1942 WLA Flathead Harley Davidson
Well, today I’ll be talking about something a little different, a 1:18 vehicle I found at a local store. The vehicle is a WLA 1942 Flathead Harley Davidson motorcycle, and was produced by Maisto.
I really know next to nothing about Harleys, but when I saw this one I immediately thought about a few figures in my collection that would make good use of it.
The WLA Flathead was a model actually commissioned by the US Army during WWII, and the letters stand for the “W” family of Harley motorcycles that used a 740cc flathead motor, “L” because that was the letter HD used to design a high compression engine and “A” because this particular model was made for the Army.
The toy is almost entirely made of plastic, with only the axles of each wheel being metal. The amount of detail is pretty good, with a good number of extra pieces of equipment attached to the frame of the vehicle.
The one thing that immediately jumps out at you is a sheath to carry a rifle at the right side of the handlebars, although I must emphasize that it is mostly for show, since the piece is not hollowed out to actually accommodate anything in it. In the top most picture I just crammed the weapon in the space between the sheath and the front wheel.
Both wheels spin freely and are made of dense black rubber. The front wheel can be steered using the handlebars and the bike has a kickstand to keep it upright.
This Harley does not have much in terms of paint, since each element was molded in the correct color of plastic, with flat olive green for the frame and brown plastic for the leather seat, gun sheath and saddlebags. The engine and the searchlight have chromed bits and the tips of the handles were painted black.
There are a few decals applied to simulate the fuel gauge and the taillights, but that’s pretty much all the decoration on this vehicle. The end result is correct, but I think it could have used a few more paint apps in the form of a white army star and maybe a serial number, but then again, if somebody wanted to buy a couple of these they would have need to customize the numbers to be different.
These Harleys are rigorously 1:18 scale models, meaning that they will be not quite the right size to interact with most modern “1:18” action figures (which tend to skew more towards 4 inch these days).
However, some of the smaller characters in each line seem to fit well enough, and I found that vintage G.I. Joes also appear to be the right size, even if not all can actually grab the handlebars.
Overall, the WLA Flathead from Maisto is a pretty decent companion piece to almost any 3 3/4 collection, especially considering I got this for around USD$7.00 from a local vendor.