Our thanks to Ross at Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) for supplying our review samples.
A note from Geoff…
In these pages you will find a wide selection of SAC white metal replacement undercarriage sets – the SAC range is vast and can’t possibly hope to cover it all here. However, we have included reviews of many of these sets in all the major scale offered by the manufacturer.
Just click on any of the thumbs to take you to a selection of products in that scale.
Using white metal replacements: A general note
I’m sure that you will be familiar with the extensive range of white metal replacement undercarriage detail parts for aircraft scale models available from Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC). We have reviewed a lot of these here in SMN.
Plastic moulding has its limitations (as Clint would say), but SAC have spotted a nice area that is attractive to us scale modellers.
The kit parts are frequently quite flimsy and unstable, or unlikely to take the completed model in the long term after we’ve often added extra weight to it. So replacing the kit parts with stronger, sturdier metal replacements can often be an appropriate solution.
The parts from SAC have some flash, but this isn’t an issue, being easy to remove with a scalpel and then sanding sticks and buffers.
You’ll often find that some of the thinner parts such as oleo struts are malformed when you open the package; this is unfortunate. Better packaging would prevent this distortion assuming the parts have been packed at source undamaged. However, all is not lost as they parts can be straightened fairly easily by careful rolling and use of flat headed tweezers or pliers – but go easy!
Some useful observations from Ross at SAC
- As you know, one property of white metal is an inherent degree of malleability which is not found in styrene plastic, polyester resin or harder metals such as zinc or brass alloys. This quality affords the modeller the advantage of being able to “adjust” the angles of the landing gear and wheels once they are firmly cemented in place
- Another benefit of the combined attributes of strength and malleability is revealed when a modeller tackles a kit that requires the landing gear to be installed early in the assembly sequence. In this scenario, plastic kit parts can incur breakage even when handled with caution whereas white metal gear actually becomes a valuable ‘stand’ for the model throughout the subsequent processes (sanding, scribing, painting, etc.) employed until completion of the build
- The malleable nature of white metal can also more than justify its cost should one or more of the legs on a completed model be accidentally ‘bumped’ during handling. The more fragile nature of plastic can easily cause a kit part to snap. On the other hand, white metal will merely bend in like circumstances. A bend can usually be easily fixed when many times a break cannot. Our gear is often purchased by a modeller who has already experienced this problem and is seeking an alternative to purchasing a new kit in order to obtain repair parts.