WLA 45 Harley Davidson Motorcycle

Kit: Academy # 13408
Review by Rob Haelterman

Picture from Henk of Holland website; used with permission.

This Harley Davidson motorcycle comes as part of Academy's "WW II Ground Vehicle Set #6", where it shares the box with an amphibious Jeep and an M3 half-track.
(A preview of the complete kit can be found here, while a scan of the manual can be found here.)

Academy doesn't mention the exact type of Harley on the boxtop... wait... it doesn't even mention the motorcycle at all in the name of the kit, even though it is shown on the boxtop. Nevertheless it seems we are dealing with a WLA-45.
I am far from an expert on Allied stuff, and even less on motorcycles but some due diligence reassures me that Academy captures the look of the motorcycle very well. While the spokes of the wheels might be a bit over-simplified, they are actually very, very convincingly done and commendably thin.
The shortcomings I have found are the following:

  • The tyres lack any type of thread pattern. Being lazy, I grudgingly left them as such.
  • Most WLA's had saddlebags; the kit doesn't. Mine were sourced from the spares box.
  • A lot of WLA had a leather holder for a Thompson SMG on the right side of the front fork; the kit doesn't. My holder was scratchbuilt, with the rifle butt scavenged from the spare's box.
  • Some WLA had an extra pouch added to the abovementioned rifle holder; the kit doesn't. Mine was sourced from the spares box.
  • The majority of WLA had a metal (ammo?) box attached to the left side of the front fork; the kit hasn't, but the boxtop has! Mine was scratchbuilt.
  • Some WLA-45 had a windshield; the kit doesn't. As windshields are for woosies, I didn't bother.
  • I drilled out the front light to make a lens by painting the hollow in silver and coating with Kristal Klear. Believing the fixture above was also a light, I drilled that out too, while afterwards I learned this was the horn. Drilling out the rear light still seems a reasonable choice to this day.

I admit that I didn't measure the dimensions of the kit, as I had no plans to compare them to.

I added a star-in-ring from a spare decal sheet (Fujimi I believe) as the kit didn't provide decals for the bike.

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Article Last Updated: 20 August 2013

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