T-26 was a Soviet light tank based on the British Vickers 6-ton tank. Produced between 1931 and 1941 it underwent several modifications including two-turreted version, version with single turret, up-armoured, command tank, flamethrower and others. Altogether around 11000 tanks were produced and the T-26 tank was used in different conflicts during the 1930s and the early days of the WW2 (Spanish Civil War, Soviet-Japanese conflict, Winter War, Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran). Moreover, it was used by Finnish, Chinese, German, Romanian and Spanish armies.
In plastic until recent time there were was only Zvezda and Mirage kits of the T26 which are rather pour in quality. Luckily, HobbyBoss launched a new series of kits and already several are available for modellers. Although it seemed like progress from Zvezda and Mirage kits it still has some accuracy issues. Moreover, the tracks are made as single links that require clean up as well as separate plastic track pins that should be also removed from sprues. Dimension wise they are almost 4mm wider and have a bit smaller pitch. Altogether that makes many modellers think about replacement tracks and it might be a MasterClub offering?
The set MTL35033 comes in a standard MasterClub packaging – small plastic box with info sheet. The metal track links and resin pins are packed into clear zip lock plastic bags. In total there are 240 track links and 480 pins (identical for both left and right sides). According to T-26 maintenance manual there were 108 track links per side meaning that there will be some spares after the assembly. The metal tracks links are clearly cast. They have small burs which can be easily removed with a knife or ignored as they disappear when the track links would be pressed together. The holes on the tracks are open and there is no problem to insert resin pins using tweezers. No glue is required for assembly as the shape of the pin is slightly thicker closer to pin head granting tight fit. The process itself is very straightforward and doesn’t take much time as these links align easily.
Dimensions are very close to the real thing – width 7,41mm which is equivalent to 259mm (260mm real), pitch 2,54 mm which is equivalent to 88,9mm (90mm real). That means that the tracks are accurate themselves but knowing the issues with HobbyBoss kits, how well would they fit? The tracks fit very well around the drive sprocket; however a spacer (0,8mm) should be added between the halves of the drive sprocket as they do not match the tracks. Otherwise according to what I’ve seen on the forums the tracks sit well on the return rollers and idler.
Clearly, the MasterClub tracks are much better than the plastic offering included in HB kit as regards accuracy, not only offering better appearance but also being very accurate. Little work is required to adjust the MasterClub drive sprockets, but the result is worth spending time. However, the final choice is up to modeller - budget and personal demands are the key factors here.
"This item was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of a review direct to the author.”
Highs: accurate white metal tracks with realistic track pins.Lows: extra costs to your model.Verdict: Recommended.