With the recent conflict in Ukraine, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) became a widely recognized weapon platform, quickly gaining popularity in the modelling community as well.
During the 2022/2023 several new 1/48, 1/72 and even 1/144 scale HIMARS kits appeared on the market. In 1/35 scale, however, Trumpeter is still the only game in town, with their M142 HIMARS kit (#01041) released back in 2018.
The kit could be improved using an extensive detail-up set from Tetra Model Works and, of course, a set of resin replacement wheels. DEF Model recently revamped their old HIMARS resin wheels and now offers an upgraded version as: M142 HIMARS Sagged Wheel Set (DW35160).
The set is packed in a typical DEF Model side-opening hard cardboard box. The box art shows HIMARS resin wheels and notes the set consists of 6 resin parts and easy mask seal.
The box contains a zip-lock plastic bag with resin pieces. Wheel masking sheets and a masking instructions leaflet is included as well.
I inspected the resin pieces and found an excellent cast. The details are sharp and well defined, with no visible imperfections whatsoever. After >50 reviews of various DEF Model aftermarket accessories, I can confirm top quality resin casting is a standard with the company’s resin wheel sets.
Casting blocks are large but should be easy to remove using side cutters and a sharp modelling blade. The blocks are attached at the ground contact of each road wheel, which means any potential mishaps during the cleanup will not be visible once the wheels are installed on the vehicle.
Altogether, my first impressions of the set are very much positive. Now for the in-depth assessment…
As far as I can tell from the reference photos, HIMARS uses two types of tires, Michelin and Goodyear. This set represents Goodyear MV/T 395/85R20, an “ultra-strong military vehicle tire for fearless performance in mud, sand and snow”. The dimensions of the tire are 1184 x 391 mm (46.6 x 15.4 in) with the approved rim width of 254 mm (10 in).
I took some time to study the reference photos and compare the tire to its 1/35 scale resin counterpart from DEF Model. The shape of the 1/35 scale tire and the tread pattern look authentic and realistically depicted. The various inscriptions (GOOD YEAR, MV/T, 395/85R20) and sidewall detail are spot-on and clearly identifiable under magnification. Most companies producing aftermarket resin wheels tend to make tire sidewall embossing overly pronounced… DEF did a good job on this set as the inscriptions are unobtrusive and shallow, as on the real tire. The rim and hub details are nicely defined and, as far as I can tell, perfectly match the real thing. As for the dimensions, DEF Model tire is sized to 34,35 x 11,70 mm which makes it about half a millimeter larger in diameter and about half a millimeter wider than the real tire.
Check out the details under high magnification... insane!
The road wheels are depicted with a slight sag at the tire ground contact. The effect is not too prominent, and I feel it realistically depicts the compression of the tire due to the weight of the vehicle.
This set includes 3 slightly different road wheels (labeled A, B and C on their carrier blocks), two each. These wheel variants are differently oriented regarding the tire ground contact, as well as the sidewall embossing. This ensures the wheels fitted to the same side of the vehicle do not look identical and repetitive, adding to the realism of the model.
Fitting the wheels:
This wheel set is designed to fit Trumpeter model. The central opening on the back of DEF replacement wheels accommodates kit part E2 (front wheels) or part E6 (rear wheels). And voila, the wheels are ready to be painted and installed!
Three pre-cut masking sheets are included in this kit. 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.
M142 HIMARS Sagged Wheel Set (DW35160) from DEF Model delivers 6 resin road wheels designed to upgrade 1/35 scale HIMARS kit from Trumpeter. Perfectly cast and loaded with superbly delivered details, the wheels are depicted with a slight compression at ground contact and offered in slightly different orientations, so the model doesn’t end up with all 3 wheels on one side of the vehicle looking the same. The wheel masks are an added bonus.
Finally, I feel resin replacement wheels are an essential upgrade for all wheeled vehicle models, and DEF Model is the company with best resin wheel sets on the market today. Altogether, this is a no-brainer for me... Highly recommended.
A big thanks to DEF Model for this review sample.