Panzerfähre (PzF.)
Friulmodel 1:35 Scale Track Set No. ATL-111
Review by Terry Ashley

DMLDMLHobby BossHobby Boss
The Set:
Following the set of tracks for the LWS I Late Production (set #ATL-104) comes this set designed for the recent splurge of Land-Wasser-Schlepper (LWS) Panzerfähre II prototypes for DML and Hobby Boss. The Panzerfähre II used the suspension/running gear from the Panzer IV Ausf.F with 40cm track initially with the type G/J drive sprocket used on the modernized prototypes.

The set consists of 230 white metal links divided equally between the right and left handed links and the usual coil of 0.5mm wire to cut up for the track pins. The track is basically the standard Panzer IV 40cm track as in previous Friulmodel sets ATL-03/04/05/27&28 packaged for the Panzerfähre.

Metal parts

Each track link is nicely cast with open guide horn and nicely done link details, the only cleanup required is a couple of small pour burs on the front of the shoe and the occasional fine metal flash inside the guide horn although this was only needed on about 10% of the links assembled for this review. They are also the correct 40cm scale width (11.4mm in 1:35) and correct pitch so should fit kit drive sprockets with the same 40cm track without problems hopefully.

The track pin holes are mostly open but you will need to use a 0.5mm drill bit to check all are clear of any obstruction and again only a small portion of the links required actual re-drilling of some holes, you should set the drill bit into your pin vice with only 11mm of the drill bit exposed so you don't drill all the way through the links.

As mentioned above the links are handed meaning the cast on pin bolt head is facing the outside on both left and right hand track runs, the links are packed in separate plastic bags for left and right so make sure you don't mix these up during cleanup.

Images showing the basic links prior to cleanup (left), the handed links (middle) and setting the drill bit length for drilling the pin holes (right)
Fruilmodel Fruilmodel Fruilmodel

After cleanup of the links and cutting of the 11mm track pins from the wire supplied, this is best done using a steel ruler as a cutting board so you cut (using a #11 blade) each pin to the exact 11mm required the links can be assembled.

This is quite straightforward really by fitting one link into the next and inserting the wire pin, occasionally the links may not align exactly and you can simply re-drill with the two links together the properly align the pin holes. The drill bit in this instance tends to align the link hole rather than drill new holes so the fit will still be good.

After fitting each track pin secure with a dab of thick cyanoacrylate on the end of the pin so it won't come loose at any time while handing the track runs, repeat the sequence for each link until the track run is complete for each side, you will need about 105 links per side but this may vary depending on the kit being fitted too.

The assembled track runs are extremely robust being metal and articulate freely allowing you to get a very natural track sag when fitting to the kits which is a big plus for the metal Friulmodel tracks.

Link assembly

Fitting the tracks:
I test fitted the tracks to the DML Panzerfähre Prototype Nr.1 (kit #6625) and Hobby Boss LWS II Upgrade (kit #82462) to see how the fit went with the kit drive sprockets and running gear.

The fit to the DML kit was perfect without any alterations required and while the kit has nicely done handed individual link track this isn't workable so this track set is an excellent upgrade if you prefer workable track especially for the noticeable track sag between the return rollers.

Metal tracks fitted to the DML LWS II without any problems

Moving to the Hobby Boss kit things didn't quite go as smoothly unfortunately as there are some quite serious issues with the kit suspension.

Firstly it has the earlier Ausf.E road wheels and idlers plus narrow 36cm track which according to the Trojca book listed below and backed up by available period photos this configuration never used on the LWS II.

To add to this the kit is designed in a way that makes you fit the suspension bogies the wrong way around on the wrong sides of the hull, they even have different sized locating lugs so they only fit on one side. This means to fit the bogies correctly you will need to trim the lugs on the right side bogies (as shown in the instructions) and fit these on the left hull side and conversely fit the left side bogies (as shown in the instructions) to the right hull side. This means these bogies have lugs smaller than the holes in the hull side and can move about so make sure they are positioned correctly.

As the drive sprockets are for the 36cm track you will need to widen the space between the two sprocket discs to take the metal 40cm track and this can be done by adding a 1mm plastic card spacer between the two sprocket halves.

But it doesn't end there, when fitting the drive sprocket to the kit final drive housing the axle pin is about half the diameter it needs to be to fit into the back of the drive sprocket meaning you will have to enlarge the axle pin accordingly, I did this quickly by adding small strips of 1mm thick card around the axle pin.

Unfortunately there was still another problem in that the sprocket sat too close to the final drive housing actually fouling the housing resulting in it not lining up correctly with the road wheels and again you will need to add a 1mm card spacer to bring the sprocket out from the final drive and align correctly with the road wheels.

Image showing the issues with the Hobby Boss kit as per above

By this time I'd just about had my fill of this kit as this is supposed to be a review of the Friulmodel tracks, not a critique of the Hobby Boss kit, but while I'm here I did make a quick check of the rest of both kits and while I can't comment on the fit of any other parts the level of detail definition on the parts was noticeably superior on the DML kit. Given the issues with the Hobby Boss running gear I'd preferable go with the DML kits to avoid these issues that really shouldn't be there with the Hobby Boss kit.

Anyway after making all these alterations to the Hobby Boss running gear the metal track actually fitted nicely to the sprockets and running gear.


This set of metal tracks from Friulmodel is nicely detailed with good track link definition such as the open guide horn and has minimal cleanup required for the link prior to assembly.

The assembled links are accurate, robust and articulate very well making for a quick and easy update to the two DML Panzerfähre kits if you prefer working track but I really wouldn't bother with the Hobby Boss kit given the amount of work needed as described above.

Rating 8.5/10

Thanks to Friulmodel for the review Set.

Page created January 22, 2011

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