Building the LRDG Command Car from Tamiya and looking for a suitable wheel replacement? Look no further, DEF Model produces two sets of resin wheels aimed at Tamiya’s offering and this review covers British L.R.D.G. Chevrolet Truck Sagged Wheel Set (1) (DW30005A).


Formed in 1940, the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) was a covert reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army, which played a major part in the Allied victory in North Africa during WWII. One of the main keys to LRDG success was their choice of vehicles, with Canadian Chevrolet 1533X2 30 cwt being the mainstay patrol vehicle since starting service in March 1942. Stripped of all non-essentials, including doors, windscreens and roofs, the vehicles were fitted with a bigger radiator, a condenser system, built up leaf springs for the harsh terrain and wide, low-pressure desert tires.


The iconic vehicle is available as a 1/35 scale plastic model kit from Tamiya since 1970s. The kit went through several revamps, the latest being a 2013 edition. Although very popular with modelers, the kit shows its age and there are numerous aftermarket items available to bring it to today’s standard.

DEF Model recently re-released an upgraded version of their old set of resin replacement wheels designed for Tamiya’s offering which features balloon 10.50-16 sand tires: British L.R.D.G. Chevrolet Truck Sagged Wheel Set (1) (DW30005A).


The set is packed in a hard cardboard box. The box art shows the model with DEF Model wheels attached, a really cool way to promote the product.

The box contains a zip-lock plastic bag with resin pieces, masking sheet and masking instructions.

I inspected the resin pieces and was very impressed with the quality of cast. The details are sharp, clean and well delivered in resin. There are no visible casting imperfections to clean, only a thin flash film in the center of spare wheels… a quick fix with a sharp X-acto blade.

Casting blocks should be pretty easy to remove. The great thing is that the casting supports on road wheels are attached to the tire ground contact, so any eventual cleaning mishap is not going to be visible once the wheels are fixed on the model. As for the casting blocks on spare wheels, these feature thin attachment points that follow the tire tread. Some care should be taken when cleaning these to minimize the need to recreate the complex tread pattern.

The tire depicted in this set is General Tyre 10.50-16, the most common sand tire used by the LRDG during the North African campaign. Although I wasn’t able to find much information about this particular type of tire, I managed to gather several wartime photographs and images of the LRDG vehicle displayed in Imperial War Museum, London, showing the tire.

Using the references I evaluated the authenticity of 1/35 scale DEF Model wheels. The tire tread is incredibly well defined and closely resembles that on wartime photos. The sidewall tire detail on DEF wheels features GENERAL and 10.50-16 inscriptions, clearly legible under magnification. I can also confirm all the rim and hub elements look authentic, with the bolt heads and other details superbly delivered. The road wheel tires in this set are depicted slightly sagged, and I feel the tire compression realistically simulates the weight of the vehicle.

I wasn’t able to find the exact dimensions of the General Tyre 10.50-16. A chart listing the most common WWII military tires claims 10.50-16 is in fact 37.4 x 11.4 in (950 x 279,5 mm) for military NDCC, but I’m not sure if this is applicable to General Tyre 10.50-16. In any case, the new DEF Model wheels (DW30005A) are much larger in diameter than those in the old set (DW30005) and, with the dimensions of 28 x 8.80 mm, closely resemble the size of tire included in Tamiya kit.

The set contains two types of road wheels, labeled on the casting supports as A and B. These are front (A) and rear (B) wheels, with slightly different hub elements, as well as differently oriented tire ground compression and sidewall details. If A and B are installed to the same side of the vehicle, the wheels will not look identical, adding to the realism of the model.

The set also includes two spare wheels, which was a standard for LRDG, although one spare wheel per vehicle was not uncommon. These were usually stowed outside the load bed to free up room for other items whilst still giving good access.

Fitting the wheels:

This set of resin wheels was designed as a direct replacement for Tamiya vinyl tire/plastic rim combo. The front wheels fit without any modification necessary, while the stub on kit part C45 should be trimmed to fit rear wheels. Image on DEF Model website could prove helpful: link.

Wheel masks:

All DEF Model wheel sets include pre-cut masking sheets, and this set is not an exception. The masks are of help when painting the wheels, allowing airbrushing without overspray. The instruction leaflet shows two different ways of applying the masks and painting the wheels.


British L.R.D.G. Chevrolet Truck Sagged Wheel Set (1) (DW30005A) from DEF Model delivers a set of resin replacement wheels (4 road wheels and 2 spare wheels) designed for 1/35 scale LRDG Command Car from Tamiya. The resin wheels are perfectly cast with superb details all around, and provide an essential upgrade to the old Tamiya kit.  Wheel masks are a welcomed bonus.

Highly recommended.


Thanks to DEF Model for this review sample:



You may also like