by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
MasterClub are getting quite a name for themselves in the metal track link market, and as such are making big inroads into this area. MasterClub has until recently concentrated on Russian armour from WW2 until the present day and German WW2 armour, both of these areas being popular with modellers. Now however MasterClub has released two track link sets for the Chieftain tank, and these releases follow swiftly on from the release of three Chieftain tank offerings by Takom. MasterClub has released two track sets with the difference being new and worn track pads. In this review I will be looking at the offering with worn track pads, but it is my belief that my observations are the same for both offerings.
The product arrives in a plastic box with a hanging tab attached. Inside there are 3 Ziploc plastic bags that contain the tracks, the pins and the track pads, there is also a small piece of paper that identifies the product and the amount of contents held within.
I ordered my track links off of EBay direct from MasterClub and they arrived inside 10 days. Ordering online via this method does mean that the price varies depending on exchange rates. When I ordered them there were only two of the three sets I wanted available, and so I have continued to monitor the prices as I will be making further purchases from MasterClub. The price has so far varied from £24.00 to £28.00 and it should also be stated that MasterClub does reduce the postage fees when ordering more than one item, I consider this a nice touch by them.
With this set of Chieftain tracks you get 200 track links, 200 track pads and 400 pins. The parts are free from carriers with the exception of the track pads; these are supplied in rows of ten and require a single cut to remove them from their carrier. An examination of the various parts leaves me a very happy modeller; this is due to the fact that other than a couple of track links having a small amount of metal flash near the pin holes everything was clean, I should say that I found 2 links with this issues of the 30 or 40 links I checked and so about 5% in total.
Comparing the links to photographs of the tracks on Chieftain tanks that I have taken indicates that visually this is a very accurate product. The observations I have made resulted in me finding no missing detail as even the shallow recess at the base of each guide horn (front and rear) on the real vehicle are present on this tracks; in addition there is even casting detail present on every track link. These are very good track links for every modeller regardless of your concern about accuracy.
The track pads are described as worn out on the packaging, but this should more accurately be described as worn. Something I really do like is that each of the ten pads on each carrier has a different wear pattern on them rather than all looking the same. The packaging stats that no glue is required, but I have not been able to get the track pads to stay put without glue, a small dab of your favourite super or crazy glue and its job done.
The pins for securing the tracks are I believe resin and ever so slightly tapered, I believe they are tapered as they press fit easily from one end but not the other. The track pins are very small and so I will admit that I struggled a little as my Mk 1 eyeball is not what it was. The small size really dictates the use of a good set of tweezers is used to insert the pins and so some are sure to get lost. Once inserted the fit is very good, and as long as you do not play with your models they should never come out again.
I assembled a short run of tracks and checked them on the sprocket of a Takom Chieftain, the fit is superb as all of the teeth fully engage. The tracks are very good as regards to their flex when assembled.
I should start by saying that the tracks included with the Takom Chieftains are very nice, but this offering from MasterClub is a step up. The detail is just so much crisper on these tracks, but the clincher for me is the worn track pads which add a very high degree of realism to the look of the product. The guide horns on the MasterClub product have a higher degree of finesse than that of the kit supplied being thinner in profile and having detail missing from the kit tracks. Many of you may question the value of purchasing this product for your Chieftain given the quality of the kit offering, but I will be very surprised if you are not very pleased with your purchase of this MasterClub product.