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Harley-Davidson Sportster – 1:9 Testors/Lincoln Mint


The History


My senior year in high school I fell in love with the design of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Partly because I had a group of older friends that all rode Harleys. They included me in their group and of course I had to have one.

My first bike was a Yamaha Maxim, which was a really fun bike, but not American Iron. After a motorist pulled out in front of me on Father’s Day weekend at a busy intersection, my first bike was totaled (as was I for a few days). So I waited…until I had the money to buy a 1990 Harley-Davidson Sportster. Entry level, perfect fit and what I wanted. After a few years, and with a group of new riding friends, including my roommate at the time, I started to customize the Sporty to be my own.



The real thing. My 1990 H-D 883 Sportster
Everywhere we went, people would say, “Check out that Sporty!” My friends would give my a bad time since they had full-size Harleys, but my “piglet” would grab attention. But, a bigger tank, custom paint and some chrome draws attention.

The Build

Through this pandemic I have built a few models for peace of mind, and this is one of them. I found a 2005 Lincoln Mint Sportster model on eBay and grabbed it up. The idea was to build “MY” bike! Well the first issue was the fuel tank. Mine was a 3.5 SuperGlide tank, which I tried to fabricate out of MilliPut, but it was way too top heavy for the tank to function without the model tipping over. So, I built the bike kit as if I left the peanut tank on it.

Other than the fact that this model has a lot of flash, and most of the parts that come chromed shouldn’t be, it not a bad model if you know your Harleys. If you don’t, this will be hard to build as some of the factual locations of cables, and wires were wrong. And scraping all that chrome off…


Also, building motorcycle models are hard, because one needs to fabricate a jig to hold them solid while you build. I figured out a solution, but each to their own.

The Result

Here is my bike in 1:9 scale. A ton of fun to have it on my shelf since the real thing went down the road many years ago. Sitting here at -20° in Minnesota, living in a pandemic, I’d love to have her back. Just fire it up and disappear for a couple of hours. Wouldn’t we all…

Keep build all. Comment away.

4 additional images. Click to enlarge.


15 responses to Harley-Davidson Sportster – 1:9 Testors/Lincoln Mint

  1. I’m not really a “Harley person” but this one looks cool, and you’ve put in a lot of hard work to bring up to realism, definitely liked. By the way it’s currently -25C here in north China.

  2. Nicely done, and nicely photographed, Matt. The photos could be an advertisement for the actual bike!

  3. This is such a wonderful result, Matt!
    I’ve got some motorbike kits to build, some more complex than others….
    Well, one day…
    I ride a bike too!
    A Kawasaki 500.
    Congratulations on your model and your article!

  4. You can’t kid me! Those are photos of a real one and you’re trying to convince us they’re photos of a model!

    Seriously – very nice work Matt. It really does “look real.”

    “Liked” (a lot!)

  5. Beautiful looking bike. I have a friend who says Harlies sound like 2 cylinder compressors maybe they do but as I say to him you can’t ride a compressor.

  6. Sharp build Matt! I agree the Sportster is the best looking Harley.

  7. Matt, this is an epic story and build! Looks like the real thing to me! I noticed the extreme cold in Minnesota on the weather maps. We have had our snap last week but nothing this bad. Hang in there buddy, spring is acoming! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Sharp looking motorcycle build !

  9. Matt, @coondog

    You did a VERY fine job with the build. The way you painted the gas tank and fenders, it looks extremely realistic. I have painted several real life full sized motorcycles. On one I went a little crazy and painted it in several different colors, just like the way you have done here. It was hard enough doing it on a 1 to 1 scale, I don’t know how you managed to do such a fine job in 1/9 scale……. The other little things like adding the cables………. icing on the cake.

    My wife and I used to joke with each other and said that “HD” actually stood for “Hundred Dollars”. Each time we went to the local Harley shop, we always spent at least one hundred dollars on parts, accessories, shirts or a combination of things.

    I liked reading the story behind it too. Like you, I started with a Sportster. I have owned several of them over the years. I had a 2003 883 “Hugger” 100 year anniversary bike for a while…….. Then I went to a 883 “Low”. It was a 2005 going from memory. Finally I got my dream bike. It was a “Fat Boy” Firefighter Special edition bike. I loved it……….but.

    We ended up selling our bikes a few years ago. Sometimes I miss them, but then when I see some i***t pull out in front of someone on a bike it reminds me of one of the reasons why we sold ours. Be safe brother. There are a lot of clowns on the road. How often do you see someone texting while they are driving ??? As a retired firefighter I have seen way too many wrecks…………

    I pressed the “liked” button. You did a fine job with the build. It was very hard to tell the model from the actual Sporty.

    • Louis,
      I too don’t think I could ride today. Too many i****s. Give me a country road in September. On the tank painting, I painted the red pinstripe first, than masked it off with Tamiya fine line white tape. Then painted the dark metallic red. Then masked both those off and painted the black. I wanted the red pinstripe thinner, but it was too much work.

      Now I wish Someone built a Super X model. I worked for Exelsior-Henderson back in 1999-2000 and boy that was a bike. If I ever get a 3D printer, I’m gonna make one. You stay safe too Brother. Thanks for your comments.

  10. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    A very spectacular build Matt.
    This model looks very convincing . fellow modeler Robert is not kidding.
    This model could stand for promotion of the real one.

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