The Tamiya 1:48 scale P-38 Lightning kits have been out for a few years, and they continue to generate universal enthusiasm and praise. Many scale aircraft modelers regard these kits as among the very best ever manufactured in the history of the hobby. There are a few areas where detail has been simplified or even omitted in the Tamiya Lightnings, such as with the landing gear, wheels, and landing gear wells. Kazan Model Dynamics recently released two super-detailed 3-D printed landing gear sets applicable to any P-38F, G, H, J, and L. One is the so-called “basic” set (which we examined HERE <link pending>). In this review, we look at the notably expanded, or “full” P-38 landing gear detail set.
This item (#KAZ48017TAM: P-38F/G/J/L Landing Gear Set Full Set- 3D Prints [for the Tamiya kit]; MSRP $49.99) contains twenty-nine 3-D printed parts and thirteen stainless steel tubes. The printing of these parts is at such a high resolution that they are indistinguishable from the highest quality cast resin. The detail is astonishing, capturing with high precision and accuracy every feature of the P-38’s landing gear, wheels, and various landing gear well details.
First, the nose gear: as we noted in the review of the other set, details such as the hydraulic steering cylinder, hydraulic lines, and the scissors are perfectly executed. As nice as the printing and detail are, a truly elegant feature involves how Kazan incorporates a stainless steel tube that the builder will run down the center of the 3-D printed nose gear strut. Not only does this confer the necessary strength to the nose gear, but its exposed section is the nose gear oleo, and thus, no silver paint is required. This expanded set also includes the fork-shaped nose gear retraction strut and 3-D printed and stainless steel parts for the nose gear well door retraction struts and linkages. Also provided is a replacement for kit part C33 (aft nose gear wall). The kit part depicts the aft nose gear wall as protected by a canvas cover. That cover was sometimes (or even frequently) removed in operational aircraft. Here, this new 3-D printed part represents the aft well wall exposed, accurately depicting the hydraulic lines and hydraulic accumulator cylinder. The nose gear tire also looks great and features a subtle V-tread. The separate wheel hubs drop into the tire, making painting and masking a breeze.
Second, the 3-D printed main gear parts are equally well done and replete with detail, especially the hydraulic lines that lead to the wheel brakes. The main gear receives its strength from a stainless steel sleeve and tube that runs through the center of each 3-D printed main landing gear cylinder to provide ample strength and weight-bearing capability. This “full set” also includes two sets of 3-D printed cable bundles. These are prominent lines that run along the ceiling of the main gear well, but they are absent in the kit. Another set of four printed and four stainless steel parts make up the replacement main gear well door actuators. Two sets of tires are provided. One set features the block tread pattern. The other set provides one V-tread and one diamond tread pattern. The idea here is that the tires did not always match on the real aircraft, especially under combat conditions, and the builder here has an opportunity to mix (or match) tire tread patterns to make their model more unique. All the main gear tires have a subtle Dunlop imprimatur on the tire sidewalls.
This set brings an extremely high value and outstanding detail to Tamiya’s Lightning. These parts represent an impressive aftermarket upgrade to Tamiya’s 1:48 scale P-38s, and these parts require no modification to fit onto the kit. They will make the landing gear, tires, and gear wells a true focal point of the completed model.
Many thanks are owed to John Bubak at Kazan Model Dynamics for the review sample. You visit them on the web at https://www.kazanmodeldynamics.com where you order this set directly (and any of their other items), follow their blog, and read their build articles.
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale