by: Todd Michalak [ ]
Prior to the outbreak of WWII, BMW produced the 746cc R75 motorcycle. This was a side-valve engine capable of producing 26hp to give this motorcycle a top speed of about 95km/h. The bike boasted third drive wheel incorporated through a sidecar attachment via a driveshaft off the rear wheel.
Most typical uses of this motorcycle sidecar configuration was messaging and fast reconnaissance; however, this bike was used to transport limited supplies, wounded and when fitted with the MG-34 on the sidecar, could be used as a fast attack and defensive vehicle.
Tamiyaís German Motorcycle & Sidecar comes in their standard pop-top box with the usual artist color rendition depicting the motorcycle in use. This kit has one tan colored styrene sprue tree containing forty-seven parts to construct the motorcycle with sidecar and two rider figures. There is a set of fanfold instructions for assembly and a small sheet of decals.
Having a look at the sprue, the parts are clean and crisply molded with minimal flash confined to only the figures themselves. The parts are laid out numerically on the sprue and correspond correctly to the arrangement in the instruction foldout. The instructions are Tamiyaís standard black and white exploded view line drawings which show the parts and where they are to be installed as well as labeling and greyscale highlighting to show paint configurations. This is a pretty straightforward format shown in the instruction; bike construction, sidecar construction figure construction and painting suggestions. The painting guide is actually located on side one of this two-sided fanfold instruction sheet and show two different painting configurations for the model as well as decal placement.
Tamiya has given two different painting options and three different decal depictions with this kit; A Ė 24th Pz. Div. Eastern Front, 1942 and B Ė 5th Parachute Regiment, 1943. As I mentioned there are three different decal configurations; one with front and back license plates and insignia to depict a motorcycle in the Wehrmacht Heer and two sets for Wehrmacht Luftwaffe depictions.
There are eighteen parts to the construction of the bike and is covered in the first three steps of the seven step instruction sheet.. The parts need very little clean up prior to construction, mainly the typical small mold seams on the front and rear fenders of the bike and gate attachment points. The bike constructs rather quickly as all the parts have an excellent fit and more or less fall together.
The sidecar construction is even easier. The nine parts that make up the sidecar are again, cleanly molded. One note if you intend on not installing the sidecar passenger, there are a few extremely fine ejector pin marks on the floor of the car. Light sanding will surely take care of this. With the figure installed these marks are not seen. There are two saddle bags that get installed on the front of the sidecar and a piece of stowage for on top of the spare tire if so desired. If you choose not to install the stowage on the rear tire, you do not need to remove the small mounting pin in the center of the spare tires hub. This is consistent with the original tire mounted on the sidecar. There is an option for installation of the supplied MG-34 and a small option of installing the additional stowage on the front of the sidecar which was typically done or on the rear passenger seat of the motorcycle.
I would suggest, depending on your detail painting skills, that the builder build this model either in sub-assemblies or paint as you go if you can. After the bike and separate sidecar construction it will be slightly difficult to traverse the many details to paint the tires, engine and such.
The figures are a straight forward construction. The driverís legs, body and head are all one piece leaving the arms, helmet, and stowed riffle, gasmask tin and optional goggles (which are for placement on the helmet) for assembly. Placement of the driver on the bike prior to the arm installation is advisable to ensure the proper alignment with the handlebars of the bike. The passenger has a somewhat relaxed pose with one leg draped outside the sidecar. There are two options for the arms per the instructions depending on whether depicting the passenger at the ready with the MG-34 or in a relaxed position. For the scale, I feel that both of these figures are molded decently and little to no modifications would be needed to have a decent end result. There are the typical molds seems that are present on all of the figure parts and are easily removed with a light sanding.
I found Tamiyaís German Motorcycle & Sidecar to be an extremely fun kit. The construction was quick coming in just under two hours for me and non-problematic. The parts all fit very well and the quality of the molds decent on the bike and sidecar and okay on the figures. I found there is very little cleanup to the parts.
When looking extremely close at the spokes on the tires one might construe they look a bit chunky but from a normal viewing distance the effect looks nice. The saddlebags are missing a small bracket used to mount them on the sidecar; however this is a minute detail and not too noticeable at this scale. As with any kit, there is always some sort of area for improvement. The post and spring for the driverís seat as well as drilling out of the muffler and even adding a clutch and cable to the handle bars if so desired.
Although this kitís suggested retail cost of Tamiyaís German Motorcycle & Sidecar comes in around $17.00 US, a quick check on the web I found that the early price offerings on this soon to be released kit seem to fall at around $12.00 US. I would highly recommend this kit to anyone who is into quarter scale builds and/or anyone interested in the subject matter. This is a great little, FUN weekend build for sure.