Tamiya 1/12 scale Suzuki GSX1100 Katana Custom 14065 1400Yen

Move your mouse over the bikes to see what are the modification I did!

The Suzuki Katana was unveiled in 1980; it shocked the motorcycle world with its aggressive body styling. The German designer Hans A. Muth managed successfully to have the Katana departed from the conventional motorcycle styling with its integrated front cowling and fuel tank.

The motor was the legendary GS1100, 1074cc, 4 stroke, 16 valve, 4 cylinder DOHC featuring TSCC (Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber). The bike produced 111 h.p. and could reach speeds of 237km/h.

This kit is a reissue of kit 14010, with the addition of a extra spruce containing a custom exhaust, piggy back rear shocks, front cartridge fork with upgraded brake calipers and an oil cooler. It is an older kit and it has some mold lines but little flash.

This is my second serious kit. In this kit I managed to learn to wind my own springs and try to add as much PE bolts and nuts as economically possible (These PE stuff are just so expensive!) I also make a "full" caliper by cannibalizing another Custom Katana for its brake calipers.

To make this kit more "custom", these are what I did:

1. Retain the old style anti-dive fork
(because I like it)
2. Make the caliper full by fixing the other half from another Katana kit
3. Add lots of PE bolts and nuts details
4. Braided hoses and Modelers' hose end
5. Carburetor heat shield
6. Crank case vent
7. Racing foot pegs
8. Retaining springs for the exhaust system
9. Springs for the main and side stands
10. Modern styled tank cap

< Top: Yoshimura style carburator heat shield made from Tamiya Pla-paper. Other stuff here are clutch lever, crank case vent and radiator hose clips

< Detailing of exhaust system includes bluing and retaining springs. While coiling the springs make a few extra to use on the main and side stands

This kit builds easily, I'll not describe the building process but will just elaborate on the detailing instead.

Front end:
Tamiya's brake calipers are a disappointment to accuracy. They only give you half a caliper. Their earlier kit like the Yamaha YZR500, Suzuki RGB500, RZ250 and RZ350 all feature full caliper. Maybe someone complained the difficulty of fixing them? Anyway, almost all of Tamiya's latest offerings are one-sided calipers and I choose to fix this in my entire future project. For this Katana, I bought another kit just to use its brakes. I've yet to learn of resin casting.

< Take notice of the different area you can choose to detail the front end: Brake calipers, speedometer cable guide, speedometer drive and hose ends for the hydralics

I went overboard by fixing brake pads into the calipers! They are made of plastic card. Its not accurate, just a simulation for the fun of it. The calipers are finished with Modelers' hose end set and braided lines, the bolts and nuts are highlighted with PE's. I use a variety of PEs, most are from Scale Motorsport and F1 Specialties, they are expensive and I have to control the amount I need to use!

Kit's speedometer cable is connected to the fork and this is wrong. I snip it off and glue the cable to the axel instead. That is the space between the fork and the wheel, take a look at a real bike and you will understand. I also made a speedometer guide from a thin stainless steel wire for better realism

Photo etched stuffs:
Slot head screw / bolts - I use them on the ignition to simulate the key slot. They are good to use on carburetors as pilot screw if you can find one small enough
Cross head screw / bolts - These are good for most brackets, but I only used it on the bike’s rear license (registration) plate
Allen head screw / bolts - Another useful detailing PE, I use lots of it to detail the front yokes (triple clamps), bar ends, pegs, etc
Bolts - This I use the most, from brake calipers mount to wheel axles, use anywhere or where Tamiya's representation is just a circular embossed features

< Unfortunately my photography skill is so horrible that I just could not get them in the picture. Sigh. Maybe next time. Anyway, what I am trying to illustrate here is the numberous way you can increase the detail of the carburator: idle speed adjuster, choke pull, fuel lines and heat shield

This is a custom bike, thus the engine needs to be hop up. For this I added colored vinyl tube to simulate those hop-up silicon ignition cables, added a "Yoshimura" styled carburetor heat shield, added a crank case vent system. Tamiya's Custom Katana comes with a oil radiator but uses thick black vinyl tubes as oil hoses, I junk them and replace them with braided stuff, I also scratch built some hose clips for it. For the painting of the exhaust, I was too lazy to airbrush the exhaust's bluing, instead I brush it, maybe next time.

Tamiya's chrome on their earlier bikes are rather heavy thus does not look realistic. What I tried is to polish it lightly with Tamiya's rubbing compound and find that it gives a more realistic look. The sad fact is I destroyed three clutch covers while experimenting, rub too hard / long till the chrome vanished!!!

< Now does the clutch cover looks more realisticafter polishing it in rubbing compound? Compare it with the spocket cover on the below left picture.

Rear end:
Nothing much here, same job as the front calipers for the rear brakes, added PE cross head screws for the license (registration) plate. Swingarm is from a Aoshima Kawasaki Zephyer as are all the foot pegs. The stock swingarm just look too skinny for a SUPERBIKE!

Noting fancy here, glued it, putty it and spray it. I did not follow Tamiya's color, it’s a custom bike right? But I did not paint it too loud too! Just metallic silver with lots of gloss coat, all using Tamiya spray cans. The katana body is minimal, just a front cowl, tank and seat. For the tank, I did not like the "old" fuel cap and I replaced it with a more "modern" one

< I get my reference on the Katana from this old collection of BIKER STATION. Great close up shot too. If anyone need it, just email me and I will scan them for you

Other stuff:
I paint my signature on it and it ruined the looks, sigh. Now I inkjet them on transparent decal papers. What I am trying to do here is to make my model stands out from the crowd. Like real bikers or motorcycle racer, they will have their own personalized stickers. Take a look at the side of those GP bikes’ windscreen the next time round.

Somehow I feel I should have spray the exhaust instead of dry brushing it. Also I was rushing to complete it as it took longer than I expected as a result I broke the foot peg numerous time, hence there is a build up of super glue at the joints there!

If you got any questions feel free to email me at: modelmotobikes@yahoo.com.sg

see the instruction manual

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