OK, I decided to jump in with both feet and build the 1/9 scale version of the BMW R75. I must admit two things: First, I know nothing about motorcycles, and second, the size of this kit is intimidating.
First, I cranked up Wikipedia to get some info on what I was building. Here is the background:
In 1938, the Germany Army sent design requests to BMW and Zundapp for a motorcycle that could serve various functions on the battlefield. Both designs were very similar, and both the BMW R75 and the Zundapp KS750 entered production. The BMW machine was powered by an OHV 750cc engine, which powered both the front and rear wheels. A drive shaft powered the rear wheel, as well as the third wheel on the sidecar through a locking differential and a transfer case which had both road and off-road gear ratios available. The BMW had 4 forward gears and a reverse gear, all of which were available in both road and off-road configurations. After both the BMW and the Zundapp had entered service, it became clear that the Zundapp was a better machine. In 1942, the German Army requested that BMW and Zundapp look a standardizing parts that could be shared between the machines, with the eventual goal of creating a BMW/Zundapp hybrid machine. Using common parts between the two motorcycles would greatly simplify and streamline maintenance and parts supply for the motorcycles, especially those on the battlefield. BMW agreed that when the production of the R75 reached 20,200 machines that they would begin to produce only the hybrid motorcycle. Eventually 70% of the parts were shared between the R75 and the KS750. The 20,200 target was never reached, however, because the plant that was making the BMW machine was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1944. Production ceased at that time.
An interesting side note is that several BMW R75s fell into the hands of the American Army during the war. They were found to be an excellent machine that was highly reliable. The US Army approached Harley-Davidson and asked them to produce a similar shaft-driven motorcycle for the Americans. Harley-Davidson began producing the Harley-Davidson XA, their first ever shaft-driven motorcycle, that was almost identical to the R75.
I found the Italeri version of the BMW on Ebay for about $40, which seemed like a reasonable price. The box is labeled "German Military Motorcycle with Sidecar", but the instructions make it clear that this is a BMW R75. This is a massive kit with a ton of parts, including vinyl seats, rubber tires, rubber hoses, and a million plastic parts. The parts are fairly flash-free, but there are several large sinkholes in the plastic that will require some work to get them fixed. The parts and molding did not strike me as being old, but I seem to remember seeing this kits on store shelves for a lot of years. I went to my source for the history of a model, Scalemates, and discovered a long and well-known production lineage:
-ESCI (again) 1976
-ESCI (again) 1983
-Revell (again) 2002
There were a couple more stops at Revell and a couple of others that I left out, mainly because my fingers were getting tired typing them all into the list.
The build starts with the sidecar. I am trying to build as much as I can in sub-assemblies, so my goal is to paint and assemble as much as I can before I start adding it to the basic motorcycle. The kit provides decals for several different machines in either German Gray or German Desert Tan. I want to do one in the desert scheme rather than an overall gray machine. I have to admit I have wanted to build one of these since I saw Harrison Ford and Sean Connery driving around in a motorcycle with a sidecar in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. So, off we go. That's about it for today. More tomorrow. Cheers.
5 attached images. Click to enlarge.