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Fruilmodel 1/35 Scale 
Cast White Metal Track Sets

 

S u m m a r y

Stock Number, Contents and Price: Kit No. ATL-54, JS-1/JS-2/JS-3/JSU-122/JSU-152 Light Type Tracks; 186 parts in white metal plus a roll of light steel wire; price US$30.00 

Kit No. ATL-55, T-60/T-70 Track; 212 parts in white metal plus a roll of light steel wire; price US$26.95

Scale: 1/35
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: New lower prices; clean, neat tracks; gives heft to lightweight models (T-60/T-70 only)
Disadvantages: Some modelers do not like "kink push clip" assembly method; Soviet light tank tracks very small and fiddly
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for anyone building specific Soviet vehicles (see text below)

 

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

 

F i r s t   L o o k


One of the major complaints many modelers have had about Fruilmodel white metal tracks, which are the best of any white metal track sets going right now, is that they were far more expensive than competing plastic or resin sets. Fruilmodel has now found a way around this, and the prices are now some $10 a set less. The reason for this is right on the top of the bag: their production facility is now in Urhida, Hungary. The molds are developed in Italy and then sent to Hungary for production; Fruili cuts costs, you save money, and the Hungarians have another model product on the market. Good deal all around. This is the same for the older sets: $39.95 sets will retail for $30, and $36.95 sets for $26.95.

The JS set follows on the heels of the very nice resin set from Anvil Models of Australia which I reviewed in October 1999. As I noted in that review, these tracks were made at Factory No. 185, better known as the Chelyabinsk Kirov Tank Factory. These were referred to as "three piece cast track links" which were listed on early IS series tanks. ChTZ cast one link with the guide horn in the center, and two half-links which joined in the middle without a horn. The reason for this is unknown, but one reason for having every other tooth missing was a problem noted with the KV series (which used a similar design of track, albeit with only one design) where mud and debris would build up between the wheels and horns and jam the track, or worse, cause them to be thrown.

Partway through the production run of the IS-2 tank, it was realized that this was not a big problem, and the cost was too high for the Peoples' Commission on Tank Production which ordered them to economize. A new single design with a guide horn was used; it was found to be simpler and faster for those who still believed the extra guide horns were a problem to simply cut the tooth flush with a torch. The tracks were designed to be assembled with odd-even pairs, i.e. one toothed link to every two half-links. However, photos exist of the tanks with a string of toothed links together, so there was not a fit problem. This was probably due to mines or other damage necessitating repair.

These tracks would be found on IS-2 tanks of the earlier production runs and the very early ISU-122 and ISU-152 vehicles, but not the late models or the IS-3. If you don't like the fussiness of snapping three piece resin tracks together, and have no problems with the "kink the wire, push it in, clip it off" method of assembling recent Fruili track sets, this is a nice set to use.

The other set covers essentially most of the mid to late war Soviet light tanks to include the T-30 and T-40, but is optimized for the Techmod T-60 and T-70/T-70M kits. Both of these models are very light and very petite, and literally can "blow away" if not fixed to a base. The use of white metal track provides some heft to the models, but even so, these are very petite links and very light themselves. They are also suitable for use on the SU-76M kit from Alan/DML, which has very nasty tracks to deal with, but I don't think there are enough links in the packet to fit the SP chassis. The T-40 and T-60 each took 87 links per side, and the T-70 had to use more for the extra road wheel, so I don't think it has the "stretch" to fit that kit.

Overall, these are nice track sets, and if you like metal, they are the ones to pick. Thanks to Bill Miley of Chesapeake Model Designs for the review samples.

Cookie Sewell AMPS


Review Copyright 2000 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 26 March, 2000
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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