfix Panzer IVs.
The staple can now be pressed so flat that its arms can be hidden by track guides/teeth. I then usually position the track so that the long staple on the outside of the track is along the top run so that it is hidden by the fenders. I’ve also done it on the bottom.
The technique can be used to lengthen a track where it is too short as well, though you are left with a stretch with just a line of staple.
Yes, staples are the way to go, particularly for the Airfix Pz IV where the tracks are too long and have be trimmed down.
As I said in my OP, I like assembling plastic models, and the new ranges of 15mm plastic vehicles are a joy. What I object to is assembling hordes of plastic infantrymen, particularly when the assembled figures still end up in goofy poses with weird mixes of weapons.
Artillery is still a pain, always has been, always will be, particularly if you have to paint a load of horses to pull it.
"Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke