Live Resin Leopard 1 Tracks (Diehl D139E2) LRT-35001
Live Resin Leopard 1 Sprockets LRT-35002
Media: Resin. Tracks are click together, individual links
Reviewed by Michael Shackleton
This came as something of a surprise from a manufacturer that has never before produced any track sets, though they have dabbled with wheel sets.
More widely known for their guns, helmets, sights, etc. Live Resin has produced a very welcome addition to the range of available Leopard 1 accessories.
These tracks represent the first production type which have been poorly represented in 1.35 scale until now. The Diehl D139E2 followed the same pattern that had been set on all American battle tanks from M26 through to M60. D139E2 was made up from 84 links on each side. The tracks were faced with non-removable chevron-shaped rubber pads held together by rubber bushed end connectors and centre guide horns.
Hot on the news of an early Leopard 1 release from Revell for later in 2015, these tracks will be very useful. The only other ones available are from Perfect Scale Modellbau which I cannot recommend I'm afraid.
D139E2 tracks were used on all four initial production batches for the Bundeswehr and some export versions, notably those used by the Dutch Army. The Dutch used these exclusively throughout the life of their Leopard 1NL, Leopard 1V and their special purpose vehicles. Even when Chile bought stocks of ex-Dutch Leopard 1V, these tracks were still in use in the 2000s, though some were replaced with the more common D640 more recently.
Inside a smallish cardboard is a simple ziplock bag containing 178 individual resin likes. I counted 177 in my package. As mention above, the real thing had 2 x 84 links, so there should be 10 spares. There are no instructions.
Knowing the designer of these tracks is the same guy I use for Leopard Workshop products, Ernst Beck, they have to be good - right? Yes, they are. They are very good indeed - but with one drawback which I will come to.
Comparing them to measurements I have, they are bang on even though the chevron blocks do look quite deep. They were deep in reality as they were expected to have a long life.
The detail on the end connectors is very nice with the correct hollows between the pins, and the base of the track guide even has the correct detail. Overall 10 out of 10 for accuracy.
They are very cleanly cast with no bubbles in sight. Only a very small amount of clean up is needed around the end connectors and the hidden edge of the pads. I haven't cleaned anything up in my photos. Sorry about that but it does prove that they go together with minimal work.
These tracks have small pins on the inside of the end connectors and either side of the track guides, These correspond to small holes in the track shoes. In theory, they should just click together. However, the first two I tried to click together simply broke in half as too much pressure was needed.
To avoid any further breakages, I removed the pins from either side of the central guide teeth, and they went together much more smoothly. Success.
Some will complain that because the end connectors are cast onto the blocks, they will not look right when they go around the idler or sprocket. Don't worry about this as they so small.
Available as a separate kit are LRT-35002 Leopard 1 Sprockets. Like the track links, these are beautifully cast and are made up of 5 parts each - the two main halves, a base unit for the hull, an optional mud scrape ring for the centre (not fitted to all sprockets), and a hub with 15 bolts. It is a shame that an alternative 8-bolt hub is not offered as this would be far more appropriate for use with the new D139E2 tracks. The 15-bolt hub was introduced at the time of of the 1A5 upgrade, long after D139E2 had disappeared.
I would probably ignore the base unit unit supplied as it will be too difficult to remove the kit items, all of which are moulded to the hull sides. The sprocket can simply be glued to the plastic manufacturer's unit, though some may want to drill the axle through for more flexibility.
These sprockets are just perfect. I don't see how they can be improved as far as quality is concerned. Compared to the plastic alternatives, they are light years ahead.
I have tied the tracks on sprockets from Italeri, Meng, Takom and Live Resin, of course.
Naturally, the tracks are a perfect fit on the Live Resin sprocket. Although it may not look like it from my photo, they also fit the Italeri (and therefore Revell) sprocket perfectly, too. Meng sprockets need a tiny bit of work as the teeth are slightly too wide, but the Takom ones are completely hopeless. They are too narrow and and teeth don't fit either.
Fit of the tracks on the Live Resin sprocket
Live Resin tracks on an Italeri sprocket
Live Resin tracks on a Meng sprocket
Live Resin tracks on a Takom sprocket
A really nice surprise from an unusual source. And a really nice subject. Beautifully engineered and cast. The downsides are that the links don't fit as they are intended, but with some quick cutting, they go together quite nicely.
The sprockets need an alternative, earlier pattern (8-bolt) hub to be any use with these particular tracks and the base unit is really superfluous. Otherwise, they are fantastic.
The Live Resin website is a bit of a nightmare to get around as they don't have a search facility.
Go to this link to view the items.
To order directly you have to visit models-hobby.com.