T-70 was a Soviet light tank developed for scouting and infantry support. Crewed by two men and equipped with a 45mm gun it was able to speed up to 45 km/h thanks to two GAZ engines. Initial version of T-70 had one engine driving one side of the tank which was not very efficient and was a serious issue for combat use. In response to that a better version, termed T-70M was developed with engines lined up together. Additionally the road wheels were installed on the stronger swing arms, return rollers were enforced as well as better brake system. As the inferiority of T-70M to any kind of anti-tank weapons was obvious already at the time of its appearance on the battlefield, the chassis was used for the self-propelled gun SU-76M as well as a slightly better light tank, the T-80, which had T-70M hull with larger two-men turret.
A couple of years ago very nice kits of the T-70/80 and SU-76M were released by MiniArt and initially these had single track links that required removing them from the sprues. These are nowadays replaced by re-released kits termed “special edition” with single track links that allow building workable tracks, however they are still connected to the sprues and require cleaning. In white metal a set of Friuls was also released.
The subject of this review is the workable metal tracks set from MasterClub which offers realistic track pins unlike other products together with full mobility after assembly. Unfortunately I do not possess any samples of Friul track links or MiniArts original plastic links so the review would be limited to test fitting the tracks and measuring them.
Set MTL-35035 has similar packing as other MasterClub white metal track sets – plastic box with a lid and small information sheet. Inside there are 180 single white metal track links and 360 grey resin pins. The contents are packed into individual zip lock plastic bags with track pins separated into two bags (even though they are identical in this set). The package also contains a tag that allows identifying the person who was responsible for packing in case you would like to contact the manufacturer.
The links are nicely cast and have very smooth surface without any defects. Small seams can be eliminated with sharp knife or left as is – they will be pressed when the links joined together. The assembly is as simple as possible – two links are aligned together and pins are inserted from the sides. The holes are opened already and there is no need for drilling or any other preparation of the tracks before assembly. Should you still wish to use wire for assembly – the track pin holes are bored through the whole link.
Process goes quite fast and after assembly the track chain is fully articulated and holds together without any issues. Important aspect of these tracks is that no glue is required for assembly. This is achieved by the slightly conical shape of the track pins meaning they are a bit thicker closer to the pin head. Trials using MiniArt drive sprocket (kindly supplied by Erik Ahlström) revealed that these tracks fit like a glove without any adjustments. As for the track number – it should be 80 links per side according to technical specifications of T-70M/T-80/SU-76M.
I also did measurements of the metal track link and compared them to the original one. Here the tracks showed very high degree of replication as the differences observed are rather due to my measuring equipment. Width is 8,53 mm (300 mm original, 8,57 mm in 1/35); track pitch is 3,2 mm (111 mm original, equivalent to 3,17 mm in 1/35); height is 3,6 mm (132 mm original, equivalent to 3,7 mm in 1/35).
In conclusion I think it is another accurate set from MasterClub which would please modellers who prefer metal tracks on their models. Accuracy and quality are the core benefits while workability and no need for glue during assembly are also very attractive.
Disclaimer: This item was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of a review directly to the author.
Highs: Accurate set of tracks for T-70M/T-80/SU-76M.Lows: None so far.Verdict: Highly recommended.