by: Roman [ ]
The BMP-2 is one of the most widely used APC’s at the moment and everyone has seen them in action and in news rolls from any conflict during the last 20 years – Chechnya, Ossetia, Libya, Syria, Ukraine amongst others. This is also a rather popular subject for modelling especially with the arrival of new tooled Trumpeter kits instead of old Italeri/Zvezda/Dragon offerings. However the Trumpeter kit has a serious downside (among other issues) – somehow they included vinyl tracks in that kit. In my personal opinion vinyl tracks are the number one thing that goes into the garbage bin for many reasons, but mainly due to their unrealistic appearance. So the aftermarket tracks are the only way to go for me.
Masterclub from Russia made that set of metal tracks with resin sprockets a long time ago and it was designed to improve the Zvezda kit but it is getting “hot” again due to the above mentioned vinyl tracks from Trumpeter’s BMP-2 kits. Let’s have a closer look on them!
The set MTL-35042 comes in a standard small clear plastic box with some basic information printed on the paper insert. 200 metal tracks, 400 track pins (resin), 2 drive sprockets (resin) and 4 spare tracks with spare track holders (resin) – that is quite a lot of content for the money you pay for that set. The content is packed in small zip lock plastic bags and it also has a small piece of paper with code that identifies the person that packed your item. Very useful information when you contact the manufacturer in case there is something wrong with the quality of the product (or something missing).
The quality of the metal tracks is exceptional and they offer great improvement if you compare them to vinyl or plastic tracks from other manufacturers. Note that each track has a casting number! Dimensionally they are very accurate if you decide to compare them with the real thing. I did the measurements and both track width and pitch are correct (300mm real vs 8,58mm Masterclub in 1/35; 140mm real vs 4mm Masterclub). The way they are joined also looks very accurate and realistic – each track is drilled out and you need to insert the pins into the openings using tweezers. If you don’t want to use resin pins (I wonder why one would do that…) you can always use wire that fits the diameter of the holes (0.6mm). No glue is necessary to build the tracks using the provided resin pins and they are fully workable after assembly. Just burnish or paint them and they are ready to be installed on the model.
The drive sprockets are made of 2 parts each and you need to remove the parts from casting blocks. Unlike the plastic counterparts from Trumpeter, the Masterclub parts have correct detail on both inner and outer surface which would be of big interest for perfectionist modellers. But you might have to trim the pin for the drive sprocket on the Trumpeter hull so it sits closer to it. Otherwise it is a great resin sprocket with excellent bolt detail and accurate size. The metal tracks fit both Trumpeter and Masterclub sprockets.
The 4 spare tracks are cast in resin and would need some minor cleaning. They can be then glued to the model. They represent a single track link with 2 track pins bolted to the hull. Again, the detail is exceptional here, including casting numbers.
There should be 84 tracks on a BMP-2 per side. On my model shown here I removed the rubber bands from the support rollers (because I am doing a destroyed model) so there is quite some sag. They should sit tighter on a model with normal rollers. Idlers and road wheels are also from Masterclub set, but they are not a part of BMP-2 tracks kit.
I think it is a great set of metal tracks which are easy to build and accurate. The inclusion of drive sprockets make them universal to any kit you have, especially the kits with vinyl tracks.