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Built Review
135
Metal tracks, Panzer III/IV
Tracks for Pz.Kpfw.III , Pz.Kpfw.IV 1941-44 open horn
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by: Roman [ BIZARRE ]

Introduction

Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks together with self-propelled guns and tank destroyers on their chassis were the “workhorses” of the German army during WWII. There exist a large number of kits from various manufacturers and they keep coming due to constantly high interest in these subjects even though some might say that we don’t need another Panzer IV made on 15 kits we just wish to get the best possible level of accuracy and detail on our models and I am happy to see that small companies created by modelling enthusiasts follow our expectations.

Review

MasterClub from Moscow are quite known amongst people who like adding detail for their excellent range of resin rivets, washers, nuts, bolts in different sizes and configurations. Now, they bring us the white metal tracks. Although there are already a few players and some sets of metal tracks for Panzer III/IV, MasterClub has something special.

The set MTL35008 (Tracks for Pz.Kpfw.III , Pz.Kpfw.IV 1941-44 open horn) contains 240 white metal track links and 480 resin track pins. The latter one are present in 2 variants – the light grey resin with track pin head and dark grey resin with cotter keys. Track links and pins are packed in individual bags and the whole set is packed into a colorful plastic box with a lid and small piece of paper with name of the set and some basic information.

The track links are dimensionally correct and represent 40cm tracks that were seen on various modifications of Panzer III/IV and vehicles based on their chassis through 1941-1944 (Panzer III Ausf. E-N, Panzer IV Ausf. F-H, StuG Ausf. C-G and others, please refer to war time images). The casting is sharp and realistic to scale and the tracks even have the track pin groove (might be useful on the last track on broken vehicle or on spare tracks). The assembly is very straightforward – first the tracks are joined together, then using thin tweezers I inserted the light grey track pin (inner side of the tracks) and the dark grey track pin with cotter key (outer side). The dark grey pins had very tight fit and after braking 3 of them in a row I decided to probe the holes with the same tweezers first. After that they were fitting the tracks smoothly and without any breakage. Apart from excellent detail this concept allows full articulation of the track chain without need for cyanoacrylate glue (good news for those who have an allergy!).

I briefly compared them with tracks that I had at home (Dragon, Modelkasten, Trumpeter) and as you can see from the image the detail level on MasterClub’s tracks is superior. Dragon and Trumpeter lack the groove for pins (should you use them as single links on the model), Modelcasten has the groove, but still lacks detail on the cotter keys (this is absent on Dragon and Trumpeter too). Overall, the styrene tracks would require more time and clean-up for the assembly, especially where the pin marks have to be fixed first. Unfortunately, I do not own any of the competing white metal tracks, but judging from the information online they also lack the detail that you get with resin track pins and require CA glue for assembly.

To be sure before recommending these tracks to someone else I tested the fit of MasterClub product with drive sprockets from Panzer III and Panzer IV from different manufacturers (thanks to Sergey Glubyshev for providing these). As you can see from the images the fit is excellent (Grey styrene Panzer III sprocket – Dragon, grey Panzer IV sprocket – Trumpeter, yellow styrene – Panzer III and Panzer IV from Tamiya).

Conclusion

The only problem I see so far is a limited range of distributors of MasterClub products. Ebay? Hobbyeasy? Smaller shops? I hope there will be a better distribution in the future as these tracks are simply amazing. Another thing I have not tested yet –whether it is possible to burnish the tracks together with resin track pins attached or if you need to do that before assembly (if you have experience – please comment the review).
SUMMARY
Highs: Unbeatable detail, no glue required, fully articulated and fits all manufacturers (mentioned in this review)
Lows: Might be hard to find in the shops
Verdict: Very highly recommended
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: MTL35008
  Suggested Retail: 40 USD
  PUBLISHED: Dec 08, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 89.52%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.79%

About Roman (Bizarre)
FROM: AKERSHUS, NORWAY

Copyright ©2018 text by Roman [ BIZARRE ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

See here LINK The detail is finer, the track pins are more realistic and also no glue or drilling required for assembly.
DEC 08, 2013 - 09:34 AM
Good review and images Roman. I reviewed a set of their resin tracks a few years ago, and they were also fantastic. I love the resin pin idea ... so much nicer than Friuls hole and thin wire ... something I dont like. Unfortunately their resin tracks need to be drilled, so it appears they have removed that need with their metal tracks. Tracks are an area Im very fussy about, and will go the extra length to get maximum effect with.
DEC 08, 2013 - 10:11 AM
They look awesome ...
DEC 08, 2013 - 10:52 AM
these tracks look very nice, and easy to assemble - wonder why these Russian companies seem to have such trouble finding distributors?
DEC 08, 2013 - 01:18 PM
Thanks, Frank. I am building Panther tracks now. These are also a masterpiece.
DEC 08, 2013 - 07:59 PM
Many factors, I believe. Some of them are oriented on internal market (which is quite large) and some have problems communicating with shops abroad due to lack of English skills. If you know someone who might be interested in stocking MC products in your area - send me PM and I can forward that information to the company.
DEC 08, 2013 - 08:00 PM
Warren, the responses have pretty much covered it and provided link to PMMS comparison reviews... I have been working with Friuls for quite some time now and although they look fantastic, their technique with wire just doesn't look realistic enough for me. My personal preference would definitely be the resin pins. I have some Masterclub resin rivets, and those look wonderful... these guys know how to cast tiny resin pieces. So, in my opinion, high quality metal tracks plus resin pins is the winning combination. Mario
DEC 08, 2013 - 08:02 PM
Great review, Roman. Where did you source these tracks? I've only found one seller on eBay and they're close to 30 GBP + shipping. Wouldn't mind getting them to Norway under the 200NOK customs limit.
DEC 09, 2013 - 03:40 AM
I got them directly from Russia.
DEC 09, 2013 - 04:03 AM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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