During the course of its early production, the M151 gained a reputation of 'rolling over' in a certain situations, including those occurring at low speeds under normal driving conditions. Although the principle cause of the accidents was identified as “operator error”, the additional contributing factor suggested was the vehicle having been designed for off road use as its primary mission. The tires used by US military were of the Non-Directional Tread (NDT) type. Simply stated this means there is no specific tread pattern - the tire is designed for gripping soft soil or wet unimproved surfaces. Operators of the M151 displayed a propensity for application of civilian automobile handling characteristics in their driving habits but in fact were using a primarily off road vehicle with no tread on the tires.
Several photo references suggest some M151 Mutts employed civilian tread tires instead of the military NDT type tires. This was probably due to the fact these vehicles were used on paved surfaces, and civilian tread improving the tire grip on the asphalt roads.
(adapted from: https://www.militarytrader.com/)
DEF Model addresses this peculiar M151 wheel setup with their 1/35 scale M151A1 Mutt Jeep Early Sagged Wheel Set (2) (DW35124), a resin replacement set designed to fit Tamiya and Academy M151 kits.
The set is packed in a small, nicely designed hard cardboard box.
The box contains a zip lock bag with resin and 3D printed parts, a masking sheet and instructions.
The resin pieces include 4 road wheels, a spare wheel and 4 brake drums, while the front suspension A-arms are delivered as 3D printed pieces. The parts are perfectly cast and there are no air-bubbles or seam lines to report. The thin flash residue present in the rim openings should be cleaned using the back of an X-acto blade.
The details are sharp and well defined. Check out the microscopic inscriptions on the tire sidewalls… and note the diameter of the 1/35 scale tire is only 22 mm. Very impressive!
The casting blocks are located on the bottom part of the tire and removing them should not present any problems. The casting block on the spare tire is designed with the attachment points following the tire tread, so no details are lost during cleanup. I suggest using side cutters, sharp blade and some fine grit sandpaper. As for removing and cleaning 3D printed parts, these should be handled with sharp pointed side cutters and some sandpaper. Be careful… if manhandled, these delicate pieces could easily snap.
The set depicts Firestone 7.00-16 tire on early type 5 hole M151 rims. The tire is tube-type, bias ply tire with a traditional Firestone zig-zag tread pattern and a classic pie-crust upper sidewall edge, designed for paved road applications. After browsing the internet, I found several 7.00-16 vintage Firestone tires very similar to the one delivered in the set, but as far as I can tell, none was the identical match. So, to be completely honest, I’m not sure which Firestone tire the set represents. As for the rims, the early magnesium M151 rims feature 5 rectangular openings and 5 lug pattern.
Here are the details of the wheels in the DEF Model set.
The tires of the road wheels are depicted slightly sagged. I feel the compression of the tire looks realistic and conveys the weight of the vehicle really well.
The set includes two slightly different variants of the road wheels, labeled as A and B. The two variants differ in orientation of the tire compression, rim and lifting eye hub caps. This ensures that wheels fitted to the same side of the vehicle do not look identical and repetitive, but slightly different, adding to the realism of the model.
And here is a closeup of the spare tire.
Along with the resin replacement wheels, this set includes 4 nicely detailed brake drums, which should enhance the look of the finished model.
Also, the set includes two 3D printed upper A-arms which are missing in both Tamiya and Academy kits.
Here’s how the front suspension looks on the real M151.
DEF Model also supplied images on positioning suspension parts from their set: link.
A pre-cut masking sheet is 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.
M151A1 Mutt Jeep Early Sagged Wheel Set (2) (DW35124) from DEF Model delivers direct resin replacement wheels for Tamiya and Academy M151A1 kits in 1/35 scale. The set includes 4 road wheels and a spare wheel, perfectly cast and with superbly defined details. The set also contains brake drums and front suspension upper A-arms, which are a very welcomed bonus.
If you are looking to depict a military M151A1 using a specific wheel setup with “civilian” tires, or perhaps a restored vehicle used on contemporary military shows, this is a set for you.