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1/32 Me262 Main and Nose Wheels


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1/32 Me262 Main and Nose Wheels


BarracudaCast
#BR32066 & BR32067
For Trumpeter and all other Me262 kits


Available from Barracuda Studios for$12.95 each

 

 

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Introduction

A while back I wrote a review comparing what were, at the time, the only two aftermarket options for Me262 wheels in 1/32 scale - these belonged to Signifer and MasterCasters. Neither set were up to much if I am honest, but thankfully Roy Sutherland at BarracudaCast has come to the rescue with his new offerings. For the purposes of comparison, I have included much of the original review.

 

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BarracudaCast - contents and instructions

 

Comparing 1/32 Me262 Wheels: BarracudaCast vs Signifer vs MasterCasters vs Trumpeter (kit)

 

The main focus of this review is the 1/32 BarracudaCast set, and I will compare them to Me262 originals. But in order to provide a bit more context, I will also take a look at the wheels supplied in the Trumpeter kit, and those by aftermarket manufacturers MasterCasters and Signifer. Trumpeter have released a number of different versions / boxings of the Me262, and the aftermarket sets in this review will be suitable for any of them, as well as the older Revell / Hasegawa offerings.

 

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BarracudaCast - main wheels side on

 

BarracudaCast

The two sets from BarracudaCast are actually very similar - the only difference being the rim detail on the nose wheel. Each set comprises two main wheels, and two different nosewheels - one with regular / ribbed and one with smooth tread. There is an additional sprue of resin with four tiny pressure fittings, a length of wire to simulate the brake lines, and a small instruction pamphlet printed in colour.

 

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BarracudaCast - tread pattern is bang on

 

The quality of casting is excellent, and each part is attached to its casting block by a fairly small nub. The additional flanges you can see on either side of the nubs on the wheels are not really attached to the wheels - the join is either wafer thin or non-existent. The nose wheels do not appear 'weighted' at all, whilst the main wheels are only marginally so - you really have to sit and stare at them head-on to see it. I like this - correctly inflated, Me262 tyres did not exhibit any noticeable bulge, and certainly not in 1/32 scale.

 

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BarracudaCast - correct number of fins, subtle stencilling

 

The main wheels on the Me262 were 840mm x 300mm. That I am currently aware of, there were both treaded and smooth tyres used, although the majority of the pictures I have seen show the treaded version. Regarding the tread itself, I had originally thought it comprised hexagon shapes in seven off-set lines. Only recently was it pointed out to me that the middle row is really more diamond-shaped, although still a hexagon (just). The hub has 24 fins in the recess around its edge on both sides, as well brake line attachment points, also on both sides of the hub. The two pictures below are of Me262 A-1a W.Nr.500071 at the Deutsches Museum, Munich.

 

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Close-up of tread pattern; also note brake line on oleo side of hub [Picture courtesy Burkhard Domke and Aviation Images]

 

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The other side showing brake line on outward face of hub, and 840x300 moulded in to the tyre wall. [burkhard Domke / Aviation Images]

 

BarracudaCast have really got these wheels spot on. The dimensions match up, which is expected, but the details in both tread and rims is an exceptional replication. The tread pattern is as dead-on as it could ever be; correct number of fins in hub recess; very feint 'spoke' lines on tyre wall, and correct size stencilling. The pressure fittings are miniscule, but look accurate - you really will need magnification to handle these I think. The only downside I can see is that these are so delicate, risk of damage to the parts once you start handling them is quite high - be careful!

 

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BarracudaCast - pressure fittings

 

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BarracudaCast - two nosewheels provided in each set

 

On to the nose wheels...Firstly, to clear up any confusion over small / regular vs large nose wheels, only one size of nose wheel was used on production aircraft during the war, and the tyre on this wheel was 660x160. A larger 660x190 was proposed indeed proposed (the same wheel as used in Me109 G-10 and K-4), but it was too big to fit in the 262's wheel well; it was trialled on one aircraft, but likely only taxied and did not fly.

 

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The nose wheel from the Deutsches Museum Me262: smooth tyre, hub with small ribs around rim [burkhard Domke / Aviation Images]

 

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The other side of the same wheel showing brake line attachment [burkhard Domke / Aviation Images]

 

There were, however, two quite distinct treads – one with large segments running across the face of tyre, the other essentially smooth, with some very subtle raised lines visible when close up. In addition, there were also two hub designs used, with one having a smooth outer face, the other having small ribs around its edge; but again these were the same size.

