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A BIG Rolls-Royce Version II 1-7-2020

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This is the complete update of my thread from 2014. The main build text is unaltered and all the destroyed photos are being replaced. I will add to it daily as time permits.

All comments and compliments are being removed to curtail the extreme length of the thread. But all build content is intact. I attempted to maintain continuity. You will notice over the course of the thread that the direction and complexity of the build changes, as I attempt more and more extreme modifications. I thank Administrator Greg B and the moderators for allowing this thread to be reborn.



I am posting my build of the 1/8 Pocher Rolls Sedanca which I began in mid-February (2014). I actually posted from the beginning on a US site and it's 18 pages by now and 140+ photos.

My main hope in posting this build was to foster discussion among 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...

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 jewelry, 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' picture:


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

First there is a vital need for organization and workspace. 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-it will be your best friend. 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 after three decades in someone's damp attic:


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:


I mentioned tools a bit ago and here's an invaluable one. 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:





Re-inventing the (Pocher) wheel...

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.

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...


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.



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. 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:

24-pasted-Graphic.pngThe 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....


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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.

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:



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... :


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 springs; the rear suspenders ready to go on:


The final alignment setting:



Sorry I don't have any 'dead ahead' shots because the 35mm camera lens makes them almost fish-eye out, but they are straight with about 1/2 degree positive camber. Further, the wheels steer smoothly without bind and rotate freely so I can zoom it on the rug and make noises...



The MMC parts eliminate the Pocher blacksmith stamped steel bits and lend a quality air to the display. To me, it sort of takes the 'Taiwan-look' out when you look very closely. Of course the overall view masks some of this but I will mirror-base it to reveal some of the hard work. Further, this is probably my bucket-list model as limiting vision may make it my last. So I'm throwing everything (skills and resources) I've got at it.

Another frivolous bit from MMC. This improves the steering linkage with a more scale-like bit. This simple arm in bronze connects the steering gearbox to the long steering link that runs to the arm on the right brake backing plate. Installation alters the way the arm connects to the link:


Pocher's arm goes through the top of the link into a hole in it. MMC's attaches to the side of it (scale-like) into the hole. Thus the link end must be 90 degrees to the way Pocher wants. Therefore two Pocher parts must be modified.

First, the shaft exiting the steering box (seen above) must be threaded on its end for a 2mm nut. If you buy the arm, Marvin at MMC will do this for you 'no charge' on his company lathe. Comes out perfect.

Next is the long plastic link. It must be cut (gulp again), and one end rotated 90 deg. and reattached. The MMC instructions say to drill each end and insert music wire for strength. More sweaty moments. How to get holes indexed to each other correctly with my Flintstone tools??

Here is the steering link before modification. The cut:


The new orientation:


To drill even close to concentric, I clamped it to a vee block and pin-vised away:


Realizing that my razor saw has a .015" kerf, I cut a scrap of .015" sheet, drilled and put in place so the arm would again be its correct length:


Joined with CA, and mocked in place. Note the now-threaded steering shaft at top:


All joined with paint, graphite for sheen and a bit of 'wear weathering':


This one will be easily seen when all dressed-a small but interesting (to me) detail that elevates my meager skills:


Fast-forward to today (MAY 2014); a little fun break from the head-banging. Color on the first wheel; which shall it be?? The white side is on the inside and just playing 'dress-up' on the chassis. The cream can be seen in contrast to the maroon.






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Posted (edited)

Another flashback to catch you all up a bit. Here's the grille / radiator assembly being made and fit into place. It's fairly straightforward and provided no turmoil for a change:


The front tray shows the deep maroon that the fenders and upper hood / body will be. A major concern is getting it as plumb and square and dead vertical as can be so it meets the hood with no gaps:



After some fussing and relieving, I got what I wanted. The brace rod I showed you earlier will now be used for fine adjustment without being under tension:


Never leaving well enough alone, my radiator has the requisite old car coolant leaks. The engine and gearbox (which I'm doing now between wheel painting) too will show 'use' such as this but I will not overdo it. I can be criticized for combining gleaming hardware with rusty mufflers, pipes and fluid stains. It's all part of the 'artwork' vs realism I'm trying to combine, but probably not too well.


Here's a bit more 'catch up' but much closer to where I am now.

Working the engine with lots of sanding and test fitting. Then tried the gearbox connection to the block and just took off on the transmission tangent.

A word to hopeful builders of this kit; you can avoid building a lot of guts that you can't see and would be wobbly in operation. You can also ditch a lot of screws and glue stuff together-better fitting and more sturdy.

I wound up building the whole crank and now I'm sorry. You can easily connect the front 2 crank throws and clamp them in the main journal bearing inserts. Just make the brass crank snout a slip fit as Koo advises. This eliminates the the rest of the crank, rods, pistons and flywheel-all unneeded to have the trans mate to the block. In the cylinder head, I avoided the whole valvetrain. No one will be playing with this toy.

Here's some filling on the block and trans. I prefer micro balloons in CA for the relatively minor seams but first, I 'vee' each half to give the filler more surface area.

For the larger and irregular gaps I love 1:1 Bondo 2 part glazing putty. Cures fast, sands to a feather and sticks like mad.

Needless to say , the Pocher parts had horrible joins and seams. This happens to be the trans but the crankcase was just as bad:


Rough fit of the trans. Note the pink is cured Bondo on the crank case bottom. Every surface needed leveling. You've got to be creative about your sanding tools. Many areas are tiny, narrow nooks to slather putty into and then need to sand nearly all away. Riffler files are a big help in these tight places. I also cut 2mm wide and 6" long strips of 220 grit and used it shoe-shine style in tight spots:


Trans top side. I know, NO ONE will see this part trapped under the floorboards but I'm OCD about filling every lousy seam-seen or not


You can also snip off and sand flush all those standing posts on the deck (I did after this shot); they do nothing except make the cylinder barrels hard to fit flush. Sand the deck dead flat and the the flanges on the barrels locate them just swell:


The trans top side after several hours of sanding and filling, in Tammy primer. All those access panels and end caps are to be screwed on but I got much better fits by sanding to death and gluing:


Trans bottom. At least you'll see a bit of this in a mirror:


A detail of the oil pan; I didn't like the cast-on oil pipe that came so I removed it:


Made a 3 dimensional one, not accurate but close, out of soldier, styrene and PE rivets. Shoot me purists but it was fun. Gotta put the rib back on the pan:


Working the cylinder cases, head and valve cover now. Some different finish ideas will be revealed. Here are the major bits after prep. That step drill is a great tool (hand held) for enlarging large holes like in the crankcase for the cylinder barrels. They come long and skinny and short and wide- get both they are a huge help. The deck has been shaved of locators-much better fit without them:


I made a head gasket- ignored by Pocher. I actually trimmed it a bit thinner after this. A word about finishes. The crankcase will be an Alclad aluminum but distressed a bit with oil sweat and dust. I wanted to avoid the black paint upper engine bits. After sanding the seams and clean-up, I noticed that the black plastic became a very dark, warm gray. Using cotton swabs, I scrubbed all the cylinder case and head with lacquer thinner, which made the gray very uniform. Perfect for what would have been a black painted block faded by heat cycles. Some graphite rubbed on the edges and plates will add use effect. It's subtle but I like it. I also didn't paint the valve cover. I sanded with 4000 grit to get the scuffs out then polished with Novus. Gave me a very scale like, thin finish with good sheen but not high gloss clear. Pics of that as I progress:




Executive decision has been made; BLACKWALL TIRES! Sneak peek here; though I loved the whitewalls as beautiful pieces of casting, I got maroon in place and that sealed the deal for me. Apologies to the whitewall lovers.

Here's completed wheel with valve stem and new rubber.


Tips and observations...

With a detailed build of any Pocher, you must paint parts then assemble them-many parts. The cliche is true; you make sub-assemblies that are models in themselves, then combine to make the whole.

I find myself going down the rabbit hole with this more than any other model I've done. I just can't leave well enough alone. I'm amazed and depressed how much effort and time I'm putting into near invisible stuff when complete. Yes, 'it's the journey not the arrival'-another cliche that fits here. Well I made a model of the chassis and now doing same with the engine. I keep trying to visualize what I'll end up with but keep telling myself it will come right in the end (gulp!).

I just spent about 3 days, wiring the generator and altering the magneto housing to match reference and detailing the rag joints in a non-Pocher manner. Today I've been detail painting (already did the basic blacks and aluminum) and 'aging' the parts to get that in-use look. 00-90 studs and nuts, insulators from styrene tube, drilled for .039" wire with wrap on them. Wish I had PE grommets for the insulators: Reference; I'm not good enough to duplicate but got a passing (I hope) resemblance:






Note the dark wash on the edges of the dull BMF strap-adds pleasing depth. Yes, the wiring is wrapped with a 1mm wide strip of electrical tape, washed with light gray. It will hide in the chassis rail..

One trick I tried was using BMF on the retaining straps, rather than silver paint or Alclad. But not good enough. I came in with acrylic washes on the edges of every thing in browns, black, yellow and ivory-all very washed-not strong color. I rub the BMF with 4000 grit to tone it down a bit. To make your BMF 'pop', run a black/brown wash on the edge. If you've done too much, you can 'erase' it with a clean wet brush. Work to get the effect you're after. it truly adds dimension to finely cast parts.

While playing artist, I did the spark plugs in yellow / ivory (hate bright white on an 'in-use' object), the freeze plates on the block with a ring of rust and dried coolant, The exhaust ports with a khaki / gray blend to show heat and blow-by, the intake ports on the head to match the manifold and touched every bolt with a rust / gray or graphite smear to show use and mild neglect and rubbed edges. It's all very subtle and a lot of it may not even photo well but I'll try. Taking the mania further, the fan and pulleys got the treatment.





Nothing is bright and shiny; bolt heads not rusted are dull gray / black-some with scuffed silver edges. Dull sheen on some parts is graphite or rubbed / scuffed Metalizer or BMF. Washes are all acrylic craft paint-a wonderful medium for mixing and diluting. Stains from coolant / oil on cylinder case. Intake is not bright ally but scuffed Tammy primer with graphite scrubbing. Not to every one's taste or a museum restoration. But the body will be shiny!









More than ever, this build taught me that it's built in layers. Layer after layer of detail make the whole. You must keep your enthusiasm up while doing the minutia.

Inching ahead...only thousands of miles to go.

Herewith, engine finish and detailing. All parts shown just mocked in place no fastening-hence, the timing cover askew and the head gasket ripply. In fact, a few show the cylinder head backwards with the intake on the wrong side.

Warning-not everyone (or ANYONE) will like my direction in finishes. It may appear overdone but many of the later parts will disguise these and make them 'background noise'. Further information below.

The underlying finishes are Alclad II white ally on the crankcase and timing cover and AC II magnesium on the pan and gearbox. Both went on beautifully as instructed at 12psi. Then the messy stuff.

To obtain my used relic look, stains, minor leaks and sweat were applied with the following materials:

5 different craft acrylics (thinned with Windex and bolstered by Future), scuffed bare plastic, Tammy Smoke, 2 different Rub n' Buffs, Khaki and Sand airbrushed enamels and graphite. In no particular order:

A crude engine stand of basswood and foam board are a huge help:


New oil lines made from soldier and sized smaller to be in better scale:



And more:







Getting more stupid now...

Figured a way to waste more time. Rather than steam my way through assembly of big engine chunks, I finally found a way to make 'closer' connectors for the generator wires and plug wires. Straight out of the Rube Goldberg manual...

Not having any ally or brass tube around, I went to 1/16" styrene tube. After much fumbling, fidgeting, sanding, crimping and drilling-voila. No they're not exact replicas but a lick of black for the shrink tube and a dab of silver or BMF, and they'll satisfy me.

That's a 2mm wide 00-90 nut and the wires:


Upon further review...

After a restless night's sleep, I decided I wasn't happy with the above terminal ends and wires. They were just too 'clunky'. I wish I was one of those craftsmanship-type guys that can scratch build faultlessly on the first attempt. I always have to make 2 or 3 to keep one of anything.

One thing I missed pointing out is that casting boss on the rear engine mount that the magneto now bolts to. It's tubing faired with Bondo and 00-90 hardware atop. I actually have reference for this. This prevents the mag from 'floating' atop the mount.

Herewith; these wires are .020", not the previous .040". The end connectors are .072" soldier, crimped, drilled, filed and end-drilled .039" to accept the wire. Then a touch of flux and the hot iron to mate them. Painted on black insulation, painted red, yellow and black wires, wrapped in electrical tape, cut thin and wrapped. The pigtail will hide in the chassis.:



This has been my primary reference for age and weathering my P II engine. It's actually from the earlier 20-25 model:


Edited by Codger

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Control pedals and transmission linkage installed. Not happy with the Pocher stamped linkages, clevises and threaded rod shafts, I made them less prominent with black finishes and washes. I did install the screw heads from the back sides with the nuts on the more visible outers - slightly more 'real'. Again, if it were a chassis only model, I'd have got the MMC linkages.

Unconnected bits go to other parts later in assembly and some shafts need to be trimmed flush before installation in the chassis. Note the block of gray plastic with screws stuck in, on the far right of 1st pic; that piece, and its mate on the left, locate the firewall to the chassis.Those screws MUST be tapped in place now or you'll split them later. The pedals are duly distressed with some brown, gray and black washes.




I now have the 'underlayment' for the detail to come. I am presently attempting the linkages and oil lines - not included in the kit - far out of my comfort zone. Like cutting .010" brass, 16mm long, 2.5mm wide and drilling 3 holes in it-for an oil control lever. To say nothing of the tiny-er rods and fasteners. I am currently wading through the maze of oil plumbing and linkages not included in the kit.

The most 'correct' source I have found is John Haddock's superb notes and drawings. They are most difficult (for my skill level) and I'm challenging myself to get even a few correctly made and installed. The great debate I'm having with myself is that although I want a thorough and accurate model, all of this detail is only displayed on chassis models (no coachwork). Very hard to see with hood (even opened) and fenders in the way. Plus, I learned that the sheer scope of the model makes it hard to visually concentrate on minute details. The other thing I learned, is that virtually no two built models I've seen on the various sites has the same plumbing and linkages.

Here's where we've been the last 10 days...Three oil lines, (called 'upper cylinder additional oil lines'-new in 1932) oil control valve, water pump and manifold, much of which will get covered by the carburetor, its linkage and inlet manifold.

Lines are .032", .050" and .062" and nuts for their fittings (00-90, 00-80, and 1.6mm for those of you keeping score). The distributor tower needed a 3mm shim to raise it properly for linkage to come. The research for these was the excellent but intense John Haddock drawings. Oh and now we've got a proper valve cover gasket too...







I've been consumed by all this detail and it's seriously lengthened the build time for this. But I'm hooked. I realized I'm trying to get it to look like a castor-smelling, slightly sweaty, 800 pound (weight) lump of cast iron and ally. These aren't glamour shots, just update looks. Spending all my time figuring-out and fabricating.






After the oil line fun-

Plug wire terminals. 1/16" ally tube, 4mm long, crimped, drilled for a .043" hole and shaped. These go onto 00-90 studs inserted into the spark plugs. Only 11 more to make:


Getting somewhere...The magneto-side ignition done. Onto to the distributor side, a bit more complex. Unnecessary, fussy and tedious but another layer of detail:


A brief tip about Pochers-not everything fits together where they locate certain parts.

I found it's best to relieve the interference points between two parts so they 'mesh' together. Chamfer or grind a bit on the backsides (not seen) of parts and you can fix this annoying habit. Case in point; the plug wire tube is jammed right against the 'starting carburetor' (a sort of primitive fuel injector) when parts are mounted in their correct locations. Here is the face of the tube and the back of the brass injector atop the intake, relieved by grinding a bit:


Here is the lovely resin cast carburetor from Model Motorcars which comes in 6 parts and requires very little clean-up:


And here's the result of these labors. Ignition on both sides done, Wires from MMC. Terminals made from ally tubing, 00-90 studs and nuts, brass and soldier plumbing and a ton of varied finishes / paints / graphite. The head is finally fastened to the block and everything is permanent except the oil filler and filter-I expect I'll need them off to install in the chassis.







The rest...About 3/4 done with the engine. Of course, everything is slightly chipped, leaked-on or rusty and the effort is to keep the look consistent all around the engine's parts. I'll try the very complex carb and distributor linkage and levers, a minor oil line, the fan belt and a bit more finish. I strove for a close representation of detail not in the kit, culled from the assorted reference examples. All the cars had changes and improvements or custom parts added so a Pocher is never a model of one exact car. Did the best I could to get close to 'real' but not exact.









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Per Greg's wishes, any technical questions you may have can be added at the end of the thread (be patient) and I will gladly answer.  - C


I had completed a small job-the oil filter and its linkage. The lever and links are scratch built and they will have an actuating rod which disappears through the fire wall when engine is installed. Also seen is the oil pressure gauge line, running from the oil valve aft, also going under the firewall:


And finally, a proper fan belt. The kit supplied, 3 decade old rubber band is a poor joke. This is medical tape in 2 layers, stained with permanent marker. I rather like its texture. The pulleys have been augmented with thin solder in semi-circular shape to get the thin belt to sit correctly in their grooves. This finishes the engine front except for the radiator hose, when in the chassis:


The last of the craziness will be here on the (UK) drivers side. There's supposed to be carburetor and distributor linkage which scares me silly. Mainly because, A. The Haddock pictures are very difficult to decipher as to where they start and end and B. I've got a lot of completed parts in place they have to snake through and connect to. The sharp-eyed will note that the fuel line from the carb bowl to the starting 'injector' atop the intake has been removed-some linkage has to fit in proximity there. I may resort to 'gizmology' to represent a bit of it and may simply omit the worst of it:



There is no question that I've gone completely bonkers with this detail mania. I'm a bit unhappy with myself that I didn't just build a nice kit version. But I must admit that solving the challenges has been immensely rewarding, especially after making parts two or three times to get them right.

But I truly could have finished the whole car since I started in February and had a nice model. But I'm under the bus already and can't turn back. I know I have the interior, coach fit and show quality paint yet to go and will be cursedly as anal with all that. I may sorely test the patience of you who have been following along but I hope not. Sometimes having too much patience is not a virtue. But I still have a vision for this.

Dirty little secrets...

Since I have no machine tools or the brains to use them, I've had to get inventive about how to make all the little levers, brackets and straps used on the ultra-detailed Haddock chassis models.

My go-to materials have been styrene sheet (.015 and .020 and easy to cut), 010 brass sheet (harder to cut but doable), .005 pie pan ally and .005 lead foil (very easy to cut) from wine bottles. Conventional rod and tubes of brass or ally are used for the longer rods and links for straightness and strength.


A. The very thin foil and ally I used for a lot of structural brackets-their natural finish is a nice detail. To make them stronger for the application, I cut a 'doubler' of .015 styrene to CA on the back side of the metal which stiffens it. When touched with a black marker, disappears leaving only the metal showing. Fools the eye. Just be neat and sparing with your gluing.

B. Medical tape makes a great fan belt in place of rubber bands. Coat with black acrylic or marker, double on itself, cut width (both edges) and CA in place. Then trim length.

C. Levers are mostly made from the styrene sheet, easily shaped accurately with 220 grit, drilled for the proper needed holes and CA'd in place. then an overall coat of black or touch of silver or gold Rub n' Buff gives the needed finish. Very strong and indistinguishable from metal.

D. Straight pins (.025 OD) are excellent for ultra small (and scale) rod links for short runs. Depending on what you have, anneal them for ease of bending but try a bend first-you may not need to.

Forgot to mention another large part of the detail; solder. I have 5 different OD's from .032 to .093. I use them all for the fine oil plumbing, making O-ring bases on tubes and sometimes (flattened and drilled) as electrical terminal ends.

Another 'secret'...

Debonder really does work to loosen parts already fixed with CA.

I know because after having made much tiny linkage using (scratch-built) Heim joints (or ball ends or maybe 'rose joints-?-as you folks say) which is not 'correct', I removed it. I did so because I found a way to make very 'correct' looking link ends as used by RR. Just added several more hours to this tedious project...

A few drops of debonder, wicked onto the joints and left for a few minutes, allows prying apart with a well-placed knife edge or screwdriver. When the parts are free, clean-up with sanding stick or scraping allows the same area to be reused. Just dry off all the dedonder residue so fresh CA will adhere.

But maybe you all knew that already..............


Almost there...

Seen here is some linkage on carburetor, water temp sender (green wire-will go through f'wall when installed), oil filter linkage with control rod (running to duff plastic holder on pedals-will go through f'wall too), dizzy sync rod, and vertical lever assembly to connect all this junk to.

Pardon the harsh flash shots but it's the only way to see the mostly black linkage and nooks and crannies. Makes the weathering look too dramatic but in person, it's much more subtle. Most of this linkage is as 1:1, especially the end connectors which I complete remade. Some of the 'z' bends were necessary because of Pocher's layout and not strictly 1:1. But all of it was black-now has some of my 'wear' added:




In order to escape (for a while) the tedious, fiddly detail, I needed some incentive and a look at where I'm going with this. The afflicted call it 'Pocher-itis'. So the engine got placed in the chassis. It is only placed, resting atop the rails. When installed, it will be 5mm aft and 5mm lower and a lot of things get connected. The photos are intentionally altered for exposure so you can see better-it's like a life raft in a phone booth to photo-it's that big in my tiny room:





These are the smallest linkage parts which I just made. They connect by rods with the distributor for advance and starting. They are as similar to 1:1 as I could get them. They are crudely made by hand as I don't have machine tools. They consist of 18 parts; 00-90 nuts, pins, styrene rod and .020 credit card. If I can snake them into place, I'll make the 3 control rods to connect to them, where the nubs of the pins protrude. I'll also have to make a distributor lever for one rod.. They will all be black and virtually lost under a lot of stuff:


Engine done...
After 361 hours in 4 months, I'm calling it done. Decided not to press my luck. Thanks to some generous references supplied by several experts and Pocher modelers, I've determined that discretion IS the better part. It would barely be visible in my open hood model. Most of what I already did is barely visible under layers of detail. In fact, I had to take it outdoors to get adequate light to capture some of it. A few last minute washes to tone down and even the bright solder, tubes, pins, rods and links:









A tip---if you're like me...

Having just completed 4 months work on the engine, it's time to move to the next assembly; in this case the firewall. So the engine will be untouched for a while...

Because I don't want to have to do repairs or worse..., I get my finished stuff out of harms way; because if you're like me...s*** happens.

So here's a no-fuss stand to store a Rolls engine. Some basswood, plastic tube, brass rod and epoxy is all it takes. Nothing fancy. Some of you do furniture-grade stands for your models but this is utilitarian. I purposely had left the exhaust manifold loose for ease of fitment into the chassis. Valve cover, oil filler and fan too.

So I made a leg with 2 brass rods that fit into the engine mounts on the port side. The 3 exhaust ports are home to 3 styrene tubes on the other leg. Some careful measuring and cutting is all it takes. Nothing delicate on the engine is touching any surface. Now the lump lays comfortably on it's side and will go into a (large) shoebox sized plastic bin with snap on top. A bit of soft foam packing on the sides and it's dust, cat, child and bombproof.






Edited by Codger

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To all viewers: I have tried over the past 22 hours to continue to upload my thread. However there is technical difficulty at Postimg, the photo host, which has not yet been resolved. Selecting a photo to upload gets a 'service unavailable' notice on screen which further states that it is a temporary situation.

I made two attempts to contact them with messages with no response.

I am extremely disappointed at the delay and will continuously check to see when I can continue.


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I wish to thank all members who have been so kind with 'likes' and 'thanks' so far. You may be out-doing what the gang three years ago threw at me!

I am not ignoring the kindness.

