1/9 Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage Softtail Classic

Kit Number 7202

Reviewed By Doug Hamilton, #21985

MSRP $39.99

There isnít anybody that doesnít know the name Harley Davidson.  The premier motorcycle maker in the United States today, Harley Davidson inspires visions of leather clad riders taking the American highways by storm.  The company has produced many fine motorcycles over the years, and the Softtail Classic is no exception.  Being a full sized cruiser it has all the features a rider looking to take to the open road would look for: powerful engine, comfortable ride, and a very stable ride.  Very cool!!

Testors has bought the rights to produce model kits of many of the Harley line, and this offering is one of that series.  The kit has about 215 pieces molded in gray, plated and clear on six sprues.  An eight page instruction booklet has 15 steps of construction, as well as a small bag of assorted parts such as tires, screws, springs and detail tubing.  A nicely printed decal sheet is also included.  The packaging for this kit is very well thought out, with each of the four chrome-plated sprues being individually bagged.  19 included parts arenít used on this version, and show a commonality with other models in this line.

The biggest problem with the kit is the amount of flash; sink holes; and ejector pin marks on the parts.  All of the chrome parts have annoying flash at the mold separation line that must be removed.  Removing it damages the chrome, and is quite visible on the completed model.  I tried to touch it up with Chrome paint, but didnít have much success doing so.  I also found the chrome, while otherwise well plated, looked rather toy-like on the completed model.  I used a wash of Tamiya Smoke to reduce the overall effect of the chrome.  This worked well to tone it down and darken the recesses while retaining the chrome look of the parts.  I found ejector pin marks in some of the darnedest places, and sink marks also on many parts.  Being molded in a fairly soft plastic made for easy removal of the flash, but I spent quite a bit of time removing flash and ejector pin marks.

Assembly was fairly straightforward, with only a few issues encountered.  When assembling the frame, I found the best way to make everything work was to start in the front, and work rearward.  The forks were captured in the neck, with the care being taken to ensure the forks were able to rotate freely.  I then set about attaching the swing arm.  The dampeners really work, but the springs supplied are a little too stiff.  They made the rear tire stand very high.  I wound up cementing the swing arm in place to ensure the back end of the bike had the right profile.  Care must be taken to ensure the drive belt is threaded in the correct position through the frame and swing arm.  I left the ignition box, oil filter and front radiator off until the engine was installed in the frame.  The engine is a very tight fit in the bay, and leaving these parts off helps get the engine in place.

The assembly of the V-Twin engine also proved to be a little tricky.  I found the cooling fins on the cylinders didnít line up when matching the cylinder halfís so I removed the locator pins to achieve a better fit.  I painted the edges of the cooling fins chrome as is evident on the real bike.  This isnít called out in the paint guide but makes the overall look of the engine better.  After all the parts were installed the engine looked pretty good.  Attaching the transmission to the engine was straightforward, and fits nicely into the left side of the bike.  Attaching the shift linkage to the shifter and working my way back in towards the tranny seemed a better way to proceed rather than attaching it to the transmission.  I removed the locating tab on the tranny end of the linkage, then just slid the free end in between the engine, and added a little super glue to hold it place.

I painted the tank parts and fenders Testors Arctic Blue and after applying the decals over coated everything with Tamiya Clear coat.  The decals went on with very little setting solution, which helped settle them over the compound curves.  The tank decals have a large amount of clear section between the pin stripping and center graphics.  I was worried this would be visible after I applied the clear coat, but it was perfectly clear and looked good.  One note about the tanks is in order.  The builder must drill a small hole in the bottom of the left tank for the sillcock, as it seems someone forgot this detail during fabrication of the mold.  The task of locating where to drill is made easy due to a scribing on the surface.  I let off the tassels on the sides of the seat, as Iím not a tassel sort of guy!! The model also comes with a stand, but didnít use it as it makes the model float in mid air and that didnít seem to be stable.  The kickstand is very sturdy and supports the model very well.  So I decided to display it on the kickstand.

The completed model has a slightly die-cast look to it, but is definitely a Harley!!  The look is right, and the profile is very good.  The overall fit was ok, and I had a nice time building this kit, despite the amount of time it took to clean up the parts.  As this is an officially licensed kit, Iím sure part of the licensing costs are reflected in the price of the kit.  With care and patience a nice representation of a Harley can be made from this kit.  I would recommend to any Harley aficionado, or anyone else that has to have a HOG in their bike collection.

My thanks go to Testors Corp.  and IPMS 1st Vice President John Noack for supplying this sample for review.  And to my brother Scott, and Fritzís Harley Davidson of Stamford (CT) for reference material, and answering a ton of dumb modelerís questions!!

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