by: Roman [ ]
Similar to other tanks the Panzer III/IV and vehicles based on their chassis underwent several development stages based on combat experience and demands. Not only the weapons and armour were upgraded but tracks were modified as well. Instead of open guide horned tracks the simpler solid guide horn tracks were employed from 1943 and installed on all tanks and SPG’s until the end of the war (with further modifications like ice cleats, etc).
MasterClub from Moscow continue to increase their product line of metal tracks for 1/35th scale, and this is another set that helps modellers to have a very well detailed tracks on their models. Product MTL-35012 contains 230 white metal track links and 460 resin track pins. Inside the colorful plastic box with a lid we find: an insert with basic information and individual zip lock plastic bags with track links and pins. New to me in comparison to previous MasterClub sets is the presence of small 1cmX0.4cm piece of paper with code that identifies the person that packed the set. The latter could be used in case you need to contact the manufacturer if there is something missing in the package or there are defect track links.
The track links themselves are dimensionally correct and represent 40cm tracks that were used on various modifications of Panzer III/IV and vehicles based on their chassis from 1943 up until the end of the WW2 (please refer to war time images for construction of accurate model). The casing is sharp and realistic to scale. These track links have imitations of manufacturer code stamped on the outer surface; the groove on the outer surface of the solid horn is deep enough and the tracks even have the track pin groove (very 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 pins one by one starting on the outer side and continuing on the inner side. Unlike the 35008 set that I reviewed last year I had no problems inserting the pins and none were broken while building part of the track chain seen on the images. Also I observed no defective links or links with excessive metal flash meaning zero clean up and very robust assembly process. Please be sure that the track pin with cotter key should always face outer side of the track chain (regardless on left or right side of the vehicle). When assembled the articulation is very realistic and would allow the characteristic sag observed on reference images. Previously there were some questions regarding possibility of track pins falling out or breaking when the chain is assembled – so far, having built a dozen of MasterClub sets, I haven’t experienced resin pins falling out, but if you wish so you could fix them with a delicate amount of cyanoacrylate. The resin track pins are not affected by chemical agents used for track burnishing and I recommend burnishing the fully assembled chains. Please note that it might be hard to insert the pins into already burnished links.
Speaking of the detail when compared to existing metal or plastic tracks MasterClub appear superior as they do not require clean up (problem with plastic tracks), have realistic imitation of manufacturers labels and pins with cotter keys (absent on all other products). The fit of these tracks to Panzer III and Panzer IV based kit sprockets is. I was not able to locate Academy, AFVClub , Italeri or Zvezda products for that test.
The major problem with MasterClub in the past was poor distribution in North America and Europe, however, this situation is much better nowadays. Please refer to their webpage for list of distributors or order directly from them on eBay.
"This item was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of a review directly to the author.”