Masterclub from Russia are producing a range of resin and white metal tracks for 1/35 scale models and they have an established reputation for their accurate and quality products. They might be not the most accessible as their distribution network is still limited but their quality is worth spending time finding these tracks.
The current set MTL35055 is dedicated to Soviet heavy tank T-10. T-10 was the last Soviet heavy tank ever produced and initially it was developed under index IS-10. But Stalin died and name was adjusted to new political line of the party. Nevertheless, several thousands of those 52-tonnes steel beasts were produced between 1952 and 1966 with some of the vehicles still being in service until 1990ies. The most known performance of T-10M is at the time of invasion in Czechoslovakia in 1968 by Warsaw pact countries and one can easily find reference images online if types “T-10 Plzen”. Just be careful that these tanks were not seen in Prague!
Until recent time the only possibility for T-10 model was old resin kit from Russian “Navigator”, however, the situation changed during summer 2015 and both Trumpeter and Meng released their versions of that iconic tank. Both manufacturers included individual track links with Meng offering workable option that received a number of critiques in build threads on Armorama. I can’t say anything about Meng tracks as I have only Trumpeter kit in my hands, but I was not very happy with them as well. So a white metal option is always a pleasure to get for a model.
MTL35055 comes in a plastic container with product information insert, a bag with white metal links and 2 bags with resin track pins. These pins are unique feature of Masterclub products as they allow realistic appearance of finished track similar to original. If you don’t like track pins and would like to place wire (why would one do that?) the diameter of holes in the track links is mentioned on the package (0,6mm). In total there are 200 track links and 400 pins (they are inserted from inner and outer side of the track run) which is sufficient to make 2 full tracks and you will have some spares. I used 87 links per side on my model, which is matching pretty much the references, while Trumpeter offers 88 in the manual. If one would put 88 metal tracks on that chassis they will be simply laying on the ground meaning there is again something somewhere in the chassis on the model (similar to Object 704 kit).
I did some measurements of a single track link and compared with a drawing of the original. Width -720mm (equals 20,57mm in 1/35 scale – MTL35055 has 20,54mm), pitch 160 mm (equals 4,57mm in 1/35 scale - MTL35055 has 4,6mm, height of the original is 187mm (equals to 5,34mm in 1/35 scale – MTL35055 is 5,3mm).
Quality-wise these tracks are much more detailed than plastic with finer guide horns and imitation of casting numbers. The imitation of pins also looks very good and allows the tracks to fully articulate. The assembly process goes smoothly with tracks being inserted into each other and track pins installed with tweezers. As the size of the holes is rather large this is very easy to do. From all tracks that I used during the assembly probably 2 to 4 had minor casting defects and I had to replace them. In case there is something wrong with a set each package is provided with packing reference and a modeller can contact the company for replacement.
I think it is a great set if you are looking for white metal tracks for your T-10 model (be it T-10 or T-10M) from Trumpeter. I can’t really comment on how they would sit on the Meng drive sprocket, but if you have a kit and can measure the tracks from kit you can compare it to measurements from this review and decide yourself. Note that the track pin with a washer should always be on the outer side of the track. Also these tracks are not for IS-4, although they look similar. IS-4 tracks had no lightening holes on side blades.
Highs: High quality precise white metal tracks for T-10 model in 1/35 scale. Pins included.Lows: none I can think of.Verdict: highly recommended if you are looking for white metal replacement tracks.