Bronco Models have released 8 different track link sets for Modern AFVs all consisting of individual fully workable track links and the set we will look at here is for the Italian C-1 Ariete MBT which is designed for the Trumpeter kits of the Ariete. Kit #00332 Italian C1 Ariete MBT, #00394 Italian C1 Ariete MBT with uparmored.
All the 8 track sets released to date assemble in a similar manner as described below differing only in the detail applicable the track type being depicted.
The set has 8 sprues with 72 parts in light beige plastic on each for a total of 576 parts with the standard of moulding being extremely good. There are no pin marks and only very fine mould seam lines which really don't need any attention at all, the only cleanup needed is the sprue attachment points which will require a little time given the number of parts to be removed and trimmed.
Each tack link consists of 3 parts, the upper and lower track shoe/pad section and the central track pin and end connector part. This has the full width track pins moulded quite thin and care will be needed during cleanup of the sprue burs to avoid any damage.
Each track run consists of 86 links (258 parts) for a total of 512 parts for the two track runs leaving enough for 20 spare track links or to cover any damaged parts. Just to clear up what may be confusing on the box where it says "2 sets needed". This actually means 2 track runs of 86 links each (left/right) not 2 actual track sets.
The detail on the links is extremely well done with the end connectors, track pad/shoe and open guide teeth details matching the photos of the tracks in Auriga Ariete Photo File book all but spot on, the lack of pin marks on the tracks is also noteworthy as this is often an issue with individual plastic track links. As the track links are in two parts any pins marks are on the inside hidden from view after assembly.
As mentioned the most tedious part of the assembly is the sprue bur cleanup with 2 on each of the track link part and 3 on each track pin/end connector part and with 512 parts for the 2 track runs, that's quite a bit of cleanup.
There are 24 links on each sprue and it may be easier to cleanup and assemble each sprues 24 links as you go to avoid going completely insane cleaning up the whole lot in one operation, but thats up to you really.
Assembly is actually very straightforward really, you firstly lay two track pin parts over the outer pad section, make sure you have the end connectors facing the right way as indicated in the instructions. You then trap the two pins with the inner track/guide pin section, be very careful with the application of the glue to ensure you don't glue the pin in the process.
I found it easier to assemble multiple sub-assemblies of the 2 pins and 1 track link and then join each of the sub-assembles to form the full track run, but you could just as easy do it one link at a time if you wish. The assembled track links articulate very freely, providing you are careful with the glue making for very natural track fit around the kit srive sprockets and idlers.
Fitting each link together to form the track runs
After assembly the next question is "how do the tracks fit to the Trumpeter Ariete drive sprockets?". Well the answer is very well with a good snug fit between the sprocket teeth and the guide horns easily fitting between the twin road wheels.
The main thing to remember is most all Modern Western Tank tracks are "live" track which means there is little or no track sag on the upper track run, as opposed to the "dead" track on Russian type AFVs which have noticeable track sag between the road wheels/return rollers as did German track of WWII. Live track tends to curl inwards due to the design of the link bushings and this curling effect results in the lack of sag on the upper track runs.
The assembled track runs are very nicely detailed and are a considerable improvement over the vinyl track included in the Trumpeter kits for an excellent appearance.
The instructions are simple exploded view drawings on the back of the box along with some CAD images of the assembled track links to help in proper assembly.
As mentioned it is essential to make sure you fit the pins/end connectors with the correct orientation and checking this carefully in the assembly drawings beforehand will avoid any problems.
This is a superbly moulded and detailed set of workable track links for the C-1 Ariete with the assembled track runs really improving the overall look of the kit.
Detail on the end connectors and open guide horns are especially noteworthy as is the lack of pin marks on the track pads and links.
The cleanup of the many individual link parts could become quite tedious but the assembly of the links themselves after cleanup is quite quick and easy, just be careful with the glue.
Large Photo File No 1
By Daniele Guglielmi
Published by Auriga Publishing International SRL, Genova, Italy ISBN 88-88711-21-X
A5 landscape 78 pages
Thanks to Bronco Models for the review kit.