I AM working like the devil to get this completed and there is much yet to add. I am praying the picture gods are fixing their server.........


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We're back ---we hope !

Immaturity again...

The overwhelming desire to 'see what I've got' took over again so I got out of sequence once more.

Herewith, the engine properly bolted in the chassis and the driveshaft connected after a couple of mild fixes. Koo was right; takes 5 minutes working alone and amazingly, it all fits to attachment points correctly. The good news is that's it's easily removable when I start the coach panel mock-up on the chassis. Back in its crypt bin then. Having worked the cowl a bit, I just today completed shooting the maroon and yellow and propped that in place. Will Alclad the face of the panel, colour sand the colors, and clear them. Then add the doo-dads that go on and connect up.





Now the colors seen here are close but mostly the maroon is slightly darker and the yellow slightly brighter. At least they match the wheel and the front tray correctly. Best I could do light-wise in my phone booth assembly room...




My own worst enemy...

After viewing 1000 1:1 photos of (just) the firewall, I discovered that Pocher got the aluminum shielding on the wiring runs wrong-by a lot. After much debate, I went ahead and did the stupid thing and removed it all from the firewall. Using my trusty Dremel and an assortment of medieval tools and a load of different sandpapers, this is what I have.

I discovered that 3'32" ally tube, flattened in a vice comes out exactly 3mm wide-perfect width. So I made a .010 thick template in the proper shape which will get glued down. Then individual lengths of ally tube will be glued to that. Then tiny holding straps of lead foil. Moved an electrical box (new lower hole on right of picture) lower from the Pocher position too. When parts are ready, apply barrier (Future) over raw styrene, prime, black, then Alclad. All with needed drying time between.

Now this is stupid on many levels; added about 4 days work. The finish paint on the outer panels had to be masked while I butchered removed material. Will hardly be seen because the back of the engine block is in proximity...


At this point, I am including a response on the subject of the Pocher firewall by Roy Fitzsimmons (Roymattblack) which perfectly explains the compromised firewall. Sincere thanks to Roy for participating in my thread at the time.


Posted September 18, 2014 (edited)

.....And the daft bit is, the whole firewall is actually about 10mm too far forwards.....

The Rolls never had the odd 'step' in the firewall that the kit has.

When you open the Pocher bonnet (hood) there's a bit of bodywork protruding into the engine bay by around 1cm before it drops down, as the firewall.

On the actual cars, it isn't anything like that and the amount of work needed to correct it wouldn't be too huge.

Look at the 'real' engine bay below - there's only a thin strip of silver 'body' where the bonnet shuts.

Then look at the Pocher..... A huge bit of silver bodywork that shouldn't be there - and the fabric padded strip isn't in line with anything even remotely to do with the bonnet....

The firewall should be nearly flat, with a shallow step in the centre, and just sloping up in line with the bodywork.

Look at the 3rd picture - the thick 'ridge' outlined in yellow, running round the firewall should be cut off completely.
It wouldn't affect the integrity of the body in any way, and actually serves no purpose at all.

I didn't 'correct' it on my Phantom, but I might have a go when I do the Sedanca (one day).......





Now Roy is great to offer such a clear explanation of the total crap-up Pocher made of the firewall area. I just couldn't take the time to upload and post the great edited shots and text that he did. Many thanks to him for taking the time to improve my thread. His having extensive Pocher experience is a gift to me and a benefit to all members who admire Pochers and follow along.

Yes, I had realized I could build a pretty nice 1/16 scale model in the time needed to make a totally correct Pocher cowl alone. I was told by another Pocher modeler that the various coach builders account for the firewall differences. But the preponderance of my reference show what Roy showed. The hooded lip at the top, the shelf below and especially the hood rub strip are total fiction. It would have been so easy to fab from L-channel brass and attach to the correctly placed flange.

John Haddock does that in his chassis-only models and it looks beautiful and scale-but never to be seen on a full body model.

So I tried to be sensible and just improve the obvious wire snafu. More to see if I could do it, than anything...Of the hundreds of completed Pocher Sedancas I've seen on the MMC and Scale Details sites over the years, they're all wrong from 1:1.

Small but time-consuming progress...

The firewall and cowl assembly shaping up. You can only discern the changes if you know Pocher Rolls firewalls very well or you compare to the earlier shot.

Essentially, I removed all the molded-on wire shielding and scratched new using 1:1 photos. The old was 3mm wide by 1mm deep. The new is 3/32" ally tube, flattened and sanded and glued to a .015 styrene base in the new routing pattern. Gives the same dimensions as original. The main change is that it goes next to the chassis oiling cylinder (not behind it), down to the 'shelf', then across and down to the ignition box. That box is also relocated lower as per 1:1.

Next, lead foil straps with PE rivet heads are added to support the shielding. A new steering shaft plate is now .005 ally with a .020 styrene backer. Gets rid of the hunk of black plastic supplied. Four 0-80 bolt heads will be added as plate attachments.

The electrical boxes are in place with appropriate scuffing and soiling. Hard to see in the shots but there's subtle shading in craft acrylics (a variation of black and ivory mixes) under the shielding, in corners and around the upper inner edge, where muck and soil would normally collect. This is like theater make-up; it looks extreme when applied but when dry, flattens and subtly shades the areas giving shadows and tone. Shows depth and adds 3-dimensionality to small parts. Silver Rub 'n Buff brings up the edges with highlights. The girls apply make-up with the same idea.

To come is a bit of graphite rubbing to add sheen to less worn areas and factory placards. Oh and lots of oil lines and fuel lines, (and their retaining straps), the fuel filter, chassis oiler and the large vacuum fuel pump.

The brass strips at the perimeter are done with Amber enamel over Titan Gold acrylic, then the hood rub strips picked out in khaki as cloth. As Roy said, absolutely dumb boner by Pocher as the hood rests further back on the coachwork.

The maroon and yellow outer paint has been colour sanded and cleared. Then (when the detail is finished) is 2400 to 12,000 polishing cloths for final. Then this gets tucked away until time for fitting the rad and coachwork.





A (hopefully) useful tip...

With much detail to be added to the firewall, it became necessary to paint and final polish the cowl. If I detailed first, it would be impossible to mask. So the need arose to protect all that paint work on the cowl.

After 3 coats clear, I polished to 8000 grit, and since this is automotive lacquer, I used auto compound to get the glass-like finish I wanted. Then applied auto wax-Mothers Carnuba in this case. Reason is I want to be certain that protective tape removes safely and easily.

Next, low-tack Frog tape on the painted surfaces. Now the big secret is medical tape-in this case 3m Transpore- on top of the Frog. This tape has a nice low-tack also but a textured, protective surface.

Now I can handle the part with no worries as on the bench, I always seem to get accidental scuffs and scratches no matter how careful. I have to child-proof the parts from me!



Regarding the finish of the firewall

Firewall: A base of Alclad II (chrome, ally, gold mix), Selective spurts of of Metalizer buffing ally. Then, in stages, Rub n' Buff mixed with graphite powder. Smush that all in with cotton tips, rubbing harder and softer in other places. More graphite on the broader 'dirtier' areas; more Rub n' Buff on the raised edges. That captures the light and the graphite has a sheen. Actually looks better in person than I can capture in snaps. The wire shielding and steering column slot are real ally but fairly scuffed.

Of course, you'll see about 4% of all this when in place with the big lump in front of it.........

Half-way there...




After 112 hours...

The complete firewall. Three control rods are rod stubs which will connect to the engine and radiator. They will get their complete rods when the firewall is finally placed for the coachwork. As will the coiled water temp sender, redone from my first attempt. Due to Pocher's placement of the ignition box and wire run, there is some variance from 1:1. Had I known earlier when I did the improved wire run, I would have gone just that bit further to get it right. Did the best I could-just got it 'representative':









A note on finishes:Paint is all lacquer; Duplicolor (automotive touch-up) primer, Toreador Red, Krylon 'Sweat Cream' (yellow) all under Duplicolor clear. No print through of the bandages it sat under while work progressed. Pictures are poor but the paint emerged unscathed and perfect.

The Frog tape has what seems like the same tack as Tamiya, however, I find the Tammy tape gives cleaner cut edges and sharp demarking lines. The Frog isn't bad but for Condition 1 paint, I mask edges with Tammy and the bulk of the masked surface with Frog.

When I tape for 'long term' I always, let the paint and polish gas-out for several days so it's nice and hard. The solvents in the lacquer are what makes the tape soft and impressionable. Gassed-out, the paint is not 'hot' anymore.

I then use wax on it as a barrier to the tape's adhesive. Finally, I stick the tape to my jeans to lessen the tack. Then add the medical tape to make a 'cushion' for the part. Remember, this is to protect a finish, not spray wet paint onto. All my tests showed zero print through of the tape on the paint.



o expand the point about protecting finishes; here is a front fender. This was finish colored and cleared with polishing between coats. The final clear was left unpolished because of the need to store it until I reach the coachwork stage (forever, the way I'm going).

Instead of taping protection on, a week or two after finish, I wrapped each in a microfiber cloth, nested them together and stored them in a closet. Also leaves plenty of time to out-gas the lacquer. Just before final mounting, I'll polish the clear to glass.


Planning Ahead...

Interior furnishings; I'm thinking some creases in the seat cushions and possibly some tone around the edges-sat on but not trod on. The wood will be pretty nice in keeping with the condition 1 exterior finishes. The controls too. But no cracks in the fabric with stuffing coming out!

Try as I'm might I can't lock in the planning of the upholstery. I think my default setting will be leather but I do not want the conventional Pocher tuck and roll look. So I'm pretty sure I'll make my own cushions (and seat frames in front) based on restored 1:1 cars I've studied. Actually the piping and its fastening has me worried.

Better news is I have the carpet. A rich wine-coloured low nap from doll-house supply-very elegant and subtle.

And a huge part of the puzzle, I've just put in place - the top fabric. The look I'm after comes from gabardine, also a warm, nicely textured, deep shade that is different than the carpet and paint but they all play well together.

I've decided at this stage to 'lock-in' the engine to chassis, protect it and build around it-meaning fit the interior and coachwork (ugh)). Finish on the exterior will have to wait until spring now-too cool / damp for painting. So I'll finally connect the (filthy) exhaust and some linkages now. Then I think I'll go back and forth between the interior and coach modifications, because you need to modulate the intensity of the work you do on these. The engine and now the firewall were crusades. At least I'll be working on parts bigger than 1mm from here out.

But I've never had more satisfaction in solving problems and pushing my 'envelope' in scale modeling.

More hours down the rabbit hole...

I won't bore you with the minutia of the job, but essentially, it is time to place the grille shell (containing the rad) in relation to the chassis and firewall.

To do that accurately with much trial fitting, I decided to make the job easier by doing more work (??).

As Pocher gives it to you, you must screw the grille into its crossmember from below. That means inverting the whole shebang numerous times and back. So I decided to make 2 'bolts' using 2mm rod, washers and nuts epoxied together, then epoxied to the steel shell. Now it plugs in from the top:


Seen here with the inner part that holds the shutters facing out. Notched for the new studs:


Since I'm adding the shutter control rod which runs from the dash, through the firewall and to the control linkage on the rad, I needed to place it accurately. More research revealed that good old Pocher molded that representation on the wrong side of the rad!

Presto! hours later, all ground off and a similar mounting flange created from .005 sheet and rivets:





Here, my simplified version of the real rods and levers and flange operated by the rod from the firewall:



Getting REALLY excited now.......

Pocher must have had Machiavelli engineer their kits. Their instructions only show you where things are supposed to go, and ignore that you must pre-fit them dozens of times to get them right. And none of them fit right when assembled without pre-fit.

I have figured a way to make the cowl unit easily removable for mock-up purposes. It will need to move forward or rearward a few mm's to get the coachwork perfect anyway-another mountain to climb. Be happy to share with any builders who like to see the detailed mods needed-it's not really hard. Just tedious on a fully finished cowl...

But here it is in place with the grille out front. The three rods are also in place and play nice together. The upper one will be trimmed a bit and screwed into the waiting clevis on the cowl lip. This one gives adjustment for the vertical plane of the grille-but it's near perfect now so I'm lucky. Below that is the thinner shutter control rod and below that is the starting carburetor control rod. It only needs trimming. The last two will be painted black and I'm debating black for the upper brace or possibly chrome. From the top it's all arrow-straight and I'm both relieved and ecstatic:



Fasten your seatbelts...

As always with Pocher:

A. Take nothing for granted.

B. One step forward after 5 steps back.

To wit: Many steps ago I had mounted the grille / radiator unit and found it to be within tolerance of dead vertical. But that was with the engine out.

Now that the engine is a permanent resident, the unit had a forward tip at the top. Bad words ensued.

After much diagnosis, the culprit was found to be the fan and its shaft. I removed the fan and sanded its face. Was a bit better so going in the right direction:


Further searching found the pulley shaft protruded pushing the rad so that had to be ground in place - whirling Dremel in a fully finished area is a sweaty exercise.

Again thanking the Gods that I made the grille shell plug-in-able from the top, I still had lean at the top.

Culprit this time; the right angle corner of the steel shell (on the pass side) had a 'crimp' in it, raising it a mm. See shaded area. Dremel grinding wheel again but thankfully off the car. Finally got perfection on both sides vertical and equidistant to the corners of the cowl-flush and square. And this without the adjustable brace which will follow:




Next order of business-the upper rad hose. I originally intended to stick a length of hose in place with two bands of BMF and move on. Sadly-I came across much better reference and as always I start sweating how I might 'fake' it a bit better than basic. Well here's a bunch more hours figuring it. I'll gladly share what and how done if any of you not snoring yet. But then must kill you...

Upper hose...



And in place:




Not forgotten is the lower hose, though seen much less often. BTW, I thrashed out a way I'd never seen before to make slightly better hose clamps-not as good as the PE pro guys do but adequate for hackers like me.

Easy; strip of lead foil (with one shiny ally side), maybe 1.5 mm wide. Take the edge of a file (3 corner here) and press it into the foil along its length on a surface like your cutting mat. Presto, little 'hashmarks' that are slots in the 1:1. Curl around correct sized hose and CA the 'crotch'. Leave a small tab. Then a common pin, 00-90 nut, a 3mm or so length of 1/16" ally tube you're now very good at cutting and CA the shebang to the round clamp.

To wit:


Lower hose:



What I was after; plumb and square. Something you can't take for granted with a Pocher. The brace is just placed but it's dead nuts on center. That helps avoid the 'toy' look. Satisfaction comes at a price but it's worth it:



'll probably get hate mail for this...But I was never a fan of the 'signature' Rolls / Bentley fishtail exhaust outlet...





Not pressing my luck anymore and crosseyed tonight. Prayers that we're still in business tomorrow..........C


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I am currently doing the tedious work of sanding and truing large body panels. An update soon as a cautionary tale of what a three-decades old kit needs to be well dressed.

As I stated above, boring trimming and fitting of coachwork in progress so no exciting pictures to show just yet.

But I can tell you a bit of good news for me and any prospective Pocher builder.

I contacted Peter Doney of Pocherparts.com regarding replacement hood side panels. My very early Sedanca came with panels that have 4mm of the rear lower edges cut in a wedge. The later production kits have the correct straight lower edges. I searched all around the usual US suppliers to no avail before trying Peter.

Peter not only had them in stock and sent them immediately, but they just arrived here in the US today, a 7 day trip. And they are in perfect condition. So thanks to Peter, I now have a reliable supplier for the next thing I botch up!

Necessity is a THE Mother of Invention...

Here comes the body work. The first and most visible part of the model-it's got to be right or nothing that went before matters. Unfortunately being a Pocher and 3 decades old doesn't make that easy.

Seen here is the right hand side and center roof panel. It's a big floppy thing that Pocher has you join with 2 tapping screws into posts that don't line up with the holes in the roof edge.


Having to assemble and remove these parts a thousand times for alignment and finish would not work- the screws are loose the second time you do that yielding a floppy mess. A brainstorm (rare for me) led to tapping the posts for 2mm threaded rod and nut- fastening them in place. A bit of CA on the threads plus a dab of epoxy for insurance and they are rock-solid studs which contribute enormously to strength and make disassembly child's play. I will do this wherever possible:


Here is the inner side of the left panel. There are posts and holes for attaching the inner door panel and they all need pre-threading or tapping and some need redrilling into a better location for fit. Fun stuff:


Here is the outer side of the same panel. You are advised by Koo to keep the door itself molded in place for fitting purposes. It comes out later for truing and finish after the body is placed correctly. The silver squiggles note some of the sink marks to be filled. The louver area has had a raised mold seam removed and made flat. All the edges of the roof and main panels have a thick raised edges (like excess plastic) which needs to be removed to get true and neat panels, NOTE – everything you see here will be radically altered in the future:


Here is the inner door structure. All the screws for this need trimming or relocating. Note the broken edge at lower right-it came out of the box that way but I can't complain-the kit was in remarkable condition and completeness:


The bottom of the floorboard with all the faux woodgrain and sinks sanded off. The rectangular hole will be covered over; the battery box is there but was accessed from above by removing the seat. Foolishly, this will get covered with real veneer and fasteners as 1:1. With the chassis inverted it's near impossible to view with all the running gear and linkages in the way. NOTE – this floor will completely change in advanced modifications:


The topside. The slots around the pedals have been relieved for easier fit. Again, all these pieces must go on and off the chassis many times before final placement. The floorboard is very sturdy but does not rest on the chassis rails. It is screwed to the body lower edges. The body is what gets screwed to the chassis sides. I'm not nuts about that for strength but will cross that bridge in a while:


For those following, I have been working steadily on the above parts. But I'm not satisfied with Pocher (and Koo's) assembly method and sequence. I'm resisting the urge to re-engineer the whole process with some hacking and dicing of parts. If my testing reveals no improvement, I will go the conventional way.

Finally a breakthrough...

After much head scratching, I realized that I had been positioning the floor incorrectly in relation to the cowl / firewall. Koo gives you no guidance other than the floor must contact the back of the firewall. I finally did that and it positioned the floor / body much better. The body must be repositioned rearward about 3mm from Pocher's location. Doing that centers the wheels in the fenders. Now I have done that:


The rear fender is not in place (couldn't mock it with anything) but by holding it shows correct tire placement and the height will come down. Remember, everything seen here is just placed in position except the front fender which is bolted. From grille, hood, cowl, body and trunk, everything fits within the chassis crossmembers. Within a millimeter or so it's all fine. Nothing hits or interferes:


The hood now fits near perfectly front to back and does not hit the cowl:


I can now proceed with mods to make things join and assemble better than Pocher (and Koo) suggests. Nice to see most of the shootin' match hung together for a moment:


Dress rehearsal...






Here is the major geometry of the coach work in relation to the chassis and itself. Best I could do. The rear wheel is nicely centered, something that always needs correcting on these. Grille, hood, body and trunk all play nicely together. Overall, I'm pleased (and surprised!) with the stance and attitude with one reservation; I would like the rear ride height lower just a bit. But it is much improved over stock Pocher. I love the front. I can't de-arch the PE rear springs which are near horizontal now.



The major concern now is to get these locations permanent but removable. Meaning the body (with the floor board as part of it) attachment holes to the chassis must be drilled in these new locations and screws installed. Then taken apart to do the finishing. The Pocher locations have the body too far forward which then hits the front fender (wing?),fouls the hood and makes the rear wheel not centered in the wheel opening. I've corrected all that-just need to do the sweaty part and redrill. Measure 100 times / drill once.

At this point a member asked about his already built car and was dissatisfied with the stock high ride height - I gave the following advice to remedy that:

If your model's body can be detached, I would remove each spring (not fun I know) and de-arch them. If you have a later K 72 kit with steel embedded in the spring it's easy. If the older type (which mine was hence the PE set) you can soak them in hot water to de-arch. In time if they sag, I would make prop stands (between axles and frame) to hold up f / r axles.

End of a chapter...

The last bits of the drivetrain and engine are complete with the addition of the radiator brace and the control rods for the starting carburetor and grille shutters. None of this comes from Pocher. The position of the rad and the cowl are now fixed (after a hundred measurements) so the body location is also finalized. Most of this will get obscured by coachwork so here's a last look:





Some thoughts on classic Pochers...

As you've read, I'm heavily involved in the body alignment phase of construction. The Rolls body has many elements front to rear which must all work together to produce the beautiful lines of the car. If you assemble the kit as delivered, none of those elements will be in the right places.

Paul Koo's excellent DVD is essential for pointing out things that would take any builder much longer to figure out without the guidance.

But I learned that you should use that only as a starting point and relentlessly check every dimension, fit and fastening location - before committing to final attachment and paint / upholstery finish.

Here's my observations and example:

The key is to get the rear wheel centered correctly in the fender opening-that's the primary goal. Pocher's attachment location puts the wheel way back in the opening because the rear fender (attached to the body) is too far forward. That looks goofy. If you put the trunk box in place, there's a big gap between it and the back of the body.

So Koo says to redrill the body attachment hole (to the chassis) forward on the body by 5mm if you have an early kit or 3mm for a later kit. (This because Pocher made the hood lengths too short on the early kit and 'corrected' it on later kits. Their 'correction' is different than, say, Tamiya's correction...)

Well, good starting point but if I had blindly drilled the hole where advised, I'd have a wonky rear wheel placement. Constantly moving and checking, I decided to start at the very rear. Putting the trunk in it's correct location, then placing the body rear right against it located the rear fenders correctly over the wheels. I pinned it there. I had to drill my location 7mm forward, not the Koo-recommended numbers. Every Pocher is different.

Then I taped the windshield cowl unit in place. Then onto the adjoining pieces, the four parts of the hood. The hood tops fit perfectly between the grille shell and the cowl. I mean perfectly. But, the hood sides are 1/8" (!) too short.

Now that I can live with because it's a simple matter to add styrene and blend in to extend them. The front fenders, being totally detached from the body are not affected. Another key is that I spent a great deal of time earlier getting the radiator dead vertical to the chassis providing an 'anchor point' for the front coachwork.

Of course this required trimming and fiddling with the floor board and chassis many times but I won't bore you with that.

So for best results and a pleasing model, don't be in a rush and take nothing for granted with a Pocher


One step forward-12 back...

Previous posts have shown the body alignment phase and I was pretty happy, having discovered the demons pointed out by Koo and 'corrected' them to the best of my feeble ability. Errrr, not so fast.

Famous for viewing things the next morning with a critical eye or 'eureka' moment, I found niggling little fit issues. Remeasuring and plotting better attachments showed me I had things wrong earlier.

The deal with Pocher Rolls' is to get the rear wheel centered correctly in the fender opening. So you have to relocate the body aft. That changes the hood, cowl, floor and trunk positions.

Without further whining, here's what I had to do to get the critical correct proportions;

Section 6mm (!) out of the trunk box and lid.

Move the body back 6mm; redrill it's locating holes accordingly.

Move the separate floor back also.

Notch a slot in the floor because the rear crossmember prevented it from seating flat onto the chassis.

Make locating 'stops' to center the floor onto the chassis, matching the new body position.

The trunk, top cut in center because it has compound curves on all sides; The box, cut at the back edge and reinforced with inner braces and top and box having all the 'graining' texture sanded off-it will be painted not upholstered; the floor with the slot cut into it for the crossmember. The big rectangular opening is for the battery box which is completely hidden anyway. The seat covers the top of it and the new wood floor will cover the bottom.:



Two styrene rods used to center and stop the floor at the rear:


The floor in place with the levers correctly centered in their opening and it centered on the chassis:


Frequent on / off placement of the body and parts confirmed I was finally on the right track. Trunk fit perfectly with no bind, wheel centered in rear, levers in correct place and everything the same on both sides.---Wait a minute, the ruler revealed the wheelbase was different by 1/16" on one side. Loosening the spring perches allowed enough shift to correct that. Now the wheels were centered (in the rear) on both sides.

