Wednesday, June 20

BarracudaCast Mainwheels & four different tyre tread types in 1/32 review.

Anyone making the older Dragon, Hasegawa or Monogram kits of the 1/32 P-51d Mustang have one thing in common – these kits all need a better set of main gearwheels than the ones supplied in the kit. 

Meanwhile the owners of these kits and the new Tamiya kit have one other thing in common – they ALL need better tyres for their kits!! Well Barracuda Studios from the USA have released some new resin replacements for both of the wheels and four different tread pattern resin tyres -  and we thought we would investigate them and compare them to the original kit parts…

Review: BarracudaCast 1/32 scale replacement wheels and tyres for the P-51D

Scale: 1/32nd
Material: 2 parts in cream resin for the tyres / 4 parts for the wheel set
Price: US$6.95 (Tyre sets) / US$ 4.95 (Wheels)
Available from: Barracuda studios directly
Sets reviewed here:
BR32034 - P-51 Mustang Mainwheel Hubs
BR32029 - P-51 Mustang Diamond Tread Tires
BR32030 - P-51 Mustang Oval Tread Pattern Tires
BR32031 - P-51 Mustang Octagonal Tread Tires
BR32032 - P-51 Mustang Block Tread Tires
Firstly let’s look at the new Mainwheel set: BR32034 - P-51 Mustang Mainwheel Hubs

This set comes in a plastic Zip-lock bag and contains two casting blocks which hold four parts – both the inside and outside of the  mainwheels. The cream resin is free from bubbles, imperfections and excess material. There is a nifty little hole on the inside axle to securely locate these wheels to guarantee a perfect fit and location.

The casting blocks were removed very easily with just a few careful snips and with a little sanding you have four pieces of lovely detailed cream resin that are as good as  - or I think better detailed - than the excellent Tamiya wheel hubs. These mainwheels are really designed for the modellers building a P-51A,B,C,D or K from Hasegawa, Trumpeter, Dragon, Hobbycraft or Monogram kits, and are a great improvement in detail and accuracy over these earlier injection moulded efforts. You will have to get rid of the excess in each of the wheel-spokes with some small drill and a quick carve as well - this was left on to help with the mould removal process.

The resin mainwheels from BarracudaStudios both sides with casting blocks on
As you can see these are the real wheels outside and inside for a comparison
The Dragon, Hasegawa and BarracudaCast wheels (sanded flat on the bottom) are shown below, the Dragon wheels are fiddly and have no real detail even with the centre nut not placed in position, the Hasegawa wheels are ok but are shallow in spoke detail.

It is pretty easy to see which one is the best in this comparison - the resin wheel has much better detail and when coupled with the tyre this would be my choice. You can see  how the mainwheels sit a little “proud” of the inside of the resin tyre – this is natural as you can see on the real thing. Unfortunately for Tamiya Mustang users these wheels are made with the full internal wheel structure so they aren’t meant to fit the Tamiya kit.

P.S. These mainwheels do however fit the Tamiya kit with some gentle carving. This actually makes you carve round the very bottom of the landing gear strut; this leaves you with an improvement over the Tamiya kit part. By adding a little bit of wire in the stalk where there is already a hole you will keep the wheel connection strong enough – so if you like the package that much you can use it on any 1/32 mustang kit. They are a great alternative to the earlier efforts in fit, detail and accuracy these mainwheels excel.
The wheels here with the Tamiya landing gear oleo carved to fit. It is strong enough to hold no problem and would be my choice although the Tamiya mainwheels are not as bad a quality as the Hasegawa and the Dragon's wheels.
These mainwheels are meant to be used with BarracudaStudios new replacement resin tyres in four different flavours – and we have them here for review as well -

Resin tire sets: BR32029, BR32030, BR32031, and BR32032.
These tyres are meant for a dual usage purpose – either to mount on to the older P-51 kits on the axle we just reviewed – or to fit onto the Tamiya kit’s wheels.
Let’s look at the Tamiya kit’s tyres first - Rubber!? On a kit like this –What were they thinking? Seriously folks I really do not know that many modellers who are in favour of rubber tyres on an aircraft kit – and those that do must live in a closet because you rarely hear from them. These tyres supplied with an otherwise very nice kit and as you can see by mine they have a nasty seam running around them which can only really be cut or sanded off. This deteriorates the rubber and over time these often sag, or in hot climates worse! You cannot really even paint these or weather them, so this leaves them usually looking pretty toy like and obvious. Below is a direct comparison to the Tamiya Tyre

