Standartkette/Ostkette/Winterkette für Pz.Kpfw.III/IV

Kit #: 72102 Preview by Stephen Brezinski - sbrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

This aftermarket track set consists of three different styles of tank track for the German Pz III and Pz IV tanks of World War 2. The track represents the later 40-cm wide track used on mid to late war vehicles (e.g. Pz IV F through J).

Rather than cast resin, Maco went through all the trouble to mold sprue in injection molded styrene plastic. Four sprues of tracks are included in each set, all packed in a small plastic bag. There are individual links and short lengths totaling three sets of track, of 40-cm in total length. That is enough track for three Pz IV plus some extra; even more extra for a StuG or Pz III which use fewer track links.

On each sprue is 10-cm of Standardketten (standard track) issued to Pz III and Pz IV at the factory. There were variations in the Standardketten, such as open track guide teeth or cast-in ice cleats.

The second type on the sprue is 10-cm of Ostketten (East track) on each sprue. Ostketten was used from 1943 to 1945, it looks just like wider track, much wider; I think they look a lot like Pz V Panther track (see picture below). One description is that they were designed for the spring and autumn mud conditions. We can use them on vehicles such as the Pz IV Ausf. H and Ausf. J, Pz III Ausf. N, the Hornisse and Hummel vehicles, as well as the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G and the Sturmgeschütz IV assault guns, and other vehicles.

The third type of track on the Maco sprue is Winterketten (winter track) shown in the photo below. I understand the Winterkette was developed in 1942 for deep winter snow conditions, similar to the duckbill extensions on Sherman tracks, except these Winterkette extensions were cast into the metal track, not removable. The Winterkette looks like they have rectangular fins sticking out from the standard track. Vehicles we can see this on include the Pz III, StuIG33, StuG III and StuG IV, Pz IV, Wirbelwind, etc.

An important thing to keep in mind is that when using the Ostkette and the Winterkette, it appears we should leave the Schürzen (side skirts) off the hull or angle the hull Schürzen out a bit away from the hull. In my searches I have seen Pz III and Pz IV with Ostketten and Winterketten and turret Schürzen, but only one Pz IV also with hull Schürzen (see photo above). (Ed. Note: the hangers for the Schürzen had two positions to cater for this.)

This photo shows the Maco track at top with OKB track set S72203 at bottom for comparison. At left is the Standardketten in lengths of six links. Right of center is the Ostketten. At far right is a run of six links of the Winterkette with the rectangular fins. Detail looks good and this Maco track will be a considerable improvement over that in the ESCI/Italeri, First To Fight and Attack Models kits. The Maco track does not have as fine detail as the OKB resin track, though the styrene plastic may be easier to work with.

The Maco track comes in short lengths of six links and individual links. We glue the short lengths together to get the top and bottom runs of track, then we use the individual links to go around the idler and sprocket wheels. Glue with regular plastic modeling cement. I recommend assembling the lengths before gluing the run to the vehicle, and bend a little track sag between the return roller.

Examining the real tracks on historical photos there appears to be a distinct direction for the track based on the links. I am pleased to report that Maco was paying attention and molded right and left sides to their Ostketten and Winterketten track to ensure the links are in the correct, intended direction. With the Standardketten we can simply turn the run of track around to get the correct orientation.

Molding quality and detail of the Maco track is good, perhaps not as good detail as the OKB track, but the plastic medium will be easier to work with. There are no instructions on assembling, such as which way the track is oriented on the model; refer to your reference photos for that.

The inside face of the Maco track compares well with the OKB track. Too often I see tracks with no inside surface detail. Here we can see that both have the solid guide teeth.

There will be a lot of work separating the track with a sharp blade then cleaning up the remaining nubs with a fine file. Wash in mild detergent to remove dust and oils, glue with regular plastic model cement. This Maco track is a great addition to any good display model. I am unsure of the availability of Maco kits at this time, I understand that many Maco kits are now available from Revell AG.

This track accessory was purchased by the modeler.


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Article Last Updated: 13 May 2020

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