Every now and then a product comes along that represents a giant leap forward for the modeler. This is one of those products. Aires has released the Wheelliant Weighted Wheels set for Tamiya’s F-14A Tomcat in 1/32 scale
The product is packaged in a clear plastic bag that allows one to view all of the parts prior to purchase. The package contains parts for all four tires, both the main gear tires and nose wheel tires. Also included are the rims, or wheels, for all four tires. A length of copper wire is also included. This wire can be bent and added to the main struts to simulate pneumatic lines.
The detail molded on the rims is outstanding. The various nut heads are all carefully molded into the parts with no flash or misalignment. The recessed areas are very deep and contain no flash. None of the “debris” that one sometimes finds in the depressions of cast resin parts is present. Once the parts have been removed from their carriers they are ready to go without additional clean up or work.
The main tires, as advertised within the name of the product, are molded with a slight and very convincing bulge, representing tires that are supporting a heavy load. The two tires for the nose gear also have this bulge but it is, very appropriately, rather small and proportioned according to photographs I’ve seen of F-14s on the deck. In short, the weighted appearance of the tires is believable and enhances the appearance of the tires.
All four tires have engraved “tread”. The engraving is straight, without flash, and all grooves are set to the same depth around the circumference of the tires. The connection point holding the tires to the part carrier is very thin and the connection to the tires does not damage or cross any of the engraved treads. The modeler needs only to use a blade and sanding stick to remove the tire from the carrier.
There are other details engraved into the tires as well. One can clearly see the “Goodyear” logo as well as other labeling and markings that appear on aircraft tires. The lettering is clear, crisp, and without any imperfection.
Without a doubt, this product can be considered to be an excellent investment. The quality of the parts is outstanding. This product can be used by modelers who are at opposite ends of the experience spectrum. The experienced modeler will appreciate the fine engraving and molding, and the inexperienced modeler can, without much more than a sanding stick, put these parts to use.
This product is highly recommended.
Thanks to Aires and David Lajer for making this excellent product available to IPMS for review.