Scale Aircraft Conversions has released a nice set of replacement landing gear for the Kitty Hawk 1/48 Vought XF5U-1. The eleven parts supplied include the tail gear, main gear, torque links, and main gear retraction arms. A side by side evaluation of all the SAC parts shows the similarity with the kit parts. There are no supplied instructions; you simply swap out the kit provided plastic parts with the new white metal items. You do need to be very careful to assure proper alignment on all three axes. The SAC landing gear may need to be slightly adjusted to be straight (a benefit of using metal is that you can bend it slightly). Smooth jaw needle nose pliers work wonderfully.
The main gear struts, along with the retraction struts fit well into the Kitty Hawk wheel bay. Refer to the Kitty Hawk instructions when building up the main gear bays and utilizing the SAC parts. Both the Kitty Hawk and SAC main gear struts and retraction struts are left and right handed and won’t fit well if you get them mixed up.
Ross McMillan has combined two parts by securing the tail gear axle to the tail gear strut, eliminating a potential point of failure. This also meant that Ross had to modify Kitty Hawk part A8 as the original design has it sliding on prior to the attachment of the tail gear axle. This actually fits well when pressed on and once superglued may not even require any filler. The tail gear strut fits well into the tail gear bay. It may be a bit loose, but certainly no looser than the Kitty Hawk part. Once super glued in, I don’t believe there will be any issues. The torque links for both the main gear and the tail gear are already assembled and look very good.
This replacement set will provide stronger landing gear that won’t sag over time, and are somewhat adjustable if necessary to obtain proper alignment. Even with zero previous experience in using white metal parts, this set will provide an upgrade that most modelers will have no problem installing. Scale Aircraft Conversions does not use lead in their white metal mix, so the builder does not have to be concerned with that perceived hazard.
Before painting, you may wish to remove and polish the mold seam lines. I used a Dremel to polish up the parts. Although most paints will adhere to white metal alone, I would recommend that you prime the parts first. The landing gear will need to be installed with your favorite CA (super glue) or epoxy, as the normal plastic glues or solvents will not react with the white metal.
Once cleaned up, the SAC pieces fit quite well and are a significant improvement in strength over the original parts, and will keep your landing gear from sagging over time. My thanks to Ross MacMillan of Scale Aircraft Conversions and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great set of replacement landing gear.