1/9 ESCI BMW R75 with sidecar

Model by Russ Sharp

Photos by Steve Bamford

BMW R75 with sidecar Introduction 

Some 16,500 BMW R75's were built between the years of 1941-1945 under the direction of chief-engineer Rudolf Schleicher. It was manufactured exclusively for the German army and is recognized as one of the more famous motorcycles in the evolution of motorcycles. The BMW R75 served with all branches of the German armed forces, on all fronts, on all terrains. The machine In the early going all BMW's were painted the standard German grey. As the war progressed into the African campaign and on into Italy the colour changed to dark yellow subsequently being standardized for the German army later on. 

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A lever mounted on the rear wheel drive housing when engaged locks in the "chair" wheel into a drive loaded, like a posi-traction. Although this helped in cross country navigation the BMW did not steer very well. The engine was 45 C.I. with a four speed transmission , eight forward and two reverse, a top speed of 75 mph and a low range of 60. Both hand foot shift levers were installed. Both rear wheel and the "chair" wheel were on a foot pedal hydraulic braking system . A filter was installed on the top of the gas tank for the Afrika corps bikes. The tool cavity was utilized for the filter and a steel German helmet styled cover mounted. The BMW R75s were completely waterproof . 

The model 

The model is the BMW R75 motorcycle with sidecar in 1/9th scale from ESCI manufactured in the 70s. The Italian company features some 200 parts plus on 8 sprue frets. The parts are molded in a light textured tan colour, some silver parts, metal springs for the seat and front forks and solid rubber tires. A complete set of markings is included on a decal sheet and all wires are included too. The instruction sheet is a fold out poster style with exploded views, markings and information on both sides. In my view a collectors item in itself. In building this model strict attention must be given to following the step by step procedures in the instructions. 

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The project 

The bike was painted to represent one attached to the Afrika Corps. All purpose acrylic craft paint was hand painted on to the vehicle in a dark yellow colour, followed by a good drybrushing of a dust colour . Several coats of a black and brown mixed wash was applied, followed by another drybrush. The engine, some linkage and the MG 42 were all painted white, lights red and the gauge decal placed into the gauge. A coating of clear nail polish was brushed onto the lights and added into the gauge to simulate glass. The MG 42 gun stock was painted brown, tires painted black and all wiring was added. Handle bar grips and seats were painted black as well. Decals were added and the bike was drybrushed again in the dust colour. Weathering was achieved using pastels, for dust, white and beige mixed, for dirtier areas, black and dark brown mixed. The exhaust system was painted a red brown by Tamiya and Real Rust applied like a pastel. 


The only additions to the bike were a helmet from the spares box, a couple of ammo boxes, scratch built and an ammo belt added to the MG , was also scratch built. 

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In ending I would say the ESCI 1/9 the scale BMW R75 with sidecar is an excellent kit, the final result is simply a beautiful motorcycle model. I would not however, recommend this kit to a beginner or an intermediate modeler as it is a fairly in depth kit and can be quite confusing at times. 


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Text 2003 by Russ Sharp   Photos 2003 by Steve Bamford