KIT: Testors 1/4 Harley Davidson Twin Cam 88
KIT #: 7205
PRICE: $39.95 MSRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Kevin Powers
NOTES: Cast metal and plastic parts

 

HISTORY

Can't tell you much about Harley-Davidson except that they were one of the earliest motorcycle maker, beginning operations in Milwaukee in 1903. The name of the bikes come from the last name of the two originators of the company. They are not the first motorcycle, the Indian being the first in 1901. All this was possible because of the development of a single cylinder gasoline powered engine that became available in 1901. This small engine was light enough to put into a strong bicycle frame and the motorcycle was born.

The Harley was used not only by enthusiasts, but also by the military, which found them good for courier duty. Unfortunately, the accident rate on these motorcycles was rather high so when the jeep became available, it was used to replace the motorcycle. The jeep was not only less prone to accidents, but also didn't break down quite as often. This last trait was very common with motorcycles and when the 'bad-ass' biker came into being in the 1950s, it was quite common for these motorcycle gangs to have several pick-up trucks with which to haul off broken-down motorcycles.

Customizing motorcycles became very much the craze in the 1960s and into the 70's. During this time, the Harley was still a popular motorcycle, despite its poor reliability and the onslaught of less expensive and more powerful motorcycles from Japan. Nearing bankruptcy, Harley improved its quality control, modernized its production facilities and is the darling of the aging baby boomer who has to prove to himself that he can spend his way to youth. These bikes are less than inexpensive with most of them costing more than the standard car. Just to give you an idea, the local Harley dealer pays over $80,000 in local (not state) sales taxes each year. The average age of a Harley rider in around 50 years old, and these folks are also the ones who have the greatest number of accidents as slowing reflexes can no longer keep them out of the trouble these large and powerful bikes get them into.

However, more and more younger riders are finding the Harley to be what they want to spend their excess money on and Harley-Davidson, which now produces high quality, trouble-free motorcycles, is selling every one they can build.

History section courtesy of your editor

THE KIT


  Upon close inspection of the parts, I saw no flash on the plastic or chrome pieces, however, there were very visible mold parting lines.  The chrome pieces were very well chromed, but, unfortunately, the mold parting lines were stuck out like a sore thumb.
   The metal parts that made up the cylinder halves, were pre-painted, with silver drybrushing.  They were nicely done, albeit, a little on the heavy side for the dry brushing.
  The instructions were quite simple, if a bit on the mis-leading side.

For more on the kit, please visit the preview.

CONSTRUCTION


The chrome pieces had to be sanded and I repainted them with a chrome paint for car bumpers.
The tint was a little dull compared to the pieces that were chromed by the factory. 

  The majority of the chrome pieces when cut off the sprue, the underlying plastic showed in not to noticeable areas.  The screws that come with the kit, are several different sizes, which the instructions, in its not so clear way, tells which size goes where.  I had to use a magnetic jewelers screw driver, given that most of the screws go into tight areas, which pretty well eliminates ham-fisted people, such as myself, from installing the screws any other way.

  When I got to the part where the metal pieces, (cylinder halves), went together, the screws didn't pull the halves tight enough together to disguise a visible seam line running from top to bottom. No painting was done to the kit as, for the most part, it wasn't required. Serious modelers will probably want to strip the chrome parts and either have them rechromed or repainted as that is about the only way you'll be able to deal with the mold seams and sprue attachment points.

  After the final assembly was complete, I sprayed a dull coat over the whole assembly, which took off some of the shininess of the factory chrome, to match the painted pieces.

CONCLUSIONS


When I first opened the kit, I believed that this kit would be one of those 'shake n bake' kits.  Given the not so clear instructions, the different sized screws, and the chrome pieces having to be refinished, Wouldn't recommend the kit to people with limited modeling experience.  Having said that, however, It would be a neat piece to be just built as is and put on a shelf.  The kit has a lot of potential for those who want to add fuel lines, spark plug wires, etc...

  For serious modelers, I think the kit would be much better if the flaws of the chrome pieces were corrected, and the instructions be done in the traditional numbered cartoon drawings rather than dark, fuzzy photographs.  I would also recommend that longer screws be used where the plastic parts were concerned, because most of the plastic holes ended up stripping out, and I had to get out the ol' Testors reliable glue and 'weld' the plastic together.

February 2006

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