Home safe? Ahhhh, not yet. What's bothering me now? I should be polishing its glass case and swilling champagne...The ride height, that's what.

Initially pleased that the PE springs lowered both ends in a scale pleasing manner for that '30's rakish look, I wasn't yet happy. So I made 1/16" shims and placed them between the front axle and the spring on the perch. Raising the front gave nice tire clearance but a great low look, combating the Pocher buckboard stock placement.

The rear benefited from 1/16" shims too but the rear axle is above the spring. So placement there raised the axle, thereby lowering the car. Just a bit. Maybe I'd like more but this is certainly acceptable and I can't find a way to lower the rear further so this is it.

Seen here, the front before modification and the rear after. Notice the trunk tilted back a bit? Not anymore after sectioning. An inner wheelwell panel will hide the gaps and make it even less noticeable. Better pics later on, more work to do. Making 2mm studs to anchor the floor and to attach the floor to the body side flanges. At least everything is where it should be:


Honestly, you CAN build a Pocher right out of box, with just the 'normal' amount of difficulties and have a KNOCKOUT model. I am cursed with a vision which drives me deeper into the abyss of endless nit picking and fuss. I am pushing my personal envelope. With a Pocher classic you need to be part detective, part engineer, part inventor and completely nuts. I am only the latter.

The (under) floor...

Another probably frivolous detail, the under side of the cabin floor. RR covered it with planks. Herewith, my interpretation. 1/32" aircraft ply, fresh off the Dremel jig saw. Five sections, just layed in place, no adhesive. Needs staining, lining (the separate planks) and rivet heads on the outer edges.

You can't tell but that kit floorboard has been heavily massaged for fit, with bits removed and holes redrilled.




A Pocher myth (among others)...(Tip alert!)

Much has been made in Pocher builds of the fact that screws comprise much of the assembly. This much is true. It has made purchasing a partial-built Ebay model a money saving occurrence compared to sealed-box kits. Take it apart and do it your way.

Due to the continual need to test-fit parts and dis / re - assemble many times, this becomes a liability given the quality of the fasteners Pocher provides. Also, some of the arcane joining methods of the panels and parts, plus the sheer weight of the lumps compound the fragile nature of the assembly. Glue is to be encouraged wherever possible after component adjustment and finishing.

Wishing to have a sturdy model that will long outlast me, I searched and found superior methods to attach parts.

First a follow-up: here's the floor planks, stained, scribed and lined which comprise the exterior floor. Only rivet heads still needed and they are 'silk pin' heads as described by my Chief of Sewing.



Here's what I'm talking about; the long and short screws provided. They are ~.060 in diameter, either too long or too short, have too coarse a thread for the strength needed and have brittle head slots which splay open even with the finest screwdriver. Many of these need to be 'melted' into place as the holes in the styrene are all too small and the plastic too brittle. Then when you test-fit a part held together by them 4 or 10 times the holes are buggered and they are holding nothing. Crying yet?

Also seen here is the best answer I've found; 2mm threaded rod, ~.075" diameter:


I've found that drilling and tapping the holes with a 2mm tap, then making a stud from the rod of the correct length, allows a 2mm nut and washer to clamp much better than the wonky screws.

Seen here is another viable solution; a 0-80 hex bolt, about .055" diameter. Yes it's narrower than the screws but by tapping the too-small holes for 0-80, you now have a hex head (and I hope you bought the hex driver!) which will not deform. Plus you have a much finer thread than the screws to really get a secure join.


Finally, here's a very problematic area on my Rolls which is now no longer such; the join between floorboard (shown) and the body side panels which are big, ungainly and fragile. You tap the hole, make a stud, CA it in place neatly, slide the body flange under the washer and nut, then tighten the nut. The clamping is far superior to the screws and I can now test fit like a crazy man right up to final paint without fear:


Now I know that a thousand of these have been built without my Rube Goldberg inventions. And they are fine models. But as I said, I think a permanent, strong structure is most what I'm after.

I offer these boring-to-read tips in the hope that even one current or potential builder finds merit in them to go the extra bit of work and expense for a secure model-especially if you're as nuts about the subject as I am.

Inching forward...

Since posting nearly a week ago I have been hacking away on the minute details that make the car sit 'right'.

Having corrected the front ride height previously, now I needed the rear to get lower with the wheel in the correct visual (and operational) position fore and aft.

After much head scratching I tracked down the the fact that the cowl and possibly the thick floorboard had warps, throwing off the works. Not really bad but not 'rest in place' for no tension on the fasteners. Sanding, nipping and refitting the major pieces a thousand times, I got it right. Really glad I switched to sturdier fasteners.

After readjusting the rear springs and adding lowering shims, (posted earlier) I still needed more drop. Discovering the warp led me to make a new attachment to the chassis for the rear fenders (which are bolted to the body), I found tightening the new bolts brought the body down flush to the chassis. Thus bringing it closer to the wheel top.This also required a small notch at the forward trunk corners to clear the new bolts. Now the 'dead cat' space was minimal and very tasteful. Dizzy yet?

Here are dead side views; I cut a simple file card to shape, sprayed black and inserted as an inner fender closure panel so you don't see through to the other side. A permanent, finished one will be made when all the attaching is finally done. I know it doesn't look like much but a lot of turmoil expended to get here. Now the body is correct fore and aft, side to side and up and down. No parlor trick in a Pocher...



The MMC work stands hold from the axle stubs, a simple and brilliant design that holds the model where the wheels attach. so the full weight is on the model all the time. It is supported by the MMC bronze front axle, the solid tube rear axle shaft and the stainless steel leaf springs, which are rigid and designed to prevent the sag. They are completely horizontal with no built-in arch. What you see you will always have regardless of the weight you add. It's just as if the model were on the ground with all the wheels attached.

Indeed I have 4, 1.5 pound weights (actually cylindrical bearings from 1:1 train axles - you've seen those gray cylinders in various photos in the thread) which I use to weight the floorboard to hold alignments for me. No affect whatsoever on ride height when they're aboard.

That's why I had to shim and adjust the hanger angles to get the springs 'up' closer to the body to lower the car - no pressure would change them. I could only take apart the eight leaves to re-arch them in the upward (at the ends), conventional way. There is no chassis clearance at the ends to arch them downward at the ends (to lower the car) and I wouldn't want to fool with changing their shape.

And to be honest, they are one of the signatures of my car; I didn't paint or gaiter them because I just love how they look under there.

The final look.This is how it will sit on the ground.


Getting square...

Much measuring revealed a moderate warp in the floor (.097" thick) which in turn cause the side body panels to be up in the left front and right rear. Bad words followed.

Not wishing to mess with heat gun or hot water, I hoped that improved fasteners would correct that. Here we go.

Lot going on in this photo. The left rear corner, floor resting on the chassis rails. First is the big central slot I cut so that the crossmember would not push the floor up off the rails (thank you Pocher). At the rear corners of the floor, I drilled the floor for 2mm 'studs' I made from threaded rod and styrene rod I used as locators to center the floor side to side and to stop it's rearward location. Finally, just below and aft of the floor is a chassis bracket which is supposed to attach to the rear fenders and isn't even close after you move the body aft to correct the wheel location. It has a white styrene insert, more about that later:


Note the floor only touches the chassis here in the rear and at the cowl in front, a recipe for a squishy model:


Seen here is the 2mm stud, (plus the styrene rod 'stop') tapped through the chassis rail top and bottom and epoxied in place. This makes a secure rear anchor point:


Moving forward; after discussion with an experienced Pocher builder (one David Cox), the idea was presented to add spacers to secure the forward end of the floor which has no provided way to secure it. This lets any twist take the body where it wants. So I dreamed-up some basswood blocks, easy to cut and sand to correct dimension to touch the floor bottom and chassis top without altering the dimension. The space was .354" on each side with the floor weighted so it would touch flush. But how to secure? First, note the silver circle on the chassis just below the block; that's where the body gets 'pinned' to the chassis at the lower attachment point by a Pocher wonky screw. You're supposed to locate this spot on the body side (which overlaps and obscures it) and is all that holds the body to the chassis. The body separately attaches to the floor-more another time. Did I mention that they're not the same on each side?


The same area on the driver side. Note the silver circle here is drilled way off center compared to above. You want to tear your hair out. My immediate solution was to redrill and tap for 0-80 bolts to get a secure body side attachment. Locating where to drill on the body sides took many holes (which will be filled) and not just because the body is moved aft 5mm. Note that the levers are dead center in the floor opening where Koo recommends they be to get the rear wheel correct. He got that right:


A good look at the spacer blocks; they have a .140" styrene rod inserted and CA'd and they are attached to the chassis with epoxy. Finding their correct location was tedious. The rod is drilled and tapped (.072") for 2mm bolts which I make by CA'ing a nut to the threaded rod. OK but how does the floor attach?:



The floor bottom. Because the bolt head would stick-up through the floor top (where the carpet will be), I needed to counter sink the head so the upper floor would be smooth. So here are .060" 'sub-floor' plates. Their thickness must be subtracted from the .354" space dimension and the basswood reduced to .294" height to accommodate them. They are the size of the wood blocks and drilled for the 2mm bolt diameter ONLY. This is a 'stop' for the nut. Not attached yet but located to clear the wood plank flooring and provide a location to drill the floor itself:


The floor top side, drilled .155" to clear the nut driver needed to install the fastener. Now the carpet will rest in peace:


Remember that chassis bracket way back in the 1st snap? Here's its reason for being; a bracket cast onto the inner rear fender. It has been drilled for a 0-80 bolt (seen here) and secures the fender to chassis where previously, Pocher only has the fender attach to the trunk side. The chassis bracket has been tapped also in the new correct location. This anchors the rear body securely (the fenders normally bolt to the body inner sides and 'float'). Locating this improvement requires all the previous centering and securing the floor.


My sincere hope is that I didn't put-off the few remaining faithful that have followed this saga. Again I say you can build a wonderful Pocher without all this mechanical engineering and pig-latin. But should one of you venture into a big classic, I've hoped to provide all the answers to troublesome situations.

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Not exciting but needed...

So much of what I'm doing lately is structural improvement, as evidenced by the previous body alignment and attachment posts. I felt I needed to make the parts and fasteners strong enough to withstand the constant assembly / disassembly needed for fitting and finishing. And to correct locations for fastening by redrilling and gusseting certain areas.

Nearing the end of this process, here is the attachment of the body sides to the floorboard. Having gotten the floor to attach firmly to the chassis (above), this is the last major improvement to get a straight, and rigid body. It's awfully wobbly the way they give it to you.

The orientation here is that the body and separate floor is upside down. The planking was placed on the floor bottom just to have something pretty to look at.The floor sides fit into a channel in each body side. In the floor, Pocher molded 3 holes per side. In the body side, they molded 3 slots. The floor slips into the sides and the crap screws are used with 2mm washer to 'clamp' the body side to the floor. Total junk.

BTW-you have to do this right side up because the roof will touch the table top if you don't, which means you're working a screwdriver blind and upside down and fiddling with tiny washers. The washers are to allow the screws to not fall through the slots. Phooey.

First step was to drill and tap the holes for 2mm threaded rod, making studs out of them. Then CA the 11mm long studs in:


This stops a lot of fiddling. Wanting a simple one-piece 'clamp' to take the place of 3 tiny washers, I settled on the 3 ply wood I used for the floor. It is .035" thick and nicely rigid. Carefully locating the stud holes, I trimmed each piece to fit the length and width of the body side:


I may for the sake of overkill, epoxy the washers to the wood clamps at each hole to allow a seat for the 2mm nuts. But it works well without them. I may also coat the ply with CA (an old R/C plane trick) for additional strength.


Eventually all parts will be painted and finished. The floor sides (seen when you open a door) will be the yellow of the body sides.

About ready to do the body work (filling) and cut the doors out of their openings.

The next phase...

The beginning of body and paint work. Here are my methods and some wacky ideas to share.

First off, my filler of choice is Bondo 2 part Professional Glazing and Spot Putty. Hands down the best I've used. Never shrinks, dries as quickly as you mix the hardener (more dries faster) and sands to a feather. Here's my filling 'kit'; a soft plastic lid from a coffee can, a steel mixing rod from a hanger, and two 'spatulas' made from credit cards. All these parts clean easily as soon as you finish applying with a bit of lacquer thinner on a paper towel. I use them over and over.

Here's a secret; First, KNEAD the tube of hardner every time you use it. It's either water or goop and it's better like heavy cream. Use a DOT of the red hardner (put down first) about the size of a dress shirt sleeve button to a blob of the white putty the size of a watch (remember those?) face. Mix and you'll get a shade of pink filler. USE LESS HARDENER and you get a lighter colour, longer-working putty. Useful when doing multiple spot fills. If you want a faster cure, mix to a full pink colour but work fast. As soon as it kicks on your palate, throw it out.

A word of caution; the sanding dust is as fine as resin dust so do your usual precautions to not ingest / inhale it.


Next up in my mad scientist gallery are these pads cut to size and shape to hold big parts while sanding and filling. They are 1/2" thick firm but compressible foam. Sold in home supply stores as mats for standing comfortably while doing shop (or any) work. They cut very easily with a large old carving knife (stolen) from momma's kitchen . They let you bear down while sanding without damage to your part. I'd hate to snap off those door pillars for example. I find taking a bit extra time to make stuff like this makes the job easier and maybe quicker in the long run:


Here's how it looks in action. This is the passenger side after a couple of rounds of filler. The door is only placed. You can see I added a .020" styrene filler to the body edge. Needed because of Pocher's creative sizing of mating parts.


A view from inside the body:


The driver's side. The filler has been added to wavy dips in the plastic after it had been leveled with 220 and 400 grit wet-or-dry paper. The lower front corner has filler due to the 4 holes I had to dill to find the exact correct forward body bolting point to the chassis. That was a time-consuming and frustrating exercise. An 0-80 bolt will go there when painted. Every one of the outer edges on all parts had a hard, raised flash which needed leveling:


Here is the inside of the body, aft of the door. Early on I had decided no turn indicators; I wanted purity of body line above 'correctness' so blanking them off was the answer. Because the body is .095" thick here, I back fill with a strip of styrene so the Bondo has a base. Then, fill the slot in layers-not a huge blob all at once. It adheres to itself just great:


Here's the outside, with the third layer of putty curing and awaiting sanding:


Here is the central roof section with the lower body piece that connects to the sides. The bottom portion was a flimsy, thinner mold of plastic (why Pocher?) so I added this .060" styrene doubler to make the body 'tub' more sturdy:


And finally for now, the cowl / windshield section. It's important because it connects the two body sides at the front and must be square. Mine had a slight twist in it and my trusty Milwaukee heat gun solved that. It seems to not need filler, just sanding for primer:


Currently adding inner liners and panels for body parts. ALL are modified from how the kit comes. Making it up as I go and fingers crossed. I DO have a nice sturdy, square structure now and that feels good. Mind swirling with top covering, upholstery, carpet, seat - making ideas. Can't prime the body work as the weather is lousy for it. Patience required.

Reached a point...

Continuing to the inner side of the body panels-which are horrible. This brittle brown plastic comes pre-broken in some of the thinnest areas so you have to improvise. I made neat cuts in non structural areas so they will attach as smaller bits. I paid a lot of attention to the joining of these inner structures to the outer body - mainly so the panels will lie flat and be as 'thin' as possible to allow for the coming upholstery thickness.

Seen here is the piece that goes under the door opening. The inner is straight and brittle, not matching the curve of the outer body and floorboard. So working the heat gun carefully, I tempted fate and bent it to match-and got away with it-twice! Heavily clamped and CA'd multiple times:


Here is the rear inner panel over the wheel arch. I opened the screw holes (which I will glue not screw) and used 1/16" styrene to get good flat contact with the outer body shell. Again, this sinks the panel in and allows upholstery thickness:


Here's a sort of cut-away of the assembled shell. The driver side is not attached but the central roof, pass. side body and door (taped in) are fixed to the floor. That's very easy and sturdy to do now that I sorted a better clamping system for the floor / body join. Seen placed here is the Pocher rear seat shell. I may use it as the base for the seat I will eventually make. I've been studying 1:1 passenger compartments to see which style seat I will copy errr... replicate. Will probably use basswood or balsa for the seat areas:


I've made decisions and now acquired (with help and kindness from wonderful Pocher friends) the roof fabric and leather for upholstery of the interior. I'm tremendously excited to test my skills again past my limits to get those looking 'right'.

Indeed, the sharp-eyed among you may detect some silver marker dots on the body work which hint at the next 'off-the-beaten-Pocher-path' zaniness I'll attempt. Suggested by a dear friend and Pocher expert builder Dave Cox, I will attempt what he can do with his eyes closed.


I decided to build and upholster the seats next. I have collected 1:1 reference shots and selected the type seats I want in the car. Been wrestling with how best to make them.

I dug out some old balsa and basswood (still in dry, clean condition) and will only use the Pocher rear seat shell to construct the rear 'sofa'.

I did some layout on the balsa but I now only work in brief spurts compared to the hours I've spent in the past. But I uncovered the big chunk and it's nice inspiration to continue.

Some movement...

Despite some input from previous Pocher builders who've done 'non-standard' interiors, this is coming more difficult to me than other obstacles I've figured out. So I starting building a 'test mule' rear seat, thinking I could scrap it as the problems arose. Most of this has been a pure guess as far as dimensions and materials.

So here is the 1:1 Phantom Continental rear seat I chose. Figuring it's not TOO difficult and should be doable for an upholstery dummy like me:


I had previously sourced a medium charcoal, .5mm thick kid skin and a stock of balsa planks and boards. By eyeball, I decided the Pocher plastic seat back and base needed to be cut on the 'arm rest' sides to lower them. So I did the math to fit the 15 pleats of the seat back in place. I raised the back edge on my back rest plank to end just below the rear window edge as I like that close-coupled look. I rounded the top edge as I saw the 1:1:


Roughed into the plastic seat shell. The rounded top edge not added yet:


Remember, at each juncture, I was prepared to throw this away and start again. But so far, no harm done. Wanting a plush feel and look, I cut up some thin shell foam and CA'd it to the pleats:


What I had overlooked in this process is that I wanted a soft seat with depressions from seated patrons in the leather. I should have contoured the planks before applying foam. But again, thinking I was wasting time anyway, I kept going. At worst I'd waste 28 sq. inches of leather (gasp...). All the professionally built Sedancas I've seen have ram-rod straight seat backs which I think is not 'natural'. Reason is that many of them use MMC resin seats. Beautiful upholstery, just not as 'life like' I think.

But before that I was bright enough to test the adhesives that might work. Sure enough, thin CA immediately stained through to the finished side. I knew contact adhesive would be too quick with no room for error. I tested my fave, Loctite super gel CA and no bleed through and a bond that left a bit of positioning time. I read that Pacer Bondini would work as well too.

So I cut the leather and began in the center. I used my thin MM ruler to press the skin into the groove between two pleats. Worked great. So I alternated left and right, adhering into the grooves. But I soon saw a dummy problem; I didn't cut the skin wide enough; those slots really eat up leather. I would fall 2 pleats short on each side. Throw away and start again??

Pushed my luck and 'let in' enough skin on one side to cover. The key was getting the mating seam to not stand higher or show glued edge. Got away with it on one side and have not yet done the other. But I will and maybe I can actually use this in the car. The top pleat edges will be stretched and glued in place if the side addition goes well. I'll have to cut the center pleat near the bottom to inset the center arm rest. Then make the base and two separate seat cushions. Gotta figure those out first.



How to make real leather look like...real old leather...(I hope)

Comparing the above seat shots with the natural leather skin as it comes to my 'older restoration that gets use' philosophy, I have finished the rear seat back-good as I could get it. Looks comfy enough for my planned missions to ferry movie starlets around to all the swankiest places. Thanks for the encouragement to continue with it, I think I can use it.

But since this is my leaky, sweaty old girl that gets in-season drives across the continent, the seats could not be 'right off the goat' new. So the following happened to try to capture this fairy tale brainstorm:



Yep, all those dainty little asses I drove all over the continent buffed the leather to a shine and wrinkled it a bit. Well, their backs in this case; the bottoms are coming up. (Did I really say that?)

For you leather modelers, here's how I did it. Scuffed the bare leather (lightly) with a gray scuff pad (gasp!). This cleans it nicely and doesn't hurt. Then good old transparent boot polish (they're leather right??), applied with finger, then brushed, then buffed with soft shoe cloth. Finally a random rub with a two pound weight to flatten the foam for creases. Less is more with this step. The effect are subtle and change with the light source. Tucked under the rear roof, mostly only the sheen will be seen. But the fronts will be more exposed:



Not what I expected...

No, this looks nothing like I showed you all earlier. The reason is my lack of upholstery skills. Try as I might, I could not figure a way to do loose cushions with piping neatly - despite studying the methods of the best on this forum. Who would have thought making 38 pleats would be easier?




Looking back, my main failure was not making a new seat shell from styrene but using Pocher's shell. That forced me into making a front edge bolster, something the 1000's of 1:1 pics I studied rarely had. Of course the 1:1's were all custom upholstery to the owner's whim so there's precedent for what I did. There's .030" piping under the bolster's edge and exposed on the armrest fronts. Getting the seat bottom to slope rearward was important to the 'comfy' look. Raising the back section to just under the window opening gave the privacy, 'cou - payy' look I'm after. I'm still considering the center armrest ( I left the backrest unglued) and tiny ashtrays on the sides - maybe. I hope I can do wood trim on the side panels and door tops to set this off.

The only thing I really like is the way light plays on the imperfections in the buffed and rumpled sections of leather. Polishing it made a nice difference for the 'patina' style of the model.

SHAMELESS PLUG: The absolute BEST CA for this type work is Loctite Gel Control super glue. It will NOT bleed through to the face side of leather. Very controllable, dries in 5 - 10 seconds when held. Uber strong bond, Also great for general construction of balsa and styrene. Bondini is also recommended with similar properties but is less viscous.

Here it is at home in the cabin where only a little light will reach it.



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I left work at the juncture of creating the front seats to compliment the rear but found I was far short on talent and ideas to proceed. So I decided to switch to an 'easier' subassembly which required less time and mess. Here's two teaser snaps to give the idea. The how and what of construction will follow as I find time.

Like the rear seat, I got an 'off-the-path' idea and tried it with the thought I'd scrap it if unacceptable. As the build gets more advanced, my job became to not degrade the previous work with substandard (for me) corner-cutting or hack jobs. This is the same; if ultimately it disappoints, I'll start over with a different idea. What you see here is just trial fit parts and no permanent connection to the kit parts has yet been made. Confession: I'm a burl wood fanatic as you'll see ahead:

Fumbling along...

Here's how and why. The idea was always to use real veneer for a luxury cabin on a continental tourer so I had studied the web and found beautiful sites and samples. I was all set to order a $38 (!) sheet about 10" by 25", .025 thick. I fell for the Amboyna family of burls with their fiery red orange mix. When I went to the site to order, I got a 404 ERROR page. This persisted for several days so I assumed the company went down.

The idea then formed that the images of the veneers were very detailed so the idea to 'cheat' and use an image was born. Actually, stolen from masters like Roy and Larry who made decals of veneer and created smashing wood accents in their cars. With my usual 'if it's junk, I'll do a better thing', I formed a method in my loosely-termed mind. Even I find it ironic that I used real wood (1/64" ply) on the bottom of the floor (only seen in a highway roll-over) but fake paper wood for the world to see.

