Light Duty N Scale Vehicle Wheels

cfritschle Apr 11, 2021

  1. cfritschle

    cfritschle TrainBoard Member

    I wasn’t sure which was the most appropriate forum for this topic, so if it needs to be moved, that is fine with me. While this post does include new product information, it is mostly a shout out for Showcase Miniatures.

    Early in February of this year I was looking for some N scale wheels for the utility trailers I was kitbashing when I "discovered" that Showcase Miniatures offers 8 wheels from their 1961 Chevy pickup as a detail item.

    While the Chevy wheels were a little too big for the utility trailers I was working on, I thought they might work well to “beef up” the pickup box trailer I had made from an Atlas F-100. And while I was compiling my order, I got to thinking that the wheels used on the Showcase Grumman LLV mail truck would be the perfect size for the utility trailers.

    So, on February 4 at 7:41 in the morning I sent an email to Debbie at Showcase Miniatures explaining what I was working on, and how I thought the mail truck wheels would be perfect to finish my project. That same morning at 10:32 Debbie emailed me that the packages of the mail truck wheels were available to order. The email even included this link to the item.

    Less than 3 hours had passed between my initial product request, and the wheels being available for order! That is what I call customer service!!

    I ordered the wheels that evening, and they arrived a few days later. However, other projects got in the way of finishing the trailers, that is until now. Because the Showcase wheels are designed to be glued to “hubs” cast onto the chassis of their models, I had to get a little creative to adapt the wheels to the axles for my trailers.

    Shown below are the first three steps used to prepare the wheels for the trailers. The wheels in the photo are the ones for the Chevy pickup, but the same process is used for the wheels for the mail truck.
    1) Attach an Evergreen 0.08 inch styrene rod to the back of the wheel with AC glue.
    2) Cut the rod leaving a plastic hub attached to the back of the wheel, file the hub flat, and drill a pilot hole a little smaller than the axle you intend to use. I am using 0.025 inch music wire for these wheels, so my pilot hole was 0.02 inch, and the "final" hole drilled to accept the axles was 0.024 inch. (I wanted a snug fit.) Blackening the hub with a Sharpie helped me center the drill on the hub.
    3) Attach the wheels to the axle, and once they are painted, the wheels are ready to install.


    The photo below shows the Atlas trailer with the Showcase wheels installed.


    And just for fun, I loaded the pickup and the trailer with some round hay bales.


    The only down side in using the Showcase wheels under the Ford pickup box is that the Chevy "bow tie" is still visible on the hubcap in the photos. ;)

    And for those that may not remember what the Atlas trailer looked like with the “1/2-ton” wheels, here is the photo I posted of it back in 2019.


    Now that the trailer's origins appear to be from a 3/4-ton pickup, I felt I could double the load and haul two round hay bales in it. Based on the size of the bales, the prototype bales would weigh about 800 lbs. each. So, 1600 lbs. on the pickup, and another 1600 lbs. on the trailer, it is probably about right for the pickup and trailer.

    The utility trailers I was kitbashing also originated from Showcase Miniatures. I was using the beds from the Showcase 8-ft X 16-ft utility trailer ( and the Showcase 8-ft X 16-ft equipment trailer ( Evergreen 0.06 inch I beams along with some styrene strips were used for the trailer frames, which resulted in trailers that are more typical of the 8-ft X 16-ft trailers I see in southwestern Idaho on a daily basis. And the mail truck wheels are the perfect size for these trailers.

    This photo shows an Atlas F-150 pulling the kitbashed 8-ft X 16-ft utility trailer, in which I added the hay/straw load from a Busch hay wagon.


    This photo shows a River Point Station F-250 pulling the kitbashed 8-ft X 16-ft equipment trailer. And yes, the Artitec Ford 5000 tractor still needs to be secured with chains.


    I am very happy with the Showcase wheels, and I am especially grateful for Debbie and Walter, and their great customer service! :)

    sd90ns, MK, John Raid and 3 others like this.
  2. sd90ns

    sd90ns TrainBoard Member

    Nice work on the trailers and like you, I have had nothing but great service from Showcase.
  3. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Awesome news! Glad to hear customer service isn't dead. Nice work!

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