Wee Friends

Airfix-Heller Willys MB Jeep Grill

Kit #: WBM7226 Preview by Al Magnus - one72guy(at)hotmail(dot)com
Edited by Al Magnus

Jeep grill comparison
Wee Friends Airfix/Heller Hasegawa Academy
width = 0.54in
height = 0.25in
width = 0.54in
height = 0.25in
width = 0.51in
height = 0.275in
width = 0.51in
height = 0.285in

This item from Wee Friends addresses the irksome molded in bridge classification disk found in the Airfix/Heller Jeep kits. As nice as the Airfix/Heller Jeeps are, the molded on bridge classification disk makes modelling Jeeps other than the one supplied in the kit rather difficult. So to model a different Jeep, the modeller is left with basically three options - try removing the disc without damaging the fine slats in the kit grill (which would be a tiresome task), jury rig a grill taken from the Academy or Hasegawa kit, or use this replacement from Wee Friends.

The Wee Friends part is a white metal casting that's a tad on the rough side in places, though I would venture that some sanding should remove a lot of the imperfections. The only difficulty would be getting some sandpaper inside the small depressions for the recessed signal/driving lights to remove some irregular bumps, and on the headlight lenses, which are a bit rough. As an alternative I suppose one could drill out the Wee Friends lenses and replace them with the Airfix items.

With copies of Jeep grills from Hasegawa and Academy at hand, I figured this would be a good time to compare them against the Airfix and Wee Friends grills to see if they would actually be viable options for some kit bashing (see above chart for measurements). First of all, there is a definite difference in the shape and size. The Airfix and Wee Friends parts are basically identical. Moreover their shape seems to be more accurate in keeping with my references. As for the Hasegawa and Academy grills, these appear to be a bit too narrow and overly wide, while their radiator openings appear too square shaped. And the Academy grill is totally incorrect with respect to the number of slats. Jeeps have eight, while the Academy offering has nine. Oops, somebody really goofed up here!

Based on my findings it appears that the Wee Friends item will be a direct and easy replacement. Its size and shape match perfectly with the stock Airfix grill. The Hasegawa grill is too short in width and much too wide in height, which will require the modeller to do some surgery to get it to fit the Airfix/Heller kit properly. As for the Academy grill, the 9 slats makes it totally unsuitable as a replacement.

Thus the Wee Friends replacement grill should make replacing the kit grill of the Airfix/Heller kit quite easy. Just apply a little elbow grease to remove the roughness of the casting and it should just slot into place without much ado.

Review sample supplied by Ian Hanratty of Friendship Models.

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Article Last Updated: 25 September 2010