Master Club
M4 Sherman T48 type track links for VVSS
MasterClub 1:35 Scale Set # MTL35122
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
This set of individual resin/metal track links from MasterClub provides the M4 Sherman VVSS T48 Rubber Chevron tracks which was in production the longest of the rubber block type tracks with the set consisting of 180 cast resin track links, 380 cast metal end connectors and a resin assembly jig.

Resin Track pads and metal end connectors.
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Resin assembly jig
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Each 'rubber' link is cleanly cast in a black resin to represent a new unworn chevron rubber block track link with the only clean-up needed is to remove the remnants of the casting block (which has already been snapped off at manufacture) along one edge of the link. This is easily done with a sharp #11 blade or similar and there is also randomly some fine resin film around the pin holes in the end of the blocks, if present this too can be trimmed.
The only minor clean-up on the end connectors is a small pour bur on the tip of the guide horn, this is easily removed with a fine file or fine wet & dry sanding paper, just take care to leave a rounded point of the horn.

Minimal track link clean-up is needed.
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The detail on the links is excellent overall with the cleanly cast rubber chevron on the links and the end connectors are also cleanly cast with a nicely defined retaining bolt and track guide. A point to note, many types of T48 track I've seen have holes in the ends of the track pins in the end connectors while some have them closed as with the set parts. You may wish to drill holes in the end connectors to show this feature but as always that's up to the individual modeller.

Track link parts prior to assembly.
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Reference images of T48 track show mostly the hollow ends of the track pins visible but some images show the capped holes in the end connectors.
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Each end connector has two short pins designed to fit into the corresponding holes in the links using the assembly jig to make the assembly as easy as possible. The instructions included with the set show to glue (with cyanoacrylate) one of the pins only as you fit this in place to hold the end connectors in position, you must ensure you glue the pin to the same hole either side to allow the other pin and link to free to move. The end connector pins won't hold in place without glue as they simply fall out when you handle the track runs.

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While this secures the end connector it does negate the "workability" in the true sense as one end connector and link will always be aligned level and won't sit perfectly around the drive sprocket and idler, you will need to use the curved end section of the jig to assembly the end connectors at the correct angle to sit truly around the sprockets, idlers and first and last road wheels.

You will also need to determine the proper number of links between the curved sections which the instructions don't indicate and also may vary between different makers kits although it shouldn't if they have the suspension done accurately.  Five links with the end connectors glued at an angle was sufficient for around the drive sprocket with five straight links between the sprocket and first road wheel with just one angled end connectors for around the first and last road wheels.

Assembly is fairly straightforward using the jig, this will hold twelve links at a time but I found working with less (six or seven) at one go was more manageable, just watch the direction of the chevron on the links and then add the end connectors. The instructions say to use thin cyanoacrylate but I used thicker (medium) as this gives a little working time and you don't want the capillary action of thin sending the glue all over the place, I actually glued both connector pins to form fixed track runs as there's no track sag with this type of "live" track unlike what you see on "dead" track types such as most Soviet tanks of WWII.

Track assembly using the jig provided with a small dab of cyno glue in one or both holes to hold the end connectors in place.
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It's best to fit the tracks to your kit suspension is sections for easier handling and by adding an end connector on the inside only where the sections join makes the job of mating the track sections a lot easier as you don't have to juggle an end connector to line them up. You may wish to give the chevrons a light sanding with fine sanding paper to take way the brand new look depending on the model they are being used on?

Details of the short track run.
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Fitting the Tracks:
I have test fitted the assembled links to Academy, Asuka/Taska, Dragon and Tamiya (old and new) kits to see the drive sprocket and general fit, thankfully I have a Asuka/Taska and Dragon kit with the full suspension assembled but for the Academy and Tamiya are just the drive sprockets on their lonesome.

With Academy the fit to the drive sprockets from an M3 Grant kit was perfect and as the same parts (abate different style sprockets) are used in most of their M3/M4 kits these should all be no problems.
The fit to the Asuka/Taska drive sprocket was excellent as it was around the road wheels and Idler so nothing more to be said here.
The fit to the sample Dragon sprocket was a little tight but still fitted okay after a little nudging to get the track in place, the fit to the rest of the suspension was all okay.

On the Tamiya kits I tested the older M4A3 and the tracks simply would not fit the sprockets as the thickness of the tooth sprockets was way too thick, but on the new M10 the fit was perfect, as good as with the Asuka sprockets.

Assembled tracks test fitted to the Asuka/Taska M4 kit sprockets.
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This set of M4 Sherman T48 tracks from MasterClub with the resin rubber chevron pads gives a very good appearance and the detail on the links themselves and individual end connectors is excellent, as good as or better than you will find, very little clean-up needed on the parts before assembly, the large resin jig provided also aids in the assembly.

The detail and appearance of the assembled track runs is excellent with the separate end connectors and clear spacing between links adding good detail definition compared to some with the end connectors moulded to the links themselves and painting should bring out the detail nicely, they also add a degree of weight to the model which should help the sit on those kits with working suspension as well as giving it a bulkier feel.

Rating 8.5/10

Thanks to MasterClub for the review Set.
MasterClub track sets are available from PMMS Sponsors, BNA Modelworld and Hobbyeasy

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Page created 13 September 2018

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