Here's how the 'look' will play together with the other cabin elements. Lighting is difficult to capture the actual natural light colors. The leather is really lighter a bit and the 'wood' is a tiny bit more red. Advise with yea or nay if it appeals and works, as you did with the rear seat. I will gladly scrap it if I'm off-base:



Here's the style I wanted seen on a 1:1 P II; beautiful, massive wood instrument panel with (to come) door accents. It's not an exact copy of the Pocher car as they were all custom and varied widely:


The key elements to construction are Kodak gloss photo printer paper and .010" styrene. The styrene serves as a backer for the thin paper:


Here is the cheesy Pocher IP, sanded flat. Masking tape was used to create a template for the styrene. There are many thin edges and areas so work slowly and carefully. Plus the tape always wants to curl when you remove it. Get it intact and apply to the plastic. Cut around the shape and the openings (my scalpel works best) and a hole punch was just right for the smaller switches:


Trial fitting with the Pocher frames and dials cleaned-up and fitted for install.The paper is unbacked here so the holes could be made cleanly:


Cutting the paper reveals the white core so a mix of craft acrylics should be applied to all edges. My look needed orange, red and expresso brown. Just a light wash carefully applied does it. Also paint the mating edges of the Pocher IP so the corners show no gaps:


Getting closer. This is all trail fit; no glue yet except the paper to the styrene. Use the Loctite gel CA for a no bleed attachment. The lower band of 'wood' shown goes above the IP and below the windscreen frame on an angled section of the cowl. A gloss coat(s) of clear acrylic now on the 'wood'. A shot of gunmetal to add interest to the instrument surrounds. The 'glass' for the central dials was scarred and cracked courtesy Pocher. So a session of polishing cloths, 2400 to 12,000 was rubbed on then 3 dips in Future. Let dry 2 days and handle with gloves when installing. That will be the last step before gluing everything. The framing around the screen will have corners cut to simulate inlays


Where we're going; the snaps don't capture the vibrant colors. The clear blends the touched-up edges well. I'm thinking I may get away with this. The enlarged image is somewhat too big for scale but with so much cut out of the pattern, it's hardly noticeable. To my eye, it goes well with the gray skin and wine carpet:


334-pasted-Graphic.pngAs stated earlier this was a trial for a method I've never done before and I'd decided I could 'get away with it' as I went. In the words of a dear modeling friend 'Nothing looks like wood more than real wood'.

Well. nearing completion with this area and viewing the whole, I feel I've cut a corner for expediency over excellence. I hate that. I just felt I didn't have the skills to do a veneer job as well as the masters at MMC.

I committed to attachment thinking it was acceptable and now....

If I can get the door trim pieces acceptable, at least it will be harmonious. Man this interior has kicked my butt...

More details to come; the wiper motors will be finished and wired, the screen frame will be added. The shutter control knob is improved from the molded on plastic to a real tube in the upper central dash. The central instrument face was cut from acetate as the kit plastic cracked:



Best I could do...

Went ahead to the bitter end and now I'll live with it. Made some changes, adjustments and more details. Only thing missing is rear mirror stanchion and I'll get that gem from MMC. Hopefully that will improve this sows ear.

Pics purposely slightly overexposed. It looks mostly 'orange' but honest, it has the red and dark swirls of the burl. Shot with the leather and carpet, I think they go OK with each other. Remember you're seeing it from a lower angle than it will display in the car. Looks better from upper vantage point. I can live with it but learned a lesson about cutting corners.

I just feel that I didn't approach the visual impact of the more life-like engine / chassis combo. Well done wood would have done that but I don't know if I could have done it so well.

It was important to me to obtain an overall level of presentation of the project without 'uneven' areas of assembly or detail.


Next short-cut...

Again looking for a subassembly that wouldn't be epic in length, I decided to try my hand at the cabin carpet. I had previously purchased a great fabric carpet from a doll house supply house. It's a cotton / velour blend with a low nap and nice sturdy backing; perfect I felt for 1/8 scale. The color was close to what I wanted for my combination.

To start, I made a tape template of the floor pan area which would be carpeted. Then I made a stronger but thin (.016") template from ply. TIP - Cut the carpet fabric with a rotary cutting wheel:


While working on the tape, I came across the 'secret' to this brain-storm; electrical shrink tube. About .075" wide, I saw it had two folded edges. I wondered if trimming close to those edges but leaving the 90 degree fold would give me carpet edging or binding. Prior to this I had nightmares about folding a strip of leather or worse yet, piping around that edge of carpet. Don't get me wrong, I've seen plenty of RR's with beautiful leather or piped edging; done by far more skilled builders than myself. Since I'd already set a precedent for slacking with my 'wood' IP, I was more at ease cheating here too. I experimented with widths and settled on 2 - 3mm as what I could reasonably work with. This gave me a roughly 5/8" 1;1 size which I thought was acceptable. Toughest job; cutting mitered corners that matched. Best glue to use; Loctite Gel CA:


Here is the combination mocked-in place; nothing glued yet as the step plates and door jambs still require paint (c'mon warm weather) and some small final trimming around the pedal openings. The carpet will lay completely flat after gluing as I trimmed off the Pocher locating ribs in the center and back edge of the floor pan:


Same view only with seats blocking all that hard work. I will NOT use these Pocher front seats which I never liked in any models I've seen; too upright for my taste:


Seen up close, the color combinations are close to what I wanted. I found that a light rubbing on the shrink tube with 320 grit (or gray scuff pad) produced a gray very close to the seat leather and not a harsh black edge. The tubing has a nice supple black finish which sands easily - a happy accident. Some touches of burl wood on the door tops and maybe near the rear seat sides will carry the theme through the cabin - I hope:


Taking a breath...

I've decided to pause and do a review of where this is going. So I photoed some parts in natural light and this is very close to how they look in person.

I gathered all the main elements of color and grouped them together for a good look. For better or worse, I'm now committed to this combination; fenders, running boards, cowl and hood top in Toreador Red (a deep maroon). Body sides and wheels in Sweet Cream. The cabin in gray leather with wine-colored carpet and red burl. The top is a dark cranberry-type gaberdine fabric. The chassis in German Gray.

I am slightly afraid as I view this as somewhat adventurous but it IS appealing to my eye and seems to work well all together. The textures of the rubber tires, velour-type carpet and glass-smooth paint (that fender is not polished yet), set off by touches of bright nickel on the hood hinge and Landau Bars will give the visual interest I was hoping for:


Having gotten comfortable with the 'paper wood' technique, I decided to push my luck. I never liked the cut-off bottom edge of the IP so I made a proper finished edge which protrudes similar to the top edge. Just a fanciful idea and these were custom built to owners whims anyway so what the heck...

The practical side is I learned how to make 90 degree edges mate acceptably which will be useful for the door trim. There is a top edge meeting the side face on those and now I know I can accomplish that. Also the paper glues just fine in the semicircular dip in the center of the panel.

More silliness when I made a plate which has slots around the pedal openings in the carpet. Gives a finished edge instead of a rectangular hole in the carpet. Some bits of styrene card and two different foils topped off with SMS fastener heads. The hard part was getting the slots in the right places; the pedals are affixed in the chassis so the floorpan had to go on and the workpiece cut and fit many times.

The sharp-eyed among you may notice some instrument holes in the panel; MMC jewel-like nickel plated switches will go in those as soon as the postman rings - once. You may or may not approve but it was relative 'fun' stuff to do. I seem to be avoiding those monstrous (to me) front seats but will face that music soon now:


Stepping off the gangplank...

A non-visual update; not much gluing or such to show you in the interim but a lot of re-evaluating and planning. I have in fact designed on paper the interior door panels of leather and wood and made the rear interior panels next to the seat. But a great deal of mental wood-burning.

I have been influenced by the work of a couple of very advanced, professional Pocher builders. I have awakened to the fact that these classic models can be extensively accurized and modified if you plan ahead and are unafraid to hack up expensive plastic.

I learned I could get closer to the 'look' I envisioned for the end product from the day I opened the box. That vision was for a low, jaunty and classy looking Continental tourer in the 'Grand Style'.

Well I got the low part already by lowering the suspension and body work. So now, I'm getting much more aggressive with alterations to get the look.

After a lot of thought and study, I will remove the top from the coach and cut material from it to lower its leading edge. I will also chop the windscreen an equal amount for a compatible roof line. I'll scratch a chrome windshield frame, something not provided in the kit.

The last major mod, which I'm still contemplating, is to lower the cowl which lowers the rear of the hood line (the 1:1 was flat) and aligns the cowl and hood louver tops in a straight line. This last is no parlor trick and requires removal of my previously attached, finished firewall and much panel alteration of the hood bits. Also interior and rear body mods too. Not for the faint of heart and I might chicken-out.

So I'm probably nuts to go this far with what's a nice model OOB. But I'm a sucker for that 'look' I described and although probably adding months (+) to this opus, nothing less will satisfy me.

And if I junk it up, I have only myself to curse. It is not lost on me that this hobby which we all say we do for relaxation has been a non-stop challenge to keep pushing past my limits. Got away with it so far and that instigates me more. I'm learning that that's what Pocher classics are really about.

Here is a rough diagram of planned changes:


Planning and a little work...

Using tracings of the actual door and rear panel, I sketched-up a design I could live with for the cabin decor:


I made both sides:


The side panel is actually made of 5 parts; .020 styrene (twice), .015 ply, .010 leather and .007 paper (wood). Reason being that having made the rear seat wider than Pocher's, the panel needed to be thinner on the lower section. The wood portion was built up for strength and a realistic thickness and overhang for a wood trim piece. Although not this way, I've seen 1:1's with wood trim in the area below the top like this. The wood is part of the sweep of the door wood cap from the IP rearward. I'm relying heavily on the fact that all these cars were made to order so I'm pretending to be rich and eccentric in 1932:


The theme continues...

Having committed to the carpet, 'wood' and leather, here's a place they all come together; the door panel.

As is my usual practice, I'm terrible at fabric and leather and struggled a great deal. As I said earlier, I've got to do two or three tries to get a perfect final, usable piece. I forgot how many of these I made and chucked. There are panels of different thickness which is very important when working leather. When you wrap around edges, you've got to account for that thickness when laying-out the parts. And constantly check you didn't make the door so thick it won't close. I'm bad at this.

Here are both doors, inner and outer. Note that I whacked off the rear door pillars which hold the glass track. I learned that many Sedancas didn't have them. Just as well because Pocher supplies warped ones:


These are all the elements; wood door cap, pleated center side panel with foam surround, and piped carpet on the lower edge. Templates are made of all the correct shapes for doing again on the other door (shudder). The small holes on the white backer panel (.010") are for the window winder and latch handle which are on the way from MMC. The leather-covered parts will be drilled to match after final assembly.Each of the parts is glued to a backer of either .010", .020" styrene or .015" ply. That's why some are slightly curled from the stretching of the leather:


The intended unit. They are just placed together. So they're a little curly and there are some gaps. Trust me, these all fit perfectly together without gaps and lay flat when adhered in place. Edges tuck under other edges with no rough edges. There is no tension because they are all so thin.

I'm sure the leather pros have much simpler and neater methods but I was making this up as I went along, having no prior experience. The front door pillar is not yet covered with wood but will be.

A word here about the 'paper wood'. I whined a lot earlier about cutting corners by not using real wood veneer like the pros. But I have since come to LOVE this method. It's a huge timesaver, gives the look I was after and is easier to cut than anything else - it's photo paper. Get the Kodak brand, semi-gloss finish and when your pieces are done, shoot with acrylic clear. Plus I have a never-ending free supply by just printing the photo over and over.

There are several good sources for wood grain photos. One excellent

supplier is: http://www.veneersup...mboyna__(Burl)/. Two other good sources are 'Certainly Wood' and ‘Woodcrafters'.

Select your favorite pattern, click on your choice, then click again on the image to make it full screen.

Be sure to use Kodak print paper with the semi-gloss finish. It has good body and strength; you can lightly score the back and fold a perfect 90 degree edge. Cut the paper with a scalpel not scissors. Use hole punches for the instruments.

Coat the finished results with clear acrylic spray; I use Krylon Crystal Clear #1303. One light and one medium coat should do.

Alternatively, you can print the wood pattern on waterslide decal paper.:


Having viewed dozens of RR model and 1:1 interiors, I struggled to choose a pattern I liked. I knew it had to have pleats to coordinate with the seats. So I just sketched out what came to mind as seen a few posts back. After I made one (and discarded) I realized something gave me the idea and there was a 'logic' to my choice. You see it here; the hood side panel and cowl louvers have the same 11 degree angle as the door cut line. The pleats had to follow that angle, mimicking the louvers. A happy (for me) accident and the lines harmonize for me:


Another happy accident about using the paper; it's very structural. Here the door cap is seen with the 5mm return to the outer edge. It was simply scored on the back and folded to give the appearance of a massive, one-piece wooden trim cap. Of course I had to measure and cut a zillion times to get the angles and shapes right. I urge any big scale builders to try printed paper when wood is called for in your project:


Second one done...

Literally took half the time. Nothing glued yet awaiting paint on the jambs (soon). Front window channel not yet covered while I ponder how much to cut the windscreen:



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Fair warning...

In an abrupt change from interior work, (anything to avoid making those seats!) and after exhaustive research, I learned I could get exactly the look I was after from the finished car. All I had to do was hack, drill, saw and sand on my sweetheart – adding months (+) to my project.

This view, taken months earlier shows the arrangement of the body panels to each other. Note that the brace rod between radiator and firewall rises at the rear to meet the firewall.


Well that ain't the way they were; that was Pocher's solution. The entire hood top line was flat from front to rear. Having followed Pocher and Koo got me to this point. Now research has taught me that the body can be channeled, the floor lowered, and the windscreen and top chopped. Not for the faint of heart however.

This knowledge came to me by studying the fantastic custom models of David Cox at his site:


Yes, this will still be a classic Rolls Sedanca, not a rat rod, Blastolene, custom or low rider. Just a lot more how they REALLY looked.

I've been working through the alignments and architecture for some time now and plastic and metal have been sacrificed and the camera clicking. Here comes the idea for any I haven't already alienated.

Getting somewhere...

Here is an early photo to give understanding to what's been done. It's a close shot of the firewall and how it sits on the chassis according to Pocher. See that the firewall is spaced off the frame by .250". The high firewall raises the body front even higher. This causes the hood to slope downward from the firewall to the radiator - the originals were flat:


The object is to get the floor (which attaches to the body side sills) to rest on the frame (thereby lowering it) to give the correct proportions the 1:1 had.

Another earlier view showing that the cowl is raised above the firewall (a huge ugly gap) and the step between the firewall and cowl. Clearly the body front edge is much higher than the radiator. This would be an out of box assembly:


After much cutting, grinding, slotting and bracket removal, here's where it is now. Firewall sits flush on the frame, Body is channeled roughly .250" and cowl sits atop the firewall. This lowers the rear of the hood line making a straight line from radiator to body. The entire floor will sit on the frame at front (hadn't been slotted completely in this shot; it now sits flat) and nearly flush in rear. This will also lower the rear fender tire clearance. The louvers and side panels now have different relationships and will need sectioning and material added to give a straight louver line and hood sides that rest on the frame, not overlap. Just careful measuring and fitting to come:


Now with the help of a little editing, a look at where we're going. To visually lower the car's aspect in addition to the actual lowering done so far, the door rear window track and door top edge have been removed


And here the windscreen frame and top have been chopped roughly 5/16". Now we see what sectioning (lowering) the trunk does; a smoother-flowing belt line from the now-flat hood top to trunk top. The top and windshield post have been digitally chopped; the post 5mm, the top about 7mm. Probably need to take at least 5mm out of the trunk: Compare to the second photo above:


Much has been done so far but much remains to get all the various proportions to play with each other. All this advanced work has come from studying the Dave Cox site and conversations with him. He is a most accommodating and generous with his time, Pocher expert. It has given me the model I'd always hoped.

Flights of fancy...

When radically altering a design, I've learned that the most important thing is to coordinate all the elements. Adding the stock trunk changes everything we've altered for the sake of refinement by putting a big box on the back end. Note that there are myriad detail changes required after the big elements are altered; things like the coach line, louvers, running boards and hood cut lines. Please pardon the poor photo editing but it does help one visualize proposed changes.

The actual work to achieve the lowness will be shown in coming photos. The floor is now finalized as is the firewall which is bolted in place and the foundation for all the body structural work. A LOT of cutting and slotting was needed. The body rear is lowered by 4mm over the rails, giving a much better tire gap (seen below) at the rear. The front fender was finalized months ago and now the rear matches that lowered position.

This is the current state before any further alterations; remember some of the previous shots were edited to show where I want it to be. To review, here the body has been channeled and the floor lowered to the frame top. The door top has had a 'digital' cut at the top edge. The hood is no longer raked down to the grille; it's flat as all Phantoms were.

A more daring idea shows the trunk rear wall angled to add to the visual movement of the whole design. Many 1:1 Phantoms had custom trunks just like this. Remember the exposed spare tire will be mounted and angled there too. I'm not sure if I'll go that far but am leaning that way (pun intended).


Perhaps it will be more helpful to see where I'm headed with all this cutting and pasting.

Seen here is a box-stock Pocher Sedanca, expertly assembled by Paul Koo. It is beautifully done and highly representative of what a skilled builder can produce with no alterations. It has the stock ride height and all dimensions are as supplied in the kit.


Using digital software the equivalent of crayons, I proceeded to alter it according to my hoped-for changes. All in the name of (relative) streamlining and elegance.

The car's image has been chopped, channeled, lowered, sectioned and the louvers aligned. The crude software did not allow me to get the cowl lower, thus rendering a flat hood line. Also sketched-in is my hoped for 2-tone color sweep. Apologies to Paul.

Dave Cox calls this 'Extreme Construction'. Phantom purists may call it sacrilege.


Work has progressed almost daily. Mostly the design phase and study how to implement the proposed changes above. But this week, quite a bit of styrene dust has been created.

I have channeled the body roughly 3/8" and have the cowl / hood joint flat - like 1:1, not Pochers. The floor and chassis have been heavily modified for this.

I've selected the dimensions and am now prepared to cut the top and windscreen. And door tops. And inner door panels, One thing leads to several others in this maze. After that, reassembly and full dress with fenders to select the sizing of the hood side panels and getting the louvers all straight - a big visual point on 1:1.

I will post photos soon. But just to hopefully peak your interest, an additional, major design change is now finalized on paper (or screen actually). I have seen no Pocher Rolls with this feature and only one 1:1 in all my research. It's complex but I thought I'd try it because it promises the car I've wanted. (Photo courtesy Raymond Gentile's book.)


That noise you hear...

-is the band saw warming up.



Sentence carried out...


Everything just placed, not glued. Empty space on left side body shows cut removed; 6mm x 13mm. Tape at windscreen top show 5mm cut (to come). Tape on door shows where new lower door top line will be. Coachline removed from rear sections and door will be done also. New coachline for all. The roof does not end at the cut line; about 1/4" lower, close to the new door top edge.

A word on direction:

Much study of prototypes has taught me that Pocher was forced into several model manufacturing compromises which most visibly affect the hallmark features of the original. When scaled down. thicknesses and alignment change must be dealt with. They had a tough job to make a model of these.

The most visible compromises are the too-high body / hood / cowl / doors / trunk alignment, the 'coal scoop' opening of the top and the mis-alignment of the hood and cowl louvers. That all contributes to the too-high ride height over the tires. All Phantoms had an absolutely level hood and cowl line, not heavily sloped forward as Pocher presents. I just didn't want to live with those compromises on my 'bucket-list' model. Correcting them, once you know to look for them, requires some extreme techniques for model building.

I truly could have been done with an out-of-box build by now. I'd love to see it everyday in its case on my shelf. But it has become vital to me to have a 'correct one'. Plus, as all Phantoms were, owner-requested touches on this car based on whim will be incorporated too. But no hot-rod stuff - honest.

Very early on in this thread, I cautioned that this will not be every one's cup of tea - largely referring to the well used nature of the running gear. I had no idea at the time that this would evolve this way. While I might be sorry to alienate and lose some modeling enthusiasts along the way, I am having the modeling time of my life and to see this unfold has been a far more exciting and rewarding experience.

Big first step...

Here's the first test-fit of the roof cut. What you're seeing; the pie-cut is 13mm at front, 6mm at rear, tipping the roof downward in front. The white stripe under the tape is a shim, needed to get both side of roof exactly the same. The actual upholstered and 'wood-trimmed' side panels will need modification to accommodate the new forward roof slant. And the trunk will need serious sectioning as it now is much too high. That's if I don't make a whole new one with sloped back. See? One change leads to many others:


To compliment the proportions of the chop, the windscreen frame is cut 3mm. That meant the completed instrument panel inner frame needed to be cut 3mm also. The IP is showing the finished height of the assembly. The sharp-eyed will note the holes in the completed IP; the new MMC chromed bronze switches will go there to add excellent, accurate detail. The cowl below it shows the fresh cut. It will be joined and the seams filled. Running through the photo is the 3/32" square channel brass that will be formed to fit within the cowl opening and into which the .040 Lexan windscreen will be installed - after the brass is chromed. Making the curved corner bends will be done by cutting the channel legs and soldering in brass fill. The object is a smooth seamless curve, all in chrome. This will make the actual glass opening smaller than you see by 3/16" -not a 'mail slot' but noticeably more correct than Pocher stock:


he coordinating cut of the windshield frame. With the addition of a fabricated brass channel (the glass sits in the channel like 1:1) frame for the Lexan windscreen. Pocher omitted this important visual detail. Brass shim tabs will be soldered into the curved corners then this will be chromed after completion as will the side and rear window frames. The straight brass channel shows the new height of the glass. The curved one at top is scrap to allow handling safely.

This (minus the opening feature) is what we're trying for. Beautiful Sedanca built by David Cox, while a partner at Model Motorcars:



At this point, I have made 4 brass windshield frames to finally get a satisfactory one to keep. Very tedious making the curved, solder-filled corners and getting the shape bent to match the cowl opening. Keeping the solder from flowing into the channels (so the Lexan rests in the channel like 1:1) has been a major learning curve for me. Shortly I will make frames for windwings and side glass as well as the rear glass. More brass and solder work but no bends. Then hopefully the chroming process. The preferred material is 3/32 square channel brass.

I have also heavily reworked the chopped styrene cowl / windshield surround and removed the beltline as molded by Pocher. Mine will have extensive body massaging as well as a new beltline. Bondo dust has been flying...

Because this is such a highly visible area, I have been sweating bullets to get the shapes, planes and proportion right. Time will tell but that's why this all takes me so long. Others more skilled routinely fly through these steps.

Windshield Madness........

Here's how...

CliffsNotes version.

Tools: Low watt iron / silver solder / liquid flux / Rosary Beads.

Cut cowl top 3mm. Make form (aluminum, balsa - just not whipped cream) to shape of inner edges of Pocher cowl. Get brass square channel. Cut length ~9" long. Anneal to dull red. Find the corners of the opening, then kerf with .014 saw blade. Bend inner and outer edges on form. Place bent frame on soldering plate or board. Solder scrap cross leg at very top of verticals for strength to hold the shape. Fill channel in corners with folded tin foil (or plywood) to prevent filling with solder. Lay in solder to fill kerfs; do both corners, inner and outer. Your life will crawl past you during this process. Use every file in your tool chest file for days and refill divots as needed. Consider but reject suicide. When you've had enough, polish with 220, 400, 600 and 1000 paper.

On plastic cowl:

Sand off all Pocher molded beltline (we're making our own new one). Add .010 and .015 plastic to top bar to even the surfaces. Bondo the plastic crossbar and side of legs - they taper in two directions. Fill corners to match because you couldn't get the brass in that tight radius without breakage. Make dummy windshield of 040 styrene which will be template for Lexan. Install in frame for rigidity. Fit frame into plastic cowl. See all the gaps; bend / shim / pull / stretch as needed. Guess at clearance for paint thickness. Learn new swear words. Make crossbar from new channel. Un-solder top brace. Cut 45's on ends precisely inside the plastic. Mark the vertical legs of the main hoop and match the angles of the crossbar. The verticals are less than 90's because they taper outward. Relaxin' hobby huh?

