Modelkasten FriulmodelArmour Track Models
T-55 Track (workable) comparison
ModelKasten #SK-59
Friulmodel #ATL-01
Armour Track Models #TK-05
1:35 Scale
Review by Terry Ashley

After posting the reviews of the T-55 individual track sets from Armour Track Models and ModelKasten and noting that the ATM track didn’t fit the Tamiya T-55 drive sprockets while the MK tracks did, I decided to have a closer look to see why?

In this comparison I have also included the Friulmodel (FM) T-55 metal link tracks #ATL-01 as well as the Armour Track Models (ATM) #TK-05 and the ModelKasten (MK) #SK-59. Both the FM and ATM tracks were released before the Tamiya T-55 kit (#35257) while the MK tracks were released after the Tamiya kit, so one would expect them to be the best fit.

The T-54/55/62 single pin track is 580mm wide which means in 1:35th scale we are looking at a track width of 16.58mm.

Just a quick note on the images below. The track link images are shown twice normal size as is the image of the actual track link outline (in red) (a normal size image is also shown). You will also need to take into account your own screen resolution which will alter the size of the image as displayed on the screen. Images have the track outline overlayed to indicate the differing sizes on the links.

Kit tracks:
The ESCI track is 16.5mm wide, Tamiya 16.5mm, Trumpeter 17.5mm and Skif, well this doesn’t even represent T-55 track so the less said the better. Both the ESCI and Tamiya kit tracks are pretty much spot on as far as width goes while the detail on the ECSI link and length track is okay and the Tamiya “rubber band” has nice details but not the “space” between the links that only separate links can give but both will look quite okay if your don’t want to splurge the hard earned on additional track sets. The Trumpeter track lacks detail and doesn’t look good at all and as mentioned I won’t waste time trying to describe the Skif track.
T-55 Tracks
Aftermarket track:
This sees the MK at 16.6mm wide, the FM at 17.0mm and the ATM track 17.55mm. The MK track is basically on the money while the extra .4mm in the FM links isn’t really worth talking about but the ATM track is nearly 1mm wider than the others as well as being deeper and more “chunkier” than the other two.
Both the MK and FM links have the drive teeth holes spaced about the same while the ATM sees them further apart. The FM links are also slightly deeper than the MK links which does come into play when fitting around the Tamiya drive sprocket.

The detail on the MK and FM links themselves is excellent with both being on a par with only some very minor cleanup needed on the FM links while the MK links do not have any pin ejector marks on the inside faces. The ATM links do have minor pin ejector marks on the inside faces that will need cleaning up but this can be done easily by shaving with a sharp blade. Some of the detail on the ATM track is not as accurate (holes or for the drive teeth being square when they should be slightly angled at the front part) but otherwise look okay.

T-55 Tracks T-55 Tracks
T-55 Tracks

The MK tracks are by far the easiest to assemble and give the best pin detail when completed, the jig provided works very well and the small pins are pointed which makes them easy to slip into the locating holes. They are also handed to give the correct pin detail on each side of the model and fit precisely around the Tamiya drive sprockets. They also fit the ESCI drive sprockets okay but will not fit the Trumpeter sprockets as the teeth are wider to accept the wider kit tracks. For the Skif kit, some modification of the sprocket teeth will be needed and the inside teeth reduced slightly in width to get the tracks to fit, but really it will take more than a set of tracks to rescue the Skif T-55.
MK Track lengths and around the Tamiya drive sprockets showing the different pins on the
inside and outside of the track links

Modelkasten Modelkasten
The FM track are time consuming to assemble with the pin holes needing to be drilled to open up fully and the length of wire supplied has to be cut into small lengths to assemble the track. The tracks are not handed which means the detail is compromised on one side of the vehicle, the pin end detail is not as good as on the MK tracks due to the wire used in the construction. With the links being slightly deeper than the MK sees them not fit quite as well around the Tamiya drive sprockets, but with the full track lengths having more weight due to being metal will help in keeping them a snug as possible around the sprockets and will look good. Some trimming of the sprocket teeth will be needed to get a good fit on the ESCI and Skif kits and again will not fit the Trumpeter sprockets due to the extra width.

FM Track lengths and around the Tamiya drive sprockets

Armour Track Models:
The ATM track is as mentioned larger in all directions than the other two and will not fit the Tamiya, ESCI or Skif drive sprockets as they come. But using the kit supplied resin drive sprockets will fix this and so can be used on any of the T-55 kits. They will fit the Trumpeter sprockets with some trimming of the drive teeth as the sprockets have the additional 1mm in width but again it would be easier to use the resin drive sprockets supplied.

Assembly is much the same as with the MK track with a jig supplied and two end pins to hold the links together. The pins have ‘rounded’ tips which make them harder to fit into the link holes, but once you get the hang of it constructions gets easier.

ATM Track lengths and around the ATM drive sprocket
Personally I give the points to the MK track for ease of assembly, scale size, and that they are handed to give the correct pin details and the glove like fit around the Tamiya drive sprockets.

The FM is a close second but looses out on the fiddley assembly and that they are not handed, compromising the pin detail.
The ATM track appears to be over scale but as mentioned by using the kit supplied drive sprocket to fit to the target kit should be okay.

Overall it boils down to personal preference really as each set will look impressive on the kit, the additional width of the ATM track probably won’t even be noticed on the finished kit with the ATM drive sprockets fitted while all three articulate well and will give a nice natural sag on the suspension.

Page created April 25, 2003

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