The T-55 together with T-62 are the most mass produced tanks in history and it is hard to find a conflict during the last 50 years where these chassis were not involved. Apart from vehicles produced in the USSR they were manufactured in some Warsaw pact countries and also underwent modifications in the Middle East that are known as Tiran, Enigma and others. T-55 and T-62 used OMSh tracks that are joined together with a metal pin without rubber bushing (unlike RMSh tracks) and are quite flexible. Another noticeable difference between OMSh and RMSh is that the openings for sprocket teeth on tracks are closed on sides in OMSh and open in RMSh tracks.
Several kits of T-55 and T-62 exist on the market and many modelers would like to replace rubber band or styrene tracks included in the kit with a better offering. Until recently the best were the resin tracks from Masterclub which have great replication of the original track as well as realistic pins. However, modelers that prefer white metal tracks for their models used Friuls. Now, we got a better product – metal track links with resin pins from Masterclub.
Packed in the standard clear plastic box the tracks are locked inside the plastic bag and pins are in a separate bag. The casting is sharp and all detail of the original track is preserved in scale. No or minimal clean-up was required on my set and the presence of drilled out track pin holes is very pleasing (that was one of the drawbacks of the resin tracks from Masterclub). Pins are the same for both sides and it is very easy to assemble the track chain, the links are simply inserted into each other and then the pins are put in place using tweezers and without any extra pressure. Just note that you should cut off the pin head on the outer side of the track link once assembled as there is no nut on the real tank tracks.
Dimension-wise they match the plans that are available on the internet. These tracks are 16.5mm wide which is equivalent to 580mm of the real track (Note that Friul is 17.0mm) and pitch is 4 mm which is very close to 3.92mm (equivalent to 137mm of the real track), height is 5.1 mm which is almost equivalent to 185mm of the original piece. I tried the fit of the assembled chain on the sprocket from Trumpeter T-62 kit (kindly donated by Gergo Szaszko) and it went without trouble. As for the number of links per side – it should be 96 for T-62 and 90 for T-55 (according to tank manuals).
In summary this is another welcome set from Masterclub that features great replication of the real track in scale and unbeatable detail (casting numbers, overall finesse and sharpness, realistic pins). Having some experience with painting these tracks I can recommend burnishing them after the assembly in chains, not as separate links. The burnishing solutions (I tried quick rust from Wilder and blue burnishing fluid from Uschi van der Rosten) do not affect resin pins and I recommend priming them on the already burnished tracks using a primer you prefer and a brush. Just note that you should not force dry paint on these tracks with heat as heat will damage the resin and track pins might get deformed.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge Tim Roberts, Alex Zaretser and Mauro De Nittis for help with references and information. And good news for modellers in North America - Masterclub is now available from USA-based distributor that has the whole range of metal and resin products!
Highs: unbeatable detail, accurateLows: none that come into my mindVerdict: highly recommended