ARM: Review - Model Kasten T-26 track set

Kit Review: Model Kasten 1/35 Scale "Working" Track Set SK-38: T-26 Light Tank;
approximately 350 parts in light brown styrene; price estimated at $27-35
Advantages: very nice plastic track set that replaces the useless Zvezda track
set
Disadvantages: use of two pins per link on short-pitch track guaranteed to
frustrate most modelers
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for anyone with a Zvedza T-26 kit
There is a point of diminishing returns in the battle between manufacturers in
the "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" (and apologies to the musical "Annie
Get Your Gun" for that one.) Model Kasten started the rage in replacement track
sets with its very neatly done scale tracks (which were usually too accurate
and required a lot of filing, fussing and modification to fit kits designed for
motorized operation) and were followed by many others, such as AFV Club,
Skybow, MB Models, DML, and Fruilmodelismo. As a result, M-K went back to the
drawing board and redesigned their track sets to work.
That's a nice idea, but what it entails is the fact that each track link,
instead of a single plastic part, now consists of a link and two pins that have
to be cemented to the ends to hold it in place. This makes for a very tedious
business, and most models (at least the ones M-K does not provide drivers for)
will have to still have them filed, sanded and fussed with to take the new
track sets.
To give them credit for trying to make it easier, M-K provide an assembly jig
and the pins come on separate individual sprues, so that a set of about 10
links can be popped together in about 15 minutes. But these are rather fragile,
so even though M-K cheerily notes on the directions that the track may be made
operable and they provide axles to make it work on the model, this seems a bit
optimistic.
But there are only three sets out there now for the T-26, and since Zvezda's
tracks are too stiff and way too short (at least two links, and any attempt to
mount them either means rotating the idlers too far forward or snapping parts
off the model) one of the three must be used. The RPM/Maquette tracks are too
bulky and require a lot of filing (such as guide teeth on each link), Fruil
need to be put together with wire which a number of modelers hate, and these
are the two-pins-per link ones. Your choice.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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