BMW R75

Something has to be the smallest model in my collection.  As of today, there’s no doubt what it is.

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Let’s take a look at motorbike in the German Army.

One of the stipulations imposed on Germany at the end of World War I was no armor.  That meant no tanks or armored cars.  We all know Germany had no intention of honoring the spirit of those rules, but attempted for a period to honor the letter of them.  As early as 1920 Germany reformed a clandestine General Staff.  Through the 1920s and ’30s the Wehrmacht was training and practicing for more modern, more mechanized warfare than they actually were capable of waging. A big part of that preparation involved mobility of a revolutionary sort.

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That meant new generations of cars, trucks and motorcycles.  The motorcycles were extra appealing because they could amass a number of them quickly and cheaply.  They were classified by size, with the largest bikes allowing for a sidecar.  The primary function was “communications”.  That is running messages and messengers around as needed.  It also included reconnaissance, although it was always understood armored cars were a better choice for that; but until the Treaty of Versailles was openly rejected in 1935 those were not allowed.
The largest bikes also could mount an MG34 machine gun to provide fire support.

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This particular bike is a BMW R75, one of two types that fit the large bike category.  Eventually the two designs were rationalized, or merged in a way to provide a standard, “best of” sort of design. The side car included a drive linkage so this is actually a two wheel drive vehicle (a 3 x 2 ?).
It was attached to the 5th Parachute Regiment in Tunisia, 1943.

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Some previous contenders for “smallest kit” title.  But these other kits all add extras on additional sprues.

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Smallest Allied kit.  But if I were running around near any shooting I’d prefer the Dingo!

This is the Tamiya kit.  I believe this is the only “one-sprue” kit I’ve seen!  Its hard to swear to that, many bigger kits include little bonus throw ins.  Like the Kettenkrad as a tug for a larger aircraft or a separate bomb cart.  But excluding those, I’ve never seen this in a stand alone box before! Oh, and the crew was half the parts count.
So construction wise this is very simple.  Well detailed, well engineered parts…   and not many of them.  Painting made it a little more involved, and is the difference between a two day build and a two week build.  That’s actually kind of funny, there were days when I’d do like 45 seconds work on it then decide it needed several hours to dry before I could move on!
Fun little project.

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I had to consider the “worst mismatch”.  But I think the BMW could make a clean getaway pretty easily if it saw the KV-1 in time!

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Perhaps the champ for biggest mismatch!  And this motorbike in Tunisia is more likely to encounter a DAF Hurricane than a Soviet KV-1.

About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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10 Responses to BMW R75

  1. Jeff Groves says:

    Nice little model, Dave! I hear you about the drying time issue, sometimes I’ll start assembling another kit waiting on the first one to dry.

  2. jfwknifton says:

    The Russian means “For the Motherland” by the way.

  3. Ernie Davis says:

    Also, like the Albion, featured in an Indiana Jones movie. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they had an American stand-in named Harley Davidson.

    • atcDave says:

      Funny you’d mention that! At one time I could have sworn I also had a wartime Harley in the stash but now can’t find it. Although, I have many poorly labeled bigger boxes, it may yet show up! If Tamiya even made such a thing? My vehicle kit inventory is seriously sloppy!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Tamiya had a 1/35th WWII Harley I built back in the day. They also had a lot of larger scale non-military Harley kits if I recall correctly.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I know they’ve done some of the sort, just not sure if they did in my scale?

  4. Chris Kemp says:

    I owned a Cossack Dnieper for a Brief spell in 1980 – a Russian reverse-engineered R 75. Worst bike I ever rode. Both pistons burned out running it at 70 on the motorway!

    Regards, Chris

    • atcDave says:

      Too funny! From what I can tell the R75 was not a particularly loved bike to begin with. I’m sure the reverse engineering did it no favors!

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