Tu-144 Landing Gear

Published: January 12th, 2013     
Product Image
Parts Package
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall - IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Price: $16.95
Product / Stock #: 14408
Product provided by: Scale Aircraft Conversions

I recently built and reviewed ICM's 1/144 Tupolev Tu-144 "Charger". When the opportunity came to review the SAC metal landing gear for this plane, I jumped at the chance.

The white metal landing gear is obviously far stronger and better suited to large models than the injection molded parts you get in a kit. I have a number of finished models on the shelf or in storage which could use a new set of gear legs. And I thought I'd save the Tu-144 from this fate. There's only so much you can do with CA and sprue to fix broken gear, especially with missing parts.

I first took photos of the landing gear on the model as it was. There might be a set of instructions for the kit somewhere in my workroom. Or not. I bet on the latter, and took reference photos to show where the parts went.

The idea when "fixing" landing gear is to remove the existing gear doors and legs, remove the wheels from the old legs, install the wheels on the new legs, install the new legs in the gear wells and replace the doors. Removing the doors went pretty well, with no parts damaged. It turns out that I did far too good a job gluing the plastic legs in place. I wound up gouging them out using a jeweler's screwdriver as a chisel and a #11 blade as a scraper and hole-renewer. I also managed to knock off the droop nose and one of the canards.

The really good news is that after all this, the gear legs fit the holes pretty well. I had to work the edges of the main gear to get them into the wells, but the nose gear just dropped in.

And then we go to the next problem area. ICM has made the fit between the wheel hubs and axles so tight that I had to ream the hubs and sand the axles to get the inner wheels to fit. I finally wound up cutting off the outer part of the axles to get the wheels on. SAC pretty much exactly copied ICM's dimensions. So I wound up sanding and cutting off part of the metal axle to get the wheels to go on.

I replaced the gear doors and the knocked off parts, and looked in wonder at a refinished kit.

Overall Evaluation

Highly recommended. The gear on the 144 is long and it's going to take some knocks at some point. This detail set will prevent damage unless there's a LOT of force applied. The parts fit the kit exactly, and have the added feature that they're already metal, and you don't have to paint them silver.

I would also heartily recommend that if you're contemplating putting metal gear on your ICM Charger, you do it as part of the original build. ICM has done a pretty good engineering job on the plastic gear, and it was a bear to get it removed.

Thanks to Scale Aircraft Conversions and IPMS/USA for the chance to upgrade the gear on my Tu-144.

  • Damages
    Damages
  • SAC main gear replacement
    SAC main gear replacement
  • SAC nose gear right
    SAC nose gear right
  • SAC nose gear left
    SAC nose gear left

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