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A BIG Rolls Royce

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I am posting my build of the 1/8 Pocher Rolls Sedanca which I began in mid-February. I actually posted from the beginning on a US site and it's 18 pages by now and 140+ photos.

My friend Roymattblack urged me to post here. I remarked to him how much support and discussion his fabulous build of the Pocher Torpedo 'Star of India' received from the members here. Knowledgeable members directed him to materials and methods and encouraged him to meet the challenges every Pocher brings, and he outlined so well. The entire thread was very entertaining and instructional.

I have not had such a followng. Maybe I'm a poor builder or my choices in construction and finishes is not popular. My main hope in posting the build was to foster discussion amongst those who have built or admire, or are contemplating a Pocher classic. I believe there are more such members here and hope some of you will 'ride along' with me on this journey.

It's not my first Pocher, having done the Spyder in 1979 (!). I wish I had the skills then I managed now, plus the aftermarket support then was zero. Seen here:


I will not post the entire WIP from the US here, but rather, hit the main points and then, when caught up to my current assembly, continue on a regular basis. That is, if I don't have you all yawning by then.

Completed so far are the main chassis, wire wheels and some sub assemblies like the exhaust system and steering system. I'm currently working the engine and transmission. As Roy described, many parts need to be done 'out of step' so they can be fastened before they are 'closed in'. You constantly go back and forward from a logical sequence. Being of Italian decent and building a 35- year old Italian model kit, I understand this perfectly... :clown:

A word about build 'philosophy'. I am not doing the typical OOB shiny new build. Rather a Rolls as I might own it now; an older but complete restoration but used more frequently than a museum queen. A drip here and there, evidence of engine heat, a well-heated exhaust system and similar patina under a very good exterior finish.

Also, not often seen on the web outside their website, I have incorporated many of the superb detail parts (plus tools and hardware) from Model Motorcars in Plantation Florida. The parts are like jewelery, many hand cast bronze and the hardware exquisite. Clevises, linkages, PE leaf springs, beautiful rubber tires, all upgrade the Pocher blacksmith stuff. A challenge to incorporate but well worth the lofty price and effort. They are also nice people to deal with and answer any question.

Many of these parts I left natural in finish as they lend a 'crafted' look of artwork to a plastic model. Sure it's more accurate to have gaiters on springs and an all-black underside but you visually lose fine detail in my view. Feel free to disagree or criticize.

Enough blather, here's the latest 'pretty' pictures:





If you approve, I'l sprinke in some of the catch-up photos with discussion of the pitfalls and triumphs of Pocher building. Many of my experiences parallel Roy's exactly. It IS enormously rewarding when you're not pulling your hair out... :banghead:

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Another Pocher build.

I have no doubts this will get as many views and comments as mine did.

It looks superb already.

BTW.... Love the Alfa - I have that kit in my stash.

Rolls Sedanca ?.... BRING IT ON!!!!!


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Hi Codger! I loved Roy's Pocher wip. Looking forward to seeing this one too.

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From the beginning, I'll post select points along the way.

First off-everything Roy said about the need for organization and workspace is spot on. I won't repeat his whole presentation but here are a few Pocher facts of life. Hopefully, I will not discourage any Ebay Pocher hunters; I want you guys (is blokes / chaps better?) to build these things so we can share a network of help and inspiration. Rescue these old kit from wet attics and crusty collectors.

You need room and an arsenal of tools. You need many small containers for the 400+ spokes, nuts, bolts and etcetera and you need to be paying attention. It's easy to fasten something backwards, up-side-down or too soon in the build process. You need to be creative in your approach to problem solving-you will face many. You absolutely need Paul Koo's CD to assist and guide-Pocher's version of instructions is exploded line drawings with connection lines and a jillion 5-digit part numbers. Virtually no text instruction and no photos.

I (unknowingly) bought a very early kit and between brittle plastic, some very slight warpage (considering age) and early production mistakes by Pocher, it's not been a 'shake the box' build. Koo shows you the various versions of the kit and their characteristics.

You need a plan; will I build every possible detail and add more or only build what shows? Will I fill seams that don't show or hurt function? Speaking of function, do I really want operational brakes, moving engine internals, opening doors and wheel steering?? Unless you own a lathe and have machining skills-DON'T.

The problem with any of those is that the leverages and materials do not promote durable operation of systems. That plus the considerable weight will cause wonky actions. Besides, you're not going to play 'zoom-zoom' on the rug with it-nor will any children hoping to reach puberty...

I planned NO working features other than opening doors, hood and posable steering (not from the cockpit wheel) and saved installing pistons, con-rods, rockers, brake shoes and lots of fiddly bits. Mine will sit in a glass case I will make and handily out-live me.

Buy a 2mm tap and die-will be your best friends. You will enlarge and tap virtually every hole, run all the threads through the die for all the rods; remove flash from everywhere, re-position everything that has 2 or more parts so that they fit together properly, sand all mating surfaces and learn a new technique; melting screws into too-small holes with a soldiering iron. Or else they break. This is why I said 'discipline'; but the satisfaction of proper completion is wonderful.