 

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Ribbed tyre, with ribbed hub, and are from Me262 A-1a W.Nr.500491,NASM Washington DC [Aircraft Walkaround Center]

 


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Ribbed tyre, smooth hub

 

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And from the other side

 

In each BarracudaCast set you get two exquisite nosewheels - one in each tread pattern. #BR32066 has the ribbed hub, whilst #BR32067 has the smooth hub. These wheels are the correct 'production' size of 660x160. The hole for the landing gear axle is well defined, but rather shallow, and will need to be drilled out. Having said that, the same probably applies to the main wheels, even though the hole is somewhat deeper. Both the treads (or lack of) are excellent reproductions, and the bolt detail on the hub faces is very small, but very sharp.

 

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BarracudaCast - comparison between hub types

 

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BarracudaCast - comparison between hub types

 

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BarracudaCast - close-up of stencilling on nose wheel

 

Signifer

So let's see what's in the Signifer set: packaged in a re-sealable clear plastic bag, we have two main wheels, two types of nose wheel, two gauges of lead wire, and a small picture showing where the wires attach. The picture below shows all four wheels with the simulated brake lines attached, although you would need additional reference / walkaround shots to know where these lines disappear off to.

 

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The Signifer wheels with break lines attached [signifer]

 

And now the Sgnifer main wheels: the casting is very good, but there are some minor imperfections (nothing that a quick pass with an old toothbrush wouldn't sort out). The tyre is not really 'weighted' that I can see, and certainly not in the exaggerated fashion of some aftermarket wheels, but then wartime shots don't show a large bulge either. The mould stub is fairly large however, so there will be a natural bottom; this area could have been cast better I think – you will to do some careful clean-up in order to remove a seam line that extends some 5mm either side of the stub. There is no moulding on the wall indicating the tyre's dimensions, but just "C90" and "28N" on the inside, and what looks like "COP9" or "COPS" on the outside – I am not familiar with either of these. Unless I find evidence these are correct, I would be inclined to remove them (sanding should be fiddly but not too hard).

 

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Signifer main wheels; left shows the inside / oleo side, right shows outside.

 

There is generally very good hub detail on both sides, including the correct number of fins on the recess. Brake line attachment points are cast on both sides, but my references show that on the outside, there should only be one attachment point on the hub, and not two: I think the line should go from one 'nub' into the hole in the centre of the hub (see MasterCasters wheel further down), whereas the Signifer picture shows a line going from one nub to the other. Some delicate work will be required to fix these brake lines, but that is to be expected.

 

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The tread is not really that close at all when you consider what BarracudaCast have produced

 

The tread uses the correct irregular hexagons, but they are far too large. As a result, there are only five off set lines instead of the correct seven. Whether this matters is up to you. The bottom line is these wheels show a tread pattern that I cannot find in any reference or photo, even if at first glance they do look rather convincing. At 840mm these wheels should be 26.5mm in 1/32, and when measured they seem just about spot on. I have also done an 'eyeball test fit' and with only minimal drilling you should have no problem fitting these wheels with either the metal landing gear supplied in the kit, or the G-Factor sets.

 

The Signifer set comes with two nose wheels: one has smooth tread paired with ribbed hub, the other with ribbed tread paired with smooth hub, per our museum combinations. Casting is generally good, but could be cleaner around the mould stub.

 

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Signifer nose wheels - outside

 

The smooth tyre is divided by very faint recessed lines, rather than raised ribs as in the real thing. Just like panel lines on aircraft models, using recesses probably works here. I do not that the tyre is divided into five segments, whereas my references show six. There is a large "Continental" logo on the outside wall, and what I think says "66S" on the inside – not sure what that is. The hub looks very good, and comes with brake line nub on the oleo side.

 

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The oleo side of the Signifer nose wheels

 

The ribbed tread of the other tyre could perhaps be a little sharper and more refined – note the space between treads on the real thing in the picture earlier, and also compare below. The smooth hub again has the brake line nub on the oleo side, and generally looks an accurate representation.

 

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Signifer - same size?

 

660mm works out to just over 20.5mm in 1/32. Staring at the two Signifer wheels, the smooth one looks smaller, but I was not sure if this was an optical illusion, but on measuring it was indeed so, but only fractionally: ~20mm vs ~21mm for the ribbed tyre.

