by: Iain McClumpha [ ]
The Honda Super Cub scooter/light motorcycle has been exported from Japan to practically every country of the world for the last half century. In much of East Asia it's as common as the VW Beetle was in Europe and America.
In Japan the bike is still in production and is used by police, post office, delivery people... everyone.
I was in Japan on holiday in November 2012 and wandered into the Volks hobby shop in Akihabara, Tokyo looking for reissued models from "Thunderbirds". I entered the military models section and saw this curious little model kit... and almost jumped with joy. One of my interests is 1/32 Japanese car kits and this little kit provided me with not one, but TWO models of the popular Honda Super Cub.
At a shade over 2000 yen it certainly isn't cheap, but what you get are two little gems.
The bikes are moulded in a light grey plastic with a fret of etched brass parts for each one. There are also sprues of clear parts for lights and the mirror. A nice touch is the inclusion of a camera, packet of ciggies and a lighter.
Detail on the plastic parts is sharp and there is no flash anywhere. Some parts are so small that I defy any builder NOT to lose at least one indicator light (I did).
The wheels are made up from two etched spoke inserts and three tyre parts. When I was making up the rear wheel on mine I made a mistake and had the spokes matching. Had I tried to separate them I would have destroyed them. Lesson learned, I didn't make the same mistake with the front wheel. Other etched parts add detail to the engine, two different number plates and what I assume is a tax disc holder? (I'm guessing!)
You also get the option of a single seat version, or a tandem seat version. For the first one I chose a single-seater, planning to build it as a delivery bike.
The instructions are a little confusing, with vague call-outs for etched parts throughout. There are several colour schemes shown on the instructions on the back page, which are pretty common to most of the ones I've seen.
The problem with the instructions is that they are sometimes showing the wrong part, and sometimes showing the reverse of what you are supposed to be doing - such as swapping over front and rear wheels. Not very helpful.
Instruction problems aside the models are beautiful, and will grace any Vietnam War diorama (or any other 1960s to present day diorama, military or civilian), and with the new Diopark Vietnamese civilians due out sometime soon the diorama ideas practically take care of themselves.
If you build post 1960s dioramas get a set to add some humanity to the scenes, taking some of the edge off of the great green lumbering machines and softskins.
I love them!