The T-34 was in production from 1940 and there have been several modifications of this “mythical weapon” – different factories were introducing their own improvements to the original design and upgrades suitable for mass production and the limited resources that USSR faced when it’s western part was occupied by advancing German forces. Similar to the evolution of the tank itself, the tracks were changing in their appearance, width, pattern and so on. The pattern represented in this set of tracks from Masterclub (MTL-35022) corresponds to factory 183 made tanks until the factory stopped production. The links were stamped, 500mm wide, with a “V” shaped rib on the outer surface and a guide horn or a single hole for the ice cleats on the inner. Additionally, factory 183 produced a similar type of tracks in the beginning of its operation.
The package is labelled as “T-34/76 1942 year 500mm late V type” and the plastic container has a small sheet of paper with some information. As stated on it, there are 162 tracks links and 324 resin pins inside. These are packed into individual zip-lock bags (2 for tracks and 2 for pins). One set of track pins has round pin head and it should be on the inner side of the completed tracks. This is due to the lack of cotter keys on the T-34 track pins. They tended to fall out during movement and were pushed back into their position by a special lip welded on the top of the drive sprocket mount. The other track pin is just a resin rod cut to certain length. The metal track links themselves have clean casting, however small clean up with a hobby knife or any other hard object might be required where two links meet in order to facilitate assembly. The guide horn is hollow on the outside and the track pattern is nicely done with fine details and correct features. Each track link has a casting number on the internal surface and the ones without guide horns have a single hole for the ice cleats. I don’t have Dragon’s or Friul’s similar sets for comparison but judging from what is available online Masterclub appears to have better detail level with overall finesse.
For assembly you would need only small tweezers, no CA glue or wire is required. This is achieved due to tight fit of resin track pins into openings on the track. It is important not to use excessive force during pin insertion as they might break, and rather spend some time on the alignment of the track links before inserting the pin. After the assembly the chain articulates without problem and fits the sprocket and idler of a Dragon T-34/76 kit. In total I used 74 track links per side which is correct for this type of track. The width is correct in scale as well (14,3mm – equivalent to 500mm of the real track). Note that the direction of the tracks also matters – “V” should be as I assembled them, however there is evidence that some tanks had tracks in opposite direction!
Another great set of white metal tracks from Masterclub that would definitely please the fans of the T-34 tank. The assembly of the first 5-10 links might seem complex, but once you get the right feeling you will finish both runs very quickly. No drilling necessary, no glue required; very realistic appearance.