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Building Tamiya's Yamaha FZR750R (OW01)

By Kenneth Hartlen


The Motorcycle

The Yamaha FZR750R (OW01) is a limited production street legal version of the Yamaha YZR750 "works" endurance racer that dominated the 1987 and 1988 Suzuka 8-hour endurance race. The engine is a powerful 749cc, liquid cooled, 4 stroke, 4 cylinder, 5-value powerplant and is made from hi-tech materials and lightweight metal like titanium. The rear swing arm and "Deltabox" frame are made from aluminum giving weight savings, yet a very rigid frame. The suspension uses state-of-art racing components that can respond to the most aggressive rider. The FZR750R production was limited to 1,000 units making it a very desirable bike for Yamaha fans.

Technical Data






4-stroke transverse four



Bore & Stroke

72.0 x 46.0mm

Compression Ratio



Four Mikuni BDST38







Dimension L x W x H

82.7 in. x 17.8 in. x 45.7 in
(2100mm x 705mm x 1169 mm)

Seat Height

30.5 in. (775mm)


56.9in. (1445mm)

Ground Clearance

4.7 in. (120mm)

Dry Weight

412 lbs. (186kg)

Fuel Tank Capacity / Reserve Capacity

5.0 gal. (19.0l) / 1.06 gal. (4.0l)

Tire Size(Front / Rear)

120/70 ZR17 / 170/60 ZR17

Brakes(Front / Rear)

Dual 320mm Discs / 210mm Disc

The Kit

Upon opening the FZR box you will discover four sprues holding 88 parts, two fat tires, metal parts bag with spring and eleven screws, decal sheet and eight page multilingual (Japanese, English, German and French) instruction manual. All of the sprues are bagged ensuring no damage or missing parts. The clear sprue holding the front body cowling and light lenses receives additional protection in a small 'box' to ensure the other kits parts cannot scratch the clear parts.

This is the fifth 1/12 Tamiya motorcycle kit I've built and I'm always impressed by the level detail included out of the box. This model was released in 1989 and although it is ten years old, it does not fail to impress. Very crisp detail and flash free. Only minimal attention to some mold lines is needed.

As detailed as this kit is, the cutaway box art shows just how much detailing potential there is even at this large scale. Wires, sensors, springs, etc. However, at 1/12 scale it is easy to add some simple details to further enhance the overall appearance of the finished model. Below I'll explain the details I've to added to the kit.

TIP: When building any street bike, a visit to your local reference library can yield service manuals that show electrical schematics, exploded view diagrams and other information useful for detailing a model.

Preparing The Kit Parts

Rather than following the instructions step by step, I take a different approach. Instead of cleaning up parts, painting and assembling at each step, I cleanup all the kit parts first and separate them according to the colour they will be painted. If there is a danger of confusing similar parts, I keep them separate from the other parts and tag them with the part number.

Once I've cleaned up the parts, I assemble the parts that will be painted the same colour. Just be sure the assembly will be easy to paint. If not, leave it as subassemblies. For example, the engine block (D2, D13, D16, D17, D27) are all to be painted Flat Aluminum so I assembled all of these and it will be easier to paint.

This allows me to paint all the parts that require the same colour at the same time. I find building a kit in this 'assembly line' fashion speeds things up considerably. And I don't waste as much paint and the airbrush requires less cleaning. And, in a single painting session, I plan it so I spray colours from the lightest to the darkest and leave metallics until last. This way you don't have to be so thorough cleaning the airbrush between colours.


Before painting, I made some minor modifications to a few parts. Here is what I did:

Front and Rear Discs (D14 and D4) - the discs have self cleaning holes which remove dirt and water from the disc surface. These are just indentations on the kit parts. A very simple and effective detail is to simply use a pinvise to drill out all the holes. All it takes is about an hour of drilling. Tedious, but easy and effective.

Exhaust Pipes (B20, B21, B23, B24) - if you look closely at the box art you will notice retaining springs and the EXPU (EXhaust Ultimate Powervalve) on the pipes. The retaining springs can be made by wrapping 30 gauge bare wire around the shank of a drill bit. The loops welded to the pipe can be made by wrapping the same wire around a shank of an X-Acto blade and cutting down the middle to create little 'U's. The 'U's were CA glued to the pipes before painting and the springs were added afterwards.

On the back of the pipe (B20) is a long groove on the back side. I filled this in with sheet styrene since the groove would be visible if the bike is displayed without the cowlings.

At the collector is the EXPU. I made this from a piece of aluminum from a pop (soda) can and 0.010" sheet styrene.

Rear Axle End (D19) - again the box art shows an easy detail to add. The axle end has a cotterpin so I drilled through the axle end with the pinvise and used 30 gauge wire for the cotterpin.

Brake Lines, Clutch Cable, etc. - the vinyl tubing can be difficult, if not impossible, to get to hold a shape. I insert 24 gauge wire inside any tubing that requires sharp bends. This ensures that the wire will keep its shape.

Radiator Hoses - hoses need clamps and I made these by wrapping 30 gauge wire around the hose three times. I also inserted wire inside the vinyl tubing for the lower left hose.

Radiator Filler Neck (C4) - once again the box art shows an easy detail. The neck has an overflow tube and I simply drilled small hole and insert a piece of 24 gauge for a post to attached a small length of thin vinyl tubing.

