Bronco Models
Russian 650mm OMSH Track Link Set
for KV-1/KV-2 (Workable)

Bronco Models 1:35 Scale Kit No. AB3560
Review by Terry Ashley

This new set of individual workable track from Bronco Models is labelled as Russian 650mm OMSH Track Link Set for KV-1/KV-2, unfortunately the OMSH 650mm track was not used on the KV/SU series of vehicles, only the OMSH 700mm track on the KV-1/KV-2, the OMSH 650mm track was used though on later IS-2 series vehicles. Also the detail on the OMSH links is slightly different from that of the full toothed links used with the split link track runs but not be that much and is only apparent on close inspection.

Available references indicate the most common 650mm track used on KV-1S/KV-85 and SU-152 vehicles was the split link type which had one full link with guide tooth and one split link (in two parts) without guide tooth. The links were interchangeable and it is possible to have toothed links fitted together, there is also photo evidence of full track runs using the toothed links with just a few (or no) split links during the summer of 1943 and this may be where some confusion arises. The full toothed links could represent the full track runs using just the toothed link from the split link track although this wasn’t that common and only seen during the summer of 1943 as mentioned.

The Russian summer is the months of June, July and August with the two Bronco SU-152 kits representing April 1943 production (kit #CB35113) and September 1943 production (kit #CB35109) so were outside the period these track are seen in period photos, this is not to rule out track replacements in the field as anything is possible as “one offs” during wartime. The Trumpeter SU-152 kits are listed as “SU-152 Late” (kit #05568) and just as SU-152 (kit #01571) and may also be outside the optimal usage period for such track configuration? It’s best to forget the old Eastern Express SU-152 kit #35103 as these newer generation kits from Bronco and Trumpeter render that kit redundant.

The Set:
With this in mind we’ll have a look at the set as it comes. The set includes 240 individual track links on 20 sprues with 442 small track pins on 13 sprues and an assembly jig with the links being very cleanly moulded without any flash or pin marks and just the four sprue attachment points to be trimmed, which is very straightforward given the larger size of the track links.
Sprue images
Bronco ModelsBronco ModelsBronco Models
Track liks and pins after clean-up
Bronco Models

The pins are two different types, one with the larger bolt head and other with the flat pin end; this is due to the assembled tracks being “handed” in that the flat pin end should be on the hull side and the larger pin bolt on the outer edge of the track when fitted to the running gear. The pins are large enough to provide a very solid join and won’t come apart with normal handling, but take care as they aren’t metal tracks and will come apart if handled roughly. The only issue with the pins is the bolt head is a little undersized and should be larger to represent the actual track pin bolt better, but there isn’t a lot that can be done about this on the assembled tracks. Just remember when cutting the pins from the sprues to place your finger over the pin as you cut so it doesn’t launch into lower Earth Orbit.

Close-up showing the two style of track pins
Bronco Models

The set includes 240 track links but the instructions indicate to 88 per track run for a total of 176 links required so you are left with quite a few extras to use as additional armour or where ever you wish

Once you have cut and cleaned-up all the required links and pins, assembly is quite straightforward using the jig provided. The main thing to watch is the orientation of the links to get the larger pins on the correct ‘handed’ side depending on which side of the tank you are assembling. The jig takes eight links so they don’t get unmanageable before you add the pins, just lay the first link and ‘insert’ the second folding it into the link recesses, this is easier to do from the direction shown in the image (1) but harder the other way due to the way the links intermesh.

Bronco Models

Once the eight links are on the jig using fine tweezers insert the appropriate pins along one side (2) and secure in place with a dab of thicker liquid cement. Using thin cement will see the capillary action of the glue cause problems getting onto surfaces it shouldn’t and prevent the links from articulating freely when the glues dries. Then insert and glue the other side pins (3) to complete this section of track (4) and repeat the process till the required number of links is assembled, it’s get easier once you get into a ‘rhythm’.

Bronco ModelsBronco Models
Bronco Models

The assembled track runs are quite robust due to the generous size of the track pins but you still need to handle them with care as they aren’t as robust as metal tracks obviously, I had a few pins come loose due to not enough glue (better less than too much) so simply re-insert and glue any wayward pins till the tracks are ready to fit to the chosen model.

Fitting the tracks:
As mentioned these tracks are not applicable for any earlier KV-1 or KV-2 other than the KV-1S and SU-152 and only assuming you choose to use them as full toothed track runs for the summer 1943 period I have test fitted these to both the Bronco and Trumpeter SU-152 kits. The tracks fit perfectly to the respective kit drive sprockets but for the Bronco kit you only need to use 85 or 86 links per side and not the 88 as indicated in the instructions, with 85 with tracks are a little tighter with less top sag and with 86 there is quite a lot of sag. Unfortunately the design of the Idler mounting doesn’t allow you to alter the position of the Idler wheel without quite a bit of work so you must decide the number of links referred.

The tracks fitted to the Bronco SU-152 kit showing the 85 and 86 links as above.
Bronco Models
Bronco Models

For the Trumpeter kit you only need 84 links per side due the wheelbase lengths of the suspension being slightly different on both kits, but that’s a whole different story. Again the design of the Idler mounting doesn’t allow you to alter the position of the Idler wheel without quite a bit of work.

The tracks fitted to the Trumpeter SU-152 kit as above.
Bronco Models
Bronco Models

As these tracks are best suited to the latter IS-2, I have also test fitted these to the Tamiya IS-2 (kit #35289) and again the fit to the kit drive sprocket was perfect with just 80 links per side required for the best appearance. I don’t have any of the DML IS-2 kits so can’t comment on the fit with these, apologies for that.

Track fitted to the Tamiya IS-2 kit as above.
Bronco Models
Bronco Models

The track links themselves are nicely done with good clean cast detail although the outer spud of the actual track has a slight concave profile with the kit spuds flat, but this is not that noticeable on the assembled track runs. There is minimal clean-up required and the individual pins are different to represent the correct “handed” appearance with just the larger bolt head being slightly undersized. Assembly is also straightforward using the jig provided for a relatively easy assembly for individual links track.

The main issue with this set is what vehicle to use them on, the most appropriate being the IS-2 series but can be used for the KV but only the KV-1S or SU-152 for the less common all toothed links during the summer 1943 period and modellers should be aware they are not applicable for the KV-1/KV-2 as indicated on the box top.

Basically a nice set of 650mm OMSH workable tracks looking for a good home.

Rating 8/10

KV Techical History and Variants
by Neil Stokes
Published by AirConnection, Canada
ISBN 978–0–9781091–2–7
Tank Power Vol.XCI
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.332
ISBN: 9788372193322

Thanks to my credit card and Hobbyeasy for the review set.

Page created March 24, 2013

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