British BSA M20 Motorcycle
Tamiya 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35316
Review by Terry Ashley
The M20 was used by all arms of the British Military used mainly as a general purpose motorcycle for convoy escort and dispatch messaging and saw service in most theatres the British were involved in and continued in production long after the war until discontinued in 1955.
The kit consists of just 49 parts on olive drab plastic on two sprues to provide the motorcycle with two Military Police figures along with some personal gear and two Sten Mk.II submachine guns. There is also a small decal sheet and some printed road signs on the box ends to use as depicted on the box art.
The standard of moulding is very good with virtually no flash or pin marks apparent and cleanly done detail on the parts and the figures with just the usual mould seam lines to contend with but the level of detail on the motorcycle is very basic to say the least. The motorcycle itself is made up of 20 parts and has just three parts for the main engine/frame/wheel assemblies which results in a distinct lack of detail definition. This is most noticeable are the wheels that have the mud guards moulded with the wheels with no gap between them and the spokes also in moulded plastic.
The result is grossly over scale spokes and way too few spokes to boot and the tyre tread is almost non-existent with the wheels being very poorly done compared to recent Allied motorcycle wheels in kits from Bronco Models and Miniart and German Motorcycles from Great Wall Hobby and Vulcan all of which include etched spokes and separate mud guards for improved detail.
Added to this the surface details are also very basic with a distinct lack of rivets, screw heads and other detail on the parts as well as all the pedals other than the starter pedal being moulded with the frame again resulting in a lack of definition and will require considerable work to bring the detail un to contemporary motorcycle kits.
After fitting together the 3 main parts there are four one piece frame parts added to the front forks and rear body to complete the main motorcycle assembly and again the level of detail is quite basic due to everything being moulded as single parts, you do get a decal for the instrument dial to add a bit of detail but the raised lip around the dial is missing. Added to this assembly are the separate handle bars and head light, the fuel exchange pipe, top tank and the two seats again lacking smaller details? There is the stater pedal and single exhaust pipe will need to be drilled out for a better appearance and the rear mounted light/plate assembly and side pannier frames are considerably over scale in appearance.
While this all in one approach results in a lack of detail the assembly is very quick and easy with the whole bike going together in about 30 minutes after part clean-up and has all the basics of the M20 included for additional detailing or a quick build if the lack of detail isn’t of concern.
Detail on the uniforms is nicely done with good definition although the mould seams are a little prominent and care will be needed when cleaning up, the fit is good overall but some minor trimming of the arm joins may be needed?
Included with the figures are two nicely done Sten Mk.II SMGs and a map case for the rider, the strap for the Sten is moulded with the rider figure but not on the standing figure as depicted on the box top so would have t0o add this yourself if using the gun with the figure. The decal sheet has a selection of arm and helmet MP bands to use as required.
Also included is a plastic sign post with printed French road signs on the box flaps for you to cut out and use as required for a ready made vignette in the box.
But having said all that assembly is very quick and easy and it’s a lot better than the plastic BSA M20 we didn’t have last week and provides plenty of scope for modellers to - well model.
The inclusion of the figures and road signs is a nice bonus and can be used with the bike or elsewhere as you see fit.