Airbox Ducting (B6) - this part has a ribbed surface and suffers from a mold line down either side of the ducting. To 'fix' this I filed off the ribbing detail. Then I wrapped 24 gauge wire around a 3/16" drill bit until I had a long coil tightly wound. Then I pulled the coil to achieve a loose spiral. I cut the coil to the length I needed and slipped it over both ducting hoses. Then I coated the wire with CA glue to create the 'webbing' between the ribs.

Initial Assembly

Before painting a few parts can be assembled to simply final assembly.

Step #1: The rear fender well (C5) can be added later to make painting easier. So, I assembled the frame and cleaned up the joints.

Step #8: Building the stand now will be very helpful to have as an aid during assembly.

Step #11: a) I temporarily mounted the engine in the frame so it could act as a jig when assembling the headers. This ensures everything will be properly aligned during final assembly.

b) I added retaining springs loops to the exhaust pipes. c) I glued on the EXPU with CA glue.

Step #13: Assembled the seat cowl.

Step #15: Assembled the airbox ducting.

Step #18: Added the right and left covers to the upper cowling.


I recently discovered the wonders of the Model Master Metalizer paints and these can be used to great effect on motorcycles. These paints give an incredibly realistic finish on the frame, engine and brake discs that is essential for a motorcycle model.

Here at the substitutions I used on the FZR:


Model Master Used

X-11 Chrome Silver

Buffing Aluminum Plate

X-12 Gold

Non-Buffing Brass

XF-16 Flat Aluminum

Non-Buffing Aluminum Plate

XF-56 Metallic Grey

Buffing Magnesium

X-12:3 + X-11:1

Non-Buffing Brass:3 + Buffing Aluminum Plate:1


After applying a buffing metalizer, I use a cottonball and cotton swab to buff the paint to the sheen that gives a proper looking metal finish..Here is the frame, engine and exhaust pipes painted with metalizers. The frame will receive a few decals so I sealed it using the Model Master Metalizer Sealer to give it a durable finish.

Also, not all parts require paint. Plastic is used for some components on the 1:1 bike, so the rear fender (C5), intakes of carburetors (C15, C16, C21 and C22), rear turn signal housing (C11) and front turn signal housings (C20) were simply cleaned up and then polished with Tamiya's Rubbing/Polishing Compound. In pictures it will be difficult to see the difference, but in person is adds another realistic touch.

I followed Tamiya's painting instructions in each step, with the following exceptions:

Step #1: The rear fender well (C5) can be added later to make painting and assembling the frame easier. So, I assembled the frame and cleaned up the joints and its ready to paint.

Step #7: Before painting C12, I used Maskol to mask the rear caliper.

Step #13: I painted the seat with XF-1 and I buffed the paint to give it a bit of a sheen.

Step #14: a) I painted the front fender X-7 Red rather than using the decals which seemed unnecessary. b) I paint hand grips XF-1 and then rubbed with a cotton swap to give it a bit of a sheen. b) Before painting the forks, I masked the calipers with Maskol and paint the calipers with a brush.

I primed all the bodywork with Floquil's Reefer White followed by X-2 White. Since the windscreen is molded into the cowling, take care when masking the inner surface. It can be a little tricky.


Now that all the parts have been detailed and painted, its time to put it all together. (Notice that I've splurged and abandoned the ButterTart tray for a proper case.)

From this point on I simply followed Tamiya's instructions to the letter. The only thing I did differently was to jump ahead to assemble parts in other steps while the glue dried in previous steps.

In typical Tamiya fashion, everything went together without unwelcome surprises and everything aligned perfectly. First I assembled the front and rear wheels. The provided stand proves to be very handy during assembly.

Then I added the front forks, rear suspension and engine.

Next I added the radiator, exhaust pipes, rear fender, headlights and various brake lines and radiator hoses.

The chassis is now complete and all that remains is to add the bodywork.


Now that the chassis was assembled, I moved onto adding the decals to the bodywork. This is the part that always makes me nervous. Compared to the racing bikes available, the decals for the FZR are relatively simply. Still, it pays to take your time and treat the decals with as much care as you would for a more complex racing bike like the new Honda NSR500 '98 Repsol and MoviStar bikes.

The decals go over some complex curves in places on the cowling and you will need to use decal solutions such as Microscale's Micro-Sol and Micro-Set. The decals responded well to Microscale's solutions. The only problem I experienced were the decals on the cowling behind the seat. I blame the modeller though and not the decals. In the end decals smoothed out very well.

In a few places around openings in the cowling, I touched up any white showing with some X-7 Red and X-4 Blue which matched the decal colours perfectly.

Now with everything decaled, all the bodywork can be added. First the fuel tank and seat cowl.

Then the upper and lower front cowling. The side mirrors were attached with rubber cement. I preferred to have these just pop off instead of snap off if they mirrors are ever bumped.

And there it is, the completed Yamaha FZR750R (OW01)....

The bike also includes the kickstand, but it is rather fragile so the stand should be used for displaying the model.


This was a very enjoyable kit to build. Detail and quality are superb.And I find that working in 1/12 scale encourages you to try extra detailing that you avoid in smaller scales. The details I added were quite minor and are not necessary to give you a realistic looking bike. I built it over the course of about five weeks and spent 40 hours building it.

I have to say that Tamiya's motorcycle models have been my most satisfying projects to date. The finished kits are incredibly realistic and look as though they could start and drive away.

The Yamaha FZR750R (OW01) remains in the Tamiya Catalogue for 1999 and you should have no problem getting the kit from your favourite shop or mail-order house. MSRP is 1,500yen.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

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(505) 881-9621

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