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In-Box Review
135
Initial Tiger Tracks
MasterClub® - Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger.
  • 001_package

by: Frank Glackin [ PLASTICBATTLE ]

Description
  • Workable resin tracks for Pz.Kpfw.VI Tiger - Initial production.
  • Mirrored/handed tracks supplied separately.
  • Set contains 220 individual track links and 440 track pins.
  • No glue required for assembly.
Introduction
Dragon literally took the armor-modelling world by storm a while back, when they released their initial 3´n´1 Tiger. After teasing for some time with all the details to be included, expectations were high. When the kit finally arrived, few modellers were disappointed.
The bar for armor kits was raised … and then some!
About the only negative critic the kit earned, was for the supplied magic tracks. Not that they were poor or wrong, but basically because they did not live up to the finesse and detail-level of the rest of the kit. Shallow pin-marks and especially the lack of cutouts in the guide horns, were highlighted, considering their frequent use (and boasts) of slide molding technology elsewhere.
Enter MasterClub®
As always, where there´s an opportunity, the aftermarket companies will soon make it their business to take advantage of this. MasterClub are a relatively new company from Russia and only came to my attention with this set of tracks. Having read some reviews and seen some initial images of their products, I was intrigued enough to purchase this item.
I bought this item online and had to wait until it was shipped from Hong Kong, so it took a little more time than expected. The very light package came about two weeks later. It was packaged with zip-lock bags. Each track run was bagged individually. The tracks are handed/mirrored and thankfully Tiger tracks are easily identifiable because neither side is labeled. Both tracks runs are of a slightly different colour as well .. just in case they do happen to get mixed up. The outer bags also contain two smaller zip-lock bags holding the individual track pins.
A quick inspection showed little, or no, signs of flash, very clean and crisp details and also a very fine scar mark where the molding sprue was removed. My friend ”Ivor” from MiniArt is included in the first photographs, so a better idea of the scale is given.
Assembly
Assembly is very simple and straight forward, but may be considered tedious by many. Each track has to be drilled 4 times with a 0.6mm bit, to open up the pin holes. The hole location is already pre-molded and although it will take considerable time to assemble the full set, a complete beginner will be able to assemble the set perfectly. The resin is not too hard and allows holes to be opened quickly and without much effort.
The tracks pins are very small and the use of tweezers for insertion will make life easier. The label claims that ”no glue is required”, and the tolerances in my drill bits may be a bit off, but I would recommend adding a touch of glue carefully inside the pin-head to secure it. It is evident in the attached images that some have moved during handling.
Track fit is perfect, as is the fit to Dragon´s drive wheel. A slight scrape with a modelling knife or file will easily remove the feint scar from the casting process.
Conclusion
Placed side by side with the Dragon supplied alternatives, the finesse and quality of the MasterClub tracks is evident. As well as having the cut-outs in the guide horns, the side detail profile is so much sharper. Absent is the annoying flash that occurs after mold-tool separation around all the pin details on injected tracks, which is all too often highlighted even further, when painting/drybrushing. The fact that they are workable tracks, also allows them to be painted separately and easily positioned afterwards.

Considering the quality of the Dragon kit, most of the usual aftermarket items are pretty much redundant, but those that want to go the extra distance will want to improve on the kits most obvious weak point. If considering aftermarket tracks, MasterClub is certainly a product that will enhance the kit and befit it with the tracks it deserves.
SUMMARY
Highs: Tackles the Dragon kit´s weakest point. Guide track cut outs. Workable tracks. Superior detail. Simple assembly.
Lows: Some may consider assembly tedious. Extra cost.
Verdict: One of the few items needed to take an exceptional kit the whole way. The extra work will be well rewarded with the superior quality. Recommended.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: MC135007W
  Suggested Retail: $28
  Related Link: Available from Model Point U.S.
  PUBLISHED: Feb 29, 2008
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 85.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.79%

About Frank Glackin (Plasticbattle)
FROM: DONEGAL, IRELAND

Copyright ©2019 text by Frank Glackin [ PLASTICBATTLE ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Great review, thank you Frank! Christophe
FEB 28, 2008 - 07:49 PM
Thanks James and Bill for your help getting this up. Hi Christophe. Thanks ... glad it is of some use. This will probably will not be the most saught after set, as the base kit is OOP, and a large percentage of those who have it, will build it as is. Availability will probably play its part among those who will decide to use the aftermarket tracks, but I think it may spark some interest for those considering other MasterClub sets. I think with this quality, it looks promising. They have a considerable catalog of items already, which should see them get more established. Tracks, wheels, and bolts of probably every kind and size needed. See a list made by Saul Garcia on Missing Links
FEB 29, 2008 - 10:57 PM
I appreciate the great review and photos. These do look very nice indeed. I especially like the track pins, which are a better improvement, even over the Friul set. I havent done a thorough search yet, but availibility here in the US may determine if I get them or not. I hate ordering overseas.. Im too impatient
MAR 01, 2008 - 02:01 AM
Yes these tracks look great. I'm even interested in getting a set. If they do late Tiger tracks I might even get those to replace rubberbands in the Dragon kit. Patience trumps tedious.
MAR 04, 2008 - 04:18 PM
Thanks Tim and Joe for your comments. I agree ... and one of the reasons, I went with these over Friul as well. The price range is similar (here in Sweden), but this is a short-cut that Friul make all too often. As a lot of their tracks are not handed, the side that is left open, takes away from the overall quality. Historica Books in the U.S. also have these early and late Tiger tracks available, plus the whole line of MasterClub items. Could be a suitable option for you guys. Historica Books - MasterClub
MAR 04, 2008 - 08:45 PM
I would recommend you buy them from Historica Books. I purchased the T64 and T72 sets from this line and had them on my doorstep in 3 days. Excellent service. They are from the looks of the two sets I have bought a fantastic value but I haven't seen the Tiger ones so I can't comment on them.
MAR 05, 2008 - 08:37 AM
   

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Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • 001_package
  • 002_pin_detail
  • 003_side_view
  • 004_track_run
  • 005_track_run
  • 006_drive_wheel
  • 007_drive_wheel
  • 008_Casting_scar