German Tank Panther Auf. D Separate Track Link Set

Published on
September 6, 2015
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Base Kit
Tamiya Panther Ausf D
Company: Tamiya - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Tamiya America - Website: Visit Site

Tamiya’s Separate Track Link Set is a direct replacement for the vinyl tracks supplied in their new kit of the Panther Auf. D. Although the kit tracks are really quite nice in terms of detail and are glue-able with standard modeling adhesives, the separate track links feature open teeth and really permit adjusting the sag over the wheels that are such a distinctive feature of the Panther tank.

I’ve seen other attempts to replicate the open-toothed track links of the original, most notably by Dragon which attempted to do this with slide technology for vinyl tracks. Although successful, the demands of the molds meant that the resulting tracks were exceedingly soft and rubbery, which meant that they by nature lost some definition and “firmness” around the sprocket and other rollers – a result that somewhat diminished their authenticity. Tamiya’s approach obviates this issue by accepting typical mold limitations. What this means, however, is that each link is comprised of two parts – the teeth and the link itself.

Despite being stated that these are a “snap fit” they will need to be glued. All roughly 180 of them. After some trials, I found it easiest to glue the teeth onto the links “in situ;” that is, with the links still on their sprues. I then cut the links off after the glue dried. An important note here – the teeth are VERY easy to glue in backwards, and you should test fit one to be certain which way is up. They’ll fit either way, but one way leaves notable gaps. A little experimentation should show which way to finish them.

Another issue I encountered was the link-to-link “snap” feature. Each link is held to the next by only a couple of tiny pins mounting in tiny holes, and I found these extremely easy to strip. So although I’d hoped to be able to paint the tracks off the model and install them after final assembly, the lack of durable link-to-link mounting meant that I found myself making sets of around ten to fifteen links before a pin would break, so I just installed them as I proceeded with the overall build.

Although the instructions state that 85 links are used for each side, I found my runs to be about four short if I followed the guidelines. Ultimately, I only had eight links left from this set when these were fully installed.

All of these issues notwithstanding, these separate links are a distinct improvement over the original kit tracks, and match the “spare” track links provided in the kit itself. I’ve always preferred separate track links on my tank models, and these are as good as any I’ve encountered up until now. Heartily recommended.

My thanks to Tamiya/USA and IPMS/USA for a chance to examine these and install them on my lovely Panther model.


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