Polish all elements in prep for trip to chrome lake. Tutorial gladly provided for masochists in the bleachers.







Glass' installation:

In the photo above, you'll see a white sheet in the glass area; that's a template for the actual clear Lexan to come. The upper channel section is removable; it rests on the template edge right now but had to have the precise 45 (not actual because the vertical legs taper outward slightly) degree corners to mate perfectly with the vertical corners. When complete and chromed the lens slides into the verticals, sits into the bottom channel then the top cross bar will get a bit of clear cement to secure it, just as it appears above.

I am currently workingon more drawings and templates for the planned changes in body work. I realize I'm headed deeply off the beaten Pocher Path now but have found I can get much closer to the reality of the Gurney Nutting coach craft which I find most attractive. Again I say it is NOT 'hot rod stuff'; here is one of several 'inspirational' prototypes I study for the model changes:


To get close to this, the top and windscreen have been cut, the body has already been channeled over the frame, the ride height lowered and the floor dropped; this also gets the hood level and helps align the louvers - big visual changes to the stock kit. Although the fenders differ, the kit fenders are on some non-Gurney prototypes and I will keep them.

Further changes will include changes to the door heights, lower body edge and a new trunk design. TEASER: I have also worked out a modification I've seen on only one original that I could find but it has captivated me. It may also be the only one made to a Pocher Sedanca - I have seen none so far.

A better idea...

Of where this is going. Shown here is the overall proportion and attitude after the following alterations:

Top pie-cut 13mm x 4m, body channeled nearly 3/8", lower body edge trimmed 5mm, rear fender rotated forward a bit, The fender leading edge will be trimmed to match the running boards. The door top will be trimmed as seen here.

The cowl is not attached here; the post is the door post and will be removed for the windwings and side glass.The trunk will be modified, sloped and shortened. A new coachline, running from grille, across doors and wrap around the rear body will dip at the top similar to the stock Gurney Sedanca line.

Note how the body overhangs the frame rail so deeply. Compare the rear ride height and top shape and height with early photos - it's vastly different.

Most of these major elements of style are now in place. Just a lot of work and panel fitting to go.



Edited by Codger

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Don't try this at home...

To any Pocher daredevils out there who want to channel the body to get the model lower this will surely become obviously necessary.

Having cut slots in the floor previously to sit it flush on the frame, it became time to make a sub floor to cover the holes. With a .060 thick sheet sub floor, the center crossmember still stood .050 above what would have been the top of the sub floor. Not wishing to shim the floor from below (raising it) thereby shifting the entire body up, I wanted to preserve the wheel / fender tight clearance I gained by channeling. What to do?


Grind the offending crossmember by about .080. Yes I had structural concerns - until I tested by lifting the complete chassis by the crossmember. No sign of flex or stress. Just showing you it can be done. I had further ground the first crossmember by .030 which was all it needed to clear. Had I known months ago when chassis building, I'd have rotated the crossmembers several degrees fore or aft (there's clearance) and this would never have been an issue. A word to the wise...Here's the result:


Now a very reasonable .030 floor can make the interior floor flat and the seats can be bolted in with a flat rug.

Taking things for granted is not a good Pocher idea. Why would you think they'd provide two symmetrical rear fenders?? Only a fool like me would.

Seen here with both fenders touching the same front and bottom lines is the fact that they have different curvatures. This would render two different tire clearances. Yes the camera's lens adds perspective but trust me that they're both on the same points.

Reluctant to use heat or kerf the inners because the roundness may be kinked or flattened. Still pondering this one...


Good / Bad news...

Resuming the fender mismatch, I decided to try a non-destructive course to rectify. I pinned it down with a bit of stretched tension, just past the 1/8" I needed. I weighted the edges and applied 1000 degree heat from my trusty Milwaukee gun - very quickly and carefully so as not to melt it.


It worked but too well, I misjudged and got a whole 1/4" out of it. Not an exact science.


At least no damage and the curve is intact - fits the body opening fine. Now I'll just reheat and close it down a bit.

Had finally made the subfloor. It's actually two laminations of sheet; .020 below with slot for the center crossmember to poke into but not above and .010 on top of that with no slot - just a flat floor.


Here is the carpet flat on the floor, just placed, not glued. It will lay flat and cover all those edges. Will get to the doors now to cut them down and and remove the beltline. Then the brass frames for the side windows:


All better now...


A question about aftermarket parts and hood hinging was raised and these are my thoughts.

I spent for the landau irons (beautiful slender and graceful things) instead of the Tonka Toy flat stamped kit parts. Same with all the front axle levers and arms. Anything visible you should try to replace even if the kids go without food for a week or two. Because as you suppose, you won't be able to live with yourself when you look at all your finished hard work every day and it irritates you.

Being a mechanical accuracy nut, I foolishly replaced all the clevises and much linkage, never to be seen again unless I mirror the display base. Spent a lot (time and money) on that stuff; it's all beautiful cast bronze or chrome but virtually invisible even though I did not paint the parts.

Yes the hood situation is important because to display the engine, you'd have to remove the entire thing. Much more realistic to roll back one half or the other as the prototypes. The hinge is OK, it's the anchoring it that's problematic. Just that on the Roller, it's a b%#&* to do and maybe the Alfa and Benz too. I will discuss further when I get up that far.

Plastic - surgery...

A major attack on long-overdue work today. The doors got trimmed lower and slightly curved and the door posts removed. The beltline has been removed completely. Yes-on the bandsaw:



Door on the left completely done. Grits of 150, 220, 320 and light clean-up with 600. This after a light dress down on the belt sander. Door on the right shows the first hit of the belt sander. Seen prominently is the 1/2" gray foam floor mats from the box stores. Cut to size they make excellent sanding blocks and supports under the work piece:



Fairly close in size, maybe a hair more tweeking on one:


Finally, where we're going with this. The lower door line will connect the cowl (missing here) and the rear door jamb. The silver dots represent where (probably) the new location for the lower edge of the top will be, similar to the original shape. But remember that the top is 13mm lower in front (and 6 in the rear), it's quite a change. Not just yet but a newly shaped and thickness beltline will be created. Also note that the bottom edge of the body has been trimmed 5mm. This will add visual length when the running boards are added because they will be closer to the door bottoms:


Showing you the door...

Continuing onto the inside, the earlier-assembled inner door panels had to be cut and shaped to match the new outer skin. The door post will be removed too. The lowered and curved top edge is evident here:


One done, one remaining:


New 'veneer' top caps made with the proper height and curve. The pleats, frame and carpet are all separate bits but mocked in place with a dab of double stick. The addition of the beautiful MMC door handle and window winder will brighten these panels up. I may add a map pocket when done with the major body work. The veneer is a hair oversized (on purpose) and will be trimmed for final. Any ripples, bulges etc will lay flat with no gaps when fastened. Before that, the brass side window frames will be made. Now the inners match the door skins:



Here's a tidbit...

For any hopefully wanting to build a Roller. You will need to assemble and disassemble the body / floor unit literally countless times for fitting purposes. Much frustration led to the idea to get 'extra help'.

A simple 'truss rod' can be made to hold the big parts in proper relation to each other. When you find the correct width the body wants to be on the chassis, mark a location on the lower rear of the body, aft of the wheel well. It won't be seen after completion. Drill for a 2mm rod but no bigger.

Seen here is how to make an adjustable rod to hold the left and right sides correctly. Snip 1" of all thread 2mm rod. Insert part way into 1/8" styrene tube also an inch or so long; make 2. Slip those into an aluminum tube about 1 1/2" shorter that the spread of the body panels. Use CA to secure each telescoped piece:


Seen here in place, it doesn't flex and you can screw the end nuts tighter or looser to adjust the width, The floor must be bolted to the body before this work. Now the center roof panel can be fused to the body sides. First one side gets joined off the frame, then the second added while the rod holds the correct distance:



The front section of the body at the cowl must be joined this way using 2 truss rods. There the body sides must be drilled and can be filled when the rods have completed their job. The forward body is under tension to spread out as it narrows there. Adjusting rods will pinch it in correctly ao the upper cowl can be fused to the body sides. I'll illustrate that when I get to it next.

And here it is...

The cowl pinches down to 130mm at the front and 146mm at it's rear edge. Because of the crazy angles and curvature of the cowl top, there's no comfortable way to clamp or hold this while cements dry. My wacky truss rods seem to be the answer. These are stronger than the rear, being made the same way but of 5/32" steel brake line tubing. The body tops want to spread out and must be kept under tension to mate to the cowl sides:




Pocher wants you to use screws here which you can if you keep the body at Pocher height, because the cowl is well off the firewall. With the body channeled near 3/8", it's right on top of the firewall, thus this drastic solution:



Tip: (among all these others); cheap black electrical tape sliced thin makes a dandy and pliable tape clamp to hold fore and aft position. Stretch it slightly as you apply it tightly and it's better than rubberbands:


What I wound up with...

Here is the joined cowl in place and how it situates the hood line. The whole new force arrangement of the body lines is evident here; channeled body over frame, lower roof, door top, windscreen and hood line;


Compare to early mock up before and cutting and hacking. Note the ride height, gap between cowl and firewall and if the hood top was in place, the forward, downward slant from the cowl to the grille:


A clear view of the cowl flat against the firewall; a major and satisfying change:


I didn't realize early on that I should photo 'template' style shots for comparisons. I didn't know I'd be doing this insanity.

About that cowl / firewall gap; I forgot to mention that the firewall itself is now .250" lower because the spacers Pocher has you install have been removed. Then the body came down .375" total. This all allows the floor to sit flat on the chassis. Also forgotten is that now the bottom edge of the body has been trimmed by 5mm; to reduce the height to the bottom of the door. This all contributes to a sleeker look. The front edge of the rear fender will also get trimmed when the running boards go on.

So here's the comparison photo. Note the angle of the top of the hood side panel; it's sloping downward. Naturally the hood top at the piano hinge would do the same. Much closer to level now. This picture taken in Oct 2014:



The trunk is a mental wrestling match I have endured a long while. Two treatments are in mind, one in which the top slopes similar to the door. The other trunk idea is a smaller, sloped back side version of the stock one. These things take time to trudge across the wasteland of my mind but eventually, I get a clearer vision. Lot of 'sketching' and paper templates going on.

The hood panels (all 4) are another whole project of their own. I need to get the coach, trunk and belt finalized before I adapt the hoods to the whole. The problem will be to get the louvers on hood and those on cowl to align straight along their top and bottom edges. That will take altering the cut lines and slicing and dicing the panels to move the louvers up or down to align. Also the leading and trailing edges must mate to the grille shell and cowl and that will require both trimming and adding styrene.

Further study revealed that the PE front springs had lowered the front ride height excessively and the Pocher-designed floor and body mount accounted for the excessive rear height.

I have subsequently shimmed the front axle and gained acceptable front fender clearance; substantially lower than Pocher but much more 'realistic'. It's buried in this thread somewhere with a shot of the fender at good height. I have stored the painted fenders during all these radical-change mock-ups for protection. Only the rear fenders (not yet painted) were used to gauge body position for the channeling and cutting. The new drop in the rear ride height wiil be evident in coming photos.

It's really quite a different model now after all the re-sectioning and plastic surgery.


My journey with this project has again caused me to seek some desirable parts to get closer to my vision for this Rolls. These are non-standard kit parts and very difficult to find.

Once again I contacted Peter Doney at Pocherparts.com with an inquiry. Peter not only had the parts I seek but offered them at a very fair and reasonable price, even considering their rarity. So I just completed my second transaction with him and the parts will be on their way across this Big Pond.

I had searched on my side here and could not source them. Peter makes it painless to do business at any distance. You folks are fortunate to have him at your front door.

I urge any current or prospective Pocher builders to contact Peter with your needs or ideas. He makes every effort to help and has a huge inventory. This especially makes sense to those of you who wish to keep costs down by buying 'started' or incomplete kits. Peter can fill in the damaged or missing parts and help you all.

The look...

A mock-up yesterday to check progress and look for any flaws in design. Everything just sitting in place, no fastening.

Seen here is the lowness of the main body, cut-down door, roof and windscreen frame. Having the fenders in place is visually important to assess how the lines flow and the tire gaps.

Evident in the side view is the shortened body bottom edge. Both fenders will need to have their bottom edges trimmed to not extend below the running boards. As stated earlier, one change affects several adjoining areas. It's all got to be made consistent to work. An important element yet to be added is the raised beltline which will run from the grille shell to the trunk. It will define the lower edge of the roof covering. That will add sleekness if I get it right. But before that, the doors will have to be hinged and hung in their correct position. See? One step depends on the other. Another example is the hood sides; the fenders must be in place to set the bottom edges. Then, the louvers must be aligned to the cowl's by adding or trimming side panel material. Then the cut lines must be squared to the grille shell and cowl leading edge. Lot of juggling and they are a whole separate project unto themselves.



Today, the roof center section got permanently joined to the body sides, 3 layers of filler in the seams and sanded. The whole body structure got very rigid with the sides now joined by the cowl and the roof.

I began alterations on the trunk to slope the rear and change it to its new lower height. More work tomorrow and pictures....

A clearer vision...

Seeing the elements closer to finished and planning many steps ahead. The blue is the proposed beltline to be made from .030" with probably an .080 raised bead in its center. Wheel and fender just hanging in place so will be neater when fastened. Trunk is cut and altered and studying whether to lower it a tad more. More seams than Frankenstein monster right now but soon to get Bondo. The cut door top edge allows a smoother more flowing beltline. The landau bar shows how much the roof has come down. Compare to earlier un-cut photos.

This is all for study and small changes may happen if it doesn't sit well with me over a day or so:


Over 15 hours work...

And not proud to tell you; that's just the trunk to this primer stage. Many guys go much faster than I. That also does not account for several hours of just looking at it to get the design as desired.

The summary: over 15mm's removed from the top surface (not counting 2 or so for the saw cuts - you must take that into account when you start your design) and 2mm from the bottom to slope the back forward. Vertical height cut by 3mm at the body side and 2mm at the spare tire side. Lid sectioned accordingly. Strange phenomenon; when you cut the slope angle at the trunk rear, it has the effect of pulling the front trunk wall rearward. Leaving a big gap to the body. So you must add that section (roughly 15+mm's) back onto the forward sides of the trunk. Results, more seams to fill but you get a nice custom fit to snuggle against the back of the bodywork. Then three applications of Bondo and sanded from 80 grit to 600. Three coats Duplicolor Sandable Scratch Filler prime; 1 mist, 2 medium. Small amount of skim coat needed in 2 small spots. When finalized, wet 600 or 800.





Here's what came out of the lid:


For comparison, here's an earlier shot of the full-sized box in height and length with no slope. Drawn on it is an early sketch of a proposed slope when I decided the trunk needed to 'streamline' to harmonize with all the other lowering and clipping. I'm pretty glad I went this route with more rectangular edges. More in keeping with the Gurney Nutting influence but with a bit of 'style':


Another piece of the puzzle...

I promise you're not looking at the same picture over and over but it may seem that way. Here is a look ahead by trial fitting the hood panels in place. They are a project unto themselves when I get there. Just wanted to see how hard the work might be ahead. Got a pleasant surprise.

For this mock-up, the body and floor are final-bolted to the frame. The now-finished trunk fit perfectly in its spot. The fenders are bolted on, not hanging. So this is nearly the finished look of all the panels and clearances.

The hood side panels are taped in place and the happy surprise is that the louvers are parallel to the hood top edge and virtually in line with the cowl louvers. A primary reason to lower the firewall and channel the body was to get that louver alignment. No stock Pocher Rolls kit produces this accurate scale look.

The addition of the hood panel side hinges will make the louvers about perfect. You can see the cut line at the cowl needs material added and a bit of truing at the grille shell but that's small effort. If you look way back in the thread you can compare to early mock-ups before all the cutting. It's a dramatic change. Made this all worthwhile. Now to tackle the door fit and hinging, a formidable job to get right:


A change in plans...

I have been steadily working on the doors / body fit and hinging. None of it according to Pocher or Koo methods. It's a very detailed process and is time consuming. However a marvelous weather change brought 43% humidity and comfortably cool, windless conditions-so I decided to take advantage and get some parts in color. Also a nice change from tedious work.

In finished color is the 'new' trunk and the rear fenders are in primer. ALL of this after days of seam-filling, sanding, coating and re-coating:


The fenders have had their contours refined and the trailing edges thinned - like the aircraft guys do. Makes for scale thicknesses and more elegant lines. Also filled some 'rash' from being in the box so long. All primer and color here is the Duplicolor system.:


I'm calling the trunk 'finished' as far as construction. It has been chopped about 5mm, sectioned almost 20mm at the top and the upright back wall (the tire mount) has been sloped forward. The filler is Bondo 2 part and many hours of sanding and refilling are done. The hardest was the lid. When you slice it and rejoin you have changed the compound curves and always get visible seams and lumps. A session on the belt sander followed by repeated fillings and sandings rectify that:


An important tip; I have found that the method of sanding to 400 grit, then airbrushing a coat of Future as a barrier prevents ghosting of filler. Then prime, use a gray scuff pad and add another barrier coat. You want it smooth and flat - just a sheen. Now begin the color coats. I wet sand between with 1000 grit. You just want to build up color not make a layer cake. I find with Duplicolor lacquers I get the highest gloss by a light scuff with 1500 or 2000 and then go to their clear. That's the one I polish with cloths for final finish. Seen here, the red is done awaiting scuffing and when construction is over the clear will be applied. I know many builders get excellent results more easily or faster but this is what works to the standard I'm trying to achieve:


Down on the ground...

A much clearer view of the final look. Almost all elements in place except running boards and beltline. All temporary; must be blown apart for the fabricating and assembly. But this is the main 'architecture' of look and stance. Finishes and textures of paint, chrome, glass and fabric will make a huge difference and (I hope) improvement:






Small potatoes...

Some things just bother me that, in the grand scheme of things, amount to very little. Who besides me would notice? This is one of those.

Seen here in an earlier mock-up is the rear fender and tire relationship. You can see that open space is visible around the tire; you can see clear through to the other side in some places. True, if the rear seat was in place, some would be blocked. But then you see the seat structure and the lower body bits as well. And admittedly when the model is on it's tires on a table, 80% of this is invisible. But I know it's there...


Here's a fender as Pocher gives it to you. Note that the rear inner portion is molded to the fender and conceals the trunk side. But the front section is open and is on a different plane than the rear:


So the solution is to make a new inner fender panel. It must attach to the rear portion which is part of the fender. But the forward portion must be loose to go behind the brake drum and tire so as to allow clearance for those. The answer is to cut a paper pattern all trimmed to size and clearance. After test fittings, transfer to .015 styrene. Seen here, a .062 styrene rod is added as a stiffener without taking up valuable clearance space:


Resting in place, the slightly oversized forward section does it's hiding magic and the whole wheel well becomes neater:


Seen from an angle you'll never see when on display is the reason the front section must be loose. The stiffener and material thickness prevent a loose, floppy look:


Painted dark gray like the front inner fenders, this will virtually all disappear as so little shows around the tire. But it does give a neater finished look to the model that many will never even realize when viewing it. The 'U' shaped opening on this side is for the gas fill pipe to the tank side:


OK I'll share a little secret...

I too have joined the Bugatti club. But just a tiny bit. I have decided that T-50 tail lamps would compliment my 'flying fenders' and streamlined look. They add another horizontal element and are certainly period correct. So here they are:

PS- The trunk is neither wet sanded or polished yet so no shiny stuff yet. Tail lamps and lenses procured from Peter Doney at PocherParts.com






A sort of update...

I have been heavily involved in hanging the doors (1 actually) since the last posting but today I stepped out of my sequence due to favorable weather; very low humidity and no wind, Perfect for paint. December is not so...

I prepped and shot the rear fenders. This is to color only, sanded between coats but not final sanded and cleared yet. That happens when ALL the fabricating and fitting gets done - probably the spring.

Anyway here's the result, just hung in place with a tooth pic bit pinning it to the body and the wheel dangling off the axle. I do this because I need the incentive to see some sparkly bits during the tedious processes - like the doors.

Yes the eagle-eyed will see the door neatly in place. How it got there is coming in another posting. And it's far from finished so as to start the other side door. Sigh...

The yellow tape is an early sketch for the coachline to come later. It defines where the bottom of the fabric roof might be. I just look at these things every day and it starts to tell me if I've got it right or not. This will probably get tweeked in various ways before I start cutting plastic.






A question about tire fitment:

These are not the Pocher tires but the very nice MMC rubber tires. They are soft and pliable. I have heard the tip with the hard Pocher tires is to soak them in very warm water and work them into place. Never tried it because I went with the MMC set.

I avoided the problem of tire bulges when assembling the wheels. It's probably in the first few pages of this thread. I had much trouble with the brittle gray plastic and had to heat the spokes into place. Once a layer was in, I CA'd all the nipples inner and outer. Then when adding the next layer, I epoxied the rings together under clamping pressure in the jig. I used the screws on the last layer for alignment and epoxied the metal outer rings to the 'sandwich'. When cured, I removed the screws so no lumps at the tire bead. The wheels are very solid and true now.

The only reason there are gaps now in these tires is that I've handled them so frequently for mock-up test fitting of them with the body work. I needed them on to adjust the body set-back to get the wheelbase correct and a hundred other fits. They are really nice and pliable and I can get them perfectly flush around the rim when needed. But they are mainly props now for testing.

In these last photos, the fender is dangling from a tooth pick and the wheels are just slid over the axle stubs - all very temporary. Fasteners do bring everything into proper alignment.

Love / hate relationship...

Here's where I polarize the few of you I haven't already alienated with my tampering of a Pocher classic.

With one door mounted and the second nearly so, I will reveal a styling change long in the planning stage and soon to be constructed. My goal for so long has been a low, long, elegant and jaunty sporting coupe in the Gurney Nutting coach style. All the modifications have been aimed that way.

A hint was tendered a few posts back with the addition of Bugatti Type-50 tail lamps. Having rotated the rear fenders a bit to make them 'fly' and add to the streamline, I felt the lamps were the perfect addition to highlight that as they do on the Bug. They are also period correct. The concept came a year ago; the parts just a month or so ago.

After looking at so many T-50 models back then an idea came to me; the color sweep. A two-tone demarcation which could add visual excitement and increase horizontal elements. I searched all my Rolls reference and found but one example of a P II that had been treated this way by its owner. Seen here in Gentile's book is 144 PY, a somewhat in-elegant combination of lines but the sweep is there.


Color sweeps were not uncommon in the era especially good examples being Gable's Duesenberg Roadsters. Many custom coach builders used the device. So on firmer ground, I set to work integrating the device into the Sedanca design in a graceful way. Many paper templates followed along with many 'paint program' alterations of model Rolls photos. I found it's not as easy as it sounds. The 'speed' of the arc and its fit on the body work took much work to reconcile. Finally a pleasing to my eye design evolved. (You may now understand why this build has been taking so long; the prior modifications and this bright idea has caused many of you to yawn off into oblivion. I can't blame you; even I think I'm nuts going this deep off the gang plank).

Anyway, this color illustration makes it very clear and fairly accurate. It's an actual photo of my model on its wheels, then colorized in a facsimile of the final colors. The modified trunk, cut top etc. is all actually the model with fenders attached and wheels. Only thing forgotten was the spare hanging off the back.The sweep design finalized from this and transferred to styrene.