 

MasterCasters

MasterCasters make two sets of Me262 wheels, the only difference being the tread / hub combination: #32005 has smooth hub / ribbed tread; #32006 has ribbed hub and smooth tread, and is the set reviewed here. The main difference in contents is obviously you only get one nose wheel here, and there is no wire for the brake lines.

 

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MasterCasters - contents

 

It is immediately apparent that the main wheels are cast copies of the kit wheels, with the addition of brake line nub and the brake line itself on the outside of the hub. I noted some minor imperfections where the rim meets the tyre – exactly where the kit wheels have 'issues' (see earlier). There was a tiny amount of flash around the brake line on one of my wheels, but a delicate prod and this can easily be removed; this area is very well done, and will save modellers having to fiddle around with lead wire etc. A number of the fins were miscast and looked almost blobbed together – I did not count them.

 

Now there is nothing wrong with casting kit parts in resin, especially if you do not like the medium of the kit parts. However, when the kit parts have serious flaws, copying those flaws is all that can result. Brake line detail aside, these wheels have the same tread as the Trumpeter ones, and are also too small by the same roughly the same margin. This is either laziness, poor research or both – I cannot be more blunt than that.

 

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MasterCasters - copies of the Trumpeter wheels – incorrect tread pattern and all

 

The nose wheel looks a lot better from the outside face, and the small ribs of the smooth treaded tyre are nicely reproduced. However, on the oleo side there was a vagueness about the casting where the rim meets the tyre in one area, but I am not sure this would be too noticeable on a finished kit. What is noticeable is the size – it is definitely too small at barely 19mm.

 

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MasterCasters - detail on this side looks ok, but is not correct

 

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MasterCasters - nose wheel is looks crude here

 

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MasterCasters - and even more so here

 

Trumpeter

The Trumpeter kit comes with multi part plastic hubs and 'rubber' tyres. These can often look very convincing I think, but at other times pretty mediocre, and there are perhaps question marks over their longevity. I have two Trumpeter kits, and both only came with the smooth nose wheel tyre (which they confusingly call "large"...), so I cannot comment on the ribbed version.

 

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Trumpeter - rubber tyres are not everyone's favourite, but viewed side on these actually look ok

 

The hubs are pretty good, especially the nose wheel, but do not come with any detail for the brake line attachments. The main wheels have the correct number of fins around the recess. The tyres are a mixed bag: the nose wheel looks perfectly adequate, and the raised lines (six segments), look excellent. The main tyres' tread though is pure fantasy – it's clearly been made up, and bears no relation to real thing.

 

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Trumpeter - attracts the dust like nobody's business!

 

In assembling the Trumpeter wheels, especially the main ones, I did notice that you really have to work at getting the rubber part to seal round the plastic hub in a uniform fashion – this is relevant to the MasterCasters wheels, which we shall look at next. The treads are a very mixed bag: smooth nose wheel excellent, main wheels nonsense.The nose wheel measured up very well – I made it about 20.5mm, but the main wheels 'looked' small against the Signifer ones, and this was confirmed; I made them 25mm or just under.

 

Conclusion

The Trumpeter wheels have their limitations partly because of the media used, but if you are not fussed about the tread of the main wheels and build mainly 'out of the box', then they will 'do', just. If you are concerned about accuracy, they will not.

I am particularly disappointed in the MasterCasters set: direct copies of errors in the kit parts, as well as dimensional issues. The brake line detail is their only positive feature, and may well lure the unsuspecting modeller into using them (lesson / note to self: do your research before parting with cash).

 

I had originally considered the Signifer wheels just about ok, but mainly because they lacked any credible competition; indeed I even said I would probably use them only "because there is nothing else on the market from the likes of Eagle Editions or Barracuda"! The tread on the main wheels is a very frustrating 'almost' – shapes almost there, size way off; five lines of tread instead of seven is out by a significant margin. Some of the other details are good, but why the discrepancy in size between the two nose wheels offered?

The BarracudaCast offering is so far out ahead of the competition it's almost embarrassing. If you like your 262s you simply MUST use these wheels - I really can't say any more than that.

  • BarracudaCast: only game in town
  • Signifer: avoid
  • MasterCasters: avoid
  • Trumpeter: ok if building straight from the box, not much else

With special thanks to Matt Low, Burkhard Domke and Peter Buckingham for their assistance.

With thanks to Roy Sutherland for his review samples (Signifer, MasterCasters purchased by myself). To purchase directly, click THIS link.

Nicholas Mayhew

 

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