Lead wire sizes for 1/48 scratchbuilding?

I’m looking to add detail to wheel wells, gear struts, and engines on 1/48 WWII aircraft.

What size lead/solder wires do you use?

My research says 0.2/0.3mm and 0.5/0.6mm are the most commonly used. That sound right?



If you have a Bass Pro or Cabelas or a fly tying shop nearby go buy your lead wire there. We fly tiers (I do that too) use it to weight very fine hooks.

Here’s part of my selection that has migrated to my model desk

The weighted lead and brass on the right, in the middle are thin foils I use on 1/35 for slings and straps and far right is a fine thread I use for tie down rope. There’s also a spool of black ribbing material which is good for hoses.

Hope this gives you some ideas, most is pretty cheap, you can pick up a bunch of spools fairly inexpensive and kind of eyeball what looks appropriate. And it’s super flexible also, cuts easy with scissors or nippers and CA glue works fine too.


Very interesting. Your wires are significantly finer than the 0.2-0.6 I’m seeing most builders use.


A lot of times I just hold it near a figures hands and look for one that seems right.

I know this may be fuzzy but in a Sherman on the headlight guard there was a bulb holder w a wire retainer for the lid. That fine brass wire was was used to replicate that.
The fine lead wire was used on these pins in the rear of the kit

The gold ribbon made this sling

And both th brass wire and foil used for the stowage straps

I know you were talking about the plumbing on engines but I wanted just to show what it looks like in scale and in use so I hope these example sparks an idea.


I’ve also discovered that lead wire of suitable thickness flattened with a metal object, will give a nice consistent width for rifle slings, straps, etc.
:smiley: :canada:


Good tip. Thank you.