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Tamiya 1984 Honda NS500

1984 Honda NS500
Tamiya No. 14125-3500
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Gray, white, clear
Scale: 1/12
MSRP: $71.00
Pros: Nice tires and decals; clear side cowling
Cons: Engine fit tricky and tight; gaps in clear visor
This is a freshly retooled kit Tamiya produced of the many variants of the NS500 and similar bikes in the 1/12 motorcycle series.

The kit is molded in gray, white, and clear parts, including a clear side cowling so the model can be built to show off the chassis and powerplant. Nicely molded rubber tires, with minimal mold seams and the usual small screws to hold the front and rear suspension systems together on the frame. The decal sheet is produced by Cartograf, with all the blue painted areas supplied on the sheet. The usual black vinyl tubing for various hydraulic and spark plug lines is supplied, but always looks out of scale to me.
The first step is to assemble the three- cylinder two-stroke power plant. The components go together perfectly. Pay special attention to the part numbers; it is easy to put the engine together backward. Tamiya leaves the lower third cylinder off for a reason; it will not clear the frame when it comes time to install the engine into the frame.

The frame and rear swing arm are next. It is an older tube-like frame that has delicate areas that can easily break off, so care must be taken in assembly. It does assemble well, with minimal gaps and clean up. There is a bit of a mold seam on the top and bottom of the swing arms that need attention.

The engine is a tricky, tight fit on the frame. This is the time the lower third cylinder is installed. Pay special attention to the direction of the spark plug boots called out during construction, or the vinyl tube will kink if it gets connected to the ignition coils on the frame.

The wheels are two-piece pointed star magnesium painted semigloss black. Pay special attention to the part numbers keeping in mind this kit shares wheel parts with other Honda variants of that era. The rear tire slips into the swing arm along with the mounted rear brake rotor and molded plastic chain. The wheel secures nicely with a small black flathead self-tapping machine screw.      

The rear mono shock unit is next. Tamiya supplies a real spring to be added to the plastic tube assembly for static display only. The suspension does not work with this shock.

When the shock is complete, it is time to mate it to the rear swing arm and mount the entire assembly to the back of the frame. Test-fitting is a must. You cannot just muscle it in place, or parts will get damaged. Keep in mind the top of the shock has to fit into the plate that is inside the frame. After it is coaxed into place, the rear swing arm is secured with another machine screw.

The exhaust pipes and radiator installed perfectly, with no fit issues whatsoever.  

I had a bit of trouble installing the clear visor on the cowlings. It had gaps that needed to be addressed by sanding and filing the areas to get it to fit better.

Final assembly was building the front fork and brake assembly with the front wheel. Pay special attention to the fork spacers so as to not install them upside- down, or the screw will not thread properly when mating the fork to the front frame tube.

Hooking up the handlebars was tricky because they are fragile and can break easily.

The assembled bike is a striking replica of the famous bike that put Honda on the map as a formidable, competitive race team. I highly recommend this kit to the novice to experienced builder. I know I enjoyed building it immensely!


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