Master Box 1/35 BMW R75 with sidecar

KIT #: MB3528
PRICE: $24.95 from
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The BMW R75 was World War II-era motorcycle and sidecar combination produced by the German company BMW.

BMW were already producing a number of popular and highly effective motorcycles, and developed the R75 in response to a request from the German army to make a machine more capable in off-road conditions, the Zündapp KS 750. BMW copied the technically advanced Zündapp KS 750 in which the third side-car wheel was driven from an axle connected to the rear wheel of the motorcycle, effectively making it a three-wheeled vehicle. Fitted with a locking differential and selectable road and off-road gear ratios the R75 was highly manoeuvrable and capable of negotiating most surfaces. It was even fitted with a reverse gear.

The BMW R75 and its rival the Zündapp KS 750 were both widely used by the Wehrmacht in Russia and North Africa, though after a period of evaluation it became clear that the Zündapp was the superior machine. In August 1942 Zündapp and BMW, on the urging of the Army, agreed upon standardization of parts for both machines, with a view of eventually creating a Zündapp-BMW hybrid, in which a 286/1 side-car would be grafted onto a Zündapp KS 750 motorcycle. They also agreed that the manufacture of the R75 would cease once production reached 20,200 units, and after that point BMW and Zündapp would only produce the Zündapp-BMW machine, manufacturing 20,000 each year.

Since the target of 20,200 BMW R75's was not reached, it remained in production until the Eisenach factory was so badly damaged by Allied bombing that production ceased in 1944. A further 98 units were assembled by the Soviets in 1946 as reparations.

However the standardisation programme meant that machines that were produced by BMW and Zündapp used 70% of the same components. This simplifies the supply of spare parts for these vehicles, many of which are still in the hands of historic motorcycle enthusiasts. These vehicles are still highly desirable as collector's items because of their complex and durable technology, and are correspondingly expensive. A well-restored R75 can be still used for everyday purposes, on or off-road without problems.

In 1954 a small number of modified R75's was produced at Eisenach (then in Soviet-controlled East Germany) for testing under the designation AWO 700, but were not put into full production.


Masterbox  picked a good choice for this kit as the BMW R 75 was found everywhere. The kit comes on a single tan sprue that shows a touch of flash on some of the finer parts. The overall molding level is excellent with great detail and some very finely molded parts. It appears that one can build the motorcycle as a stand-alone if one wishes. There are few optional parts, but two I spotted are for the front fender and the choice of machine gun. The side car is molded in halves so I'm pretty sure you'll need to do some seam work on it and perhaps the fuel tank as well.

Instructions consist of a large folded page with one side having 15 construction steps. To my eye, it looks like the attachment of the sidecar and the handlebars/front wheel is not very robust so one will need caution. I also do not see exactly where the sidecar attachment rods fit on the motorcycle or the sidecar as the instructions are a bit vague on that. Perhaps it will be readily apparent when the time comes during assembly.

There are markings for six vehicles in a variety of colors from Normandy, to Tunisia, to Italy, to Russia. In addition, decals are provided for road signs and there are optional license plates if you do not want to do the ones on the main sheet. The two small sheets look to be well printed.


This looks to be an excellent little kit and one that should put others out of business in terms of detailing. A model that will look great by itself or in a diorama.


September 2008

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