Aires and Quickboost (a division of Aires) continue to provide us modelers with very nicely detailed addition to many new and older kits that can greatly enhance the final appearance of the build.
This installment will look at the Aires replacement wheel wells for the fairly new 1/48 Kitty Hawk Saab Jas-39 Gripen (kit #KH80117).
Kitty Hawk does a reasonably nice job in detailing their injection molded main wheel wells, though the placement of several of the tiny parts, on the inside wells is somewhat vague. By comparison, the Aires rendition of these parts adds substantially more of the details and also replicates them much more accurately. This is true in also in the nose gear wheel well. Here though, the stock kit part lends itself to easier painting due to the well being a 2-piece assembly, where the Aires replacement has all sides molded as one part. Again, with the nose gear well, the additional detail is readily visible and will add a greater touch of realism to your build.
There is some assembly required, using small parts that must be very carefully detached from the casting sprue. These clean up well and fit into place without much issue (had to redrill two holes for a pipe to fit properly). Painting is pretty straightforward. The wells are white (I used some of my stock of Floquil Reefer White) and the details really jump out after some additional detail painting and a light wash of Burnt Umber oil paints.
The fit of the resin parts to the kits parts, unlike some other Aires sets that I have used (cockpits mainly), is very good. The main wells have an alignment hole that matches the stock part, and conforms very nicely to the contours of the wings. A thin bit of casting overflow must be removed, but no thinning of the plastic or resin parts is needed. The nose well has a small casting block that must also be removed and then sits in place with little to no gaps on the sides. Both are very simple and clean installs that take only a few minutes.
The set also includes the wheel well doors and actuator rods. The level of detail on the real doors is minimal and Aires replicates it well, though the Kitty Hawk parts are also very similar. I haven’t yet determined whether I’ll use the resin or plastic parts for this section.
Overall this set is an easy way to spice up an already cool aircraft. Minimal time is needed to fit the parts and just a couple of hours of paint work (at least for me) was all that was needed to bring the set to life.
A big thanks to Aires and IPMSUSA for supplying the review sample and allowing me to enhance my Saab JAS-39 build!