Today i’m going to unbox the Tamiya Honda RC211V ’03 w/Etching in 1/12th scale.
After a strong 2002, Rossi continued to dominate in 2003 even though he got some competition from emerging Spaniard Sete Gibernau. Rossi scored consistent podiums, took pole and won the first round of the season in Japan, but the race was marred by the death of Japanese rider Daijiro Kato who crashed at the 130R and hit the barrier at high speed in the ensuing Casio Triangle. Rossi finished second at the South African round before winning again in Spain, despite falling back to ninth place on the opening lap.
Rossi scored three pole positions in the next three races and finished second in France after battling with Gibernau, who overtook him on the last lap. He won in Italy and came second again in Catalunya. He took two third-place finishes at the Dutch and British rounds – the latter the result of a ten-second penalty for overtaking under yellow flags, gifting victory to Max Biaggi in the process – and another second place in Germany, once again battling Gibernau who denied him victory with just 0.060 seconds separating both when they crossed the finish line after a titanic battle between the two.
After Germany, Rossi won three more races and scored two more poles: a pole position converted into a victory came at the Czech Republic where he battled with championship rival Gibernau once more, Rossi overtaking him on the final lap to take victory by just 0.042 seconds. A regular victory came in Portugal and another pole-victory came at the Rio de Janeiro rounds. He finished second at the Pacific GP after a mistake made him run off into the gravel and relegated him to ninth, which made it impossible for him to catch race winner Biaggi in the closing laps.
Rossi ended his season in style by scoring three consecutive poles and race wins at the Malaysian, Australian and Valencian Community rounds. The Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island is considered by many observers to be one of Rossi’s greatest career moments due to the unique circumstances. After being given a ten-second penalty for overtaking Marco Melandri under yellow flags due to a crash by Ducati rider Troy Bayliss, front runner Rossi pulled away from the rest of the field after being informed of the penalty, eventually finishing more than 15 seconds ahead, overcoming the penalty and winning the race.
Rossi won the 2003 title in Malaysia, his third in the top class and fifth title overall, with two races remaining. He won the final race at the Valencian Community round with a special livery, this race marking his final win for Honda.
With increased scepticism that the reason for his success was the dominance of the RC211V rather than Rossi, they parted ways at the end of the season. Mid-season rumours pointed towards a possible move to Ducati, which sent the Italian press into a frenzy; the concept of Rossi on the great Italian bike seemed too good to be true. Ducati did indeed try to seduce Rossi into riding their MotoGP bike, the Desmosedici, but for numerous reasons Rossi passed the offer up. Critics say that compared to the other manufacturers, Ducati had a significant way to go before being competitive even with Rossi at the helm. This proved to be the truth with Ducati’s lacklustre performance in the 2004 season, which had actually been worse than their inaugural year in MotoGP in 2003. In his 2005 autobiography, What If I’d Never Tried It?, Rossi offered another reason for choosing Yamaha over Ducati, saying that the mindset at Ducati Corse was similar to the one he was trying to escape from at Honda. Ultimately, Rossi signed a two-year contract with rivals Yamaha reportedly worth in excess of US$12 million; a price no other manufacturer, even Honda, was willing to pay.
The Tamiya Honda RC211V ’03 w/Etching is in the usual Tamiya box with the finished model up front with some information about the model. The Box is the normal bike format. On the side of the box some more information about the bike with a clear view on the engine.
Let’s start the unboxing!
The first parts you see are the wheels, nuts and polycaps. Also included are the screwdriver and black hose for the brakes.
The first sprue is the front nose of the bike and the fuel tank. Also the clear part is in small bag. In the bag of the clear parts are also the decals for the wheels.
A white sprue contains the bodywork of the bike.
The frame is presented in a chrome plated sprue.
A white sprue contains the wheels, suspension, brakes and chain parts.
A grey sprue let’s you build the engine, radiator, exhaust and electrical parts
Then you get to the decals.
The paperwork comes with some background information of the bike and of course the building instructions. These are typical Tamiya. Easy to read and clear instructions.
A little extra with this kit is the photoetch/metal parts nicely packaged.