Hasegawa 1/12 Yamaha YZR500 (OW98)
Yamaha entered the YZR500 (098) in the 1988 MotoGP World Championships. It was powered by a 150 HP, 499cc liquid cooled, 2 stroke V-4 motor. Eddie Laswon and Didier De Radigues were Yamaha's factory riders. Yamaha had a superb season: Eddie Lawson had 7 wins and took the Championship and the Factory won the Constructor's Title.
The YZR500 kit consists of 160 parts, 7 of which are unused. Most of the parts are on 8 sprues. 2 sprues are molded in white plastic, 5 are molded in gray and one is clear. There are 2 "rubber" tires, 1 metal coil spring, 4 metal screws and 2 lengths of plastic tubing.
This is a complex kit, and it consists of a number of well detailed sub assemblies, each of which has quite a few parts. The molding is up to Hasegawa's usual high standards. In fact, the quality of the parts is absolutely stunning. The texture on the handlebar grips has to be seen to be believed. There are aftermarket metal drive chains available for 1/12th scale motorcycle kits, but the injection molded one in the kit is pretty darned good. The lettering on the disc brake calipers is raised and it is perfectly legible. The frame and swing arm have convincing, visible weld seams. There is minor flash on a few parts, but no sink marks.
The fuel tank and seat base, which are molded in halves, have visible seams that will require careful attention, but happily other pieces (the gas cap and seat, respectively) are mounted over them, drawing the eye to details that serve to visually break up these surfaces.
The kit includes are 2 different styles of forks. The first pair is the standard ("Early") fork and the second is the inverted ("Late") version. Both pairs are well molded. And so are the brake calipers, brake discs and the front wheel that attach to them. This is where the 4 metal screws come into use. The first screw attaches the front wheel to the fork. The second attaches the fork to the frame, the third joins the frame halves, and the fourth unites the rear wheel and swing arm. The last metal part is the coil spring for the rear suspension.
The engine and transmission are made from 23 highly detailed parts. One major difference between the model airplanes I usually build and motorcycle kits like this is the amount of brush painting of VERY small parts the latter requires. There are 4 main colors for the engine/transmission assembly, 2 50/50 mixed colors that replicate metallic shades, and then 10 more colors for painting items such as the smallest parts of the clutch parts. Depending on your disposition and skill with a brush this is either a lot of fun, or a major pain. I enjoy this kind of work myself, but not every modeler does.
The plastic hoses, one clear and one black, are used for the spark plug wires, brake lines, rear suspension line, fuel vent tube, reserve tank hose, and the coolant reservoir hose. There are 3 mufflers, each of which is composed of 4 pieces, with the exception of the lower muffler on the left side. It has a 5th piece, an anti-skid plate roughly analagous to the knee skid pads on the rider's leathers.
The cowling is composed of 12 pieces, including the clear windscreen. It is broken into 3 sub assemblies, and you can display the cowling on or off. You also get a stand on which to set your finished model.
Cartograph of Italy produced the decal sheet, and like the decals in the Lancia 037 Rally reviewed earlier, it is superb. It is crisply printed, legible, in-register and it has vibrant colors. It has full markings for the Marlboro Yamaha Team motorcycles of Eddie Lawson (#3) and Didier De Radigues (#12). You will have to source the Marlboro sponsorship decals from the aftermarket as they're not included in the kit.
The Yamaha YZR500 kit is accurate and highly detailed. I recommend it to experienced modelers only. If you want a highly detailed MotoGP model, this is an excellent place to start. Be sure that you have excellent photographic references to hand, and by all means, take your time! I'd like to thank Hasegawa USA for the review sample.