by: David Fuller [ ]
BackgroundWhen I looked at the box top artwork of the Limited-Edition Hasegawa Honda NSR500 1989 All Japan Road Race Championship GP500 Kit No. 21717, it brought a smile to my face as I remembered watching motorcycle races in my youth and the excitement of the riders racing down a straight to a corner trying to outbreak their opponent.
The NSR500 debuted in 1984 in the 500cc Class. The early version was problematic due to the chassis and engine design. The NSR500 got a redesigned twin-spar aluminum chassis and engine tweaks. Typical of two stroke engine the powerband is narrow and the Honda had to run at the high end of rev range. Additional improvements to the engine and chassis for 1989, 165 horsepower hitting speeds well over 190 miles per hour (310 km/h). The motorcycle accelerated quickly and was exceptionally fast. The main panel box art captures this feeling well, with the photo of Hikaru Miyagi in full-on lean. The end panels have smaller versions of the same photo and the top side panel has an additional photo of the alternate markings provided.
Inside The BoxUpon opening the top-opening box, there are two instruction sheets. One for the decaling and one for the build. The kit itself is in 3 bags. The main bag contains all the parts of the motorcycle. Two smaller bags contain the tires, screws, cables, windscreen, and taillight and finally the combined upper and side fairings in one beautiful piece. There is no evidence of damage or distress to the kit.
In the main parts bag, there is two sprues of white parts and three sprues of gray parts. The parts are attached with small sprue connectors and there is no evidence of flash, sink holes or voids. The parts are finished smoothly and the vent scallops on the lower fairing are very scale-like. The front fender, tank, rear fairing, and belly pan assembly will need some care to avoid misalignment and excessive work as these parts are in halves in the kit. As noted already, the upper fairing is one piece and it is perfect and beautifully molded.
The fold-out instructions are comprehensive, clear and provide call-outs for any pre-painting or decaling in their 22 manageable sections. The motorcycle is highly detailed with a full page dedicated to engine assembly and two pages to final assembly. The engine detail is amazing, and it a shame to hide it behind the full fairing. The rest of the instructions need to be followed carefully, as there are a multitude of bits and hoses that need to be added to the engine once in the frame. The same can be said for instrument cluster, brake, throttle and steering section during assembly. The tires are molded well and capture the look of racing tires. Mr Color paint numbers are noted throughout the instructions. Hasegawa has supplied a chart for cross-reference to Creos Aqueous colors.
The fold-out decaling instruction sheet has large, detailed 4-view drawings, so the locations and placement of all decals should not be an issue. There are 81 decals to put on the kit. The decal colors are vibrant and capture the motorcycle accurately. A nice touch are the silver rivet decals for the fairing. All the sponsor decals match the box photo, so the model is visually accurate to the photo. There is very little clear around the decals, though they appear a little thick and there are no registration errors.
There are two choices of race numbers, #3 where Hikaru placed 4th at the All Japan Road Race Championship GP500cc, or #41 at the 1989 WGP 500cc class Japan GP at the Suzuka Circuit.
Dimensionally, Hasegawa’s NSR is 6.5 inches long, 2 inches wide and 3.7 inches tall and will display nicely. The NSR will be challenging at 183 parts if you haven’t built a race bike before, however, patience and test fitting will make a great looking addition to a modeler’s display. The model is currently selling for US$78.30 and this is higher than other models, however, this is an excellent representation of the real bike. Recommended.
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