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Aoshima 1/12 scale Nostalgic Bike Club No.1 Suzuki GS400E 027653 1800Yen

Move your mouse over the bikes to see what are the modification I did!
This is a very old kit but was recently made available by Aoshima in their new line up called the "Nostalgic Bike Club" series. The Suzuki GS400E is its first in this series and will soon follow by a host of others from their early kits dated as far back as the late seventies. Expect to see the revival of the Honda CB250N Hawk and some old BMWs!

This kit is very basic and you can tell that it is very dated through its instruction and the quality (or the lack of) of the details. Aoshima, seems to me, just dust off their old mold and repack the kit in a new box art, thats all. The 1800yen it retail does not do any justice to the buyer! I think its too expensive for an old kit. Maybe 1000 to 1200Yen is more apporiate.

The Kit:
This kit lacks many details you see in more modern Aoshima or Tamiya kits and I want to correct as much as I can. Unfortunately I can only guess as much as the real bike was of 1978 origin, information are almost non-existent today! Luckily some are easy. For example, tire valves and clutch cable location. There are none on this kit and I had to scratch build them

The real bike is a 2 valve twin sporting 398cc, DOHC and a horsepower of 37ps at 8500rpm. Respectable power output back then but hardly enough today for a sport bike. And for this project I wanted it to be a Cafe Racer! So its search my part bin for more performance ehancing parts!

< The real bike was stopped with a single disc set-up, I modifly it to a two floating disc and two piston sliding calipers for that extra stopping power! Also take note of a fork brace!

What is the theme?
As a Cafe Racer, it got to be powerful, handled well and look racy! In order to achieve it I build this kit with these parts:

1. Tamiya CB750 foot rest mount and front brakes
2. Aoshima CB400 rear brake reserviour and rear shocks
3. Tamiya Katana rear brake disc and caliper

<Modelers' hose ends set was used for the oil cooler's detailing and as well as the crank case vent

It was built almost "out of the box" but I made the cooling fins looks "deeper" by scraping away excess materials. It helps but you need to be careful as not to damage the fins as you go along.

To make it racy, I added a carburator heat shield, scratch built from thin plastic card and junk the stock airbox for a free breadthing individually mounted sport filters!

< Top: Instead of a drum brake, a disc brake system was added. Tire valves, braced swingarm, engine mounting bolts and piggy backed rear suspensions are all extra details that I had to include!

< Scratch built engine mount, clutch and air filter. Easily made but attract many questions! Are they accurate> Maybe. But they seems logical to me! Notice the PE nut at the end of the clutch cable?

The Instruction:
This kit is easy to build even when the whole instruction is in Japanese! I painted the bike in metallic black and almost all other parts of the bike is in black. This is because I wanted to add a mystic feel to this kit, a racer in the dark

Other stuff:
Many wires and tubes were added to make it look busy and this helps to make it more relistic too. Wire for the speedometer and tachometer cables, electrical system and ignition system. Another trick I fond that helps make a kit stand out is spring! Wind your own spring and this you can add to your side stand!

< Did you notice the spring at the side stand?

In the end:
I enjoyed making this Cafe racer bt if I am able to find a bikini fairing for the front, that will be better! An interesting subject for my collection as it is neither a modern superbike or GP bikes but a Cafe Racer!

If you got any questions feel free to email me at:

see the instruction manual