Aoshima 1/12 Honda Stream
|PRICE:||1200 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Modern Scooter Series|
The Honda Gyro is a family of small, three-wheeled, single-occupant vehicles sold primarily in Japan, and often used for delivery or express service.
These vehicles are tilting three wheelers. They combine a tricycle's stopped & low-speed stability with a leaning main-body for stability while turning at speed. They resemble a scooter with a small hinged rear pod containing the engine and two drive wheels. This particular variation was developed and patented by George Wallis of G.L.Wallis & Son in Surbiton, Surrey in 1966. It was first marketed in the failed BSA Ariel 3 of 1970, then licensed to Honda.
Honda has built seven vehicles with this configuration. The first Stream was introduced in 1981, followed closely by three other personal transport versions, the Joy, Just, and Road Fox. All were short-lived, but the cargo-oriented Gyro line begun in 1982 found a ready market, with all three variants still in production in 2008.
It is notable that these vehicles are all powered by a 49 cc 2-stroke engine, while Honda has a long history of producing 49 cc 4-stroke mopeds and light motorbikes. It is possible these vehicles operate within a limited engine-size license class in Japan, forcing Honda to choose a 2-stroke engine to provide enough power for these relatively heavy small vehicles.
The Stream was introduced in November 1981. It is the first of Honda's tilting three-wheelers, and has the primary features of the type. It is a scooter-like single occupant vehicle with an automatic transmission and a "one push" parking brake. It has a small hinged rear pod containing the 49 cc 2-stroke engine and two drive wheels powered through a limited slip differential.
The Stream was styled and priced as a luxury personal scooter. Honda's suggest retail price in 1981 was ¥198,000, compared to ¥114,000 for a 49cc Super Cub. Unlike the Cub, the Stream can only carry one rider and has no baggage rack. Its only cargo capacity is a small forward compartment rated for 5 kg, and a glovebox rated for 2 kg. It was discontinued in 1984.
Molded mostly in red and black plastic, the kit provides an interesting opportunity to build a rather unique vehicle. The moldings are excellent as is the norm with modern Aoshima kits. This one is also manufactured in Japan, unlike their previous Mercedes kit. The kit includes three vinyl/rubber tires, and there is a piece of tubing for the front brake. A spring is provided for suspension between the frame and the rear motor pod. This is a curbside so there is no motor detail though the suspension is fully detailed.
The kit includes a seat that is on a hinge so one can access what I assume is a tool box. Several 1/12 tools are included as is a full size ignition key and a 1/12 helmet. A nicely done clear sprue is provided for the windscreen and headlight cover. The wheels and hub caps are aluminum plated and it was on two of the three hub caps that I noticed sink areas. These will not be easy to remove and repaint, so I'd recommend using those two on the rear where you can have much of them covered.
Instructions are well drawn and mostly in Japanese, though detailed inspection will allow anyone to successfully build the kit. There are two small decal sheets (not shown) that cover the various stripes and logos that you see on the box art. No overall scheme is recommended, but a good look through google 'images' will provide some inspiration.
Another interesting and unusual (for the US) subject. Apparently these sorts of kits are quite popular in Japan as this is #7 in a series. The kit is very well molded, looks to be well engineered and should build up in a reasonable amount of time. If you are looking for something a bit different, then this is highly recommended.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or have them order it for you.
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