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Mike

Resin Wheels & Flexible Tyres - 1:72, 1:48, 1:32

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Resin Wheels & Flexible Tyres

Various Scales Halberd Models

 

 

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We've had resin wheels for years now, with most of the major aftermarket companies producing them, and some companies even including them in the kit off the shelf.  They benefit the modeller because they include more detail, and as kit wheels are generally in two halves, you don't have the resultant joins to deal with, or possible mould-slip issues on single part wheels.  Then of course you sometimes get less than stellar detail due to the moulding limitations of styrene injection technology, especially in the tread department.  That's where replacement resin wheels come in, with their lack of seamline and superior detail making a compelling argument.  They are also usually available at a reasonable price, and can be an easy introduction to aftermarket and resin handling, as they are usually a drop-in replacement.

 

That's where Halberd Models and their interesting new take on the resin wheel diverge from the masses.  We've had separate hubs before now, which can make painting the tyre and hub separately that much easier, but runs the risk of glue damage if some oozes out when you complete the job, and then there's the task of painting your tyres in a realistic manner, even if you're presenting them as clean and free of dirt.  What if you never had to paint a tyre again?  That's possible with these new sets from Halberd, who started out making realistic-looking wheels for small-scale car models, and have expanded into aircraft now with a pretty large issue of sets in the three major scales.

 

What's different?  Firstly, the tyres are moulded in a realistic-looking black/grey polyurethane resin, but they're also FLEXIBLE, in a similar manner to those old skool tyres that came with some Monogram kits in the 70s, which eventually melted the plastic hubs they were attached to.  These flexible tyres however are made of a non-volatile resin that won't melt just from being exposed to the air, so you shouldn't have any longevity problems.  Each set arrives in a sturdy printed cardboard box, with the tyres and resin hub parts in separate bags, and wrapped in the short instruction booklet that comes with each one.  The resin is injected with resin from the centre, so have no casting marks to clean up on the tread, and they have their makers' marks and technical stencils moulded-in for convenience.  The hubs are all moulded in two or even three parts, which slide inside the tyres once everything is prepared for installation.

 

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The construction phase will be a bit dusty of course, as you will need to remove the central boss from the tyres, which I did with a small #15 curved blade cutting through each of the spokes for the initial removal.  Then I used a sanding drum (they recommend a quality burr, but I didn't have one to hand) chucked into my Dremel multi-tool.  You remove the remains of the spokes until the inner surface is smooth enough to accept the hub parts, and then set them aside to prepare the hubs.  Use either a saw, cutting disc or a combination of the two to remove the hub parts, and dress the backs of the parts to achieve a smooth, level surface, using the lip of the hub as your guide.  With all the parts prepared, give them a good wash in warm water to remove the dust and any mould release residue from the resin.  Then you can test fit, and if you've done the job correctly first time, you can glue the hubs in place now, or later on when you've painted them.  The instructions show you which parts go where, as there is usually either a lip or groove on the internal face of the tyre, so check before you glue, and follow the scrap diagrams to ensure you have the hubs in the correct position too.  If you want, you can scuff up the tyre's contact patch a little, and apply some wash or pigment to highlight the tread and markings, but that's entirely your choice and totally not mandatory.

 

As this is a fairly new process, Andrey et al have produced a video of the construction phase that also quite long should be instructional, and covers the process in great detail below:

 

Facebook Video Link

 

The assemblies are a drop-in replacement for the kit parts, so they should glue straight onto the landing gear axles, but it's always wise to test and adjust as necessary, as you'll be using either epoxy or super-glue to attach them because resin doesn't adhere with styrene glue.  The tyres will deform slightly under weight, just enough to give them a more realistic look, but not so much that they'll look in dire need of more air before the next mission.

 

B-25 Mitchell Wheel Set 1:72 (7205)

7205-b-25.jpg

 

B-24 Liberator Wheel Set 1:72 (7218)

7218-b--24.jpg

 

Fw.190 Wurger Wheel Set 1:48 (4802)

A-0,1,2,3,4,5 (early), F-1,2,3 (Early), G-1,2 (Early)

4802-fw190afg.jpg

 

F-14D Tomcat Wheel Set 1:48 (4809)

4809-f-14d.jpg

 

A-26B/C Invader Wheel Set 1:48 (4825)

4825-a-26b-c.jpg

 

F-14A Tomcat Wheel Set 1:48 (4826)

4826-f-14a.jpg

 

B-17 Flying Fortress Wheel Set 1:32 (3207)

3207-b-17.jpg

 

P-61 Black Widow Wheel Set 1:32 (3210)

3210-p-61.jpg

 

Do.335 Pfeil Wheel Set 1:32 (3212)

3212-do335.jpg

 

He.219 Uhu Wheel Set 1:32 (3217)

3217-he219uhu.jpg

 

 

Conclusion

A really interesting variation on the resin wheel theme with superbly crisp moulding, and one that's pretty easy to put together as long as you don't mind a little dust. As usual with resin, take the precaution of wearing a mask when cutting or sanding it, as the tiny particles are harmful to your health if breathed in.  Washing the parts in warm water will also improve the adhesion of paint, as there may still be some moulding release agent on the parts when you receive them.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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