|Testors 1/9 Harley Davidson FXSTC
|Scott Van Aken
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.
This seems as if it may be an ESCI rebox. I say that because it comes packaged in bags that are printed 'Made in Italy'. You get two large and one small sprue of chrome plated parts. The chrome plating is very well done and I saw no indication of flaking as sometimes happens with poorly done plating. Each of these large sprues is individually bagged with one of them having the small sprue in with it. The other bag contains all the standard sprues. There is yet another bag with the tires in it and packaged along with all this is a smaller container with springs, metal axles, wiring, tubing, and a drive belt. A final bag contains quite a few clear bits for the various lights. There is also a small display stand.
The molding looks in good shape and I saw little in the way of flash, sink areas or ejector pin marks. Of course, with all this chrome, it will be a challenge to assemble this one and restore any plating removed for gluing. There are no optional parts that I could see, but I also noted that there are fuel lines, working front and rear suspension, wiring for the two cylinders, and several of the subassemblies are held on by screws.
Instructions are fairly well done with colors given in generic terms and shown during the well drawn construction sequences. The small decal sheet (shown on larger image) is well done and provides tags and pin-striping.
Of course, this is a licensed product and also part of the Lincoln Mint series of products, both of which undoubtedly add a few dollars to the MSRP. The kit itself is one that will take a somewhat talented builder with experience doing somewhat complex kits. In other words, this is not for the beginner. The level of detail is such that the end result will be impressive indeed. and as such, this is a kit that any motorcycle modeler would be pleased to have.
Thanks to for the review kit. You can find Italeri kits at your favorite hobby shop or on-line at www.testors.com
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