The company QuickWheel
and its subsidiary, BitsKrieg
, are now combining on sets of resin replacement wheels and masks. The current focus is on the Sd.Kfz. 251
and Sd.Kfz. 11
(which shared the same front wheels); a set has already been released for Dunlop-brand tires (reviewed by me here
). Now the company has released a set with the Continental
brand (more familiar to most model makers) that sports a welcome addition: a spare tire in a wheel with the lug bolt holes pre-drilled.
The set comes in a Ziploc baggie stapled to a stiff card, and contains:
2 resin front wheels
1 resin spare wheel
two sets of wheel hubs (total four) showing 2 variants
wheel mask with three openings
2-sided color "sell sheet" with photos showing real tires
painting tires and bogey wheels. Hand painting is time consuming, and usually requires multiple passes to get it right (or resorting to lots of mud or dirt to cover my unsteady brush strokes). While some of you consider it an act of modeling manliness to make your own wheel masks, I find them not worth the trouble, especially as QuickWheel has masks for most major Axis vehicles, and a growing list of masks for Allied and some modern ones (e.g., the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank). The masks make painting wheels and bogeys child's play.
The Sd.Kfz. 251 was not only one of the most-built vehicles of WW II, it is one of the most-released models today. It seems almost every manufacturer has a 251 (or multiples) in their line, yet as my review of the Dunlop set pointed out, none of the kit-supplied wheels are accurate no matter the manufacturer. QuickWheel's growing family of wheels (Dunlop and Continental, with Fulda and Deka Grip in the works) are simply excellent additions to any build. While the Sd.Kfz. 11 isn't nearly as popular as the 251, the AFV Club kit remains an excellent one but with the same wheel problems as their 251 version (no styrene maker's wheels approach the accuracy and detail of the BitsKrieg versions).
The tires are superbly-molded with the tiniest pour plugs I've ever seen, so clean-up is almost unneeded. The molding shows abundant detail (not just the brand name), so much so you will be devastated if you have to cover the tires up with too much Schmutz
or mud. The option for two wheel hubs is another excellent feature, though the differences between the two types is very fine, and likely will appeal more to the congenscenti
and not the average builder. Still, for a manufacturer to take that kind of time and care to improve the authenticity of their wares is highly commendable.
The mask, like all QuickWheel masks, is easy to use, and can be re-used for multiple applications, despite its sticky interior meant to hold the wheels in-place. The wheels fit snugly inside without the adhesion, so the mask can serve you well with other kits, especially as BitsKrieg is launching individual spare tires without masks.
Hands down, this is the best solution for wheels and painting with the Sd.Kfz. 251 or Sd.Kfz. 11. The option to include a spare tire in either is a big addition to these half-tracks, and a welcome progression by this manufacturer. Thanks to QuickWheel/BitsKrieg for supplying me with review samples.