This page compares the main gear wells for the F-84E/G 48th scale kits and detail sets. This page was revised 23 April, 2000.
Main gear wells shown, left to right, top to bottom, are Collect-Aire modified with well detail resin cast in mold made from from Monogram F-84F detail, Collect-Aire unmodified kit part, Battle Axe unmodified kit part, ProModeler, Tamiya, and Aires detail set. The Aires part reproduces the appearance of the real aircraft better than the others.
The Collect-Aire kit parts are not even close to correct, and the addition of the Monogram part helps, but it is not fully correct. The Battle Axe part has grossly exagerated details that also are not correct. The ProModeler gear well details are quite good, as are the Tamiya details. Only the Tamiya and ProModeler kits are worth building; however, both can benefit from additional detailing. The Aires cast resin replacement main gear well parts are better detailed than the kit details. The instruction sheet with the Aires set is very cryptic, simply showing to remove the kit well detail and add the resin parts. But, all is not as easy as it may seem at first look. The details molded into the upper wing surfaces of both kit parts must be removed, along with some of the upper surface thickness in order to create a pocket for the Aires part to bed into. Likewise, a pocket must be created in the lower wing surface by removing some of the thickness of the lower wing. The photo below shows the pockets for both the Tamiya and ProMod kit parts after material was removed with a ball-end hobby tool.
The ProModeler has more material to work with, so does not require as much thickness to be removed from the upper wing. After the pockets were made, the skin remaining on the Tamiya upper wing is about .015" thick, while the remaining ProMod skin is about .032" thick. The lower wing part in the Tamiya kit has a pocket "grove" molded slightly larger than the contour of the gear well opening. The ProMod kit does not have any pocket in the lower wing part. The pockets in both lower wing parts were made with about .020" material remaining. At .015" on the Tamiya upper wing part, there is very little tolerance for error, so if you do this, do it carefully so as to avoid gouging through the wing surface or melting the plastic. I also like the Aires detail part because it is made to accomodate the Tamiya landing gear (which I consider to be slightly better than the ProMod landing gear) and so will also accomodate the Cutting Edge metal landing gear set that is an improvement over either of the kits' parts.
I have done the "masochisic modeler" thing and patched a set of the Aires main gear wells into the wings I have backdated to C-model specs. Below are the photos of the inside and outside of the backdated wings.
In the event you are wondering why all the color differences in the panels, it is because I got really masochistic and patched Tamiya outer wing panels to ProMod inner wing panels. The reason was to enable me to use the Tamiya wingtips "from the box" rather than have to patch them onto the ProMod wingtips after the tanks were removed. Okay, so which was harder?! In fact, by using the Tamiya wingtips, these wings will serve for any Thunderjet from XP-84 through the C-model by simply changing the location of the formation lights on the wingtip parts. I will accomplish this by making RTV silicon molds of these modified wings.
At first look, I concluded the Aires main gear well parts could not be used for the Tamiya kit without punching holes into the upper wing surfaces. However, when I was able to make them work with the ProMod kit, I then tried them on the Tamiya wings, and found they could also be successfully installed. Therefore, if you are careful when removing the material from the wings to create the pockets for the Aires parts, they will fit, and they make a great addition to either Thunderjet kit.