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3HW Kit

ESCI 1/9 Triumph 3HW Motorcycle Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review July 2007 Manufacturer ESCI
Subject Triumph 3HW Motorcycle Scale 1/9
Kit Number 8292 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Great scale for the bifocal modeler! Cons  
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

3HW Kit
3HW Kit
3HW Kit
3HW Kit
3HW Kit
3HW Kit
3HW Kit
3HW Kit

At the beginning of the war, in September 1939, the British forces had about 21,000 motorcycles of various types and manufacture (Ariel, Matchless, Morton, BSA and Triumph) to which numerous motorcycles, originally meant for the civilian market, were added to meet requirements of the British Army. This contribution continued until the production capacity of the industries was no longer able to satisfy the growing demands, which by the end of the war amounted to a total of over 425,000 units. This excluded several thousands of Harley-Davidson’s and Indian’s supplied by the U.S.A., under the Lend Lease Agreement, and were used particularly by the RAF and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

In the British Army, the motorcycle equipped, at all levels, the units of dispatch-riders, military police and reconnaissance units. They maintained liaison between the motorized columns. This was a very difficult job in operation zones which were lacking in motorcycles or from which the enemy has purposely removed even the most elementary road signs.

Camouflage Differences:

With regard to coloring, we have to base ourselves on the details referring to the various operation theatres. For European Theatre, since the French Campaign in 1942, the color was characterized by a dark brown (called DARK HEART) paint. This was later replaced by dark green and in the last months of the war by a deep bronze green. For the Middle East and African Theatre, the basic color was light sand.

With regard to eventual camouflage in several colors, there is no decent photographic documentation, even if, as a result of individual initiative or the enemy, every motorcycle was probably re-painted depending on the theatre in which it was then used.

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art shows a triumph illustrated on a cream colored background on half of the lid. It shows it equipped with a British paratrooper’s helmet and a Sten gun (provided in the kit). No markings are in evidence other than the Triumph name on the side of the fuel tank.

Inside the box are two large light tan sprues of parts, on large silver sprue, a smaller sprue of black vinyl parts, a sprue of clear parts (all in a large cello bag). There is a paper envelope with four metal springs. One goes alongside the frame, two go under the seat and the largest one is a mystery, as…search the instructions as I may….I DON’T see where that one goes. It is the largest spring.  There is some wire sleeving (to do plumbing on the engine and wiring). Two very nicely molded black vinyl tires complete the parts in the kit. These tires are beautifully molded and have raised letters, giving the tire size and the manufacturer’s name: Dunlop Universal. A rather small decal sheet and the instructions are the final items in the kit.

The instructions consist of a stapled booklet, 8 ½” x 11” format of 8 pages.

Page one of the instructions begins with a side profile line-drawing of the Triumph. This is followed by the motorcycle’s history in English and French.

Page two begins with some general instructions, followed by “Special modeling tips”.

Pages three through six give a total of 12 assembly steps.

Page 7 is the parts tree drawings.

Page 8 gives two side views of only one marking option. It is a bike with the serial no. C79075 on the side of the fuel tank and a Polish checkerboard insignia. Obviously a Polish unit fighting alongside the British. No unit is mentioned for this scheme and no color is mentioned either.

The decal sheet is divided into four squares, each with a different marking option in it. One is the scheme just mentioned above. The second one has the name “J. Davies” in small black letters and the serial no. C5206132 in white. The third one has the insignia of a white rhino in a black oval, of the British 1st Armored Division, which in 1941 sailed for the Middle East and arrived just in time to face Rommel’s second push from El Aghella. This is serial no. C2443685 in white. The final marking appears to be a white bird in flight (unit unknown to me) and the serial no. C6493183.

The bottom of page 8 lists 8 different 1/48th Jet aircraft kits that Esci markets and two more 1/9th scale military motorcycles.

The parts trees are not alphabetized or have part numbers molded on them, next to the parts. You have to identify the tree from the parts tree drawing and find the part number that is identified on that drawing. Kind of tedious and a bad move by Ertl/Esci. However, The parts are numbered sequentially on the drawings, so you can pretty well stick to one tree at a time as you assemble the kit. The assembly steps go by the numbers and do not jump around in those numbers, which helps some.

I recommend this kit to those modelers that have some other complicated model kits under their belts. This one has some very complex assemblies and the assembly drawings are very busy exploded type drawings, that sometimes don’t show exactly where a part winds up. Test fitting and dry fitting will be the order of the day. I am also disappointed that Ertl/Esci did not show illustrations of the other three schemes provided on the small decal sheet. I do like the British paratrooper’s helmet (with liner and straps) and the Bren gun. Also the nice saddle bags.

The first large silver parts tree holds parts numbered 1- 62. These include:  some gears, exhaust pipe, carburetor parts, engine parts and a multitude of other small parts (64 parts)

The second large light tan tree holds parts numbered 63 –104. These include: frame members, fuel tank parts, handle bars, seat frame, paratrooper’s helmet etc. (40 parts)

The third large light tan tree holds parts numbered 105 – 167. These include: the spoked wheels, headlight housing, Bren gun, helmet liner, saddle bags etc. (86 parts).

The smaller black vinyl tree holds parts numbered 168 – 177. You get the seat cushion and various straps (15 parts)

The small clear tree holds head and taillight lenses and a base plate with “Triumph 3HW and Esci Italy” molded into it.

The kit features a completely detailed engine, frame and steering. It is molded in color for a motorcycle serving in North Africa. It has authentic hollow vinyl tires. It is detailed down to separate nuts and bolts in places. It has workable front steering. There is a clear display name plate included in the kit. Vinyl tubing is provided for brake and clutch lines. You get vinyl seats, luggage straps, a flexable drive chain. You get dispatch cases, a paratrooper’s helmet, Bren gun.

The kit makes up to be 233mm long, 105mm high and 85mm wide.

Recommended to all WWII modelers that like a big scale, that is easy on the eyes.