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In-Box Review
135
PzKpfw III/IV track links
German 40cm Steel workable Track for PzKpfw III (Late) and PzKpfw IV (Mid)
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by: Darius [ KAKTUSAS ]

Introduction

Just like the shiny wheels on the car, independent track links dramatically improve the appearance of a model. Especially, if we are talking German armor, where track sag can be quite dramatic. The Panzer III/IV is no exception. Some time ago, almost all panzer III/IV series models made by major manufacturers had independent track links. Until Dragon invented DS styrene that is. While the rubber band tracks are cost effective, they have certain drawbacks. Paint and weathering is easily chipped off by even the slightest mishandling, reaction to the modeling paints/solvents/glues is another potential issue, difficult to represent track sag and many other reasons makes those tracks less attractive to advanced modelers. In the scope of this review, is AFV Club’s 35179 German 40cm Steel workable Track for PzKpfw III (Late) and PzKpfw IV (Mid) set.

What’s inside?

Inside the box you get 6 sprues with 40 track links each (240 total), and 6 sprues with 42 track horn plates on the each (252 total). The parts are molded in “rusty track” color plastic, which is good, as paint chipped during handling will be less evident. Molding quality of the parts is excellent, with only minor flash around some links, and minor sink marks on the horns. It is possible to make a clean cut directly from the sprue, making cleanup of the links obsolete. Removing the track horn pads, especially one on the side of the sprue can be tricky, care should be taken not to break those parts. I would suggest to cut entire line with 7 pads off the remaining sprue, this will make removal much easier and safer (note there are indentations on the both sides of the sprue, cut there!). Assembly is very straight forward using thick or medium modeling glue. I would not recommend thin glue, as it might run into the track pins rendering tracks non movable. Assembled tracks articulate with little to no friction. Assembled tracks fit perfectly on the AFV Club Nashorn kit. They also fit very well on the range of Dragon panzer 3 and panzer 4 sprockets.

Accuracy

These track links represent Kgs 61/400/120 type 3B tracks. This means tracks are 400mm wide and the pitch is 120mm. The track link itself, is just 380mm wide, with 400mm being the pin length. This has caused some misunderstandings in the past, interpreting what is the width of the panzer III/IV tracks. Whatever width is, official designation states its 400mm wide tracks (not track links). How it translates to 1/35 scale? Tracks should be 11.42mm wide, links should be 10.86mm wide, and the pitch should be 3.42mm.

Dimensions of the AFV Club tracks are: track width - 11.86mm ( 0.44mm), link width - 11.26mm ( 0.4mm), and track pitch is 3.45mm ( 0.03mm). Measurements were done using a digital calliper (0.02mm declared accuracy). How does it compare to Dragons magic tracks? The tracks released by Dragon are Kgs 61/400/120 type 3A. Track width - 11.5mm ( 0.08mm), link width - 10.82mm (-0.04mm), and track pitch is 3.40mm (-0.02mm). This makes them very accurate dimension wise.

Although slightly wider (only by 0.4mm) AFV Club tracks look much crisper than ones supplied by Dragon. They both have split pins molded on, unfortunately those will be hardly visible once the model is painted/weathered. None of those tracks has molded cast marks on them.

Conclusions

Overall this is a very nice set of tracks. At a half cost of the metal/resin track sets, it is affordable to most modelers. Modelkasten has released nearly every version of the panzer III/IV track links, but those are in a similar price range to metal ones. There is also a chance we will see separate link track sets by Bronco models, as those are included in their stugs. But until then, if you need to replace rubber bands on your tank, and you are on the tight budget, it’s the only game in town.

SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent details, easy assembly, good fit on AFV Club and Dragon kits.
Lows: Some minor flash and sink marks. If those would be non present, no cleanup would be needed at all.
Verdict: Very nice and balanced kit.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: AF35179
  PUBLISHED: Nov 30, 2017
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.50%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.65%

About Darius (Kaktusas)
FROM: VILNIAUS, LITHUANIA

Copyright ©2017 text by Darius [ KAKTUSAS ]. All rights reserved.


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Comments

A very nice review Darius, but I would like to direct you to MiniArt as an alternate offering.
NOV 30, 2017 - 02:03 AM
That's correct Darren, saw them in your review, they are very nice. But they don't have 40cm tracks, only narrow, 38 ones. As i wrote, i hope There will be Bronco tracks released, as they included both 3A and 5A (with ice cleats) included in their Stug release. Then we are pretty good to go, as Dragon puts DS tracks now in every kit, even when same kit released earlier had Magic tracks...
NOV 30, 2017 - 02:12 AM
I have not compared prices with AFV but Kaizen tracks are extremely nice and cost effective.
NOV 30, 2017 - 04:09 AM
Thanks for the review Darius, I have a set on the shelf and wondered how they would build like.
NOV 30, 2017 - 11:19 AM
And incredibly hard to find or badly distributed depending on your point of view.
NOV 30, 2017 - 11:21 AM
And incredibly hard to find or badly distributed depending on your point of view.[/quote] That's exactly my point. None of European web shops i do my shopping has them. They have good selection of panzer 3/4 tracks, that's true, unfortunately they cost ~50% more, than AFV club set in almost every single web shop that carries both. Putting things straight, at the cost same as Modelkasten, i would probably go for later ones, as i have tried them, and like them a lot.
NOV 30, 2017 - 06:51 PM
Got all excited when you used the word "steel" in the title description, thinking that they would be metal track links. Why bother saying "steel" when virtually all German tracks were made of steel? Ya, I know, picky, picky, but hey, I was really looking forward to another source for metal tracks.
DEC 01, 2017 - 11:06 AM
You're right on title, but that's what box says.
DEC 02, 2017 - 07:54 AM
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