Every now and then a new product comes along that raises the bar to a whole new level. Think Master MG gun barrels, Doug Craner’s wooden props, Costas’ turnbuckles. Now we have brilliant spoked wheels from Steven Robson aka ‘The Spoked Wheel Shop’.
While researching for this review I came across this telling quote from a modeller expressing his frustration with spoked wheels:
“For many the spoked wheel has been and still is the nemesis of World War I aircraft modelling”
Yes there are various spoked wheels available, photo-etched are the most common but their likeness to the real thing is only passable at best (in this reviewer’s humble opinion). A very few modellers have mastered the art of weaving their own but on a scale of difficulty this is probably close to “build a model that doesn’t need spoked wheels”. It is exciting, therefore, to see these new products come to market and reproduced so accurately.
About the Manufacturer
Steven Robson is from Adelaide, South Australia, and he has been researching and developing his product for the last four years. He quoted the document “Normalien Der lnspektion Der Flieqertruppen” Feb 1918 as one of his primary references as well as a myriad of period photos.
There are currently two sizes of German wheels available: 760x100 and 810x125 (outer diameter x tyre width) both with 40 spokes. Both types have the same sized rim, only the tyre is differently sized.
Generally speaking, the smaller size was used by fighters: Albatros D.II, D.III, D.V, D.Va; Fokker D.VII, Pfalz D.III, D.IIIa, D.XII; but also the Hannover CLII and Halberstadt CL.II; and the larger size by two-seaters: Albatros B.II, C.III, C.V, C.X, C.XII, D.III(OAW); Gotha G.IV, G.V; Roland C.II; Rumpler C.I, C.III, C.IV, C.VII; DFW C.V to name a few.
Some German aircraft used an even smaller size: 710x85 (Fokker E.I to E.III, DII, Dr.I, E.V/D.VIII, Halberstadt CL.II, Siemens Schuckert). A larger 965x150 wheel was used by German G type bombers.
Two options for spoke material are offered: a specialist 0.14mm tri-layer filament from Japan which is a graphite colour and 0.15mm steel alloy wires which are a