Aires has added a pair of detailed Spitfire Mk.V 5 spoke wheels/tires to their aftermarket parts line that can be used to replace the ones that come in the new Airfix 1:48 scale kit. The wheels have excellent hub detail and fortunately none of the bulged and flattened look popular with other brands. The tires are smooth with no discernable tread. They also have an opening on the backside of the hub with a recess that matches the locating tab on the Airfix landing gear so everything will align correctly.
The wheels are cast in a very smooth gray resin that will polish up nicely after removal from the casting block. Parts can easily be separated from the block with a razor saw or xacto blade and smoothed with sanding sticks. Because the material is resin, it will be necessary to use superglue (CA) or epoxy cement to attach the aftermarket parts to the kit’s styrene plastic landing gear legs.
I recommend washing the resin in very warm soapy water and drying the wheels thoroughly before painting them. I also found it necessary to prime the resin with Mr. Surfacer before painting the wheels. If not primed, I found paint tended to scratch off very easily while fitting the masks.
The pre-cut paint masks supplied with the wheels are a fairly rigid vinyl typical of the material Eduard used to use. They fit the hub well, but because they are not as flexible as the Kabuki type masking tape, they will not press down tightly around the hub...which means it is necessary to carefully direct the spray from the airbrush to avoid the hub color bleeding under the edge of the mask…and some frustrating touch-up.
This set is recommended as a quick and easy way for a modeler to enhance the detail of Airfix’ new Spitfire Mk.V. Well, quick that is if it is not necessary to spend time touching up the hub color that may have creeped under the masks during airbrushing.
My thanks to IPMS/USA and Quickboost for the review sample and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this aftermarket detail set.