The Kubelwagen is a light military vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen during World War II for use by the German military. Over 50,000 vehicles were built during WWII and employed by German forces all over Europe, Russia, and North Africa.
The Kubelwagen is available as a plastic model kit across the different scales, with Hasegawa being the only option in 1/24 scale. As far as I can tell, there were no aftermarket options for the kit until DEF Model released their first 1/24 scale resin replacement wheel sets. This review deals with the set depicting Kubelwagen sand tires: WWII German Kubelwagen Balloon Tire Set(DW24002).
The slick “balloon” type tires were used to prevent the Kubel from getting bogged down in deep sand. These tires were wider than the regular tire and could be operated at a lower pressure to increase its surface area. Also, a lack of tire tread decreased the chance to “dig in” on wheel spin.
Photo from: https://www.worldwarphotos.info/
The set is packed in a hard cardboard box. The box features an image showing Hasegawa model with DEF Model wheels installed... a very nice way to present replacement wheels.
The box contains a plastic bag with 5 resin pieces (4 road wheels and a spare tire), as well as wheel masks and masking instruction sheet.
Closer inspection of the resin pieces revealed no imperfections in the resin, no air-bubbles or seam lines to clean. The details look really good and are impressively defined.
The casting blocks are located on the lower part of the road wheel and are very easy to clean without leaving a visible burr. A bit more patience is needed to clean the spare tire… I usually suggest using side cutters, a sharp Olfa modeling blade and some fine grit sandpaper for the job.
The German Army used several different balloon tires in WWII. DEF Model set represents Continental 690 x 200 tire with a very simple tread pattern and I managed to find reference images of Kubelwagens sporting these tires.
It is never easy comparing old WWII images to a1/35 scale model, but as far as I can tell DEF Model did a really good job on the tires. The tire tread is realistically captured and the sidewall embossing details with CONTINENTAL and 690 x 200 inscriptions clearly recognizable. The rims have excellent bolt head details, and the characteristic shape of the hub cap is nicely portrayed as well.
The tires feature a slight ground contact bulged and flattening effect, and are accurately sized to 28,65 x 8,35 mm.
The set includes two front wheels (marked as A), two rear wheels (B), and a spare wheel (S). A and B have the hub and the tire sidewall embossing orientated differently in relation to the ground contact, so the wheels on the same side of the vehicle don’t look identical.
Fitting the wheels:
The DEF Model wheels are designed as direct replacement for Hasegawa 1/24 scale kit. The rear of the resin road wheels features specific locating holes, which enable fitting the wheels with no further modifications needed.
Three 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.
WWII German Kubelwagen Balloon Tire Set (DW24002) from DEF Model delivers direct resin replacement wheels (4 road wheels and a spare tire) for 1/24 scale Kubelwagen from Hasegawa. The wheels are perfectly cast in resin, with the tire and rim/hub details impressively delivered. Accurately sized and with realistically depicted tire sag, the front and back road wheels are provided in two slightly different orientations for additional scale model realism. Paint masks are an added bonus.
Altogether, it really is a no brainer for me. If you plan on building 1/24 Kubel from Hasegawa, these replacement wheels are a must have, as they offer a vast improvement over the plastic tires/hubs supplied with the kit. Highly recommended.
A big thanks to DEF Model for this review sample.