The influence can be seen in this superb T-50 built by David Cox. The sweep differs from mine because both bodies have different proportions but that was my task; to integrate that look onto the Sedanca 'canvas'. I tried to mimic the fender curves and integrate the roof lower edge in a harmonious way. You will judge if I succeeded or not.


Lastly, here is the body side with door and sweep attached. This is a sheet of .010 styrene (purely to get the curvature right for the upper cladding) which will be used as a template to make the upper body cladding. That's right, the upper portion will be .020 thick styrene so there is a demarcation line just like the Bug - not just a masked paint line. The edge will create a subtle shadow at the color break. The coachline will run from the grille to the trunk, further 'lengthening' the lines. Another involved project to get just right. Not seen on the illustration but present in the last shots are the hinge and louver details which will be in the yellow lower portion.


I may have a completely unique Pocher Rolls at the conclusion or chicken soup. I'm pressing on so I think I'm gonna like it. I welcome the few of you patient ones to continue on with me but truly understand if you feel I've gone to far and you've had enough:


At this point I address some controversy about the 'curl' at the bottom of the sweep and the top color. I have anguished over that for quite some time.

My feeling is that it works best for the Bugatti T-50; precisely for the reason that the Bug fenders / running boards are one piece. And they have a beautiful flow from one to the other front to back. That curl should be there (IMO) on the Bug because the rear fenders begin to sweep upward right at that junction.

My car has 'slashes', where the fronts end, the boards begin and end and the rear fenders start abruptly.

So it seemed logical to me to terminate in a pronounced 'vee' at the rear fender leading edge. A joint that may be echoed by the roof / trunk lids intersection. Resembling the downward curve of the front fender was primary to my eye. I will soon post a shot of the sweep in the actual cream color (painted) and with the running board (but not yet painted) attached. Hopefully that will make more sense to you viewers.

I fear additional curvature would visually shorten (or add height) to the side. The longer that line stays straight, the longer the car looks; my goal. It actually starts to droop at the very back edge of the hood.

About the roof fabric color; be advised that what you see is the equivalent of an electronic crayon sketch of the car in color. I have no PS skills and the crappy paint program that came with this box is terrible.

I assure you the fabric color is much darker than shown here although not body color. It's the closest I could get and I checked with my Fabric Lady who says the piece may get ruined by attempts to dye it. I will post a shot of the fabric and paint together to show. It's by no means perfect but not wholly terrible.

Herewith some more visual aids explaining what I tried in words above. Please remember that everything you see is pinned, clamped or tacked together in very temporary (loose) fashion,

First the roof fabric and body paint:


Now the sweep painted (but 2 very light coats) and its relation to the surrounding parts. I have always felt that the more of the lighter color I used, the less 'heavy' the car would look. Bringing the maroon down beyond the hood and cowl tops might add to the 'vertical' and I'm shooting for more 'horizontal':





Edited by Codger

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Turning a corner...

Continuous work has finally got the doors sized and mounted. easier written than done. Numerous sessions with hinge placement (doors on and off) and heating the warps was tedious. There are so many compounds to the body curvature that the door must conform to it you want a smooth paint reflection. I got it better than OOB but probably not as perfect as I want it.

With doors in their final place, I finalized a paper template of the maroon portion of the sweep with a beltline. The idea is a smooth flow of lines front to rear and blend into the trunk lines. So the trunk does not look like an afterthought.

From this I will make a .010 styrene template with sharp edges and from that the actual cladding that will get fastened to the body. The cladding will be .020 thick, the raised beltline will be .030 atop that and the center line seen here will be .080 wide half-round. I may tweek or remove the arrow point on the front and possibly slightly adjust the bottom edge of the roof line.

I'm relieved the design is finalized but anxious about getting a perfect, flat fit to the body. Stay tuned...





No more paper templates...

Color sweep cladding now permanent on this side. Other side, cowl and rear panel tomorrow. Yellow just tacked on for viewing.




A question about color-sanding arose and this is my method:

When color sanding, I sand in a sink or large pan with a dollop of dish soap and warmish water - always wet. With the part and paper under the water. I stop very frequently and check. Tape or avoid sharp edges; you can use paste polishing compound on those safely. And I work under very direct, bright light.

Just a word...

Since mounting the cladding above, I've been steadily working to perfect the flow of all the joins and smooth all the surfaces. Because the areas and parts are so big, the slightest misalignment shows very clearly. I'm making good progress and am almost ready to mount the beltline.

Coming together...

With the look finalized, here is the first complete side with sweep and beltline. This cleans up the Pocher dip and hopefully adds to the swept-back look of speed.

Some tips for those working in large scale: The belt consists of .030 strip cut 6.5mm wide at the door front to 3mm wide at the back edge. Atop that is .080 half round as a center accent strip. When attaching I used one full-length strip of 3M striping tape for a guide to get perfectly straight. Then using a tiny DROP of Gel CA at the front and rear edge of each strip, place in proper location. Double check for arrow-straightness. If misalignment is detected, it's very easy to slide a scalpel between the parts to break the bond, correct the alignment and reapply CA Gel. Then wick VERY THIN plastic weld cement to the top and bottom edges, pressing as you go. DO NOT SMEAR CEMENT on finished face.

The .080 is applied the same way. I heated the rear edge of both joined pieces on a candle to pre-curve it around the body rear corner.. Then tiny Gel drops to anchor the strip around the curve. With cement and Gel, less is more.

When doing large body work, especially in the finish stages, it's often easiest to work with the large body on its side or back. To prevent scuffing on the work surface (I sand to 600 grit just before primer) I made these foam surfaces cut to rough body shape. They are the 24" square work mats sold at the home supply stores and are inexpensive. I cut them into sanding blocks too for various areas where I don't want a hard wooden sanding block:







There's a slight depression of the panel beneath the belt. Doubtless due to much sanding before the cladding went on. The sanding was to remove the thick molded-on Pocher belt sweep. You can see a bit of light pink filler in that area. It is much less noticeable in person and not a factor from other viewing angles. With straightedge from the hinge aft it is less than 1mm. I do not want to refill on top and overwork the plastic.

The fact is some things you must live with. The doors have a slight outward crown and getting door edges to match the body compound curves was also a major struggle. Took warping with heat and in places, vigorous sanding of mating edges. The Pocher molds were less than perfect compounded by 3 decades of warping. I think when the upper area is all maroon it will all harmonize.

A REALLY important tip...

This applies to Pocher Rolls' but other Pochers would benefit from the principle. Even smaller 'big scale' builds too. You can't see both sides at once but for the truly anal (who me?) you will get a model that stands the highest scrutiny. Plus it's something that makes viewers feel it's an accurate replica but they don't know why. It's taken for granted that cars sit even and level.

Throughout all the mock-ups and test fits over time, one thing has consistently bothered me. The tire to fender gap in the rear has never been even side-to-side. I checked warps, mounting locations and dozens of other parameters. The solution came to me today. And it's simple as pie for anyone to check and correct.

First mount the wheels in place and place model on a relatively level surface. I added 2, 1 pound weights for checking purposes to settle everything where it will be when bolted together and the full interior and body are on.

A simple pointer (pointed bamboo skewer) clamped in an 'extra hands' soldering jig makes an excellent reference jig. Pick a location on the chassis and just touch the pointer to the surface. Repeat on the other side and note any difference. I then fabricated 2, 1/8 x 1/4 styrene beams and placed them between the axle top and a bracket on the chassis. I kept adjusting the length of the spacer until the low side matched the 'correct' side. EACH SPACER WILL BE A DIFFERENT LENGTH. I made a circular notch in the spacer to go around the the tubular location on the axle and made the flat top fit snugly into the chassis bracket. When all checks and adjustments were done and both sides equal, a coat of flat black and two dabs of Gel CA completed the installation. But not before full-dress with rear fenders on and comparing each tire gap.

The reason for the disparity on the Rolls is the complex brake bracketry which locates the axle to the chassis by small screws and uneven friction at each joint. CA on those joins would not last under the model's weight. One side will flex more than another. Having a now-invisible prop of the proper dimension assures that a very visible area of the car looks correct.

Seen in the last shot in near-full dress, all the proportions and lines are evident. I darkened the roof filler to make viewing a bit easier. I may, when I get to the 'fine-tuning' stage, remove the .062 shim in the front springs to get that fender back closer to the tires. For now, a full 'undressing' and perfecting all the panels for primer.






No exciting stuff...

Don't have any 'glamorous' stuff to show but work has gone on. With the car in the state of the last picture, I've been trying to engineer the boring stuff; the fasteners that join major assemblies together. The car has so many changes from Pocher 'stock', that simple Pocher screws don't work or locations are in different places than where originally designed. The fenders are rotated and the trunk has new inner structure, needed when it was all cut up. Can't just drill a hole somewhere without knowing what you're going into.

In particular, the rear fenders have to be screwed to the trunk (they already are to the main body) or the chassis to pin them flush to the panels. The trunk has to attach solidly to the back of the main body and chassis too. And the body lower front fastener bolts will be in a new location since the body was moved rearward 5mm. Of course, this all has to be removable for final finish. So I'm noodling around with brackets and trying to find locations for studs or bolts. Not fun, exciting work.

I AM about to lay-out and fabricate the brass side window frames so they fit the door's new contours. At the same time, the internal door latch and handle mechanism needs figuring too. I have Marvin's beautiful outer door handles and they go in nothing like the Pocher parts. Everything takes figuring and testing from here on out. Sometimes I really miss the simple assembly of parts like chassis and engine where you get visible results and a little gratification very quickly.

Lucky sometimes...

As described, a bunch of planning and test fits have been going on before the next big project; soldering up window frames and door assembling. In particular, I needed to get the trunk and rear fenders fastened solidly to the main structure. I kind of hit a wall with this boring stuff so I began disassembling the last mock-up to begin the door work. And then, an idea simply presented itself.

Having made several types of brackets and looked at 3 types of screws / bolts, I had no satisfactory way to secure the trunk. But the simple answer was, the same way I secured the rear of the floorboard.

Using 2mm threaded rod, I had drilled and tapped the chassis and made a 'stud', then drilled the floor in the exact location (fun) and retained with a nut. I've had the floor / body unit on and off literally countless times and the system has been bulletproof.

So using some soft putty placed on the chassis in the approximate area, I placed the trunk in position and compressed the putty. This gave me the height of the spacer block I'd need. After measuring, 1/8 x 1/4 styrene rod was cut to 15mm long and checked for fit between chassis and trunk bottom. Much careful measuring of the distances from the rear of the body and in from the trunk side followed. This determined where the block should sit on the chassis and where holes should be drilled in it and the trunk floor. All this was necessary because the trunk has been severely altered from stock. Seen in other pictures, the details atop the gas tank had to be removed in order for the trunk to sit square in the chassis. No matter, as they are unseen even in a stock build.

The chassis paint was scuffed in the area, the block also. A bit of German gray will make this all disappear later. A .062 hole was drilled off center in the block and matching place on the chassis. A peg of styrene rod was inserted to make a small locating peg which (along with the 2mm stud) would prevent the block from ever moving. A drop of gel CA and then the #49 hole was drilled and tapped for the 2mm threads. Then CA on the threads as they sank down to the bottom of the chassis channel. Trunk holes were located and drilled slightly oversize. A washer will be under the nut upon final assembly. I lucked-out with a perfect, secure fit. Once again the value of stout (compared to Pocher screws) removable 2mm fasteners are highly recommended to Pocher builders. I can now make simple 2mm bolts, (a nut CA'd to a length of threaded rod) to secure each fender to the trunk body. Just a lot of tricky measuring and a tapped block inside needed. I may not have to attach the trunk to the body because 4 studs already hold the floor unit to the chassis.

Actually easier to do than write about. Overcoming a stumbling block always gives you much enthusiasm to move ahead...






Another tip...

This is primarily for Rolls builders but may work on other hard-roof cars like Alfa Coupe and Bugatti.

I needed to work the bottom of the chassis but with the body attached. I've made body mount brackets (will show soon) which bolt to the bottom rails and connect to the new, lower body edge. First attach the body / floor unit to the chassis. I have 2mm studs through the rear floor and 0-80 bolts through the front floor. If you have workstands, remove the rear one and carefully invert the whole car. Rest the roof on a pad and you're done. Solid and safe to measure and attach parts. No front fender though because of the front stand.

I knew there was a good reason I whacked the windshield down. Almost as good as a rotisserie.


Important but not exciting...

I have been working every day since the last update so here is the important result. The body and floor mate as a unit and the whole assembly mates to the chassis - in a solid and repeatable way. You've seen many prior pictures of the car mocked-up this way but there is a difference now. Many hours of measuring and test fitting improved it all.

I went back and made stronger, more accurate locations for all mounting points. I added two new ones (total of 6), and a pair of chassis brackets which now secure the lower front of the body. I made improved 'clamps' to securely hold the floor unit to the body lower flanges. The trunk aligns with the body perfectly. No Pocher screws anywhere; all fasteners are by 6, 2mm studs, tapped and epoxied in place with nuts. The lower front of the body uses 0-80 bolts with nuts through a brass bracket.

I will post all the 'fill-in' shots of these parts and assemblies soon. But here is the result. For the first time, the unit sits flush on the chassis and firewall with no bind, twist or warp; it just glides right onto the locating studs and the bolt holes align. A 'tee' pin is seen in the lower front where the bolt goes through the bracket. They fit perfectly with all the other locators in place, a very rewarding feeling. This is what lets you install and remove body work for finish and interior and have it all go back precisely and unseen when carpet and seats are installed:



It's dramatic even to me to see the actual lowness of the firewall (.250 lower) plus the body cowl sitting flush on it (body almost .375 lower). Here's an early mock-up; the firewall top is level to the grille shell (too high) and the body cowl is higher still, not even touching the firewall. Now the body cowl is level to the grille shell.


This test fit finally confirms I got what I was after, making all the slicing and dicing work worthwhile.

A brief word...

Work has been on-going, just no 'pretty picture, show / tell stuff'. I've resisted the temptation to shoot primer and get that pretty look because of all the handling done and yet to be done.

Having finalized the body, trunk and door positions, I have turned attention to the hood tops and getting a perfect fit between grille and cowl. I have gotten that straight, level hood I wanted. Took warps out of the front edge of left panel. The key was bolting the hinge halves to the panels instead of melting the pegs in place. This allows perfecting each half panel for fit. And later, painting without masking the chromed brass hinge. So far so good only to find a huge problem with the Pocher hinge; it warps upward at each end. The wire they used looks like a banana removed from the hoops. I have come up with a solution but it's tricky to execute. Will show and tell all soon.

To further confuse you...

A situation has occurred which caused me to divert from the above hinge / hood project briefly. To a really exciting addition of the model.

Always planning ahead all the phases of construction, for some time, I had planned to make chromed brass strips for the running boards. Foil or paint on the molded strips just was not acceptable to me. But the learning curve to make them is a steep one at my skill level. So on a hunch, I contacted David Cox for advice about his advanced building techniques. Virtually all of his models feature chromed brass frames and strips in their decor. After some conversation, David offered to custom make strips to my design. I went ahead and purchased them and could not be more pleased. This saved me a hard learning project and much time. So I stopped the hood work to install them.

I did this as a priority so I could return them to David for chroming as he had many bits of his own to be plated so mine could go along. I included my brass windshield frame, completed months ago.

When I received them, they were also jewel-like in their craftsmanship, just as Marvin's parts are. David was Marvin's partner for some 15 years and together they built over 70 Pochers. Now David just builds for his own customers and his work on extreme and 'stock' Pochers can be seen here: http://www.detailedmodelcars.com/

In preparation for the strips, I had to sand the molded strips off the boards and then decided to make a drilling template. Seen in the first shot, the template made of .020 was sized exactly to the board. The strips are attached to the boards by 'pegs' which are inserted into holes drilled in the board. The strips are drilled in 2 or 3 places, the pegs inserted then soldered on top. The solder works down the threads to the back. The excess solder is then filed away, the parts polished and are then complete. Those pegs are actually 1mm bolts (he sometimes uses wire) which he gets precisely in even-spaced locations using dividers. This is closely related to watch-making, not model building.

After preparing the boards and templates, I transferred the peg locations to the styrene and drilled .041 holes. I then placed the templates on the boards and drilled in those locations. The result is stunning and as real as you can get for a Pocher. I am much in debt to David and suggest you contact him through his site if you desire similar custom built parts - or even a whole model:








This is how the strips came from Dave Cox. And today, the running boards got their color. Tomorrow the clear:






Return to work...

After a vicious 10 day bout with what was probably influenza, it's good to be able to accomplish something. Although I had begun the hood just before illness, I was interrupted by the running board strips. Now that the 'boards are done and the strips are out for chrome, I've ordered some brass to correct the hood hinge. While waiting for that, I decided the doors should be finalized.

To do that, I need the side window brass frames. The latch mechanism will go under them within the doors. So some time drawing up for templates and making them from .050 was done today. Then, cutting the channel legs on the bandsaw and sanding the mating angles on the disc sander. The front edge is not 90 degrees because it follows the angle of the windscreen. The back edge is 90 but I found it safer and easier to sand the angles of each adjoining leg to mate better than sanding 90's.

Got the windwings done today, tomorrow the partially lowered side door glass. Soon a big time soldering session:



Here's where we're going...

Today, the biggest accomplishment was figuring-out a system. And I did; shown is the miter cut 3/32 square channel for the window frames. Jigged, pinned and silver soldered cleanly. The problem being to solder the corners cleanly and keep silver solder out of the inner channel corners.

BY FAR the key to this operation is to keep the channel corners clear so your glass fits. After a lot of experimenting the answer was baking pan ally, folded, cut and bent to fit comfortably into the corners. Silver solder won't stick to it. Worked a charm; no glop inside the corners which the last shot attempts to show. Note the lower blocker has the rear edge cut to match the slope of the rear of the glass; you want no gaps inside or you'll get solder. With just a little file and 220 work the corners are crisp and clean. And the original plastic template fits perfectly as shown.

Plenty still to solder and dress but much relieved I've got a reliable system. It took me days to clear the channels in the 'screen frame using folded tin foil (boo) but this took 3 minutes to join and 5 to finish dress the corners.. The sooner I finish the sooner off for chrome; I'm excited to see the 'screen frame and running board strips come home soon. I'm also planning a chrome accessory which will be another soldering adventure...

The pros may do this with far less effort and different ways but there are other ways to skin the cat. I'm satisfied the result will be hard to tell from a pro's work. YOU CAN DO THIS; if I can, you can. The look of chromed windwings and partially lowered side glass adds a natural and elegant touch to any Rolls and some of the other Pocher Classics. And better men than I can actually make these things pivot out and lower but my train stops here. I'm OK with that...





I've taken many steps back and none forward over the last several days.
Remember the trunk lid? A few compound curve seams were showing. Well couldn't live with it. I was going to make a trunk rack to 'disguise' the flaws, which is a lame thing to do. Not my style to cut a corner that badly. So plenty of Bondo, paper and time and I got it as perfect as it can be. NOW I can live with it. AND I'm going to make a trunk rack too, a marvelous chrome detail if I get it right:


And then...

.A heartbreak caused me to go the whole nine yards with the window frames. With all the door mock-ups, a 90 degree corner split open on me. I doubled down - remade each leg of both quarter lights from new; no repair botch. Started with a new plastic template - more accurate than the old. Made a new 'solder block' (for the inside corners) to match the template perfectly. Today I carefully cut and mitered (perfect fits) them all and drilled their plate holes. I discovered the two old ones didn't match each other exactly which is why I went back to square one. REALLY aggravated myself because I THINK I take care when I make things but see some things are slipping by me. At least I won't have to look at errors each time I look at it after completion.

Also stopped horsing around and ordered a new Weller 40 watt solder iron; realized my 30 year-old Craftsman is down to the nub. Trying to do jewelry with blacksmith tools. There are lessons to be learned as you go along.

Small progress...





Crawling back...

As mentioned a few posts ago some of the chrome plated parts have returned and really cheered me up. So here's a brief look. I'm planning to actually DO something tomorrow; I'll polish the clear paint on a running board then permanently mount the chrome strips. Tasty.

A side note; I know you're probably tired of seeing the major bodywork in black and white raw plastic. I've been encouraged to prime everything 'cause it's cool to see a WIP project at least all one color. But I have firmly been a believer of getting the surfaces near perfect raw, then priming and fine skim coats as needed. I have to handle these big parts way too much which leads to corrupted primer anyway. So the w'shield frame doesn't stand out now as much as it will when the surround is dark maroon with no gaps. But that WILL happen.

Pardon the mediocre pictures; small chrome parts are hard to show and I'm not up to my old standards just yet. These actually look way better in person than the pictures; a little shimming under the center will eliminate the small gaps. I'm proud of the curved, kerfed corners with nearly no imperfections- my first such attempt. Then, the secret is to polish the brass until it's flawless, then start all over again. Honest.




More chrome...

As promised the running board. Polished to 12,000 then strips fitted. Being hand-made items, they have minute differences in the spacing of the 00-90 mounting pins so fitting them where I drilled the holes originally requires care. But with no stress on them they seat nicely in place. Here's the result.

Again sorry for the poor pictures but I'm satisfied that in place between the fenders they will be an outstanding accent. As of now the main parts with color on them are all fenders, the trunk and these boards. The large fender and trunk parts require polishing because they get stored and handled for test fittings so I leave the polish on those until final assembly.

And a final thanks and recommendation to Dave Cox for fabricating these jewels. Some parts such as these are just not available from Marvin or anywhere else. I urge any of you building Pochers to contact him for custom parts you can't make yourself. They can transform your model:





The credit for this beautiful detail goes to D.Cox; I just slightly changed the design of the molded-on strips. I made the inner one longer than Pocher had it. I will say that sanding-off the molded ribs was quite a chore; that stuff was hard plastic. Then the inevitable many grits of paper to get a flat, not gouged surface. You don't want them to 'ghost' through finished paint.

Just could not bear foil on the stock parts; I'm a lousy foiler and would have carved up the finish paint. Hat's off to those of you that turn out beautiful foil jobs. I'm hooked on the whole brass / chrome thing. It remains to figure the side window frames mounting then make a luggage rack and rear glass frame.

Oh and I forgot - the entire latch mechanism and door fit looms as well.

I now have so many subassemblies such as this, rear seat, the fenders, dashboard, trunk and others, all stored in microfiber cloths and safe in boxes. However, every day I have to look at this 'turtle' in black and white plastic and Bondo, to which they all attach (someday).

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I cut and fitted the Lexan into place. It's water-clear and looks smashing in person. The gap under center of the frame will be shimmed and puttied, but care needed to allow for body paint thickness. Will wrap and store windscreen for safety until late in the build. There are no marks on it. Would like to cut side and rear Lexans -coming soon:



Here sits 1616 hours of work, awaiting while recovering from hospital work:


A little recovery...

Slowly over the last couple of days I got back to doing small things. Boy it feels great when working but I pay a price after...

I started slowly with a masking project on the rear body work. No rush, so I took a day for that. As the temps warmed to the 50F, I shot two build primer coats and one mist guide coat in black then an overnight dry. This in an effort to perfect the sweep panels and get them flat. The roof will remain masked so that the fabric covering bonds to raw plastic and not paint. That's quite a way off. Sanding tomorrow to get flat and find any low spots.



I tackled a nit pick job of perfecting the windshield opening to match the brass frame. I cut thin strips of .030, .020 and .005 styrene to build the curvature at the bottom center. A little sanding and back and forth fittings blends them into a gradual curve. The frame is a now a press fit snug but when painted, I will relieve the paint build-up and make it a light press fit. A smear of Bondo may be needed across the front edge - will see when I get some primer on that area.



