I am currently building Tamiya’s Möbelwagen for the Panzer IV campaign and after having built a number of Dragon kits with Magic Tracks, I could not bring myself to build this kit with Tamiya's sad sack vinyl tracks. After checking out a number of options I decided to take a chance and ordered a set of Kaizen Panzer III/IV late workable tracks from The Barrel Store. Here are my thoughts on this product.
Kaizen tracks are designed and manufactured by J-Pak Workshop out of Hong Kong, a relative newcomer to the aftermarket workable tracks market, having come onto the scene in 2013. They have developed a number of products for 1/35 scale armour, including German, Russian and American WWII era subjects. The Panzer III/IV later version (1943-1945) solid horn tracks are product number KZ-PZ-004L and come packed in a stout cardboard box with assembly instructions right on the label. Opening the box I found a zip lock bag with 55 sprues in dark grey plastic with 4 links on each and a smaller cellophane envelope with 28 lengths of 0.4mm brass rod to use as the track pins. Each sprue of four tracks includes two right and two left tracks. No additional instructions or information are provided inside the box.
The track links themselves appear dimensionally correct and represent the wider 40cm tracks used on vehicles that utilized the Panzer III/IV chassis from 1943 up until the end of the WWII. Each link is connected to the sprue by five very small tabs. The casting is casting is sharp and realistic to scale and includes the groove on the outer surface of the solid horn, but they do not have the imitation of manufacturer code stamped on the outer surface that you find on some other, more expensive metal offerings.
Prior to assembly you will have to cut the individual links off the sprues and clean them up prior to starting assemble, a fairly time consuming and monotonous task! Remember to keep the RHS and LHS links separate (I did ones side at a time). Once cleanup is complete, the assembly itself is quite straightforward – first the tracks are joined together, then using thin needle nose pliers I inserted the brass rod into the track pin hole and the cut it to length. This was followed by a few passes with a file to get the rod flush with the track. The rod went in cleanly most of the time, but a bit of persuasion was required on the odd track, although this is likely due to me not aligning the tracks correctly. I only had to drill out a couple of holes, but again this was more than likely a result of my ham-handedness.
I ended up using 99 links per side with a number of pieces of brass rod left over and 22 extra links. I did not break any links during the assembly, and there were no defective links or any flash. The brass rod sits quite snug in the tracks and I don’t think there will be any danger of it falling out, although a small drop of CA glue will guarantee this does not happen. Once assembled the track articulate quite well and it is very easy to adjust them to get the correct sag on the vehicle.
Kaizen’s box label states that these tracks fit most 1/35 scale Pz III/IV kits except for the Tamiya old edition Panzer IV, and I can confirm they fit perfectly on the Tamiya Möbelwagen sprockets and road wheels, and I also test fit them on some Dragon late sprockets , which they also fit.
Having never used workable links before I was quite impressed with this offering. The cleanup was a bit tedious but I am happy with the result and would definitely purchase Kaizen tracks again.
Highs: Good detail, no glue required, fully articulated and fits most manufacturers.Lows: Tedious cleanup.Verdict: Good value for money, highly recommended.
Colin started modelling with cars and planes as a young child then moved into armour by rebuilding his older brothers motorized Tamiya Tiger II and winning a model contest with it at age 12. He continued modelling into his teens until university and other distractions got in the way, resuming the...