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Hobby for a biker? How about building motorcycle model kits?
The kits come in pieces which you have to assemble into a complete bike.
The hobby is great for relaxation and self-discipline.
Bikers can have other hobbies, too, other than just riding. One of the best would be building motorcycle model kits.
There’s nothing like the amount of satisfaction and gratification when you assembled something that came in pieces into your favourite bike. You need to have patience, eye for detail, finesse, determination, discipline and concentration to work through all the challenges and frustration to come away with the end result. Good or otherwise, I bet you’d still feel happy when the bike is finally assembled complete with its decals.
Patience is a dying virtue in this current society which is driven by instant gratification. That’s why social media is so addictive to so many ways. But why not use current media such as YouTube to search out tips on assembly techniques? We didn’t have any guide at all except for the assembly instructions when I started this hobby in the mid-80s. We’re so much luckier now.
The way I see it, assembling model kits is a great way of being at peace with yourself. I know for a fact that I’d switch to a zen-like state and shut out the world completely when I work on a model (even on a Lego set). It’s probably the best way to slow your heart rate down after a hectic day at the office or after your family’s gone to sleep. It may also be the very thing to return that great virtue called patience.
No, these kits aren’t necessarily for kids, perception be damned. I remembered that when a girl I who tried to impress complained to her friends that I brought her to the toy section during our date. She friendzoned me. But hey, I got to complete the Tamiya RZ350 kit without having to waste money and time on her any further nyah, nyah. She didn’t know how much work it’s required to bring a legendary bike from hundreds of pieces of non-painted plastic.
If you’ve never seen how a kit looked like before, check out the picture below.
My late-Dad presented me with a 1/12th-scale Suzuki RG250 from Tamiya when I was 14 years old in 1986. I opened the box with glee, thinking that it’s a completely built-up bike. I was greeted by a frame with “exploded” parts in a clear plastic bag, instead. The kit included a manual that presented a brief description on the particular bike.
My Dad sat down and helped me get started. He bought me the paint, paint pens, brushes, clippers, etc., except for the airbrush and compressor as they were too expensive even at the time. I found that the most difficult process was painting and detailing, while assembly was more or less a breeze.
I remembered building up the bike as best as I could with what I had at hand. The end result was far from those built by long-time enthusiasts, but hey, I was super satisfied.
I’ve stuck with the Tamiya brand since then due to the high level of details and well, Tamiya is essentially the only brand that’s left today. Millennials or kids probably associate the brand to the Mini 4WD racers.
Their motorcycle model catalog is filled with some 72 1/12th-scale and just 12 big-sized 1/6th-scale kits. These are motorcycles that made impacts in motorcycling. There aren’t more because they weren’t licensed by the respective manufacturers.
Still, the 1/12 kits include legends such as the Kawasaki H2R and H2; Ducati 888, 916, Desmosedici, Panigale; Suzuki Katana 750 (with pop-up headlight), 1000 and 1100; Honda RC30; Yamaha YZR500 GP racer, YZR-M1, YZF-R1M; etc. A number of models have been discontinued including the bevel drive Ducati 900SS, Mike Hailwood Replica and 900 NCR Racer.
The 1/6 kits are reserved for certain groundbreaking bikes, such as the 1981 Honda CB750, Suzuki GSX-1100S Katana. But there are two engines kits here: One for the 1979 Honda CB750F and another for the Kawasaki Z1300.
I wish BMW Motorrad and Triumph would license their bikes to Tamiya. I’ll be building a BMW R32 or Triumph Rocket 3 or Thruxton TFC with glee!
They are not cheap these days, though. Each 1/12 kit will set you back around RM 300 (curse you, inflation!). However, am of the opinion that the money will be well-spent. Unless someone deposits RM 2.6 billion into my bank account (I know, the joke is stale but hey, is there a better example?), I could never get to own any one of these legends. Even then, bikes like the YZR500 or RG500 aren’t for sale at any price! So, RM 300 for a historic motorcycle isn’t that bad and I don’t have to worry about where to store it. Hey, RM 300 is about the price of a Playstation game, anyway.
Give it a try, you may just fall in love with it.
You can the 1/12-scale catalog here; the 1/16-scale lineup here; and entire Tamiya catalog here. There is an authorized distributor here in Malaysia.
