The Tamiya 1:48 scale P-38 Lightning kits continue to generate much 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 omitted in the Tamiya Lightnings, such as the interior of the gear wells and the wheels. Kazan Model Dynamics recently released two super-detailed, 3-D printed, landing gear set applicable to any P-38F, G, H, J, and L. Here, we look at the Basic P-38 landing gear set. Our review of their “Full Set” can be found HERE <link pending>
This set (#KAZ48018TAM: P-38F/G/J/L Landing Gear Set – 3D Prints [for the Tamiya kit]; MSRP $34.99) contains ten 3-D printed parts and five stainless steel tubes that that serve as complete replacements for the kit’s landing gear. The printing of these parts is at such a high resolution that they are indistinguishable from the highest quality cast resin. The detail is remarkable, capturing with high precision and accuracy every feature of the P-38’s landing gear and wheels.
First, the nose gear: Details such as the hydraulic steering cylinder, hydraulic lines, and the scissors are perfectly executed. As nice as the printing and detail is, 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 provide the necessary strength to the nose gear, but its exposed section serves as the nose gear oleo, and therefore no silver paint is required. The nose gear tire also looks great, featuring a subtle V-tread. The separate wheel hubs drop into the tire, making painting and masking very easy.
The 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. Once again, this provides ample strength and weight-bearing capability, and it serves as the exposed silver part of the gear’s shock piston. The main gear tires have a subtle Dunlop imprimatur on the tire sidewalls, and the tires have a block tread.
This set may be seen as a little costly, but in this case, cost truly translates directly into extremely high value and outstanding detail. These parts represent an impressive aftermarket upgrade to Tamiya’s 1:48 scale P-38s, and it requires no modification to fit into the kit. They will make the landing gear a focal point of the completed model.
Many thanks to John Bubak at Kazan Model Dynamics for the review sample. You can visit them on the web at https://www.kazanmodeldynamics.com where you can 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