is an early Italeri kit, repackaged by Testors, that I had bought years ago but
did not get around to building until the more advanced MiniArt
Harley Davidson was released in 2010. After looking through that kits
miniscule plastic parts and numerous thin photoetch pieces (several of which need
to be bent on a jig), I decided to crack open this old kit and use it as practice
before tackling the new one.
also had a partially completed Tamiya motorcycle stashed away that had become
separated from some of its engine parts. Comparing the three kits, the MiniArt
is definitely the winner as far as accuracy and level of detail, but the Italeri
is not too far behind. The main advantages to MiniArts are the photoetch
wheel spokes, additional detailing, and decals. But the Italeri builds into a
nice replica without the AMS stress. Plus the Testors boxing includes two kits
advantage of the Testors set is the clear layout of the assembly instructions,
with an actual narrative format. There are no trip-ups in the building process,
and there are a few opportunities to make modest improvements on the parts. For
example, I carved away some of the plastic that bridges the underside of the fenders
and wheels, particularly noticeable on the front wheel. The saddle bags cover
a good portion of the rear wheel. Speaking of the bags, I filled in the hollow
back sides of both the bags and the metal box mounted on the front strut because
theres a chance the backs can be seen.
also cut off the stock of the Thompson submachine gun and drilled out the opening
of the scabbard. I added the back end of a spare Tamiya Tommy gun and refashioned
the mounting strap from a thin strip of tin. The scabbard itself had some sunken
areas that I puttied. These improvements produce a much more realistic effect.
simple improvement was adding thin wire to represent gas lines and the brake cable.
The solid headlight was hollowed out with a Dremel, the bowl was painted silver,
and a spare clear plastic part was inserted.
kit was sprayed OD, then the tires, air filter hose, and handle grips were painted
PollyScale tarnished black. The leather seat and bags were done in PollyScale
rust and drybrushed with lighter hues to give a worn look. Other engine and metal
parts were painted in metal grays and silvers. The model received the usual wash
the kit lacks decals. Though not all motorcycles featured them, I scrounged up
a pair of stars for either side of the gas/oil tank. Some cycles, particularly
those used by military police, had more extensive markings. There is no instrument
gauge decal, but Archer
Fine Transfers produces dry transfers of gauges and other markings for the
MiniArt kit that work on the Italeri kit as well, and as there are enough for
three motorcycles, youd cover both Italeri bikes for a mere $6. Here you
can see the instrument dial, placard, and air filter marking. The transfer instructions
suggest using a drop of clear epoxy cement to make the instrument dial glass.
I brushed a dab of gloss varnish and it had the effect of slightly smearing the
transfer's ink, so follow the instructions.
figures are typical of old Italeri kits, rather stiffly posed, simply sculpted,
with zombie-like expressions. If you really want to use these as riders, swapping
the heads with Warriors or Hornet options would help immensely. But as one can
see from the box art, adjustments will need to be made to one of the figures to
get him to grip the handlebar realistically. (The Tamiya kit actually has a much
better rider than found here.)
this was a good kit for its day, and still is a respectable option for modelers
who may be intimidated by the fragile parts and photoetch in the MiniArt model.
Given there are two bikes in this set, it might be a good father-son project for
modelers with a little experience under their belts.