P-40 Wheels & Paint Masks

Published: February 21st, 2011     
Two packages
Two packages
Reviewed by: Roger Rasor - IPMS# 34117
Scale: 1/72
Price: $6.95
Product / Stock #: 7257 & 7258
Product provided by: Aires Hobby Models

Aires now offers two types of resin wheels for detailing P-40 models built from 1/72 Academy kits (as well as those marketed by other kit manufacturers). By producing these two sets, Aires actually provides something for detailing all versions of the P-40 (and P-36) in 1/72 scale. Both sets also include pre-cut vinyl paint masks and painting instructions. The resin castings feature crisp details and are accurate representations of the real thing.

Set #7257 provides a pair of wheels with straight tread tires on the later style eight-spoke hubs that Curtiss introduced with the N model P-40. They are more accurately detailed than the kit wheels provided in the Academy kit...that have a diamond tread pattern. These wheels, in reality, were actually smaller than the ones equipped on all previous P-40 versions, but in 1/72 it is difficult to tell that the Aires wheels are the same size as the wheels in set #7258.

Set #7257 wheels on casting blocks with paint masks...and photo of kit wheels with spokesSet 7258 wheels on casting blocks with paint masks...and photo of kit wheels with spokes
Set #7258 provides a pair of wheels that were found on all models preceding the P-40N (and on all versions of the radial engine P-36). They feature smooth tread tires on solid hubs with four mounting bolts, and they appear to be more accurate than the ones provided in the kit that have a diamond tread pattern on the tires.

As with all other Aires wheel sets, there are no seams to clean up and there are no pinholes to worry about. Each wheel is attached to the casting block at one point. If care is exercised when removing the wheels from the casting block, the subtle tread pattern of the tires in set #7257 can be preserved. The paint masks are a bit rigid but they do a good job of protecting the tires from overspray (that the instructions will have you paint first) when you airbrush color on the hubs.

These wheels are highly recommended to anyone building any 1/72 P-40 or P-36.

My thanks to IPMS/USA and Aires Hobby Models for the opportunity to review these detail sets.

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