Master Club
M113 Tracks
Master Club 1:35 Scale Set # MTL35113
Review by Terry Ashley

AFV Club
The Set:
This set of individual metal track links from MasterClub while not specifically stating so is designed for the recently released AFV Club kit AF35113 M113A1 ACAV but could be used with any of many kits of the M113 family available from other kit producers although most will need some modifications to their drive sprockets for this track to fit as we'll see further below.

The set consists of 170 cast metal track links, 160 rubber track pads and 340+ resin track that are designed to pin the links together without the need for gluing.

Metal Track Links
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Individual soft vinyl material track pads
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Resin track pins, note the taper on the pins for easy fitting.
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Each track link is cleanly cast with just a few small pour burs to be cleaned up with all the track pin holes fully drilled out and a notable feature of the links is the pin holes go all the way through allowing you to assemble to links using lengths of wire if you wish. There is one thing to watch when handling the links, being in a softer alloy than some other metal tracks the outer section of the link is only attached by the small ribs either end of the tooth hole and the end section can bend quite easily if not careful. There were in fact some links in the packet already bent at the ends and you really only get one or maybe two chances at bending these back straight before the metal will break so again handle the links with care during clean-up and assembly. The good thing is once the links are assembled the pins help to strengthen the links so there shouldn't be any problems after the track run is assembled.

The detail on the links is excellent with the pitch (length), width and height matching the actual track link size perfectly to scale, the cast front details are well done and cleanly rendered with the pad retaining bolt and track guide tooth included on the inside of the link.
The resin pins in this set are tapered towards the pin end so it's very easy to slip these into the link holes while fitting together. There is a small detail issue with the track pin bolt heads after assembly where there should be a circle gap between the pin bolt and link pin housing, but the pins fit flush into the housing without the gap recess, see images below.

The 'rubber' track pads appear to be a hard rubber compound or harder vinyl material and are moulded on a runner with ten pads to each runner. The pads are also cleanly moulded but you should ensure that when cutting the pads from the runner to use a sharp blade and cut as close as possible to the pad as it's not easy to trim these afterwards.

Minor damage to some links.
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Minimal track link clean-up is needed.
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Individual link parts ready for assembly.
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The track pad is is easier to glue into each link before track length assembly, note the direction of the notch in the pad to the kink in the track link.
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Before the track assembly, it's easier to glue all the track pads to the links using cyanoacrylate, take note of the notch on the inside of the pad that corresponds to the contour of the track link pad recess. With the pads added you can begin assembly but I found that most needed the inside faces of the track pin housings to be trimmed slightly to allow the links to fit together properly, this can be done by shaving a little with a #11 blade or similar. But this process is complicated due to the fragile end sections of the links and you need to take care not to bend the ends while holding the links during trimming.

I held the links in a stout pair of tweezers to avoid putting pressure on the end sections and I have to say this became a little tedious doing this for most of the links given the difficulty getting a grip on the links due to the bending issue but if you take care you'll get there in the end, given the number of links requiring this trimming I just trimmed them all as a matter of course before assembling the links once the issue was identified.

The inside faces of the track pin housings need to be trimmed slightly to allow the links to fit together,
about 80% of the 30 links I assembled for this review needed this done.

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After trimming and ensuring the links are squarely aligned use a pair of stout needle point tweezers to slip the pin into hole as far as it will go till it becomes tight then use the tweezers to "push" the pins firmly into place until the head sits slightly inside the pin housing to give a better appearance than fitting flush. This is because the track pin bolts are actually defined inside the housing on the actual tracks, see reference image below.  It's important to exert the pushing pressure perfectly square with the links so you don't bend the resin pin in the process. You then repeat this for the other side of the link to secure the two links and then repeat this process for the full track run.

The pins should hold in place with friction but as you want each to be located slightly indented I adding a small dab of cyanoacrylate to each pin to hold them in place. The tracks runs assembled fairly quickly using this method and the tapered pins did make this a breeze and you can have the full track run assembled in no time.

Insert resin pins to attach each link in turn.
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Assembled track showing the excellent detail and definition on both sides.
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Fitting the Tracks:
As mentioned this set is designed for the new AFV Club M113A1 ACAV kit and fitting the assembled tracks to the AFV Club sprockets produced an excellent snug fit with the tracks giving a natural dip (sag) from the drive sprocket to the top of the road wheels. Note I have only assembled 30 links for the review so when the full track run is fitted with the correct tension the sprocket fit and track sag will be slightly better than in the images of the track here.

Assembled tracks test fitted to the AFV Club M113A1 kit sprocket showing the details.
Note the ends of the pins have been pushed in slightly to better represent the actual bolt head better than sitting flush with the links.

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Image showing the good fit to the AFV Club sprocket, note the fit will be tighter when the full track run is fitted.
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Reference images showing the track pin bolt head details compared to the kit pin bolt detail, the remaining detail is nicely done.
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I also attempted to test fit the tracks to Academy/Tamiya and Italeri kit sprockets but with no luck as these sprockets are not correct with overly thick teeth and the spacing between the sprocket discs is too narrow, so quite a bit of modifying will be needed to fit these tracks to those kits if you wished to do so. With the Academy kit I have the sprockets are basically copies of the Tamiya sprockets and Academy may have re-done the sprockets in later issue kits which I don't have on hand so couldn't test for these.

This set of M113 tracks has excellent details on the cast metal track links with minimal clean-up needed on the actual link but there is fair bit of additional trimming needed to get the links together in my set. The separate rubber track pads are a nice addition as are the tapered resin track pins that make for quick and easy assembly after the link preparation.

The only minor issue is the definition of the track pin bolt heads while the assembled track runs have considerably more detail definition than the kit tracks and will improve the appearance of the finished kit considerably.

Rating 9/10

Note; the are many books published on the M113 over the years, too many to list here. These are just three of the more accessible with good details for modellers.
in Action #2017

Squadron Signal Publications
M113 APC in Vietnam
in Action #2045

Squadron Signal Publications
M113 APC
Walk Around #5715

Squadron Signal Publications

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

to help the reviews continue, thank you

Page created 30 January 2018

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