A question arose about the planning stages:

I figure at least 1/3 additional hours were planning, parts searching and designing how things would look and then assemble. Maybe more but I thankfully was not SO anal as to log that. The brainstorm for the color sweep alone really tacked-on time. To say nothing of the body and top cuts and chassis changes. And then there's the cost factor. I have steadfastly ignored that on purpose.

Guide coating; a big help-

Here's my method to get really flat (meaning smooth) paint. It's a messy, time-consuming process. But to me, worth it. The primer (Duplicolor Perfect Match) and guide coat (any flat black) seen above is now being wet sanded to reveal the low spots.

I set up near a sink filled with dish soap (a couple drops) and warm water. I soak 400 grit in that with a foam sanding block. I make these blocks from dense garage foam floor tiles, cut to the shapes I need to get into all tight places. This one is is narrow to fit into the space at the rear just above the wheel arch.

I spray water onto the body surface and sand, frequently resoaking the paper to clean it. Working carefully with medium pressure, you can see the black remains in the low spots. These spots are too shallow for putty so they require the build up of primer. Blow off any water in nooks and crannies with shop air and wipe the dry area of work with isopropyl before re-priming.


When the black stops coming off, that's where you've cut enough primer to flatten quite a bit of the surface. The next step is a repeat of this process with 2 fairly good coats of prime (to fill those low spots as much as possible) and a spritz of flat black to find the remaining shallow areas. When all is well a final light coat of prime will be shot overall and sanded with 600 for the first color coats. So if you want concours paint on large surfaces this method works well for me. Just don't expect overnight results:


Bondo and primer for a smooth area under the 'screen and on the cowl sides which meet the side cladding:



No gaps and a light press fit:



he third application of primer and guide on the rear quarters drying tonight for sanding tomorrow. Should be as good as I can get it then.

Resolving problems / making better progress...

Seen here in an earlier view, the door is hung and alignment of all the elements is very good. Harder to see is that the front upper edge (where the latch will engage the cowl, has the door slightly ajar. This is due to the fact that the Sedanca cowl pinches inward quite a bit from the rear main body:


After considerable hot water bending the door now meets the cowl perfectly at this area and will latch with no tension. The other door is seen with a clip to hold it closed - needs the heat treatment too. The door handles are fragile and would not last long otherwise. Note that the heat treatment has not loosened or damaged the beltline or sweep cladding:


The cowl and windshield frame are now perfected and sanded to 600. The rocker panel will come shortly:


If anyone doubts the effectiveness of the previously shown guide coating process, here is the proof. The main cabin area has been finished with the final prime coat after the low spots were filled by the process. It is flat and sanded to 600. Continuing work on the body will be done using thin soft foam as protection for the skin. A lot of work - yes - but for me the only way to concours paint using lacquer on large areas:


Moving ahead, attention to the doors is next. Here, their edges have been shimmed with strip stock and blended to fit the openings. Paint clearance will further slim the gaps for a smooth look. The window frames and latch are next to be mounted and fiddled with:


The near finished door skins. These will also get guide coats for priming but are smaller and stiffer than the main body area was so are mostly already very flat. These are sanded to 400 right now; they will be primed in gray upper (under the dark red) and white lower as discussed below:


An important and exciting (for me) test of the color for the body sweep. Three spoons are tested. One has the regular gray primer, the second has no primer (the raw spoon is white plastic) and the third has white primer. All are shot with two coats of color (called Krylon Sweet Cream) and two coats of clear. Note that the first is a weak, diluted color because of the gray base, The second is a truer color but note that it's a dull finish. This is because the lacquer is too hot for the raw plastic and etches the surface. The last is the solution; white primer / color / clear. A hard high gloss. Final polishing will improve it further. All are shown resting on the unpolished but cleared trunk lid. Take the time to test your ideas to avoid disappointments. The two colors are just what I hoped they'd be.


More preparation...

The problem; get the rear fenders to mate securely to the main body and the trunk, with no gaps. The front half of the fenders-to-body has already been secured with my '2mm bolt' fix, which allows them to be removed many times for fitting purposes. That was shown earlier in the thread.

The overall sequence goes like this; floor bolts to chassis (on 4, 2mm studs), body clamped to floor (by fabricated rocker panel clamps also seen earlier), and trunk bolts to chassis (on 2, 2mm studs). So now to 'pin' the rear half of the fenders to the trunk and have a stable, solid coach.

The thought occurred that a very effective method explained by Paul Koo in his CD might work but slightly differently. Paul shows the 'melting method'; sinking Pocher screws into their holes with a heated soldering iron. This stops the break-out of screw holes because of their taper as the hot screw creates its own threads deep in the plastic and allows removal.

Because of the radical changes to my car like rotating the fenders, sectioning the trunk and the general relocation of the body, none of the original Pocher hole locations are useful. The inside wall of the fender needs to mate to the outside wall of the trunk, which overlaps the chassis rail. The simple solution is to run a screw straight through the fender wall into the trunk wall. But there's the old problem of just a few removals and you have a stripped hole which holds nothing.

So why not a bolt and nut solution?; I chose an 0-80 bolt, washer and nut for the strength. The key being to melt the nut in place (making it captive) on the back side of the trunk wall.

After much measuring and trial / error, the suitable location was found and holes drilled. The key is to thread the bolt through the trunk wall and nut and then apply the heat. This keeps hot plastic out of the threads:


Being lucky rather than good, this is how the bolt up looks outside. Fender tight to the trunk. DON'T overtighten the bolt; just get the parts to touch together with no gap and you're good.


For a bit of peace of mind, mix some 5 minute epoxy and CAREFULLY make a mound around the shoulder of the nut, taking care to keep the threads clean. The overall result and what you're after; hope this tip is of use to Pocherphiles:




A slow return to the bench...

Time to re-think some past assemblies and plan some other new ones. One such project is the cabin's carpet.

Much earlier in the build I showed my solution with velour doll house carpet and 'binding' I made with shrink tube. It never really suited me although it was acceptable. Fast forward nearly a year and I finally noodled-out a plan for proper binding. I came across leather piping or lacing as it's known, which was the big 'lights-on' idea.

Here is the original carpet with the gray shrink edging next to the new bound edged carpet; they are EXCATLY cut from the same piece of carpet but pictures and available light make them look different colors. Each photo here is a slightly different color but the darker-looking ones are correct. It's a pretty close match for the red of the fenders / body:




A little 'dress rehearsal' in place in the cabin. I'm pleased because it's more in scale and hardly noticeable, which is very much like 1:1. It's just a subtle neat edge and I'm pretty relieved it bugged me enough to change:



Finally-Taking a seat...

...and carving it up! Rather than scratch build the front seats I found it expedient to buy MMC's beautiful resin seats for the Benz Roadsters. The resin and casting is very good quality and has a great pleat pattern to go with my scratch built rear bench seat. But the narrowness of the Rolls cabin dictated some surgery (I now hate that word) to the Benz seats for a fit. Wear a mask when cutting and sanding this resin!!

Being excited about returning to the bench for short whiles, I again forgot to photo a 'before' snap of the seats. In the Benz, the passenger portion of the seat is wider than the driver side. To make them equal, two pleats had to come out of the wide side. The driver side has five pleats, the passenger, seven. Also seen here is the Pocher supplied seat shell for the Rolls. My plan is to hack that and use the upper (back) portion of the shell with the Benz seat back within. It will be hinged to tilt forward with Benz brackets made by MMC and chromed. The white triangle is the template for the shape of the side of the shell when the base is cut away:


Now the seats are the same width but slightly wider than the Rolls shell. That will require a bit of trimming and reshaping of the side bolsters. The base of the shell will be removed:


The resin seats are cast with a dip in the center which required the pleats be removed from each side or they would be misshapen:


The cut-down seat needs some trimming of the sides for a perfect fit:


A mock-up in the cabin shows why the need for the cuts. The bolsters and edges will be trimmed and shaped so this is just a temporary look. All I could manage today:



Getting nuts - again...

Not liking the bolt-upright appearance of the stock Pocher Rolls front seats, i dreamed up this wacky combination of parts and hacks. Benz resin seats into a cut-down Rolls seat shell to make a pivoting 'bucket-style' pair of fronts. How bad could it be right?

Here's some before and after; the Pocher complete seat shell. Note that the sides are double thick (to support the junk stock vinyl 'upholstery') and the back has mounting pins also for the vinyl:


After butchering this brittle brown plastic, here's the core of what I wanted. Note the insides cleaned and thinned so as to allow as much of the resin seat to fit (also with a bit of trimming). This involved files, 60 grit, a Dremel on high with sanding drum, blacksmith tools and a huge mess:




A rough idea of where this is going. Note the seat shell back may need to be shortened a bit. Also the white resin bits need to be thinned a bit, have the back angled and the side bolsters narrowed by about 3mm per side. I'm making this up as I go (as you can tell) because there's no way to draw this up for proof of idea. If I'm all wrong, I'll have ruined a $50 pair of seats, destroyed the Pocher bits and wasted about two lightyears. Nothing new for me however...


A dangerous habit now...

Somebody take these sharp tools away from me. Once again I went back to something done a year ago, determined to 'improve' it.

After completing the rear bench seat (sofa in a Sedanca) I knew I was fortunate because I'd never done big-time leather before and this came out acceptably. Home safe and dry. But immediately I realized I didn't do a center arm rest, something all the 'Advanced Guys' built into theirs. Sad but I felt it was over my skill level. So what do I do today?

Take a brand new number 11 scalpel blade and slice the center pleat out of my prized furniture. Actually, I made a balsa arm rest first, leathered and piped it and THEN went berserk:



Fresh off the bandsaw...

14mm cut off the shells, seats notched, sanded and sliced. A LOT of dust. But very close to the look and ambiance I'm after. Want the same 'lived in' look as the rear sofa:



In the cockpit; the major apparent thing is that the seats need a pedestal or base to raise them. In the Benz they came from there is a base. The steering column and cowl at the windshield make this evident. Being a 'make-up-as-I-go' project that's OK. You can't learn anything until the bits are made to play with each other and mocked in place. That wood block is just to prop the seat in position - nothing glued. Indeed, I may have to thin the backrest cushion to 'sink' it a bit into the shell. All trial and error. The good thing is I can always add styrene to build up any over -cutting. The pivoting brackets will work well with this look:



A tip for madmen...

...like me. From the 'Crude but Effective' file.

'Skiving' is the process of thinning leather by scraping the back of the skin to thin it. Thin leather is desirable on our 1/8 scale models because it can be stretched better to go around edges and corners or fit into 1mm grooves between pleats. There are plenty of tools sold on leather working sites for this. But this is right at hand.

Take a sanding block with 40 or 60 grit on it and scrape the back of the leather in one direction, holding the other end firmly. It takes patience and makes a fine powdery mess but I keep the DustBuster at hand for that. Here, the lighter area on the right side has been scraped:


A very sharp knife blade can be used with or in place of the 40 grit. But I like the sanding because it's controllable; you don't gouge or cut through the leather. Here is the edge with the sanded part at the right; it's paper thin. Actually removed about .008" of thickness. That will help when two adjoining areas of applied leather meet. I have some of that coming up on the seat cushions. Admittedly, not for everyone but it works if you like really thin, workable leather:


Final position...

After much research, trial and error, here is the seat location. The mock-up needed the dashboard clamped in place and steering wheel in position. A balsa shim base for the seat has been finalized at .290" to get good height. The final will be made from styrene and covered with either leather or carpet. I'm now satisfied with the relationship of wheel / dash / seat. These are very close to the prototypes of the day where the driver had the wheel in his chest and his shoulders well above the seat back. The seat squab was very short with poor support under the knees but adequate clearance for legs under the wheel and away from the levers. Seat back height about at the top of the door line:


Here is a beautiful restoration of a Gurney Nutting P II Drophead Coupe showing these relationships and generally cramped conditions in the short wheelbase cabin. I got as close as possible given the Pocher architecture. I'm working on making mounts that allow the seats to be removed easily yet fix firmly and will soon start shaping the resin cushions:


About thickness of leather and parts- I allowed 3mm per side between seat shell back and cushions. Also why I chose the skiving technique I will use to get paper thin leather. Messy and time consuming but better in the end.

Debating covering the shell with leather side , suede side or possibly carpet. Will trim edges so as to avoid lumps and overlap.

It worked...

Here's how. First, all the parts were 'kitted'. Styrene; 1/8 x 1/4 base sides, .040 base top (actually a shim to get the desired .290 height), 1/16 ID tubing. 1/8 tube bases with .015 shim to clear carpet height. Brass; 1/16 OD rod. CA and Plastruct cement. The once-glorious first carpet now sacrificed for test duty. It served a good purpose.

The principle; make a 'plug in' seat by attaching tubes to floor pan styrene and brass 'prongs' to seat base. Side base onto floor FROM THE SIDE, using the nap of the carpet to provide enough friction to hold the base securely when in place but allow easy removal:


It is critical to get accurate measurements for where you want the seat to be located and repeatable measurements for each component which you're making four of each of. The tubes attached to the brass prongs act as stops so the seat arrives at the correct side-to-side location every time. They also stiffen and secure the brass rods to the base frame:


How it looks in place before the top is attached to the base. Base rests neatly on carpet. The current finished carpet will be cut more neatly and closer to the tubes. Again, I'm going to cut a perfectly good finished part after the fact. Not good and my luck will run out at some point. The arrows on base point forward (toward dash) but seat installs from side. This allows easy installation or removal after doors on and also because there's not enough forward or aft clearance in the cabin. Should repairs ever be needed, the whole cabin including floor can be unbolted at any time. No ripping seat glued to carpet or turning entire model upside down to access screws or bolts:


Seat cushion on base and snug on carpet. The base will be covered with carpet material, the cushion gray leather. Still to come, attaching seat back cushion and shell with pivot to tip forward. All edges of base and cushions will be rounded off before covering. Now the only trick is to make an exact duplicate for the passenger seat and get it in the correct spot. I'm sure NONE of you are rushing to get these dimensions and techniques down for your Pochers; waaay to much work and fiddly stuff. But if it spawns an idea you can use on any scale you're building, I'm pleased:


Removing resin, adding carpet and kid skin...

From the previous post you can clearly see the hard-edged stock shape of the Benz seat cushion. That wouldn't do in my 'lived-in' Roller. So some reshaping was in order. But first the seat bases got a nice cover with carpet and binding:



Now the dirty business of shaping. Befores and afters evident:





At home in the cabin. Fronts seats now equal to rear bench in comfy style. Leather being added and hair removed from scalp as you read this...


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OK - a tiny peek...

Only 3 more cushions and 2 seat backs to go....(groan). The big effort was to get front and rear to match so the slightly rumpled,aged look continues..


The method: First, I skive the skin to get it thinner. Remove about .005 to .008 of backing. I shape the resin seats to have slightly bowed or uneven edges and a 'scooped-out' section where most of the sitting takes place. Before applying the leather I use used dryer sheet scraps in a 'U' shape to get a bit of fluffiness in the covering. It's not pulled tight like so many new upholstery museum models. After the pleats and edges are down, (using mainly CA Gel and Bondini) I selectively do areas with gray scuff pad and lightly drag a small pair of open scissors (sharp surgical scissors) in a random diagonal pattern that overlaps. You DON'T want to cut the skin, just score it, lightly and randomly. You can see this easier in person rather that in photos. Adds a 'realness' to the presentation. Just look at well-sat on real leather in an older daily driver and you'll get the sense. After, I rub in shoe polish (it's leather right?) and brush and buff it, mainly on the high spots and edges where trousers would normally 'polish' it. That gives a sheen and patina that new leather lacks. Like worn gabardine trouser seats. Experiment and have fun with it.

Be seated!....

Finally got (most of ) the leather in place. Shown with a door panel to help recall what the combination will look like. Everything is just propped in place so the seat pleats will align better and the door panel will be flat. The back of the shell requires covering and the pivoting brackets will be bolted in - the holes are already drilled. The seats are all the same color and patina; it's just dark in the back of the cabin. All the major interior elements are all ready now except the headliner. The heavy lifting is still to come; building the door panels and latch system (not using Pocher's) and alignment of the four hood panels. The final push will be paint (with the arrival of good weather) and the dreaded roof fabric covering:






Seats complete...

First an explanation; the seats in many photos I took look like two different color leathers between front and rear. They are not. They ARE very changeable with the light source and type. To prove they're the same here are two shots, the first in natural outdoor light through a window and the second with room light on. They are the same color in each but the bright room light makes the gray lighter. No changes in camera white balance either. The only difference is the sheen of the leather and how it reflects the light. I need to work on the fronts a bit to match the sheen but that's easy after this amount of construction.


Further seat details:

About the pleats; the rears are 10mm wide, the fronts are 8 and the door panels are 7. These were aestetic choices I made. The rears being constructed first were all scratch built from balsa and basswood strips. I chose that dimension to get 13 pleats giving a center one and two side bolsters for the arm rests. They seemed a good scale to me at the time.

The fronts (about a year later) were built as you've seen from the modified MMC Benz resin seats. I (foolishly) thought it would save me time. But the resin was beautiful and nice to cut, sand and drill. Those pleats were 8mm wide as cast and I just removed two pleats from the wider passenger seat to match the driver and fit my cabin and also give a good scale appearance in the smaller Rolls cockpit.

The door panel pleats, also a year ago, are 7mm wide, sized to be in proportion to the area used. Actually that's what I did with each - size them to the place where used. I also angled these to match the 11 degree angle of the hood side louvers. Just looked better to me than slab-vertical pleats and had a 'logic' and symmetry matching the louvers.

I did work a bit more on the sheen of the fronts to match the rear. Seen here, I could not quite match it yet, even after repeated applications. Then the light went on; I used a different brand one year ago on the rears which gave a superior shine! Esquire is the shiner one vs. Kwi! So I'll hunt down some Esquire again and that should be it. I could always mute the rear seat a bit with scuffing but I really like the 'Old English Men's Club' sheen and patina. I'm nuts I guess.

The really moot point is apparent here; they are very changeable for color depending on available light. The second shot, taken by open window light shows that the chair on the left, slightly turned away from the light source, is a 'darker' color than the right chair. And in the cabin complete, the rear will always look much darker because it's shrouded by the roof over hang. The fronts will always appear lighter. If I were as skilled as David Cox for instance, I should rig up a rear dome light. But I'm no where near THAT good...



Finally, getting somewhere...

Taking advantage of 60F weather and dry conditions, I prepped, primed and painted the floor unit. The bottom in satin black and the inside kick panels in the cream. When dry and unmasked, I went for broke; attached the carpet with double side adhesive, the 'wood veneer' the same and before attachment, bolted the floor down using the 4, 2mm studs previously installed. The toe board and metal slots for the pedals were also installed. The front seat trim is aluminum wire which I annealed and polished.

No more mock up - this is it for better or worse. The seats are in on their sliding mounts and easily removable. Very relieved and satisfying. The main body unit comes down easily and then 'clamps' in place under the doors. Could never have done this much work for so long with the original Pocher screws in plastic holes.

Nice for me to see the colors come together and although a lot of details to come in the cabin, great incentive. The finished dash will do a lot for visual detail but that will be after the full body paint:







Getting silly - er...

Stitching courtesy my Resident Seamstress:




Techniques for Pocher Rolls builders...

Since I've now finally assembled a major element in the car's construction, I thought I'd make clear some of the methods that have proven beneficial for me. These apply to the Sedanca, Ambassador and I believe the Torpedo. They may be helpful as a guide for other makes as well. There are certainly other ways that builders may solve these problems but I have now found that these work. Some of the advanced techniques incorporated here were developed and shared by David Cox.

I will present the material in two posts of eight pictures each and there's a lot of explaining that goes with them. Hope they're beneficial to a few of you.

As I've often repeated in the thread, the Pocher screw system leaves a lot to be desired; especially if you trial fit frequently and definitely if you modify many things. My car has a chopped roof and windscreen, a body that is lowered and moved aft, cut down doors and a host of changes to the chassis to accommodate them. The biggest failing in the stock kit is the three tapping screws per side which join the main body to the chassis. They are good for a very few trial fits only before thy won't hold anymore. To correct that, designed a system to clamp the parts together and be easily removable over time.

Shown here is the floor pan, inverted, and the clamping system. I made a sturdy clamp from 1/16 thick brass (modified from an earlier wood version which proved not strong enough) and three, 2mm studs which went into the original locations for the Pocher screws. The studs are larger diameter than stock, tapped and epoxied in place. There is a lip on the bottom of the body which inserts into the edge of the floor. There are three slots in that lip which the screws are supposed to capture and hold to the floor. Evident here is the slotting of the floor bottom so the floor can be lowered onto the chassis. More on this later:





Here is the bottom edge of the inverted body. On the right side of the photo is the lip with slots in it. i added additional kerfs to allow the warped and brittle body to better conform to the curvature of the edge of the floor::


Now here is the chassis showing how it attaches to the floor and the modifications needed to lower it .250 to better resemble 1:1 Gurney Nutting Phantoms. Each of the major chassis crossmembers needed to be cutdown or rotated slightly to allow the floor to sit flush. Cutting on crossmembers is not for the faint of heart and must be done with diligence, especially on a heavy thing such as this. You will see that the hours of detail I put in on the transmission months ago were later ground off or down, again to accommodate the lower floor. Priorities changed for me as my research revealed how they really looked. And Pocher apparently could not (or would not) design the model with appropriate clearances so the chose the expedient method of adding a .250 spacer under the cowl to raise the body. If you want an accurate, lower body DO NOT follow the book or Koo and incorporate it. You want the body cowl right on the firewall top and the floor flat on the frame. To complete that modification, you need to raise the rear step of the floor by .250 at the chassis rear kick up. Do these things AS you build and not as later modifications as I did. More on that later:



Along with those changes, the front lower edges of the body get screwed into cast on plastic bosses of the frame rails. But having moved the body aft to center the rear wheels in their fenders, that won't align; plus the wonky Pocher screws again. My solution here was to make brass angle locators which are drilled for an 0-80 bolt and nut through the body side at the lower front corner then bolted (0-80) and epoxied to the frame. Locating these points with the body in place hiding them was a long, frustrating job:


More techniques...

For any not dozing off yet..next is how I attached the floor to the chassis. This is vital for a square, solid model. I installed my favorite 2mm studs directly into the chassis at four points shown here then drilled the floor pan for the nuts. The forward ones near the seats have a .015 shim to act as a countersink so the nuts don't protrude above the floor:





Moving on - Another off my list...

--of things I haven't done before. A luggage rack for those cross Continent trips . Design it, make a jig, a little brass rod and tube, silver solder and a bunch of hair-pulling hours. The grid shows it's reasonably square. A little tweek will get all four feet to touch the compound-curved trunk top. Now polish 'til you drop and send it to the chromer's shop. Back to the door latches now...






Trunk rack II – a short explanation...

Questions from a 'closet' Rolls builder led me to explain the construction of the rack a bit better. Hope this brings more Roller-builders out of the closet!

I've found that making an accurate jig gives a much better part so I take a lot of time with that. Basically using ¼” MDF and styrene sheet made to the thickness of the part tube ('hoop') is key. You want to sandwich the plastic between the MDF – but the plastic must be to the shape and inner dimension of the hoop. And it must be smaller than the outer MDF so the tubing is held in place. You'll see here; The sandwich jig is screwed to a wood base that is held firmly in a bench vise. This allows you to press the tubing tightly against the form. BE SURE to anneal the tubing first:





As far as silver soldering, it can be tricky in some areas; adjacent stuff wants to desolder if you're not careful. I used 2mm brass washers as 'feet' on the legs. I make the legs a little longer than needed, drill holes in the solder mat and put a washer into the leg rod in the hole. This holds it upright for soldering. Trim and file to size only after all are complete. Got them done OK but the tricky part was soldering each leg to the main hoop. I was lucky; three went on fine but the fourth desoldered the washer – FOUR times. Lot of bad words then. The 'floor' rod elements went on by a groove filed in the hoop at each location and no problems.

