Many times one of the areas that we find lacking in kits is the wheels. Usually the tread pattern is very shallow, incorrect, or incomplete. Plus, whatever tread is present on the kit parts tends to get removed when smoothing over the seam created from having the wheels in two halves.
Ultracast has recently released a series of 1/48 wheel sets for the P-38 Lightning. This review concentrates on the “diamond tread” version. The parts are cast in flawless cream colored resin and feature beautiful detail including valve stems. Also on the main wheels, the internal brake drum is visible through the open spokes. The tread pattern is good and defined, and is more accurate than that in the Hasegawa kit. Comparing photos of wartime P-38 wheels, the Ultracast pattern looks correct while the kit tread pattern is very small. There is also a very slight flattening effect in the resin parts, which looks far more authentic than the “other” more common resin wheels available.
Overall, I highly recommend this set as the improvement over the kit parts is huge. More photos of the parts and a comparison against the Academy 1/48 P-38 wheels can be found on Ultracast’s website under the product listing. Thanks to IPMS USA and Ultracast for the sample! I’ll be picking up a few more of these (including the “block tread”) for additional P-38 projects.