Wahid Ooi Abdullah
Wahid's lust for motorcycles was spurred on by his late-Dad's love for his Lambretta on which he courted, married his mother, and took baby Wahid riding on it. He has since worked in the motorcycle and automotive industry for many years, before taking up riding courses and testing many, many motorcycles since becoming a motojournalist. Wahid likes to see things differently. What can you say about a guy who sees a road safety message in AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."
3 Benefits of Plastic Modelling – Building Your First Tamiya Motorcycle
Believe it or not, scale modelling as we know it has been around for more than 6 centuries. One famous figure, Leonardo Da Vinci, was making catapults, paddle boats and even a mechanical robot to present to Roman rulers. Modelling started to become more and more popular with the introduction of plastic scale models in the 20th century which continued in the 21st century. Today modelling is a craft and for many even a hobby. But why do people like it so much?
Clears Your Head
Building scale models is a great way to relieve yourself from everyday stresses. The time spent building model motorbikes, aircraft, boats or vehicles is quality alone time since you focus on the steps and let your brain relax for hours on end. This is not something that is done in a rush, in fact, taking your time is the best way to build scale models.
For beginners it’s important to make sure you always follow instructions and organise all the parts. This tests your organisation skills and the more you do it the better you will be at keeping stuff neatly arranged, thus making the whole process easier for yourself.
Although you’ll need to follow instructions on how to assemble your plastic motorcycle model, when it comes to painting there are no restraints except for the type of paint you need. You can make a motorcycle model truly yours by adding a personal touch to it. You can explore all kinds of options and get creative while doing so.
How Do You Build a Plastic Model?
Knowing how to mark plastic models will set the ground for things such as cutting and filling. When working with motorbike models made of opaque plastic, use a soft pencil to mark a bend line or a cut, but when it comes to transparent plastic models use a felt pen, china graph or a scriber. For acrylic sheets you can use both a pen or a pencil and a scriber. When you need to make a straight cut on a cylinder shape, it’s best that you wrap a straight edged piece of paper around it and use it to guide your pencil or graph. You can also use masking tape on one side of the cut line and take it off once you are done.
When you want to get the parts off the sprue, you need to be careful not to leave a lot of leftover plastic. This is why you want to use cutters together with a craft knife. In case there is excess plastic sticking out of the part you’ll just trim it with the craft knife. When cutting thin plastics, a pair of scissors or a modelling knife is going to work just fine. If you are cutting sheet or thicker polystyrene plastic parts, you’ll need to score a straight line with a knife and then snap them over the edge of the work bench. Brittle plastics like laminates, acrylics and acetate will require cutting them with a craft knife whilst clamped onto the work bench.
While this won’t be as important in a standard model building process, in case some of the parts have dents or gaps you’ll need to fill them in. You should use epoxy paste when it comes to larger gaps. Finer gaps can be fixed by brushing matt enamel paint into them and once it has set hard, just rub it in with wet-and-dry paper to get a smooth finish. The epoxy, on the other hand, should be applied in small amounts and worked in so you have it as close to the desired shape as possible. This needs to be smoothened with water and left to sit overnight so it can get sanded lightly with very fine sand paper afterwards.
Almost all plastic model motorbikes can be smoothened out with suitable abrasives and fine needle files, while the majority of them can be trimmed with a fine sharp plane. The thin film plastic that’s created from moulds with a poor fit can be removed with a sharp knife or a fine needle file. A bench-mounted disc sander is required if you need to smoothen out large components or thick acrylic sheets.
In case you need to alter the shape of a part, bending it is an inevitable process but it needs to be done properly in order to keep the part intact. For example, you can bend a plastic strip or a rod by pulling it under a rounded object against a flat surface. Extremely thin plastic sheets can be curved around a paint brush handle or anything with a similar shape. For more accurate results, make sure you apply a drop of liquid cement on the area you want to bend and leave it to soften for a couple of minutes. Then just bend the piece carefully to avoid stretching it.
It’s important that you start gluing large parts first and then start moving on to smaller parts. When applying the glue make sure that there is no excess of it on the brush as you need to apply a small amount of it on each part. Make sure you follow the instructions provided with the kit and take your time when gluing pieces. together.
Before you apply your first coat of paint you need to apply primer either with a hand brush or a spray can. The former takes much more time than the latter but applying primer with a spray has to be done in even strokes. This also goes when you apply the base paint coat which can also be done with an airbrush. You can rely on a model painting guide for better results.
Model motorcycles tamiya
.Building Tamiya 1/12 Honda CB750F Scale Model Custom