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1/32 Bf109 G - K Wheels


nmayhew
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1/32 Bf109 G - K Wheels


BarracudaCast

Barracuda Studios
USD 7.95 per set - available direct from Barracuda

 

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Introduction

"Not another 109" - if I had a pound for every time I heard that on one particular forum! Well, there is another 109: a Bf109 G-6 from Revell to be exact. I do not think I am being boastful of my SPR and LSM colleagues when I say the most comprehensive review of this kit you will find anywhere can be found here. Moreover, there is a full build review by a number 'Experten' on Large Scale Modeller here.

 

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BR32070 – Ribbed Hub, Ribbed Tire (sic!) from the outside

 

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...and from the inside (oleo side)

 

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Close up of tread – crisp but not overdone

 

And as sure as night follows day, aftermarket follows a good or sure to be popular kit - and I think the Revell 109 fits both those criteria. Thus we have not one or two but four different wheel sets released from Roy Sutherland's Barracuda Studios, which surely vies for the title of best resin upgrades on the market. You may notice in the picture above that there are actually five sets shown - I have included Barracuda's final set of 109 wheels in this review, even though they are of a different type, and meant for other 109 variants.

 

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BR32071 – Ribbed Hub, Smooth Tire

 

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Close up of super fine raised tread / mould line

 

Appropriate 109 Variants and Kits
The first four sets - BR32070, 71, 72 and 73 - are 660mmx160mm tyres. These were seen on the Bf109 G-5 onwards, all the way up to the G-14; this does not include the G-10. The final set, BR32074, are slightly larger at 660x190. As the name of the set suggests, these are suitable for Bf09 G-10 and K-4 variants. In terms of variant identification, this could be the subject of an essay in itself, but the tell-tale sign with respect to wheels will be the type and size of the bulges on the upper wing. In order to accommodate the change in wheel size and angle of the wheel relative to oleo, you will see a small kidney shaped bulge on the wings of G-5s up to the G-14. The G-10 and K-4 had a much larger bulge which extended from the wing leading edge backwards. Even from WWII photos, if the picture is sharp enough the difference will usually be apparent.

 

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BR32072 – Plain Hub, Ribbed Tire

 

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As to which model kits are appropriate, Hasegawa have owned the 1/32 market in G and K models for as long as I have been modelling. They have produced early(ish) Gs all the way to the K-4, with the noticeable exception of Erla built G-10s. For those who winced at their prices, Revell re-boxings offered the chance to get the same kit much cheaper (certainly this was / is the case in Europe). Now of course, Revell have entered the fray with their own Gustav, which although not perfect, is very good in terms of the kit itself, and nigh on unbeatable where value for money is concerned. It can be built as a G-6, and with the odd tweak here and there, a G-14; a guide to the relevant changes that need to be made can be found here.

 

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BR32073 – Plain Hub, Smooth Tire

 

Comparison of Barracuda vs Kit Wheels
First off, it's worth noting that the kit wheels are generally pretty good. This applies in equal measure to the new Revell parts and their older Hasegawa equivalents. Revell is to be praised for perhaps providing the inspiration behind the different wheel options in the same kit. The key advantage the Barracuda offerings have over their plastic counterparts are accuracy, detail, variety and to a degree ease of use (I will qualify this).

 

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The Revell kit wheels...

 

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...which are pretty decent, as well as offering combinations of rim and tyre

 

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And the equivalent from Hasegawa – perhaps a little heavy in detail?

 

The Barracuda wheels scale out to 660x160 and 660x190 as near as I am able to measure. The various kit wheels are as I said quite good, but the resin ones are pretty much spot on. The bolt detail seems an excellent replication when compared to photos of original wheels; indeed the whole hub seems super sharp and crisp. The fact that you can choose between four possible combinations of smooth or plain hub against smooth or treaded tyres shows the thought that has gone into these sets.

 

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BR32074 Bf109 G-10 and K-4 Wheels (660x190)

 

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And from the oleo side

 

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Great surface detail, and no seam lines to sand

 

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The tyres have the size stencilling, which is tiny even in 1/32, but it is there. And whereas the kit wheels limit you to the commonly seen tyres with a tread pattern running across the face of the tyre, Barracuda enable you to select the smooth tyre if desired, and with either set of hubs. The tyre surface for these smooth versions is excellent.

 

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Hasegawa 660x190s – good, but could never be great being in two halves

 

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When using the resin wheels, you will need to carefully drill out the hub in order to accept the oleo. Whilst this does require some thought, I think it more than compensates for the fact that you don't have to glue two halves of a plastic wheel together, with all the fretting over seam lines, sanding and lost surface detail that this process entails. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned ease of use for the modeller.

 

Conclusion
Instead of "not another 109", I think people will more likely be heard to say "not another great update from Barracuda"- because it certainly seems that Roy and his team are making some of the best upgrades in the market right now. At $7.95 a set, these wheels are excellent in value as well. Now if only I could persuade Roy to do some more Luftwaffe stuff!

 

Highly recommended

 

With thanks to Roy Sutherland at Barracuda Studios for the review samples

 

Nicholas Mayhew

 

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Good stuff Nick

 

A very fair appraisal of the high quality Revell parts that cannot compete with the advantages offered by resin - principally being a single part..

 

Of only minor interest, some G-14 aircraft appear to have been fitted with the wider tyre/bigger wing fairing combination...

 

You also didn't mention the suitability of the 660x190 wheels for the He 162...

 

Matt

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