The most widely used and most numerous ground combat vehicle of the modern age is not one of the technological marvels like the M1 Abrams or T-72… it’s a Toyota.
It all started in the 80’s when a conflict between Chad and Libya proved the Toyota truck’s effectiveness as a war machine. This little-known “Toyota War” tells a story about Chadian army comprising 400 Toyota pickup “technicals” - light-weight Toyota Hilux and Land Cruiser variants converted into improvised fire support vehicles armed with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers - which outmaneuvered and overwhelmed a vastly superior force equipped with soviet-era tanks and aircrafts of the Libyan army.
After demonstrating their reliability, toughness and great off-road mobility, Toyota technical trucks were extensively used from the1990s onward in conflict zones throughout Africa and the Middle East, as well as in the other war-torn regions, often by various irregular forces and militant groups.
AK Interactive recently released several Toyota Land Cruiser FJ43 kits, which have proven very popular among modelers. DEF Model soon offered aftermarket upgrades for these kits, including the detailed front grill and resin replacement wheels. This review covers FJ43 SUV Sagged Wheel Set (DW35159).
The set is packed in a small cardboard box, with a box art image showing the DEF Model resin wheel installed on the FJ43 model. The image also states the set includes 5 resin parts and wheel masks.
The box contains a zip-lock bag with resin pieces, masking sheets and masking instruction leaflet.
The pieces are cast in grey resin. The cast is really good with no imperfections that I could spot and superbly defined details. The casting blocks should prove easy to remove, even for those with no previous resin working experience… using a side cutter and a sharp blade is all one needs. Also, the casting blocks are located on the bottom of the road wheels, at tire ground contact, and any scars resulting from the cleanup will not be visible once the wheels are installed on the vehicle.
The set depicts a Bridgestone tire, but I’m not sure of its designation or dimensions as I couldn’t find info on the tire. I have several reference photos, which show DEF Model did their job well regarding the details of the tire tread and sidewall embossing, but unfortunately, I can’t comment its size.
And here’s the DEF Model wheel:
Check out the details… the inscriptions “BRIDGESTONE” and “LIGHT TRUCK” are clearly identifiable, with the complex tire tread pattern realistically delivered. Very impressive!
The set supplies 2 front wheels (“A”) and 2 rear wheels (“B”). The variations between the two are not just due to the specific front/rear wheel hubs, but also due to the orientation of the tire compression and sidewall details. This ensures the wheels fitted to the same side of the vehicle do not look identical, adding to the realism of the finished model.
The road wheels are depicted with a slight compression of the tire at the ground contact, nicely conveying the weight of the vehicle.
The set also includes a spare wheel.
Comparison with the plastic wheels included in the AK kit is not completely fair, as the tire depicted in this DEF Model set is not the same as the wheel types supplied with the AK offering. However, I believe the photo still serves a purpose, as it clearly shows how superior in detail resin wheels are.
Also, each resin wheel is supplied as a single piece, easily cleaned and ready to install, while wheels from the kit need to be assembled using 5 parts for each wheel.
Fitting the wheels:
This set of resin wheels is designed as a direct replacement for plastic wheels supplied with the AK kit and no modifications are required to secure the wheels into the AK axle. Quick and easy!
Three identical pre-cut masking sheets are included in this kit. The masks are of help when painting the wheels, allowing airbrushing without overspray. Also included is the instruction leaflet which shows two different ways of applying the masks and painting the wheels.
FJ43 SUV Sagged Wheel Set (DW35159) from DEF Model delivers 4 resin road wheels and a spare wheel designed to upgrade 1/35 scale FJ43 kits from AK Interactive. The wheels are perfectly cast in resin, feature superbly delivered details, are easy to install and provide a vast improvement over the wheels supplied with the kit. The wheel masks are a welcomed bonus.
A big thanks to DEF Model for this review sample.