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Tamiya Honda NSR500

Honda NSR500
Honda NSR500
Tamiya No. 14121
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Black, gray, white, clear, light tan
Scale: 1/12
MSRP: $73.00
Pros: Great detail; historic void filled in motorcycle modeling
Cons: Hoses/wires all same thickness; brittle decals; generic tires
Tamiya’s latest offering in its 1/12 scale motorcycle series is a new tool of the factory Honda GP 500 from 1984.  The kit has 177 parts molded in black, gray, white, clear, and light tan. Use caution with the tan parts, as they are on the brittle side, and there are many small parts.

Instructions are 12 pages long and are well laid out, with no errors. As is typical for Tamiya kits, color-code numbers are used.

This kit has few mold seams, and injection-release marks are well hidden, making cleanup quick. I counted 48 pieces needing to be deseamed after gluing together, but most won’t be seen after final assembly.

The kit builds up like most motorcycle kits. The 34-piece engine goes together without a hitch, and mounts into the frame with screws; in fact the exhaust, front fork, rear swing arm, fuel tank, and all body panels mount to the frame this way, making final assembly move along without waiting for glue to dry.

The exhaust consists of 16 parts, and is a visual feature with the panels removed.

This kit has hoses and wires that most motorcycle kits have, and as usual all are the same thickness, just more of them with the underslung fuel tank and all the hoses it needs. Remember to add all hoses and wires during the appropriate steps, as getting them on later can be almost impossible.

The rear swing arm assembles well and has a separate metal spring and shaft for the rear shock, making painting that much easier. The front fork assembly is just as easy, but has more small parts and multicolor painting needed to finish it, so use some caution. Tires are no-name and no decals for the correct manufacturer are included; that’s a shame for a kit in this price range.

Paint and decaling of the body panels is aided with a six-page color supplement, with decal placement guide for three riders and photos of the 1:1 motorcycle.

Here lies the only problem with the model:

The supplied preprinted masking material is not diecut; you must cut on the lines. This isn’t a problem for most of the masks, because the lines will have a white stripe between them, but masks B, D, K, and
M don’t get a white stripe, so use a straightedge to cut these and get a crisp line.

I suggest painting all body fasteners, rather than the using the small decals.

The masking is complicated, but Tamiya has seen fit to include additional white stripes and black stripes if you intend on painting the blue and yellow colors; otherwise they are decals.  

Speaking of decals, they are brittle, and my kit’s decals cracked when they were applied over curved surfaces.

I used MicroSol solution on them, and that seemed to help, but they still don’t look as good as paint would, so I recommend Tamiya’s spray Blue and Camel Yellow as good color matches for painting these parts.

There were no real problems with final assembly; just a snug fit for all parts, no doubt because of fresh tooling.

I recommend that you use the provided magnetic screwdriver and screws to pretap the holes, making it easier during final assembly.

Overall, this is a great kit and fills a void in motorcycle racing history. I highly recommend this kit, but maybe not as your first motorcycle kit. 


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