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Tamiya Kawasaki ZZR 1400

Kawasaki ZZR 1400
Tamiya No. 14111
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, black, gray
Scale: 1/12
MSRP: $48.00
Pros: High quality throughout; easy assembly; great finished appearance
Cons: Seams on chrome mufflers, incomplete instructions for applying US markings

After a lengthy drought of new street bikes, enthusiasts were thrilled when Tamiya announced that its latest motorcycle would be the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 - known in the States as the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14.

This being Kawasaki's flagship sportbike, featuring a 1400cc engine and 190 stock horsepower, fed by a fairing-mounted ram air intake, it was no surprise that Tamiya eventually kitted this bike as a follow-up to its previous and popular Ninja ZX-12R.

Although the main focus of the kit's boxart and instruction manual is the ZZR 1400 sold elsewhere in the world, Tamiya includes markings to make the US version Ninja ZX-14. The Ninja ZX-14 builder needs to do some basic research to properly place the decals on their model; a Web search yielded an abundance of appropriate photos to help detail the basic kit, as Tamiya mentions in small print to "use extra decals as you wish" when it comes to the US markings.

The instructions show three variations; European, US, and Malaysian versions of the bike. There are options for two-person seating with a rear grab bar, or a body-color seat cowl and no grab bar, and also an optional center stand or a small fairing for bikes without the center stand. There are white and silver "Kawasaki" and "Ninja" decals, and metal transfers for the Kawasaki, ZZR 1400 and Ninja ZX-14 emblems on the bike. There is nylon mesh material for the ram air intake, and vinyl hoses for brake and clutch hydraulics.

Tamiya gives instructions for three 2006 color schemes, though there are others available. I chose to mix some decanted Tamiya spray colors into a shade matching Candy Plasma Blue paint for a 2007 Ninja that I found in my own Web search.
As with every Tamiya bike I've built, this one assembled without any noteworthy problems and the build process was enjoyable. I paint-detailed each subassembly as indicated in the instructions and from my research, and added extra paint details such as heat- staining and washes to bring out depth and dimension to various parts.

The body assembly is the most involved; there are glue seams on the fuel tank and front fender halves that need to be filled and carefully sanded smooth prior to painting. The front fairing has some prominent mold lines that need to be removed, and the resultant surfaces massaged into the right contours.

The finished chrome-plated mufflers are my least-favorite part of the model; they have visible seams that aren't easy to fix without either stripping the parts, filling/sanding the seams and painting them with Alclad Chrome or very carefully applied and polished foil, or finishing them in carbon fiber or other appropriate aftermarket treatment.

There are a lot of small silver rivet decals that I found more difficult to deal with than painting the rivets in a more realistic bright chrome silver finish with a small detail brush.

The smoke-tint windscreen "Kawasaki" decal installs from inside; it was a bit difficult to settle into place without a couple of wrinkles.

Overall I'm very pleased with the final result; it's an impressive replica of a very cool looking bike. All aspects of building this model were positive.


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