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Tamiya BMW R90S

Tamiya No. 16008
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Gray, clear, black
Scale: 1/6
MSRP: $131.00
Pros: Realistic when finished; working components; good decals
Cons: Some parts-fit issues; instructions difficult to follow
This is a rereleased version of Tamiya's 1/6th scale BMW R90S motorcycle. As you would expect from Tamiya, there is a fair amount of detail in this kit, but I felt that the kit showed its age. It's not up to the standards of Tamiya's kits from recent years.

However, the real-life motorcycle was a fairly simple design in itself, and what Tamiya has done is captured that design and the essence of the real motorcycle very well.

Parts that work or function are the front and rear suspension, the center stand, the side kickstand, the kickstart pedal, and the steering.

Most of the parts fit together well, but a few - specifically, most of the cylindrical parts that glued together in halves - will require a lot of work to clean up the mold lines. Likewise, the fuel tank glues together in halves, and requires a lot of cleanup to eliminate the seam line.

The chrome parts are plated nicely, and have little flash. But many of them glue together in a left and right piece, such as the exhaust, rear shock covers, and wheels, leaving a seam line that's impossible to fix without a lot of work and the use of a good-quality "chrome" paint.

The instructions were difficult to follow at times. Some detail about how one part connects to another has been omitted, and can leave the builder guessing. You definitely have to test-fit the parts before you glue anything together.

The painting callouts are not always accurate - at least, not when compared to the photos I was able to find. It would serve Tamiya well to update the instructions to accommodate the colors in its paint line that didn't exist when this model was released.

The other difficult part about building this kit is the wiring. It's not clear what length you should cut the wire or tubing, and it's not always clear where you need to connect each end.

After really studying the instructions, all of the information is there, but for an inexperienced builder, it would be difficult to follow.

I don't care too much for the factory paint schemes, so I chose to paint the model in a color that I thought suited the bike for its time period, and one that also allowed me to use the gold pinstripe decals that come in the kit.

The decals are nice. The pinstripes are a nice metallic gold, and the dial and gauge decals are clear and easy to read. The decals laid down nicely, and responded well to solvent, even though the pinstripes on the tank have to be forced to follow the curves of the tank in some areas.

While I was building this bike, the overall simplicity of it seemed to take away from the enjoyment. Each sub- assembly looked very plain and under- detailed, but when the whole thing comes together the model does a great job of replicating the real thing - and that's what we all strive for.

If you're someone who builds Tamiya's modern-day 1/12 scale sports and race bikes, and expect this to be the same or better, because of its scale, you're going to be disappointed.

However, if you like the look of these vintage bikes, and you don't mind a little "tweaking" of some parts to produce a realistic-looking model, then this is a kit for you. I wouldn't recommend it for the inexperienced builder, though.


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