Tamiya 1/12 Ducati MHR

KIT: Tamiya 1/12 Ducati MHR
KIT #: 14019
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Patrick Barratt


When UK motorcycle racing fans think of races, they think of the World Grand Prix or the Tourist Trophy (T.T.) Race. The TT is a true road race, held on the Isle of Man every year since 1907. The Isle is located between the United Kingdom and Ireland and the course runs 60km over the island. Up and down mountains, through villages and towns all on the common road sys­tem of the Island. The racer actually tours the Island during competition, hence the races name 'Tourist Trophy Race". Many famous competitors and machines got their start with the T.T. race over the years, but none of the fans will forget the 1978 T.T. race. That is the year that the great Mike "Mike the Bike" Hailwood came out of retirement to race one more time. Mike Hailwood had already won 9 World Championships and 76 Grand Prix's prior to retiring from motorcycle competition. He went on to race Automo­biles and F-1 racers, but broke his ankle in 74, so was out of competition again. His miraculous come-back to motorcycle racing and the winning of the 1978 Tourist Trophy will stand out as a fantastic achievement for years to come.

Mike rode a Ducati bike during this race and to com­memorate the event this famous Italian motorcycle firm released a super sport "Mike Hailwood Replica" in 1980. Based upon the popular 900SS Ducati, but with full cowl and painted in the red and green of the Italian team, and with the single riders seat. Engine is a 90-degree V twin of 863.9cc which produces 63hp and can propel this bike to a maximum speed of 222km/h. This engine is said to be sym­bolic of Ducati, and in particular its valve system. On the normal 4 cycle engine, valve opening is done with a cam and closing by return spring. At high RPM's this system can contribute to "valve float". Ducati's system, called "Desmo-dromic", was designed by their engineer F. Taglioni in 1954, and uses cams to both open and close the valves, which allows for a much higher RPM. The engine is mounted in the diamond frame in an "L" format which is characteristic of Ducati. This compact engine arrangement ac­counts for the nimble handling and makes the bike competitive with the larger bore Japanese bikes. Standard suspension of double front forks and rear swing arm, plus triple disc brakes rounds out this bike, making it a superlative per­former. However…The Mike Hailwood replica is about as far removed from the real race bike as you could possibly get and still call it a Replica. I should know having restored several replicas and an original race bike. Think of it as a Std 1980 Ducati 900SS with different bodywork and you will not be far off the mark.


As I said above, this kit is now 25 years old but can still hold its head high among the latest offerings from Tamiya. It consists of approximately 130 parts on four spru’s, one grey, one red, one simulated chrome and one clear. Even at this early stage Tamiya were setting the benchmark for quality mouldings and superb fit of parts.

The kit is supplied complete with a pair of rubber tyres, clear petrol pipe tubing, black cable tubing and screws and a screwdriver for various fixings.


Assembly is well detailed in the fold out sheet of instructions that includes high detail photos as well as very clear schematic diagrams; Paint colours are called out in Tamiya paint numbers throughout the 15 construction stages.

First step is the engine, which fits together nicely. A chrome plated clutch cover and Alternator/oil pump cover is included but in reality this would have been at best a polished alloy finish with a rough sand casting band through the middle. Other than that the grey plastic of the main crankcases was given a coat of Flat aluminium/grey. Barrels and cylinder heads were gloss aluminium and then a flat coat with the bevel drive tubes getting bare metal foil and the bevel drive covers getting silver leaf. Carbs are flat aluminium with silver leaf float bowls.

The next step is to assemble the two half’s of the frame and then fit the engine which is held in place by two small screws. Next comes the rear swing arm, wheel, chain and brake, these are then mounted on the frame assembly. The frame and swing arm should be red and Tamiya helpfully mould them in grey!! While moulding the wheels in red…which should be Gold! The disc brakes supplied are of the drilled variety but this is represented by small indentations. A good improvement here is to open the indents up to holes with a .5mm drill (this was done to improve bite in the wet and aid cooling in the dry). Disc’s on these bikes were cast iron and thus should not be high gloss silver as one often see’s on this model.

Front fork assembly is next and this is straightforward, lower fork legs would have been a crackle finish semi gloss black as would have been the yokes.

Unfortunately Tamiya chose to mould petrol tanks and seats in two half’s in the past which means some sanding to hide the join which runs down the middle of both parts.

Points to watch out for…

The part A18 behind the rear sprocket must be round the right way or the wheel spindle/screw will be to short.
The exhaust comes in 5 parts and is shown with all parts assembled together at one time. Fitting the two Silencers/Mufflers too the balance pipe and letting that set first before fitting the two header pipes makes life easier.
Don’t forget to clean the chrome away from surfaces to be glued.
Use super glue on vinyl tubing


Bodywork is painted Red X7 in the instructions but these days Tamiya do an Italian Red in a spray that works a lot better (TS8). The lower fairing is green X5 and will need you to get your air brush out! I used Humbrol Gold for the wheels because that’s what I had in my box and it is not far off the right shade. Despite their age the decals go on quite well but I did not feel brave enough to lacquer over them as I have had Tamiya decals “melt” before after a coat of clear. That said they would benefit from a gloss coat, as they are a little flat.


Another very safe kit from Tamiya with no nasty surprises and some nice chrome parts that aid a professional finish. I built this OTB and it gives a very pleasing result but one day I will succumb to the temptation to detail this model and leave the fairing off. It’s a subject I know very well and the temptation to add battery leads and a more realistic battery, to upgrade the handlebars and controls and to add a polished aluminium finish to the engine rather than the chrome plate is annoyingly strong. But until that day, this will look nice on my shelf alongside my growing collection of bikes.
Recommended for all abilities.


I have a web site at www.mdinaitalia.co.uk, which has lots of photos of Ducati’s including this subject in the “customer’s bikes” section and the “Bikes we have sold” section. I can even find you the real thing if the kit is not enough, with worldwide export available, as well as every spare part you would ever need…. excuse the plug!!  (I'll have the bill in the mail, Ed)

Patrick Barratt

January 2008

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