A relatively new company on the modeling scene, Great Wall has released a handful of kits to date and, with reference to this review, they have two variants of the FW-189, an A1 and an A2, along with a third ski-equipped A1 version. Aires has stepped up to the plate and has released a resin wheel set (with paint mask) for the trio of kits. Typically, I buy a resin wheel set for a single reason and that is to obtain a set of weighted wheels for the kit I'm building. Many of you (and you know who you are) prefer the kit’s un-weighted round wheels, and that fine, too. In the case of the Great Wall kits, they ship with weighted wheels. What is a modeler to do? In this case, Aires is your answer. Unlike the kit parts, the resin set they provide is the round, non-weighted wheels. Problem solved.
My initial impressions are that Aires has released a quality product. Included in the bag are two resin wheels still on the pour stubs, a set of four paint masks, and a set of instructions. Like my other resin products, I started with a quick wash of warm water and dish soap to remove the release agent from the parts. Typical weighted resin wheels are attached to the pour stubs along the bottom of the wheel where they will be ultimately out of sight when finished. The Aires wheels are attached along a thin attachment stub/ strip and are removed with several passes of a sharp hobby knife along the tire edge. After the pour stub was removed, I cleaned up the wheel with my sanding sticks. Prior to painting, it will be necessary to repair several of the lateral wheel treads. There is no avoiding the tread repair but, fortunately, it only takes a few quick passes with a razor saw to put the tread grooves right.
I hit the wheels with a quick blast of my favorite fine primer followed by a spray of the wheel hub color. After allowing the paint to dry thoroughly, I applied the wheel masks to the center hubs. I'm sorry to admit I have never used anything other than homemade masks, so this was my first experience with store-purchased masks. The masks were not quite as tacky as I thought they should be, but with some gentle spraying they seemed to work just fine for me. Near the end of the spray job I was very aggressive with the airbrush and a tiny bit of paint did creep under the mask.
If you are looking for a nice set of round wheels for 1/48 scale FW-189, this beautiful resin set from Aires is just what the doctor ordered. I would like to thank Aires and IPMS USA for the chance to review the wheels.