The other problem is that aircraft in the field used many many different styles of tyre in the field, sometimes even a pair of tyres that didn’t even match – and although on modern mustangs there only seems to be the block or diamond pattern these treads were varied through the war for conditions and availability. There has been a clamouring for tyres to suit the new Mustang kit for this reason – enter BarracudaStudios…Barracuda have made four of the main types used during the war in these sets we will show you now

The usual suspects - Dragon, Tamiya, Hasegawa and Barracuda's

A quick word on the quality of all of these tyre sets from Barracuda Studios before I look at them individually. Like the wheels they all come in a plastic Zip locked bag quickly and safely. (from the United States to England these arrived within a few days) The cream resin had no imperfections or extra material to remove except the casting blocks which came off easily with some snips and a hobby knife and a sanding stick with just a few strokes to remove any extra material. In fact I usually hate this part of resin wheels – the excess – but by using a judicious cut with my snips and then sanding flat the base you are able to achieve – in just a minute or so – wheels with a flat bottom that almost look weighted. In fact the excess almost snaps off leaving no damage if you model “at speed.”
These wheels are not “Weighted” in the traditional sense, I have seen many different pictures of Mustang tyres over the last few days (trust me) and none of them seem to be inflated to the same pressure. That is why I didn’t get out the micrometre and measure these tyres either – they were all slightly different in the field – and with a little same on the bottom mine stood up themselves without any support. Here they are cleaned up - it took only a minute to do.
As you can see on this Mustang tyres didn’t even always match - and these tyres give you the chance to capture that.

These wheels fit both the Tamiya kit and the Barracuda wheels with no gaps and the wheel actually sits just a little proud on the inside of the tyres which is how they did in the war. They are all thick but not to ungainly and look the part to me. These wheels all fit the Tamiya Axle no problems.

These diamond tread tyres are a direct replacement for the Tamiya kit and seem from photos of the real thing in the war to be the most used tyre during WWII – especially as mustangs transitioned out of the concrete runways in the UK to the fields in Europe.
Unlike the Tamiya, and Hasegawa kits they are seamless and they sit inside both of the Tamiya and the Resin wheels reviewed earlier excellently. Unlike the dragon tyres and wheels they actually look like tyres & wheels and not rubber boots!

A little like the Diamond tread these are meant for the rougher fields and come on a casting block which was easily removed with little or no fuss.
These tyres – like all the rest – fit the Tamiya wheel hubs very snugly.

A little like the Oval treads these are a variation which are a little rarer – in fact I had problem finding pictures of them! And when I could find what I thought were octagonal I wasn’t quite sure – so if you know “your” bird has them then these are a boon for you!

A little like the Oval treads these are a variation which are a little rarer – in fact I had problem finding pictures of them! And when I could find what I thought were octagonal I wasn’t quite sure – so if you know “your” bird has them then these are a boon for you!

So if you know your particular bird has them then these are a boon for you!Supplied on a casting block a few snips and some sanding left these as a five minute job to install.

BR32032 - P-51 Mustang Block Tread Tires

Block tyres were probably the second most numerous I have seen during the war and were better for harder or concrete runways; they were however used right throughout the war and are quite popular now with the Warbird aircraft as they mostly operate from good sealed airfields.(and in the case below an aircraft carrier bound Mustang)
There are no seams to remove and they sit inside both of the Tamiya and the Resin wheels reviewed earlier excellently.

Finally I must say that both of these wheels and the tyres to match they are really just what Mustang building Modellers need - new shoes for their new steeds - Varied treads that fit well and are easy to prepare, are accurate and most of all look great ( cheap as chips too) these are little winners!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Barracuda Studios for these resin kits. They are available at the link in the banner below.