Perhaps no other vehicle of the US Army WW2 effort was as iconic as the wartime “Jeep” (save perhaps M4 Sherman). The vehicle was produced in the hundreds of thousands and proved one of the most multi-faceted and reliable platforms of war. Utilized wherever it was needed and along multiple fronts across varying climates, the “jeep” proved popular all over the world and post-war usage was strong, making it one of the most successful military vehicles ever produced.
(adapted from: https://www.militaryfactory.com)
Takom released their 1/16 scale ¼-ton 4×4 G503 MB Utility Truck kit in 2022. DEF Model soon offered two aftermarket resin wheels sets designed to replace the plastic wheels supplied with the kit. This review covers the WW2 US 1/4 ton G503 Utility Truck Wheel Set (DW16001).
This is the first 1/16 scale wheel set from DEF Model, and it comes in a slightly larger box than those usually used for the company’s products in smaller scales. Also, the box is made from heavy-duty cardboard and feels really sturdy, thus offering improved transport/storage protection. The box art image shows the contents of the set, stating the set consists of 14 resin parts and wheel masking seals.
Opening the box reveals several plastic bags with resin pieces, masking sheets and a masking instruction leaflet.
I checked the resin pieces first. There are 15 resin parts in the set: 4 road wheels, 1 spare wheel, 4 wheel hubs and 6 valve caps. Valve caps are supplied as tiny 3D printed pieces.
With a lot of DEF Model wheel sets in my stash, and having used quite a few on my own models, I knew exactly what to expect… DEF resin quality is second to none. However, the level of details on these pieces simply blew me away. Check out this image, every detail of sidewall embossing and wheel rims is superbly defined and delivered.
I found no casting defects on the pieces, so the cleanup can be kept to a minimum. The casting blocks should prove easy to remove with some side cutters and a sharp blade. The casting blocks are attached to the bottom of the road wheels, at tire ground contact. This ensures no detail is lost during the cleanup and any resulting “scars” are not visible once the wheels are installed on the vehicle. As for the spare tire, the casting block supports attached to the tire follow the tread pattern. I would suggest some patience when cleaning this one, as careful removal of the block warrants no damage to the tire tread. Be extra careful when handling the tiny valve caps as these are very delicate and could easily snap. DEF included 6 caps so, with 5 wheels, there is a spare if one falls prey to the carpet monster.
Good Year tire / Combat rims:
The Willys used 16 x 4.5-inch steel wheels shod in 6.00–16 NDT (Non-Directional Tires). The DEF Model set represents Good Year 6.00–16 NDT, with a heavy-duty 6 ply rated construction and its distinctive block tread pattern. The tire has overall diameter of 27.88 in (708,15 mm) and width of 6.5 in (165,10 mm).
As for the rims, the initial 20,000 Jeeps rolled out on solid rims, but all of the Jeeps thereafter had “combat rims.” Developed in 1941, the idea of a combat rim was that in a combat situation, any GI could quickly remove a tire from a rim just by deflating the tire and unbolting eight bolts. A metal band called a “beadlock” was also added, which acted as a sort of “run flat,” allowing a Jeep with a punctured tire to run for an additional 40+ miles.
Comparing the references to the 1/16 scale offering from DEF reveals a really good match. The images show all the fine details superbly delivered on the resin pieces, with the characteristic block tread pattern and all the tiny inscriptions on the sidewalls clearly identifiable. The combat rims look the part as well, with 8 rim bolts and the tiny plaque near the stem valve.
Once again, I must show this close-up image of all the Good Year tire details… the inscriptions are perfectly defined and easily legible under magnification!
The tire is sized to 45,00 x 10,45 mm, which makes it about 0,75mm larger in diameter and about 0,1 millimeter wider than the real tire in 1/16 scale.
As the title of the set suggests, the wheels in this set are depicted sagged. The slight compression on the tire ground contact depicts the weight of the vehicle well.
Also, the wheels in this set are not identical. There are 4 road wheels in 2 slightly different variants, labeled as A and B on their carrier blocks. The two road wheel variants differ in orientation of the tire compression, sidewall details and rim detail. This ensures that wheels A and B, when fitted to the same side of the vehicle, do not look identical but slightly different, adding to the realism of the model.
Road wheels and spare wheel:
Front and rear wheel hubs are supplied as separate pieces in this set.
After removing the hubs from their carrier block, they are to be installed into the central wheel opening. Please note the difference between the hubs and use appropriate pieces for front / rear road wheels.
The set also includes a spare wheel, cast together with a spare tire disc clamp and two mounting nuts, ready to be installed to the Takom kit.
Here’s the reference photo of the spare tire externally-mounted at the rear of the tub. DEF did a good job replicating the spare tire clamp.
Valve stem protectors:
These 3D printed pieces are supplied separately in the set.
The valve cap attaches to the valve stem using the valve stem threads. It protects the valve stem from mud, dirt and other hazards encountered. Also a very useful item, as it holds the stem in place while installing the tube into the combat wheel.
The DEF Model set consists of 6 valve stem protectors, which means there is 1 extra piece… a very welcomed addition, as the pieces are tiny and could easily fling from their carrier, falling prey for the carpet monster.
Fitting the wheels:
This wheel set is designed as a direct replacement to Takom’s wheels. The central opening on the back of DEF replacement wheels accommodates kit parts C2/C4 (front wheels) or C2/C3 (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.
WW2 US 1/4 ton G503 Utility Truck Wheel Set (DW16001) from DEF Model delivers resin replacement road wheels and spare tire for Takom’s 1/16 scale kit. The pieces are perfectly cast in resin and feature a ton of superbly defined details. The set offers two slightly different wheel orientations (front and back), and feature realistically depicted tire sag. The wheels are correctly scaled and offer an accurate miniature representation of Good Year 6.00-16 NDT and jeep combat rims. Pre-cut masks which help in painting the wheels are an added bonus.
Altogether, this is a great set of wheels which provides a big improvement to the plastic tires supplied with the Takom kit. Highly recommended.
A big thanks to DEF Model fir this review sample.