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Tamiya Honda Monkey 125

Kit No.: 14134
Scale: 1/12
Mfr.: Tamiya America,
Price: $36
Comments: 114 injection-molded plastic parts (white, black, gray, clear, and chrome plated); two soft rubber tires; one rubber seat; flexible tubing
Pros: Outstanding molding and fit; paint masks   
Cons: Rubber seat; no wheel stand
I have always loved Tamiya kits, especially its motorcycles, and couldn’t wait for the new Honda Monkey 125. The parts in the box didn’t disappoint with cleanly molded parts and sharp, accurate details.

I painted the parts before assembly. The instructions offer diagrams for four schemes; I settled on the factory two-tone red (TS-95) and white (TS-26). The kit provides a mask to help paint the two-tone design on the gas tank.

Assembly was anything but complicated and all the parts fit well. I did have to go back and scrape some paint off edges — the fit is so good that even a little paint can foul it.

Be warned, the kit contains many chrome parts, so you’ll spend a good amount of time scraping for clean plastic to glue. Some of the measurements provided for cutting the tubing for hoses are a little long. Test-fit and trim the tube by a few millimeters to do the trick.

Tamiya molded the seat in soft rubber, probably for a more realistic appearance and feel. However, a plastic seat and flat black paint would have served as well.

The instructions show to hand-paint the white pinstripe to simulate the bead around the top of the seat cushion. That was beyond my ability to do and have it turn out. Instead, I tried to mask the seat, but no tape I used (including Tamiya!) would stick.

Finally, I coated the seat with clear gloss and cut narrow strips from spare white decals and applied them to make the bead. At the same time, I placed the Honda decal on the back of the seat — there’s no way it would have adhered to the bare rubber.

After letting the decals dry overnight, I sprayed a coat of flat clear on the seat to seal the markings. Admitedly, my white stripe isn’t perfect, but a decal is a good alternative to painting it, and I’d handle it the same way if I had the build to do again. 

I wish Tamiya had provided a wheel stand for the Monkey like it does for its Moto GP motorcycle kits. The only thing that keeps the Monkey upright is a thin, fragile kickstand that I’m afraid I might one day accidentally snap off.

As you’d expect, when it’s built, the Monkey 125 isn’t terribly big, even at 1/12 scale. But it is massive in its detail and certainly draws the eye, partly because of its diminutive size and partly because of the superb details.

If you’re considering building a motorcycle but aren’t sure you want to dive into one of the more complicated and expensive kits on the market, or if you’re looking for a change of pace, Tamiya’s Monkey 125 would fit the bill.


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