Thanks for the capx. Your approach looks great, but makes way too many objects for my game. I came up with another solution, which I'll post when I get it done, but mine is a trade off too: I need two 'force own texture' layers to accomplish the necessary masking. It's enough to make my iGPU hurt.
Once I post the capx, maybe someone else can figure out how to do it on one layer; masking makes my head hurt.
In the end, I think I'm going to go with a hybrid approach: spawning 4-8 segments and animating them the old fashioned way: multiple frames.