Signifer | SN32006 P-51 Wheel Set
Reviewed by Ray Peterson
A recent release from Signifer is this accessory for 1/32nd P-51 kits. The set includes two main wheels, a tail wheel, and a length of lead wire to represent brake lines. This is the first aftermarket (or kit) wheel to have this type of block tread and it is very well done. The tires also include lettering on their sides. They look very nice.
Signifer Wheels vs. Tamiya Wheels:
Signifer Wheels vs. Dragon Wheels:
The wheels are based on those from the Dragon P-51D kit. I also pulled out the wheels from the Tamiya kit. It was immediately obvious there was quite a difference. I decided to check out a real P-51D located at Evergreen Air Museum to compare.
The results were interesting:
The Real Thing(converted to 1/32nd scale):
- Tire outside diameter: 0.875”/ 22.2mm
- Rim outside diameter: 0.484”/ 12.3mm
- Rim offset (dish): 0.047”/ 1.19mm
- Tire width: 0.297”/ 7.54mm
- Tire depth: 0.172”/ 4.4mm
- Tire outside diameter: 0.830”/ 21.1mm
- Rim outside diameter: 0.475”/ 12.0mm
- Rim offset (dish): 0.050”/ 1.5mm
- Tire width: 0.275”/ 7.0mm
- Tire depth: 0.185”/ 5.0mm
- Tire outside diameter: 0.860”/ 22.0mm
- Rim outside diameter: 0.50-0.52”/ 12.8-13.0mm
- Rim offset (dish): 0.025”/ 0.80mm
- Tire width: 0.31”/ 7.8mm
- Tire depth: 0.185”/ 5.0mm
So it seems the Tamiya wheels are slightly undersized and over-dished while the Signifer ones are slightly oversized and under-dished. Note the two different diameters I have listed for the Signifer rims. The larger diameter is of the outer rim and the smaller is the inner rim.
Note the wheels on this P-51 are very late 8-spoke wheels used on very late K’s and F-82’s. I am assuming for clearance reasons, though, the wheels must be the same dimensions.
I went ahead and assembled one of the wheels just to see how it looked built up. It goes together quite easily and fit is good. I roughly painted and weathered it to better show off the sidewall lettering and black tread.
A few things to watch for:
The wheels just have a depression so you must drill them out to fit onto your kit. I drilled them for the Dragon kit; the pic shows them mounted to their gear. If you want to use them on a Tamiya kit, it is going to require more work. This is because of the way the Tamiya kit is engineered with part of the hub molded to the gear leg. To use the Sigifer wheels, I would drill a hole in the Tamiya gear leg through the hole already there. Then cut off the portion of the hub and add a new wire axle.
Another problem: the Signifer tail wheel is also larger than either the Dragon or Tamiya kit tail wheels. Again, the way the Tamiya kit is engineered, extra work is required to add it. For the Dragon kit, the Signifer wheel needs to be drilled, but upon doing that, I found the wheel will not fit on the fork; it is too big in diameter! So a new fork would have to be fabricated. Unfortunately, I didn't notice this until after I went to the museum so I didn't take any measurements of the real thing.
In conclusion, these wheels are a bit of a conundrum. The tread of the main wheels is beautifully done and are the only ones available with this different tread, but dimensions, especially of the tail wheel, are off. They will look great on the Dragon kit or any other kit, although it will take some work to fit them to the Tamiya kit. The tail wheel is simply too big in diameter for the Dragon kit, and will again take work to fit the Tamiya kit. I would suggest to Signifer to rework their tires (it appears to have been done on CAD and the master 3D printed) to fit the Tamiya kit rims, and reduce the diameter of the tail wheel.
Recommended, with reservations
Thanks to Signifer for the review set.
© Ray Peterson 2012
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This review was published on Saturday, January 28 2012; Last modified on Sunday, September 29 2013