What's Inside the Box
Set number TK-03, US T-158 rubber tracks for the M1A1/M1A2 includes twenty identical sprues. Two zip lock bags hold ten sprue securely. Each sprue contains ten track blocks, ten center guides and sixteen end connectors. This gives the modeler a total of 160 complete track blocks. The directions state that 78 are required per side, so there would be four spare blocks to hang off the side of the turret if the modeler so desired. Also included are a pair of resin idler wheels and drive sprockets. These four items are placed together in a zip lock bag as well. The small direction sheet is more than adequate for assembling the tracks.
The drawing on the box top depicts T-158LL tracks. The main difference between the T-158 tracks and T-158LL are the center guides. The T-158LL has a hollow center guide and is the latest track type in use for the Abrams series tank. The set actually comes with T-158 tracks with the solid center guide that most modelers are familiar with. These are the type of tracks that are included in the Dragon, Trumpeter, Italeri, new Tamiya M1A2 and the AFV Club "Big Foot" track set.
The tracks are nicely molded in black plastic. They have crisp detail and no flash. The end connectors are designed so that numerous track blocks can be assembled while the end connectors are still on the sprue. The bolt head detail is present on the inner track surface, center guides and end connectors.
The inner surface of the track blocks has a slightly raised circular detail on each pad (two per track block). This is similar to the mushroom-type bump on the inner surface of Trumpeter Abrams tracks. None of the M1A1 tanks I own have this feature. They look like ejection marks, but the detail is drawn on the box art. This leads to the conclusion that they were placed there by design. Perhaps this feature is present on remanufactured/reconditioned tracks. The marks could either be left on or one could sand off all 320 of them.
Resin Sprocket and Idler Wheels
The molding of the resin pieces is excellent. The idler wheel assembly is molded in a pair. There are two pour stubs on the rubber idler wheel surface that will be easy to remove. There is interesting bolt detail on the inside idler wheel that mirrors the outside road wheel. Very nicely done, except for the fact that there aren't any bolt heads on the inside idler wheel. Since this portion would be virtually hidden by the hull, it wouldn't be worth the bother to remove the bolt heads.
The drive sprockets are molded in one piece with a slender pour stub along the sprocket carrier. Like the idler wheel pour stub, it will be easy to remove. The bolt detail along the sprocket itself is overdone. The actual sprocket has the bolts inserted from the inner surface and the bottom of the bolt is flush with the surface of the sprocket. Amazingly, the inner bolt head detail is present on the inside and outside sprockets as well. Like the idler wheel, the inner sprocket has fictitious bolt head detail along the inner hub. It is nicely done but will be totally hidden from view once installed and is not present on the actual vehicle part.
The outer sprocket carrier has four D-shaped mud holes in it. These holes should be oval. It looks as though the Italeri M1A2 sprocket was used as a master since this is the same error on that kit. The sprocket final drive hub has the proper lazy X shape to it, but is a little overdone. Not worth the effort to correct it though. No track retaining ring is included, and some USMC Abrams tanks are starting to sport these once again.
At twice the price of the AFV Club T-158 tracks, adding the Armour Track Models to a new Tamiya kit would push the cost of that project into the triple figures. The resin drive sprockets and idler wheels are a nice touch, but not really necessary. I would truly recommend these tracks if it wasn't for the price. They are nice and will add that little touch to an Abrams kit. The box art is a little deceiving and I had hoped to get hollow center guided T-158LL. It is good to have a choice in modern armor tracks. Now I need to find the set of Armour Track Models T-156 tracks for the M1/K1 tanks.