by: Roman [ ]
The T-34 was produced from 1940 and there have been several modifications of that “mythical weapon” – different factories were introducing their own improvements of the original design and upgrades suitable to mass production and limited resources that USSR faced when it’s western part was occupied by advancing German forces. Similar to evolution of the tank itself, the tracks were changing their appearance, width, pattern and so on. The “Waffer pattern” tracks were introduced in the beginning of 1943 at the ChTZ produced tanks and then spread to other facilities. These had 500mm width, cast or stamped and were used on T-34/76, T-34/85 and SU-100 tank destroyers.
T-34 is a very popular subject (most popular Soviet tank amongst modellers?) and there are several kits available from major manufacturers like DML or AFV club together with older generation kits from Tamiya, Maquette and Zvezda. Many modellers prefer to have metal tracks on their models and MasterClub’s new offering (MTL35023) might be of interest here.
As with other sets of white metal tracks from MasterClub these come packed into plastic container together with small sheet of paper with information. Inside there are 2 zip-lock bags of resin track pins and 2 bags of metal tracks – with and without guide horn. One of the track pins has round pin head and it should be on the inner side of the track link (I put it wrong side on the model for the review). This is due to a lack of cotter keys on the T-34 tracks and the track pins that were falling out during movement were put back into their position by a special lip on the top of the drive sprocket mount. The casting is rather clean, however small clean up with hobby knife or any other hard object is required in the contact area of track links to facilitate assembly. The guide horn is hollow on the outside and the wafer pattern is nicely done with fine details. The track links with horn have casting numbers on them while the ones without have round holes that were used for ice spurs. When placed next to Dragon’s magic tracks the finesse of white metal offering from MasterClub is obvious, they simply look more to scale in terms of thickness of all elements and of course do not require fighting with ejector pin marks.
For assembly you would need only small tweezers, no CA glue is required. This is achieved due to tight fit of resin track pins into openings on the track links. It is important not to use too much force during pin insertion as they might break, so it is better to spend time on alignment of links before inserting the pin then rather playing around with fit when you already have the pin inside. After the assembly the chain articulates without problem and fits the sprocket and idler of Dragon kit T-34/76 mod. 1943. (information from PMMS says they fit AFV club too). Just keep in mind that the light coloured resin track pin with round head should be on the inner side of the track link (closer to hull) and not on the outer as on my image.
One minor issue is the number of tracks required per side – 74 instead of 72 as per T-34 manual. It is true that early tracks also had 74, but not the “wafer” patterned once. Of course this absolutely unnoticeable on the model unless someone would really count the number of tracks you have on it. But I feel it is important information to keep in mind. Otherwise they have correct width (14,3mm – equivalent to 500mm of the real thing)