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Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit

Hasegawa 1/12 Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit First Look

By Yvonne Carpenter

Date of Review February 2014 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Scale 1/12
Kit Number 21708 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent crisp detail, amazing decals Cons None noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $59.95

First Look

Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit
Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit
Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit
Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit
Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit
Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit
Yamaha YZR500 TECH21 1989 Kit

This kit is part of a long line of excellent Hasegawa motorcycle kits released in the last few years. If you are looking for a comparison point, in my opinion, Hasegawa motorcycle kits are one of the best in the market today, perhaps second to only Tamiya motorcycle kits.

This kit depicts the Yamaha YZR500 (OWA8) TECH21 1989 bike ridden by Tadahiko Taira. Tadahiko was a very successful rider from the late 70's into the late 80s.

The biggest innovation for this bike and well depicted in the kit was the RDRS (Running Data Recording System) which is a data recorder similar to airplanes "black-boxes". RDRS was able to record RPM, speed, suspension load, steering angle, temperature and combustion chamber information.

First and foremost, the decal sheet on this kit is outstanding.  Printed by Cartograf so you know it is the good stuff! The only tricky decal seems to be the one that goes on top of the tank as it will need to curve in different directions (although it has strategic cuts on it) and that always requires patience and skill.

Along with the decals, you get two well made racing rubber tires, a small bag with 4 metal screws for attaching the wheels, front fork and swing arm, a spring for the rear suspension, and 2 stretches of hose for the required wiring.  On to the plastic bits, you get two large white sprues with the "body" parts like tank, fairing, cowling and rims plus the bike stand; a large gray sprue with most engine and frame parts; another large gray sprue with the exhaust system and a smaller gray sprue with the chain and brake parts. There are also 3 little mini sprues with the forks, additional brake parts and a few small body parts plus the clear sprue that carries the windshield.

There is very little flash thru out (on my sample kit, 2 parts to be exact had flash on it – very impressive!), but Hasegawa for whatever reason has these little mini round tabs everywhere from where they pour in the plastic into the molds. Although it adds a step or two to remove many of the parts from the sprue, it is extremely easy and simple to remove them with a good nipper - the only word of caution being that you double check the instructions to make sure you are removing a tab and not a piece of the part! The detail on the entire kit is outstanding and crisp. The way they pour in the hot plastic into the mold from the different points certainly has its advantages as the parts are very crisp and perfect (which means it is definitely worth the time to remove the pesky tabs!).

A brief walk thru on the instruction sheet, which is more than adequate, has you starting assembly of the engine plus some wiring. We move on to assembling the frame where I was happily surprised to see Hasegawa provide a "cover" for the inside of the frame. This is extremely rare – since the engine usually hides most of the inside of the frame, and the side fairings hides the rest,  that "flaw" is usually concealed from the naked eye unless you know exactly what you are looking for.  Nevertheless, it is a great addition to the kit especially if you plan on leaving the fairing off to detail the engine.  After assembling the frame you get to fit the engine into the frame and attach more plumbing.

We now move on to attaching the radiator and assembling the swing arm including chain and rear wheel. Another welcome surprise on this kit was the sprockets and disc brakes. Hasegawa went the extra mile and drilled out the holes found on the real parts saving you the tedious task. Thank you!  We finish up the drive train by attaching the rear fender, shock absorber and plumbing the rear brake. The rear wheel is attached to the swing arm by a metal bolt and the whole combo gets attached to the frame/engine assembly by another metal bolt.

Next we get to assemble the four exhaust pipes. Pay attention to the attachments – I highly recommend dry fitting these to get familiar with their connection points.  You have half the bike assembled right now so be careful when you dry fit these (as the half assembly does not stand on its own very well – find a paint jar or something that could temporarily support the assembly while you work on the other bits).

The build moves on to the front forks, wheel and double disc brakes. The front wheel is attached to the fork thru a 3rd metal bolt and the whole front assembly is attached to the frame thru the last metal bolt. All hand controls and plumbing are attached at this point: accelerator, clutch and brake cables.

The next step deals with the shiny stuff – the body parts! We start with the rear cowling. Here is where you confirm if your exhaust assembly worked or not as you need to fit the ends of two exhausts thru the back of the rear cowling! Now on to the tank, seat, side, under and front cowlings along with the transparent windshield.  You get to assemble the bike stand too so you have now an easier way to make the bike stand and admire your work J

Although this is not a "Build Review", I will briefly share my opinion on my methodology on building these bikes regarding assembly order as it has worked fine for me over the years: I always start with the body parts no matter what the instructions say. I inspect the instructions and see what body parts have to be pre-assembled and I do the body cleanup and putty work first. Why? Because that is the part that makes or breaks the bike and needs to be done as perfectly as you can muster (meaning, don't rush it!).

Also, this is the part that takes the longest as it is usually gloss painted in layers (with appropriate paint cure time), you need to polish, you need to decal it (and wait for it to completely dry) and finally you need to clear coat it (very few bikes can skip this step). As you go thru these methodical phases, you get to work on the rest of the bike while waiting for example for the decals to dry. I also like doing any pre-assembly of all other parts up front so my painting session is as short as possible (spare time is at a premium in my life at the moment). Given that I mostly use Alclad for metal representation, I try to minimize waste by grouping my parts by color and filling up the airbrush to the rim with one Alcald color at a time. It also cuts down on airbrush cleaning time! Anyway, I digress as this is a "in Box" review, but there you have it.

In summary, this is a very complete high quality kit with an amazing level of detail. It precisely depicts the 1989 Yamaha YZR500 TECH 21 team bike as raced by Tadahiko Taira. This kit is highly recommended for any bike enthusiast or anyone wanting to try a new subject without "fighting" with the kit.

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!