What I started with up from the basement storage:


Some early assembly; Getting the frame straight and strong:


Modifying the radiator for a vital (but omitted) brace which is an adjustable rod you make to get the rad dead vertical and braced to the firewall. Needs to be done out of sequence and Koo shows you how:


Intermediate brake rods (no hydraulics) going in with the MMC bronze clevises and 00-90 bolts-fiddly but beautiful:


The petrol tank; halves being joined and side seams being covered with .010" styrene sheet. The front / rear got filled with Bondo putty:


Rivets added and finished in satin hull red-not everyone will agree with my aesthetics:


More to come soon if anyone cares... :)

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I second Roy's opinion-by all means if you're interested, GET ONE.

I mentioned tools a bit ago and here's an invaluable one. Roy had shown in his build how he supported the huge model by using various props and boxes with cushioning while he worked. He certainly got the job done but there's an easier, secure way.

MMC offers these neat aluminum work stands. They are very simple once you think about it and work a charm as you folks say. You can make your own at home easily, even from plexi or plywood. But these 90's are bent in a brake and precision drilled for the Pocher axle ends. Even have 'RRF' and 'RRR' etched in as they are slightly different. Very sturdy.

But the really trick part is that you can easily invert the chassis to work top or bottom. You simply lift one end, swing it upward and invert the car. Do that on both ends. If you haven't done the axles yet let's say, I used a .250" inch wood dowel in each hole to simply lay the chassis on. I use rubber nipples from 1:1 autos that fit the ends perfectly and prevent whoopsies.

Since you need to test-fit so much on this model, you build the grille / radiator (for instance) in advance and fit in place. Then if you work on the bottom (to install an axle lets say), you invert the car and there's no fear of damaging the grille-it hangs clear of the bench top! Same with the steering box and long column-they must go on before the engine goes in. When inverted, there's no fear of mashing them.

Here they are in action. Also seen is the beautiful, STRONG, MMC bronze axle and PE springs. More on these as we progress:






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Or get some ALu. sheet (from B&Q most DIY's ) and make them 16 or 14swg should be enough.

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Re-inventing the (Pocher) wheel...

Roy said you guys want the 'nitty gritty'-well here's the worst of this kit. If it's too much 'gritty', yell at me to stop. Some text taken from my USA WIP. Sorry if it's choppy editing...

Probably the greatest challenge in building this car, the wheels as supplied by Pocher are a constant struggle to deal with and stay a step ahead of. And again, I did this once before in the '70's with the Alfa's wheels-without any experience or the great help of Paul Koo's CD. They were probably terrible...

First off, I made a jig for the jig. Pocher gives you a round hoop plastic jig with a center post to keep things in relation to each other. It's warped, so pick the best one of the 5 given and use it for all wheels. Realizing it was nowhere near stable enough, I epoxied it to a FLAT, rigid 1/8" aluminum plate which I then epoxied to 1/2" pine.


This lets you handle the assembly and rotate it as needed. Also lets you have a solid base to press against as some of the spokes need quite a bit of force to seat - no matter what you do! Snapping the nipples in would have been fine (as directed by Pocher) but I had to use the hot soldering iron (to melt them in place) which added another dimension of stress. But you develop the 'feel'.

Each rim is composed of 3 plastic rings and 4 plated steel rings. They assemble into a sandwich with the plastic rings carrying the spokes. NONE of these is concentric with the other. They are also slightly different thicknesses. You need to keep the assembly as narrow as possible so the tire fits correctly. That turns out to be 18mm wide between the outer bead rings. So truing flat on sand paper and emory (for the steel) is vital.


After reviewing Koo's notes I spent 6 1/2 hours prepping the wheel parts. Fifteen plastic rings and twenty metal rings. I know-some guys build whole models in that time. I'm nuts for sweating some of this stuff. I remember, when building the Alfa in the '70's I built them right OOB. ohmy.png

But I want true mating surfaces and all the slots for the spokes must be trued. Ejector pins, part numbers, holes and flash-need a flat surface with 100 grit taped down then hand work to take down edges with 220. None of what I did is cosmetic-it'll never show except hopefully, a perfect array of spokes in a true rim.


The center hub assembly is another minefield. Here are the component parts, numbered as they fit together:


#1 is the central shaft which is threaded on the bottom. #2 assembles onto #1 and is the slot housing for the last (outer) row of spokes. #3 is the outer shell, the upper and lower edges of which want to overlap the spoke slots-which is VERY frustrating, no matter what you do. Sanding true doesn't help, the diameters are too big. #4 is the internal spacer which keeps 2 and 5 apart. #5 is the lower slot housing. #6 is the steel bottom plate which goes over the threads on #1. #7 is the threaded nut which captures the whole assembly.

