1/12 Tamiya Ducati 916 Motorcycle

1/12 Tamiya Ducati 916

Ducati 916
1/12 Scale Motorcycle kit from Tamiya


The Ducati 916 was an Italian sports motorcycle manufactured by Ducati from 1993 to 1999. It was considered to be a Superbike and competed very successfully in the Superbike World Championships. These races are open to motorcycles that are tuned versions of motorcycles available for sale to the public, by contrast with MotoGP where purpose built machines are used.

The bike is powered by a 916cc, two-cylinder, four-stroke four-valve water-cooled V-engine. The engine, which uses a set of revolving cams to actuate the engine’s valves, called desmodromic valves, produces 114 bhp at 9000 rpm. Typically the two-cylinder engine of the Ducati produces less horsepower than some of its four-cylinder Japanese counterparts but the torque is greater.

Two key features of the 916 are the single-sided swingarm, designed to make wheel changes faster during races and the underseat location of the exhausts to improve aerodynamic performance, and resultantly give very clean lines. Top speed of the 916 is over 160 mph.

The Ducati 916 won the Superbike World Championships in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Its successor, the 996 (similar design – more power) continued the winning tradition.

Assembling the kit

As members of the Kalamazoo Scale Modelers club are aware, I built this model to participate in George Smith’s Motorcycle Challenge. I won the model in the January club meeting raffle but had been looking at the same or similar models at Hobby Lobby. The kit came with parts molded in two colors of silver, black, red and chrome. It would appear that the model could have been assembled without paint and would not have looked too bad. In any case, the different colored plastic made it easier to paint the model. The red parts were easy to paint red, the black parts were easy to paint black and the silver parts readily took the different metallic colors required.

Since my knowledge of motorcycles was limited, I had to trust the kit and the kit directions and effectively build the model out of the box. The first step involved the assembly of the rear swingarm. This assembly consisted of 14 pieces. I have built entire models with fewer pieces. Photo 1 shows the completed swingarm.

A striking feature of the assembly to me was the colors of the rear sprocket. I liked the looks of this feature but I chose to spray each color and then touch up as needed.

The next assembly was the engine. I was trying to figure out how to paint the main crankcase in one step due to the irregular surfaces and to minimize any overspray. I solved the problem by gluing some scrap sprue to the crankcase for the painting. This was removed when the part was dry and engine covers covered the attachment area. Photo 2 shows the painting of the crankcase.

Step three covered the assembly of the frame, assembly of the swingarm to the engine and assembly of the swingarm/engine assembly to the frame. The rear fender and some minor brackets were also added.

Step four covered the assembly of the exhaust system and then assembly of the exhaust to the engine/frame. The muffler parts in the kit were chrome plated but the process of gluing the halves together caused me to mess up some of the chrome. To maintain the appearance of the part, I decided to remove the chrome plating and to paint these parts with Alclad II Chrome. This allowed me to glue the parts together and then to clean up the joints. I used Alclad Gloss Black Primer to prime these parts and then painted them Chrome. I was not completely satisfied with the primer. It did not appear to dry completely. The final parts looked acceptable but not perfect.

Step five consisted of mounting the rear tire to rear wheel and adding this assembly to the engine/frame. The kit directions called for part of the frame and the wheels to be painted in a five to one mix of gold and silver. I used Testors Model Masters Metalizer paints for this and was pleased with the results. Photos three and four show the assembly at this point.

It is starting to look like a motorcycle. Note – some references call the engine an “L” design instead of a “V”. These photos show why it could be called an “L”. Also, the large intakes for the fuel system show up well here.

Step six added lots of smaller parts and assemblies to the model. The oil cooler was chrome plated. Clean up of the part did not mar the surface so I didn’t repaint the part. I did, however add a light wash of very dark gray oil paint to bring out the detail of the fins. The radiator was molded in red plastic integral with a front body panel. Model Masters silver readily covered the radiator area and again, a wash was applied to bring out the detail.

Step seven covered the construction and installation of the front fork. The model really started to look like a motorcycle at this point. Here again, the front struts and several other of the front strut parts come chrome plated. These parts needed cleaning up due to sprue attachment and mold lines. I placed these parts in a cup of household bleach and the chrome (actually vacuum metalizing) just vanished. When all of the problems were cleaned up, I painted them with Model Masters gloss black enamel and when dry, painted them with Alclad II Chrome. The results were beautiful. As with the rear wheel, the front wheel brake disks looked great is the three-color scheme.

One great feature of the kit was that such things as brake lines, fuel lines and cooling hoses were reproduced with vinyl tubing. The plans give drawings to show the correct length of each piece. Photo four shows a few of these tubes.

Step eight adds the instrument panel, the front lamps and several other small parts. The instrument panel is mounted at a strange angle. I was not sure how to orient the decals that represented the faces of the instruments. I made a best guess and then applied Solvaset to make sure that they nestled securely. I followed this with a couple of applications of Future to represent the glass on the instruments.

Step nine adds the front cowl and the tank/seat body part. These are molded in red but the main problem was that the fuel tank/seat part is molded in two halves, split down the middle. This meant that the join line for these parts would be very visible. I made sure that they were glued as close to perfect as possible and then sanded them till they were smooth. Next, I applied a coat of Mr. Surfacer as a primer. This showed some flaws. These were further sanded and re-primed. Two or three series of these gave me the surface that I had been looking for. To provide the proper red color, I choose Model Masters Italian Red in their spray can “Custom Lacquer System”. The system included the basic color and then an Ultra Gloss Clearcoat to cover the red and really bring out the color. I was pleased with the result.

I applied the decals before adding the body panels to the frame. This particular model did not have many decals but the few that were there went on well. The directions and decal sheet did not agree completely so I misapplied a couple of small markings. This was not a major appearance problem. I did not trust the Model Masters Clearcoat to cover the decals. I was worried that the lacquer-based clearcoat would affect the decals. I chose to use Future for the final topcoat.

The brake lamps were clear parts painted with clear red paint. To my eye, they looked a little drab so I applied a piece of bright Mylar film to the inside. This gave some reflection and made the lamps look brighter.

The final step was to apply the rear view mirrors, the turn signal lamps, the side fairings and the license plate. The rear view mirrors had chrome plated inserts. I thought that these were not bright enough so I added bright Mylar film to the rear surface, which made them look more realistic.

The side fairings are screwed in place and, in theory, could be removed to display the engine. I added some glue to the area where they touched at the bottom of the model so I probably can not remove them now. The license place featured a decal that showed the Italian flag and the name Ducati. This decal did not nestle well on the plate so I replaced it by painting the flag and then applying the name with a left over decal. Photos five and six show the finished model.

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