by: Russ Amott [ ]
introductionThe BMW R-12 was a heavy motorcycle with a 2 cylinder, 746cc engine producing 18hp. The motorcycle was produced from 1935 to 1942, with some 36,000 made. It could be fitted with a sidecar (not powered), and was well liked because of its speed and reliability. The sidecar could be fitted with the MG34 to provide either some defensive protection for a scout team, or offensive punch in a fast attack. Zvezda previously offered the R-12 with a sidecar in 1/35, and have now released it as part of their Art of Tactic war gaming series, in 1/72 scale.
The Art of Tactic wargaming series includes figures, vehicles and aircraft in scales ranging from 1/72 to 1/200. The first game is Operation Barbarossa, with additional sets allowing for further expansion into the war on the Eastern Front. The kits are molded in a soft plastic that is somewhat flexible but readily accepts standard modeling cement. They offer generally good detail, better than most "toy" figure sets available in 1/72, and the sets are inexpensive.
contentsThis set comes in a small, end opening box with artwork of an R-12 with sidecar racing through a burning village, being chased by a dog. Marching German infantry are in the background. The rear of the box has photos of the completed and painted set. Inside the box is a single sprue in soft, dark gray plastic containing 20 parts. These include the figures with the head, torso and one leg molded as a single piece, and one leg and the arms being separate for added detail. Instructions are shown on a separate sheet of paper, done in line drawings. The other side of the sheet contains basic information about the wargaming series in Russian, English and German. There is no paint guide other than the color photo of the completed set. A card is included for the game, showing movement and points attached to the set.
reviewThe driver of the motorcycle is wearing a helmet and has his gear, consisting of his water bottle, poncho and a Kar-98 rifle, molded to his body. Detail on the back of the figure is quite good, with the stock and barrel of the rifle extending beyond the body. Some detail is undercut and very good in appearance. The front of the torso loses detail and appears somewhat boxy, but will be partially obscured by his arms and posture against the bike. In particular, his face and hands are quite well molded.
The passenger in the sidecar is also wearing a helmet, but no other gear is visible. His body is squared off at the waist to fit in the sidecar. Again, front torso detail is poor, but is obscured by his pose, holding the MG34. His hands and face are again very well molded, and the MG34 is quite detailed, better than some of the older 1/35 scale kits I have, with good cooling jacket representation.
The BMW-R12 has the handlebar/strut assembly molded as a single piece, and the exhaust/foot rests as separate parts. The wheels are molded solid to the frame of the motorcycle, with spoke detail raised. In this scale, and for this price, I don't think you could reasonably get much better detail. The sidecar attaches to the frame of the bike, and the driver's left foot is molded with a cutout to allow attachment of the sidecar frame. The wheel and a bonnet covering the sidecar passenger's legs are separate parts. A spare wheel is included for the rear of the sidecar.
There are minor seams visible on the figures and motorcycle, which will clean up easily with a sharp knife or fine sandpaper.
Snap fit assembly showed some gaps on the arms of the two figures, and the driver's leg. I also had trouble getting the sidecar frame to set in place securely, but this was no problem as the plastic is glue-able. There is a small base with locator-pin holes to set the completed model on, representing a roadway with ruts worn into the surface. A marker flag is included for the game.
conclusionWhile the detail varies from very sharp to soft and poor, overall the completed kit is very nice-looking. It will be an excellent choice for a beginner, and a more advanced modeler will be able to modify the kit somewhat to their satisfaction. It will make a very nice kit or serve as an excellent addition to a small diorama. I think it is a useful kit.