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  1. Hello fellow master modelers - I am going to hopefully take you through a pretty challenging scratch build of some 1/18 wheels and tires for a P-51 Mustang using primarily a Unimat mini-lathe. At the time of this posting, I am not done, and there is some risk that it will be a failure. But here goes..... A few years ago I dove into a 21st Century Toys 1/18 scale P-51 Mustang, made extensive modifications and improvements, and called her Miss Velma. Here is a picture of her after the two-year project was completed (some of you know of this giant project): I have a 4-part article on Miss Velma on LSP, if interested. The main landing gear were a big part of the project. I scratch built the struts, brakes, and gear doors but used the existing toy's tires and wheels, although heavily modified. Here are some closeups: It may be evident to you from the pictures that the original tires were split (sawed) in two right along the centerline, and a good bit of plastic sheet material added in the middle, and then the diamond pattern re-cut. At the time that was all I could think of to get the tire width correct. I lived with the inaccurate tread pattern, and also the inaccurate diameter of the rims (they are a little too large but the tire OD is actually about right). The outer wheel half was mercilessly whittled on in and attempt to make the "spokes" look somewhat accurate, with marginal results. The inner wheel half was modified too, to accept the scratch built brake housings. Here is what the wheels and tires are supposed to look like: Meanwhile, I purchased a Unimat mini-lathe in support of my P-38 "Lucky Lady" build (look for an article soon), and learned how to make pretty good tires and wheels as machined parts. Here is an example (main gear P-38, 1/18 scale): So now I mean to give Miss Velma some new shoes, which better represent the real thing. Off come the old: Geez - it's a bit damaged but nothing I cannot fix. And I will get on with the new. Stay tuned!
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