Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 scale Accessory Set TK-21; T-64 Workable Track Links for Russian T-64 MBT; 160 parts; retail price US$28.99
Advantages: easier to clean up and assemble than the old SKIF set
Disadvantages: may not fit on SKIF kits
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all =9364-ka=94 fans
Arguably one of the worst tanks ever built, the Soviet T-64 main battle tank had a very tortuous path to existence and one which found it disliked by many of those who were suppose to crew them.
The design of the tank initiated in 1953, and it underwent a number of major changes over the years before the first accepted version appeared in 1966 as first Article 432 and then as the T-64. It tried to combine too much in one tank: new hull design with a 68 degree sloped glacis, new turret armor arrangements, an autoloader, and a four-cylinder opposed piston diesel engine. Most of the new technology failed. The tank was forced to evolve with a bored-out 115mm gun which was now 125mm, it used the 5TDF flat opposed piston high-speed two- stroke diesel engine which was to prove its Achilles Heel over the tank=92s service life. One company commander said if he could get one T-64 started he could at least drag start the other nine.
Even later models such as the T-64A and the T-64B (which added a laser rangefinder and through-the-bore =93Kobra=94 ATGM system) were only scant improvements over the T-64, and it was not until the tanks were being withdrawn from service that a working engine, the 6TDF-2, was developed for the tank and proved reliable.
Another one of the tank=92s failings was its running gear. Aleksandr Morozov had designed the original tank to weigh less than 36 metric tons but possess better armor protection than a heavy tank, and to do that he had to cut weight someplace =96 the wheels and tracks. As a result the tank had very fragile wheels and tracks, which were not capable of supporting the tank except on hard ground or pavement. No other tank ever used this running gear, and precious few other vehicles (some engineering vehicles and the PTS-2 are about it).
Until this year the only T-64 kits in styrene have been those from SKIF, and while not too bad (considering SKIF kits) the tracks on all of them were truly awful. As a result, even SKIF offered hard styrene single link tracks as a replacement, but in their case the tracks were also typical of SKIF. 160 links came in a set, but with the geometry of the kits it took 168 to complete two track runs!
Trumpeter is now offering T-64 kits which are new from the ground up, and this track set is designed to compliment the set found in the kit. The box contains 160 track links (two to a sprue) and all in one piece. The shape and size is correct, and to assemble them all you have to do is cut off two casting bits and gently snap them together. As they articulate there appears to be enough room between them so that 80 per side will work on the Trumpeter kit, but I have not had a chance to try them with a SKIF kit. Even if it takes more links (a pain, as that requires two sets) the detail on this set is much better (check out the end connector detail on these tracks).
Overall this is a big improvement and should prove popular with Soviet modelers.