Tamiya B.M.W. R75 WIP

I have always liked the odd vehicles used by the different militaries. The water, transport and supply trucks. The various earth movers used by engineers are all very cool. But I always thought a motorcycle, especially without a sidecar could be a very devious, fast and efficient tool in battle. If that isn’t an attraction just watch Steve McQueen in the Great Escape. I know it is a Triumph mocked up like a BMW and he does get caught but it is one cool scene from a very iconic movie.

The BMW R75 was made between 1941 and 1946  they were used on the Eastern Front, Africa, and Europe. A 745cc Flat Twin engine powered it with an optional sidecar that it’s rear axle connected to the rear of the R75 so the sidecar had a driven wheel. The was also a locking differential and selectable on and offroad gear ratios as well as a reverse gear so handling and adaptability were improved over older designs.

I did my research on the model beforehand and this is the part of the model building I love, learning the history. I usually start with the decals to see if the model was assigned somewhere and sometimes you even get options. This helps with the paint scheme and weathering especially. The R75 was used in the infantry, with tank groups, as military police, there were SS groups who used them and these decals reflected this. I looked up the group markings and found some direction. I have two complaints with this kit; first, the choices of decals limit you to having two figures belong to one group like Waffen SS  and since there are only decals for the two helmets you have at least one guy who is AWOL from and tank group. But hey, I am Hobby Dude so I bet there are some spare decals somewhere, Or more importantly it really doesn’t matter.  🙂

The other complaint is that there are no brake/clutch levers molded into the handlebars. The R75’s levers were a little different than what is seen on most motorcycles, they came out of the ends of the bars instead of clamping inboard of the grips. This is really a better design as they would be less likely to snag on other riders, trees etc. So I thought I would add my own.

I used some shrink tubing and 2 staples bent around. A drop of CA glue to set them in them I touched a soldering iron to the staple to make the shrink tubing shrink around the grip without melting the plastic handlebar part.

Sorry for the bad pic, but using a bit of Tamiya putty and some MR. Surfacer then some black flat the grips and levers start to come together. The staple helps to leave an area in the proper place to later add a wire for the cables.

I want to mention some of the supplies I used for this project:

  1. Tamiya White Putty – Not my favorite, I like Squadron brand better but it works.
  2. Mr. Surfacer – There are so many uses for this and I try to keep 500 and 100 on hand, filling gaps is a breeze and I have even used it to make rivets and detail lines. Even a light airbrush coat with 1000 can be useful for prepping some surfaces like buildings.
  3. Tamiya Panel Line wash – I love this stuff for use before as a shading and after as a way to add a lot of dimensions.

For my face figure painting:

White for eye sockets, skin base and tone to start then shade around eyes, ears, mouth etc. I mix on a palet adding a drop of red or yellow from other paints to adjust tones. My goal is to make each skin and face unique each time so there is lots of this and that and mixing it all up.

When it comes to weathering there are so many ways to achieve what you want and I have found a few things helpful:

  • Cheap makeup from the dollar discount store, bonus if you find earth or Emo tones they work best for most weathering.
  • Oil pastels, these are endless with ways you can use them, mix a bit with thinner and do some pin wash, apply as is for shading. Another cheap item found that is very useful. while you are there get the cheap sponge brushes, you can get around 25 of them for 1/7th the price the Tamiya package of two.
  • Tamiya weathering kits, if you can find them cheap, they are great but at 10-$12 each there is not much in there and you will need more sponge brushes since each one has only one to share three colors.
  • Vallejo make some great washes  and I commonly use #74.505 light rust, #515 dark brown, #512 Dark green
  • Citadel Night Shade – This is sort of a dark blueish wash, I like using in conjunction with the Tamiya panel line wash to achieve multiple dark shading.

The figures in this kit have some decent detail seen once a bit of primer is applied after gluing and prep sanding. Primer helps me see where I still need to putty/file or sand still.

Like everything else, there are countless ways and methods to paint faces and I am always open to new methods but I will share what I have done.

I typically start with a white on the eyeball, if it were larger figures I would cut a little yellow into the white. Next, I use either dark brown or Blue to make an iris, then I shade a darker skin tone to the underside of the brow and above eye socket. Lighter skin tone goes below the eye and inside ears.  Using that same mixture of paint I add a tiny amount to red, mix and apply to lips. After each step, I apply gloss clear to lock in what I have done so far and to allow a smooth surface for washes if I decide to use at any point. I fill in the rest of the face and neck with varying skin tones. When I am finally done I will use some flat clear to cut back any un-natural gloss.

I still have a lot of detail and cleanup to do but they are coming along alright. In reality, only about 25% done.

When it came to assembling the motorcycle and sidecar beyond the brake levers I knew I wanted to add some plug wires and the sidecar needed to have seen some action.

Exhaust still needs its treatment and I still have saddlebags to make up and finish the rifles as well as the figures.

This is a very fun kit and should make a cool little display when all done.

Till Next time…

  • Hobby Dude

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