This is the most critical part of the hub assembly. You must NOT tighten this nut, which compresses the whole unit. You must leave clearance enough because when the spokes are pushed in place, they need space to fit vertically. Too tight and you can't get spokes in. Too loose and the spokes you've placed can slip out-which makes you tear your hair out.

Notice the razor saw on the right? I used that to clear out each of the 80 slots per wheel to (hopefully) get the spokes to insert easily. The overhanging steel parts thwart that good intention.

More pain below...

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Seen from the back, you can see some slight overlap of the plastic ring to the steel inner and outer. The best solution I figured by the third wheel was to sand the ID of the plastic to just get even with the steel.


Yet more...

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This is the first completed wheel-3 solid days, one aborted attempt and finally a decent

finished product. 80 spokes / 80 spoke nipples and lots of hub and rim parts. Sadly, I was battling brittle (very old) plastic which snapped on me in the beginning causing a vocabulary demonstration known only to space aliens. I quickly learned some tricks to deal with it and will be able to salvage some interior damage without outward evidence.

Shown with the MMC tire which is beautiful by itself; accurate, supple and reinforced in the tread area to support the weight:


Here's the back side. I bought the whitewalls to give me the option if I want to use them facing out. The black side is very handsome and I may use that out and spray the white side black for the inside. Tell me gents; with maroon wings and cream wheels and body sides, which do you prefer?? Shown with the cream color the wheels will be sprayed:


The tires are supple with a very firm tread area-no fear of collapse. Yes I will sand the parting line when I stop twitching:


The important point is that it IS doable; you must have Koo's notes and photos (he shows a better way for accurate spokes than the kit way), unlimited patience and a determination to get them right. You must acquire a 'feel' with your tools, soldering iron and of course prep every single wheel part meticulously. Now just 4 more to go....

Front axle in place (More on that later). Wheel / tire and fender mocked-up for relationship with each other.

Wheel is correctly centered, ride height very close to what I hoped. Completed weight should settle it a bit more. Everything seems to be playing nice with each other. Will post the axle installation soon:


So this ends (so far) my tale of woe. But it also gives a ton of incentive to continue down this rabbit hole. It looks gorgeous and big in person-beyond my dreams.

I will now happily continue hitting myself in head with this hammer... :banghead:

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Thank you guys.

I'm actually hoping to EN-courage members to build one, not DIS-courage. But maybe I paint too black a picture.

A very satisfactory model can be built without being a nutcase like me... :hanging:

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Great stuff so far and it's good to read the 'warts - and - all' aspects of Pocher-itis.

-And as you pointed out, these kits needn't be built to the level 'some' of us go to. I just happen to be a bit 'OCD' with these things too.

I also built the Alfa Monza donkeys years ago straight from the box and it was a very impressive object. Like a twit, I sold it ages ago.

The problem with Pochers' though, is that once you've built one, you want more.

During my recent Rolls Phantom build I bought the Mercedes 500 and Alfa Spider kits. I have the new Aventador too but although it looks like it will be a great build it's nowhere near the level of the old classic Pocher kits.

Keep it coming!!!!!

A great read (and build)


Edited by roymattblack
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I also built the Alfa Monza donkeys years ago straight from the box and it was a very impressive object. Like a twit, I sold it ages ago.

Thanks for your oh-so-true comments Roy.

In 1980, I gave as a 'thank you' gift, my Alfa Spyder, to a dear friend (and original Cobra owner) who helped my career path at that time.

He was delirious and I've been missing it ever since...

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Now I'll show you some expensive but beautiful MMC aftermarket parts. Conversing with some experienced Pocher builders I was told that the stock springs (and plastic axle) 'wilt' from the models own weight over time. I considered the MMC parts a wise investment for a model that won't sag over time. I'll start with the stainless PE leaf spring set:


They are very stiff, come with brass shackles with 00-90 studs (and nuts) embedded within. The simple photo from the web site shows the arrangement of leaves and shackles, which are different sizes:


Some assembly:


These mate to the Pocher u-bolts at each axle corner. I found the slots in the springs to be a bit too wide:


A little Dremel work made them right:


Most will disagree but I decided that I won't cover them with the gaiters, nor paint, (which would be accurate) because I just love seeing them on the car:

BTW-dental floss is my favorite for temporarily tying parts together... B)

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About that front axle; a lost-wax bronze casting, heavy and beautiful. With it I ordered the brass steering arm, brake levers (they were mechanical so all levers, cranks, clevises and rods) and brake drum linkages that go through the backing plates. Everything is threaded for either 2mm rod or 00-90 bolts-fiddly but nice:





My highest priority was to get the front geometry correct. To avoid the 'ox-cart' camber, toed in or out and knock-kneed' look. After much time spent measuring, I got it best as I could:



The adjustments are made by bending the axle ends while the axle is clamped in a vice-gulp! Only did that about 100 times in microscopic increments. Not for the faint of heart.

More below...

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