ARM: Review - Mark IV Individual Link Tracks by The Model Cellar

Kit Review: Model Cellar 1/35 Scale Accessory Kit No.MC 35101; Mark IV
Male/Female Individual Track Links; 360 parts in grey stryene; price US
$32.00 (Spring 2006)
Advantages: Major upgrade to Emhar tank kits, includes underside
details
Disadvantages: slightly too narrow
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWI tank modelers wanting to use styrene track
For years, one of the top 10 choices for new kits among armor modelers
was a WWI British tank, anything from Mark I to Mark V being nominated.
But other than a few resin kits, nothing appeared on the horizon until
about 10 years ago when a small British company named Emhar attempted
to step into the breach. But their first two kits, while eagerly
anticipated, were not very good.
Ehmar did not have much of a budget and as a result had to use
"flat" molds like many of the kits coming out of eastern Europe.
They also made a lot of compromises with the kit, and afficionados of
WWI kits estimated they wanted to get all of the tanks out of one set
of molds. They did a Mark IV Male, Mark IV Female, and Mark IV
"Tadpole" kit before changing over to other subjects.
In 2004 they came out with a new kit, a Mark V "Hermaphrodite,"
that provided all the main parts needed to make either a Mark V Male
with twin 6-pdr guns, a Mark V Female with Hotchkiss machine guns, or a
Mark V "Hermaphrodite" with one sponson of each type.
But all of the tanks - the Mark IVs and the Mark V - used an odd
rubbery track that did not look very good, nor did it fit well. As a
result, many modelers took one look at the kits and said "toy"
before leaving them alone.
About a year after the first kits came out, Model Cellar, a company
from Pennsylvania, came out with a set of injection molded two-piece
individual track links specifically for first these kits and later for
a "Whippet" kit from Ehmar which used shorter tracks of the same
style. Each link consisted of a plate section and a guide section, and
had friction fit tabs for temporary assembly and installation.
There have been a good deal of comments on the internet about these
tracks, so let me cover what they are and what they are not.
The tracks used by most Mark I to Mark V tanks were 20 =BD inches in
width, or about 14.9 mm wide in 1/35 scale. First off, a number of
"expertern" modelers have slammed them for being the wrong size.
Measuring carefully, each plate section is correct on pitch but
measures only 14.25-14.3 mm in width or roughly 19 5/8"-19 7/10" in
width. Given the track runs on the tank appear a bit narrow, and the
tracks LOOK "right", I for one can forgive them being less than
7/8" of an inch too narrow.
There are problems in installing them, however, but none of those are
Model Cellar's fault. The kit has only solid plate backing to the
track runs over the top of them and the rest are either open with
narrow side ledges or where the wheels go. Since the tracks are close
to scale they are a tad too narrow to sit on the kit's ledges (note
that the kit tracks fit on them, but the kit's tracks are also more
than a scale inch too wide.) You are up to your own devices to get the
tracks to fit here, and I suggest using strip styrene to extend the
ledges to get some purchase for the tracks.
One thing on which I disagree with Model Cellar is their direction to
leave off the kit's wheels. This leaves the modeler no place to
"wrap" the tracks and can spoil fitting them. However, doing some
careful measurements and checking the parts, there is a happy solution.
Cut one half of the cylindrical hub off each pair of wheels and cement
them together. Using a punch or cutting up the section of hub you
removed, place an 0.080" (2mm) spacer on each side of the wheel
assembly. Drill out a center hole on each side and install the wheels.
You may need to narrow the tread width of the wheels to fit in the
grooves on the guide sections, but the result is that you can now use
the wheels to "wrap" the tracks and get a better fit.
The "Whippet" set will also be re-released for $26.00. The former
"Tadpole" set, however will not be redone.
Right now the track sets are out of production, but Model Cellar has
informed me they will be going back into production this spring to meet
demand for the Mark V kits. I for one am glad to see it and will
probably pick up a couple of more sets - I am working on a Mark V
Male from the 304th Tank Battalion (Heavy) and now want to do a Mark V*
Female as well!
Track sets will only be available direct from Model Cellar: Model
Cellar, PO Box 388, Horsham, PA 19044; phone (215) 672-1432 or e-mail
them at snipped-for-privacy@modelcellar.com. Website (listing availability) is
formatting link

Thanks to Steve Zaloga for the review sample.=20
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
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Thanks for the review, Cookie, good to hear that there will be some styrene links available for the Emhar kits. But what about complaints that the links as originally released were far too thick (one review said they were a scale inch in thickness)? Gerald Owens
Reply to
Gerald Owens
Gerald,
The tracks aren't that bad -- they have to hold up for installation and assembly as well as have the base for the guide unit to attach.
Overall the appearance is far better than the kit's awful rubber band track.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne

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