Wire Wheels for Lanchester Armoured Car
The Lanchester Armoured Car
The success of the kit by Copper State Models took everyone by surprise, not least the manufacturers with their first venture into 1/35 vehicles. The kit has been a regular sight at model shows for many months now. The quality of the base kit is very impressive, and the tricky wire-spoked wheels are very convincingly done in plastic. In fact, they are some of the best scale spokes around. Even so, the manufacturers had wanted even finer spokes, but mould release turned out to be a problem. To gain the extra degree of accuracy, CSM have released etched brass spokes, and these give the ultimate degree of wheel-transparency that is needed.
These wheels are not 'easy' to make, and need a fair amount of concentration. The advantage of AMPS reviews is that where possible we actually make the models ( rather than just look at the contents), and I can offer a few suggestions for easier construction!
The instructions are clear, but I strongly advise sorting through the resin parts, looking carefully at the diagrams, so that you have the parts for each wheel in a neat pile. The similar looking resin parts have identifiers marked Ito the casting block, to aid sorting the parts.
What looks at first to be a difficult task, to remove the resin casting block from the tyres, is actually very easy. Just run around inside with a sharp blade, and within a few moments the casting block drops cleanly away. This is because the connection to the model part is very thin, and easily cut through. You can just push it out, but this risks breaking the delicate wheel rim. I
I was not initially happy with the approach to the rear twin wheel, where the spokes all run to the front hub in a complicated way, and I set about a slight modification. However, I now realise the rear wheels on the Lanchester were a single unit, fixed double hub, and on new information from CSM (thanks Edgar!), the spokes were specially positioned, so the wheels as supplied may have some truth to them, although not 100% like the prototype. The real wheel is like this:
while the CSM solution is like this:
The approach taken by CSM gives a very close approximation to the interleaved spokes on the original wheels. I opted to replace the whole central hub with a length of brass tube, and arrange the spokes on this to avoid the interior ones all pointing to the front. However, the solution as provided is an excellent compromise and modellers are strongly advised to go with the hubs as provided.
Above is the hub as supplied.
The rear wheels are made with the outer spoke sets 'flat' with no dishing of the shape, so that the whole wheel looks very flat. The shape of the outer spokes is fairly flat on the rear wheels, and even dish INWARDS slightly (see diagram above), so there is no need to look for any significant shaping. Note also that the brass circle of the rim is slightly visible, and nothing can be done to prevent this.
Above, you can see that I needed to add a small disk of plastic to fill the wider space at the rear hub. This is very easy to do, but is not necessary if you use the kit hubs.
All of the wheel parts are easily removed from the casting block with a sharp blade. This is a very easy job, due to how thin the casting stems have been made. The final addition of the rear rim piece is equally easy, but does leave a slight gap and a little filler will be needed to smooth this off. Overall, the wheels can be assembled without glue until the last steps, which does allow for any repositioning of parts.
The front and spare wheels are identical, and offer two different styles of tread on the tyres. The outer edges of the rims are segmented on these brass parts, allowing them to be 'dished' using the tool provided in the set. It is very easy to overdo this. However, the apparent over-dishing is because the brass rim is a tiny bit slightly too big to fit into the tyre, and the inwards pressure tends to make the spokes bulge or dish more than needed. When on my last wheel of four, I found out how to deal with this.
What I needed to do was score around the inside of the tyre, where the brass rim segments will fit, and the spoked brass part will slot into place neatly. I discovered this too late for myself, but you can benefit from reading my review! An Olfa P-Cutter or similar tool will enable you to do this job in seconds.
The hubs need to be drilled through before assembly, so that they will fit onto the stub axles on the kit.
The over-dished effect is seen here, and the brass part will not sit down over the resin central hub.
Scoring around with a scriber or similar blade will solve this immediately.
A further benefit of the scribing is that the rim segments become hidden, as in below left, instead of visible in the wheel below right.
The side-by-side photos show the difference between the kit parts - which are excellent - and the replacement wheels. Is it worth doing? Well, in my opinion, being a dedicated rivet-counter, I'd say YES it is worth getting the new brass spokes, and if you have read my review, you will find it easier to make these up than I did on my first attempts at these wheels. With several other armored cars coming from CSM, I would definitely make the brass wheels for these forthcoming kits!
Not every modeller will want to use these wheels, but a key thing to notice when looking at one of these Lanchesters is that you can see right through the wheels.
Incidentally, these two photos show different styles of hub cap. The car below has the style that come in the kit. The car above has simple rounded hub plates, and similar versions of these are provided in the set of wire wheels being reviewed here, so that the modeller now has the choice of two types.
The lower picture is a Russian modified car, and this will be released by CSM in the near future........ Very exciting!
On balance, I would Absolutely Recommend this set of wheels, and I would say that it really makes the model into an outstanding item. In my opinion, these brass spokes make an already superb model even better, and the assembly of these wheels is well within the scope of any modeller.
Very Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Copper State Models for this review kit.
Reviewed by Chris Lloyd-Staples, 2VP (International)
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