Aoshima 1/12 V-Twin Custom Springer

KIT #: 000601
PRICE: 2000 yen SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


As little as I know about motorcycles, I would have to say that this is a Harley-Davidson. Looking at the engine, it seems to be a Shovelhead, so here is some historical background on that engine.

The Shovelhead is an air-cooled, 45 degree, V-twin motorcycle engine manufactured from 1966 to 1984 by the Harley Davidson Motor Company. It has 1,208 cc (74 cu in) of displacement and, after 1978, was increased to 1,340 cc (82 cu in) for Harley's Big Twin bikes.

The "shovel" cylinder head represented an offshoot of the panhead design it replaced in 1966 but featured a slightly different look. The name was derived from the appearance of the rocker box covers. Because these covers bring to mind the head of coal shovels when inverted, the name shovelhead was a natural progression. The shovel engines powered Harleys up until the introduction of the Evolution engine in 1984, ending the reign of the "shovel" as enthusiasts frequently call these engines. The shovel engine does not have covers, per se, but rocker boxes and rocker arms which pivot on shafts. The design provided more than a unique look; it produced 10% more horsepower than the panhead engine which it replaced. From 1966 through 1969 the shovelhead kept the panhead style lower end. These early style shovelheads with the generator bottoms were often referred to as slabside shovels. From 1970 on the shovelheads used an alternator bottom often termed a cone shovel.

A number of third-party engine manufacturers produce custom Shovelhead-style engines, in a variety of bores, many much larger than the original design displacements. Each manufacturer includes upgrades to the original design to improve the performance and reliability while still providing the original styling and overall engine structure.


It seems like more and more model makers are getting around what has to be increasingly ruinous licensing fees by not mentioning the brand or designation of a particular subject, and so it is with this particular kit. Of course, this would not be an issue if it were not for greedy lawyers or corporations, but that is another subject.

Those of you who have seen Aoshima kits will know that they are world class and very nicely done. This one has many of the sprues either in color or chrome plated. As Harleys seem to have a lot of chrome, two of the sprues are so done; mostly engine and wheel sprues. The sprue that is for the tank and fenders is molded in red while black is chosen for chassis bits and grey for the alternate wheels and for the engine block pieces. The kit also includes two rubber tires and a section of hose for fuel and wiring lines.

As this is a custom bike, there are a number of non-stock pieces used. That includes the cast rear wheel, the custom seat and the springer front end. The chrome plating is very nicely done and the parts are molded so that for many parts, you can attach the bits without worrying about mold seams. However, that is not all the case and on some bits, such as the exhaust, and suspension pieces, you will have to deal with seams. Most modelers will strip the kit chrome and either paint it with something like Alclad II or after cleaning, get the parts rechromed.

Instructions are mostly in Japanese with enough English to allow most modelers to get by. Colors are from the Gunze range and while there is no overall painting diagram, one can use the box art. The decal sheet includes instruments, a plate and the pin striping (but not the white inside it so you will need to paint that). You will also find that there are quite a few parts left over for the spares box.          


In all, this will make into a nice bike for the display shelves. While there are quite a few parts, the build does not look to be all that complex and is something that most modelers should be able to handle with aplomb. Oh yes, of interest to some is that there is a full box sized poster of three hot Japanese girls in short skirts posing with one of these bikes. Apparently there is some sort of biker's magazine called Vibes that features these sorts of motorcycles.


January 2012

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