A ton of work but the payoff comes when parts come back from chrome. You have a

beautiful, bespoke part which beats BMF, Spazstiks and anything else (including Molotow - invented after this build was complete) that is faux chrome.

Hold on a minute...

I have explained earlier that I often have to make a part several times before I get it acceptable. Sadly, this luggage rack was no exception. As nice as everyone complimented it, hours later I imagined multiple things I could have done better. I'm cursed with some kind of obsessive disorder (among other things) that forces me to spend untold hours diddling around. Or actually, a lack of high-level skills. That's why this thread seems never-ending.

Herewith, the trunk rack reborn. Slightly smaller, legs relocated and infinitely neater and spiffy. The pictures will tell.

First, a better jig will always give better results. The previous pics show the jig I made and used on this second rack. It too is smaller and neater:


Results seem promising:


The finished (and polished) product with a comparison with sad old #1. Tighter corners, completely round tube all the way:



Some mock-up fun and incentive to carry on. Everything propped-up but enough to see it will work in its new home. Chrome will continue the theme of the headlights, windshield and side window frames, the running board strips and the rear window frame. This will go in a box of bubble wrap until the side frames are fit and polished and the rear one gets made. Then all will go for chrome plating:






Dirty little secret...

Not proud of the 'engineering' here but I offer this secret for Pocher builders (and potential builders) that are timid about changing things. IMO, these cars should be about building classics the way you'd want one, not the cookie-cutter way they're 'supposed' to look when built OOB or by the book. I've explained about how the look I am after takes precedence over historical accuracy to a particular 1:1. Top chops, channeling and all manner of mayhem became easy for me to adjust to for getting what I wanted. Creative license again. Pocher purists may look away if this is offensive.

A big irritant for me was the view from the rear of the P II (Look at that roof height !) and seeing the tires tucked way inboard of the coachwork giving that spindly look. 19" skinny tires add to that:


So I fiddled with bits to get the tires outboard, closer to the fender outer edges. When mock-up, I discovered that it transformed the side and rear views of the model to 'just right'. NOT hot rod, low-rider crazy stuff. Just a subtle change that no one who is not a P II or Pocher expert would even notice. It just looks 'right'. Give the car a more purposeful look.

While test-fitting I found washers in my spares which are 1mm thick and ~.250 ID. I learned that three of them slipped on the axle with the wheel then mounted, spaced the wheel the perfect distance. The limiting factor was the Pocher screws which retain the wheels to the brass axles. They are short and of a thread pitch apparently not seen on this planet. With the 3mm spacing I could just get three threads in to seat the wheel safely. One more mm and the wheel would not stay on. The axle hole depth is actually about 8mm; I'd love to find screws that long. Possibly other Pocher classic kits use them but they would have to be tested in the Rolls axle. I scoured the web and pounded on Pocher part suppliers to no avail. But LocTite when I finally assemble them will be secure and safe. Here is the test with 3mm added per side. You will note the large gap that the brake drum now has from its backing plate:


That problem led to the next cobble. The decision was made to widen the brake drum. Not very elegant engineering I'll admit. But I sourced two new rear drums and began hacking bits apart. The measuring was very critical, to keep the mating surfaces flat and not have the drum rub when the wheel rotates. So surgery began:


The result when painted was to look factory. The red circle shows the three 1mm wide washers employed:


Having said that, I wanted them to just disappear under the fenders and behind the wheel well cover. And not have a 'toy' look from the lower rear.


I'm sorry I didn't take fully-assembled shots in my haste to move on. But I will have to dress the car again in future and you'll see the side and rear view with tires on and decide for yourself. I guess my point to telling this sordid tale is to make the Pocher classics the way you want them to look. Since every one of them is a compromise by Pocher design, to its 1:1 prototype, there is NO stock, accurate Pocher classic to be chained to. Don't be timid of change. You will look at your model for a long time after completion; don't regret that it's not the way you prefer.

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Lost in the shuffle-

I realized I've neglected to display the seldom-to-be-seen chassis underside. It was liberally sprinkled with MMC detail parts early on and first displayed on the US site, before this thread began. So here it is, rusty mufflers, scruffy floor boards and all. Remember, this car sits in my damp, drafty GAR-age unless ferrying starlets to swanky paces. Condensation, oxidation and the tin worm are always at work...





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Small review...

It has been suggested to me by a prolific and expert Pocher-builder that I should show some of the earlier work done and a look at the future. This because, I was told, I present such fiddly 'how I did it' posts and the viewer may not have seen the early work which is largely fully finished and more fun to look at. Too much boring nuts and bolts. Also this is for viewers new to Pocher classics so they can decipher what the heck is going on. I plead guilty to starting out wanting a nice stock Pocher Rolls in the case to transitioning into the dark underworld of hacking, slicing and altering for an ever-evolving vision. So here is some stuff to see, some of which is buried in the thread and some not ever shown. Note that the firewall here is .250" too high on the stock spacers which is why the radiator brace and shutter control rod are angled up at the rear. Not anymore, they are level now with the channeled body.


A look at an early mock-up with high body, uncut doors, terrible stock ride height, tall roof and windscreen and a host of things I didn't want it to be:


Here's a late mock-up. Photo is the actual car with small photo editing adding the white sweep on the hood section. The rest is the real stuff. Lower, sleeker with channeled body, cut roof and 'screen, doors and sloped and sectioned trunk.


And here is the similar actual photo but with editing in the window frames, running boards and approximate colors for roof and body sides. Fenders and trunk are true colors. Just to assess if I was getting where I wanted it to be :


Back to work...

Probably completely unnecessary but; while sanding the windscreen opening in the cowl for paint clearance, I decided I needed something to locate the chrome frame positively in the opening. This would ensure the frame was flush to the cowl surface and allow better gluing area. Painted body color, the flange will make sure the frame has no tiny gaps to the cowl.

Using .005 sheet and a .040 template of the chrome frame perimeter, I cut a 'mask' or flange for the chrome frame to rest on. A sort of stop. The trick was to not make the inner circumference overlap the frame and show. The next trick was to CA that flimsy .005 styrene to the cowl plastic. The final trick was to insure that inner frame (attached to the dashboard) closed up tight to the cowl with the flange sandwiched between.

The big guys that do brass frames don't do this; their fit is perfect first time out. Me, less so. First shot shows the overlap. Second pic from the rear shows how thin .005 is - you can see through it where it meets the cowl. Last photo is the chrome brass frame sitting flush to the cowl frame with no visible gap and no plastic showing around the inner edge:




More under skin work...

While preparing to work the door fit and latches, the thought occurred that I could get the body firmly in the correct position and have it survive the numerous on / off cycles needed. So another step back to get that right.

It's important to remember how much the body seen here, is modified from stock Pocher, in overall view. The bottom of the body under the doors trimmed 5mm, the channeling over the frame of 7mm. The stock spacers under the firewall are removed lowering it 7mm and the rear bulkhead also trimmed 5mm and resting flat on the frame. Seen in the interior is the step in the floor which has been raised 7mm from stock. This is the kick-up in the floor where the rear portion of the frame kicks up. The rear seat goes atop that step. This is what allowed the cowl to fit flat on the firewall top:


Earlier in the build I showed the new front body attachment bracket I made. This hole will take the 0-80 bolt and nut that secures the front half. I had 6 holes there before I 'found' the bracket hole beneath it. Thank the stars for Bondo. This is all in addition to the clamps under the body sides which attach it to the floor:


The new attachment point in the rear was established by making two posts of .250" styrene and epoxying them into the rear corners of the body. They protrude out of the body so they can overlap the frame and be bolted to it. They center the body rear nicely on the chassis too - just happen to be the right spacer dimension on both sides. Also note the cut roof with the stock Pocher ribs removed and the white, .060 styrene doubler on the bulkhead wall. Necessary even on a stock one:


Here is the attachment with T pin marking the location for the hole in the chassis. I like to use markings (on the yellow tape) to get even locations on both parts and both sides of the car. I heat the T pin to embed a mark in the chassis. Makes a nice starter hole for the drill bit, .054 in this case for 0-80 bolt:


Also like the T pin because the 'handle' end makes a good line-up tool for your markings. This one is dead on. If you get a hole wrong, don't fret. Fill the hole with heated sprue and redrill:


Finally here's the chassis hole drilled and tapped for 0-80 bolt. This all worked to give a square and solid body no matter how many times it's put on and off. NONE of this is necessary for a stock Pocher Rolls build because all the attachment points are designed in. But it wouldn't hurt to do a version of this for a solid build:


Lesson learned...

I have been beating the dead horse throughout about getting big parts fit correctly before moving on and finishing them. Most of you are justifiably sick of reading that. Well, taking my own advice, I can show you why that's vital for big, four-decade old kits.

After securing the main body as seen just above in its final position, I am tackling the doors and the latching system. But now with the body firmly bolted in place, the doors sit differently than earlier, when I had positioned the body but NOT secured it. Having cut and rejoined the rear of the body and roof plus probable slight warpage, things were different then than now. It is very easy to build a twist into the work with so many alterations.

Seen here is the driver door. I had heat-formed it to match the curve of the floor pan prior and when I stopped, it still needed more to latch without tension. But not now. amazingly it fits about as perfectly as I could want. There is no tape holding it in place; only the hinges at rear. The gap has been sanded to give .018 clearance for paint and is even all around with maybe the front lower corner needed a hair more:


Slightly ajar, there is an even distance between the door edge and the cowl edge. Again, no tension is evident:


Here the door is just resting in the closed position and the gap at the top only requires the push of a finger to close. The latch will easily hold it flush and closed. About as good as you can hope for. Ironically, the passenger door which I had bent to perfection months ago, now has the lower corner tucked too far in when the latch area is flush. I will revisit that with hot water and correct before moving on:


I strongly urge Pocher classic builders and Rolls builders in particular (due to the curvature of the floor and body sides) to get the main body square and bolted in place before hanging the doors. And the hoods for that matter as well. That's another challenge coming down the road.

A little sparkle...

Something fun for a change; luggage rack #2 back from a bath in nickel plate. Pictures are poor - need to get outside light in. It has a gleam and a glow that is very bright and pleasing. Going under wraps in the storage box with its other sparkly sisters. Good incentive to push on with the hard stuff - which I'm doing.




Progress but...

I have finally attacked the finishing of the doors; their contours, mounting and latching mechanism. I have worked daily since the last post but nothing I wish to to present as accomplished work yet. I have photos to this point and will organize those soon as I get closer to a finished product.

I know that the text book mounting of the doors in the Pocher book takes about a half hour each. As usual with mine, nothing is as Pocher intended or designed, thus the delay. More soon....

Creeping up on the doors...

I have been steadily working on the doors and realized I needed to finalize and size the inner panel because one thing leads to another. Hinges, latches and thicknesses are the big concerns. To take a 'break' from nerve wracking stuff I got the comfy side in near finished state.

The main pleated panel was made nearly a year ago. In an effort to get the door as thin as possible (the window frames will make them .093 thicker than stock) I made a new thinner sheet backer of .015 styrene. I mounted the pleat section, carpet kick panel and trim strip permanently. The top wood cap and the thin leather fill strip are just placed. The design of the trim will hopefully match the rear side panel shown here. The top cap will be slotted to accept the frames and glass when I get that far.

I shot a light clear acrylic on the trim; did not want the syrupy clear gloss of new. After all, this baby is slightly scruffy most everywhere.





A tough choice...

Although not posting for a week, work has continued - with some life interruptions along the way. I had come to a crossroads with door mounting and needed to rethink the problem. A quick review; here is the passenger side door at the time the sweep cladding was added. Note it is taped shut. The compound curves needed to match the body and cowl were very difficult to get right. It was necessary to heat bend the door (in hot water) continuously to get the upper front corner (where the latch holds it closed against the cowl) so that there is no tension or strain on the latch:


After much debate, I concluded that bending the door had reached its limits - so I must scratch build a new door. It needed to be a thinner shell and must have the curvatures built in, not heat-warped in. So after much testing I decided on a .030 thick door skin with the .020 cladding added on top. This was pliable enough to get curvature:


But how to hold the shape? The answer became brass tubing. 3/32 rectangular tube was bent to match the contour of the rocker panel (door bottom edge) and a straight tube was added to the leading edge because that's how the cowl is. I still needed to get the latch close to the cowl at the top. But realized instead of heat, the secret would be to twist the bottom tube near the front edge. That canted the top edge inward:



Here are views of the inside showing the latch and window frames in test position:


But as usual with me, each solution brings a new problem. The window frames are 3/32 thick channel and Pocher never designed their doors to accommodation that added thickness. Although my new one is thinner, there is still a bit too much thickness. With the door now comfortably latched, the vent window is too far inboard in relation to the windscreen frame. The gap between can be seen in these shots. It should not be flush to the outer side but overlap by about half. So more thinking to come. Including making a new door (yes, again) but with a slot in the .030 to sink the latch into. The .020 cladding would then cover that slot and the frames would become .030 closer to the outside. Remains to be seen...



A question about references-

I have amassed much reference on P II's over the two years of work from both the web and good books. My primary focus has been bodies by Gurney Nutting for their elegance. Some coachbuilders I find heavy-handed for my taste.

But I naturally went a different path by taking liberties with even the G/N cars. No P II I have found (in 1:1 or model form) has the Bugatti-style color sweep that I brewed up. 144 PY comes close but it is not a body sculpt line like the Bugattis but rather a paint line on a single color, according to my photo reference. And being a Thrupp and Maberley car, it has a totally different coupe-style roof with NO trunk. My sectioned and sloped trunk is a departure from the usual box-style trunk of G/N, among other changes. Nor have I seen a P II with Bugatti T-50 taillights as mine has.

So there's no actual pictures in 1:1 of what I'm doing. Much of it has to do with overcoming the Pocher compromises to get close to real P II's. Dave Cox and Marvin Meit have done a customer build of 74-PY which is an accurate model of a beautiful G/N P II. But I'm certainly not in their league.

A nice treat...

With some interruptions, work has proceeded on the door. But as always, planning other associated areas of the build make for parallel tasks to solve before you get there. One such area has been the body paint. Now with favorable weather, I'd like to get the body in color so that the roof can be covered so that the headliner can be installed. When I have a total solution to the doors, that will begin in earnest.

Before covering the roof, provision for the Landau Irons must be finalized. Months ago I had purchased the MMC irons which are seen here and are lovely. However, when I bought them I did not account for the fact that my altered roof is now 13 mm lower in front and 6 mm in the rear. A recent trial fit showed that the MMC bars are too long from each mounting point. And their elegant curvature made them actually stand off the roof and beltline in extreme fashion. LESSON: If you have advanced building ambitions, hold off or plan buying expensive details:



So I called on an expert Pocher fabricator; I asked David Cox to fashion landaus to my specs. Needless to say, they are perfect and fit exactly as I hoped. They also have a different but elegant shape which suits my car's altered profile exactly. Seen here, taped in place, I'm very pleased. David sent them with a basic nickel finish but will clean them up and send for chrome now that we know they work. For custom work not available from the other Pocher suppliers, I urge you to contact Cox through his site for anything you want or need;




Proof of concept - maybe...

Well all, I've been threatening to get the doors figured out and I may be on to something here. A brief recap; the highly modified Pocher door could not be made to fit due to the body contours it had to mate with. Decision was made to scratch build another, That was better but the main problem continued to be getting the upper (latch) area to meet flush with the cowl with no tension. Plus the thickness of the total door with window frames was unacceptable.

In for a penny and with a few improvements in mind I made a second, which you see here. MUCH more to my liking. The fit everywhere is dead flush. I learned the method to get the contours right AND get a thinner door package:


Here you can see the vent window frame in the correct position with just a soft clamp. Note it is nearly flush to the cowl windshield post and situated the way Phantoms had them. Note that nothing is holding the door shut; it fits the opening perfectly and the latch area (the hole is for the outside handle) is resting in the ideal place with no tension. Me happy man:


Here is where all the secrets are; the back side of the door. Sedanca and Ambassador builders, this is for you, but it may apply to other types of Pocher doors if you follow the premise.
The top arrow at the 12:00 position shows how the door got thinner; the latch was sunken into the door skin. This is the big change from the first door. The door main skin is .030 thick and a slot was cut for the latch (not shown); Outboard of that is the .020 cladding for the color sweep. So the latch slides inside the .030 and is retained by the .020 on the outside and the vent window frame. This work made the door .030 thinner than the first one. The arrows at 3. 6 and 9:00 positions show a frame made of 1/8" square plastic rod, shaved down to mate with the 3/32" brass tubing. This gives the door edges a finished surface and a bit more strength. The real secret is at the 4 downward pointing arrows; that lower rectangular tube is twisted from that point forward. The twist forces the door skin inward at the top front - the latch area. Keeps the top of the door from having a big bow in it like the Pocher door. Better to attach the upholstered inner panel. Note the door is wide open and the hinges are completely free without binding.


Here is the complete fit including the belt line, taken from the first door. All the bits are playing nice with each other. The door bottom edge is flush with the body contour as is the leading edge with the cowl. Again, no friction or tape is holding this closed. This is its new natural state. Careful assembly of the inner panel will be needed to not build-in a warp:


Waste not / want not. Having door #1 (remember 'Let's Make A Deal'??) sitting in the scrap pile for unsuccessful ideas, I decided to get ahead and try my masking technique for the all-important color sweep. So I scuffed it, primed it gray, masked it and shot white primer on the lower. After that the cream color seen here. I'm not going for concours paint here, just making sure I get a clean edge then I'll mask the cream and shoot the dark red above. Door number 2 is my honey right now and I hope I can carry out the rest of the steps to make it operational.
Then do it all again for the driver's side door...............


To clarify...

I've been asked about the 'twisting' of the door skin with brass tubing. Here is why and how it comes out.

The reason is to get the upper front corner of the door to mate with the cowl so the latch can engage it. I was doing this by heat-bending the original Pocher door but with much thicker plastic and the natural pinch-in of the body, found it impossible through much trial and error. I realize that many Rolls builders never have this problem but don't know why. My many body modifications were not effecting this area.

Here is the door seen from the top. The front is at the left and the curve at the bottom is evident. A big improvement is that the door top is now near perfectly straight (with a pronounced curve at the bottom) and the interior panel will lie flat. A big change from the bent Pocher.


Seen from the front edge, the latch area is at the top. Note how it tips inward compared to the bottom. Also the compound curvature of the whole bottom door edge is evident compared to the straighter top edge.


In hindsight, had I known about the issue, I would have narrowed the floor pan (which the lower body sides attach to) by maybe 2mm per side. This to prevent the body from flaring out at the bottom. Then the doors would latch easily and not need that twist.

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Masking test...

This was a test to find the best materials and techniques to get a perfect color break line on the body sides of my Rolls. The test dummy was door #1 seen above. I did not fill and smooth the surface beyond 400 grit for prime. The colors are not rubbed out or cleared. I only wanted to get a clean color separation, not perfect paint. After all, this is not the door going on the car. The four fenders and trunk are perfect in the dark red and cleared, needing only final polishing cloths before assembly.

Decided to shoot the brighter color first which is the lower. So first I shot the whole door with Duplicolor gray prime. After appropriate dry time (true for all the spraying steps to come) I masked the upper with first, a strip of yellow Tamiya tape across the curve. I then cut a clean edge with new scalpel blade. Then masked the remainder of the upper with Friskit Paper.

I shot Krylon White Prime on lower (3 coats), sanded to 600 and shot the Krylon Sweet Cream. Disclaimer; I am believer in using paints by the same manufacturer but Krylon had the color I wanted, not Dupicolor. After 2 days dry time, I removed upper masking. Found an immediate mistake; the hot Krylon overspray caused the Friskit to deposit its adhesive on the gray prime. Easily removed with Goo Gone and Isopropyl. Moral; remove masks sooner but the Kry does take longer than the Dupli to set up.

Next, I masked with the Tammy 3mm curve tape shown, right at the edge of the break line. It takes the curve beautifully. Below that, I cut and taped (on the 3mm tape and on the door back) a sheet of tin foil.

I then sanded the upper with 600 and reprimed with gray Dupli. I wipe all my primers with 70% Iso after sanding and before color. Then came 3 coats of Dupli dark Toreador Red, again all with adequate dry spells in about 100 degree heat. That's it.

I removed the mask, this time within 2 hours of the last coat. No print through or marring with a razor edge. So this is the first real hint of where it's going with the color combinations. I found three coats of the Cream match the wheels exactly and three coats of the red match the fenders and trunk exactly. So a lot learned and I can't emphasize enough taking the extra time to test.







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A question was raised at this point about why the door top slopes downward from front to rear.

I will show in this diagrammed earlier image what and why. The car has many major alterations from Pocher stock. Among them are the roof line at top and bottom. Roof front lowered 13mm, rear 6mm; roof base lowered about 6mm to accommodate that. Otherwise the body would be too high and the roof look much shorter.

The leading edge of the door is stock height but the rear was cut approx 5mm IIRC. This to mate with the new roof bottom line. The upper blue line here shows the door stock height. The principal reason I left the front edge intact is the handle hole; that would be a very weak area for that operating part, so I angled the door top as shown in red to harmonize with the angled roof base. The beltline is straight in its raised center to run from grille to trunk, straight and horizontal. The base of it is tapered, thicker at the door front to thinner at the trunk. All of this to create 'speed' streamlines as best as I could figure. The bottom blue line shows how deep the body side was before I trimmed about 3mm off to raise it. That raises the running boards, visually lowering and making the car look slimmer. As you see, one change forces many others and you have to coordinate and resolve them when you make alterations.

I have experimented in the graphics program with various tapers and curves at the leading edge of the door and a straight door top but have not found a satisfactory solution. All would leave the handle area weak. I thought to lower the handle hole and sliding latch but that's structurally impossible the way the cowl inside is constructed.

To make it a bit easier to visualize the force elements of the design, I remembered earlier photos (from months ago) I have that show a complete mock up of the car in side view.

This is an actual photo of the model with wheels, hood, the original Pocher door and trunk. I've added accent lines to show the slope of the door, roof bottom and fender and how they relate to the sweep curve. Another horizontal element will be the running board with chrome accent. Also shown is the 'extended' roof slope to the windscreen. Missing here is the landau bar which adds another horizontal 'speed' element. The only electronic enhancement is the white continuation of the sweep forward onto the hood side panel. The long cowl to hood line is what makes that door top front look less abrupt. After studying this a while, I modified the trunk mounting and now the trunk shut line is a perfect horizontal line that's an extension of the belt line.

At the outset I said that this would not be everyone's cup of tea but it is getting very close to what my vision was. My only comfort is that I have now seen many awkward coach lines on real P IIs and tried hard to avoid them:


A major step...

I can finally report that the scratch-built door is ready for prime time. I must state at the outset that the techniques shown here were developed over much time by David Cox of Detailed Model Cars fame. He has generously shared these with me and allowed them to be shown here.

Since I had the (zany) idea to scratch build my own door(s), Dave's principles were the starting points for my cut / fit / trial / error saga. Indeed, no two of his own Rolls builds have exactly the same 'parts' shown here but that is Dave's genius; he can make excellence on the fly. I have big struggles.

Shown here is his idea, modified by me for the Pocher door hinges. To allow the doors to be painted without hinges, they are made removable - no hot melting them in place like Pocher wants. A door post is made of 1/8 x 1/4 styrene and the key to the whole thing is sourcing countersunk head 00-90 screws. Instead of the hinge being spread 180 degrees when the door is closed, each half of the hinges are touching - thus the need for the screws. They allow the door to rest fully closed. Seen here, I perfected (this is the fifth hinge post I've made) the post and hinge locations, hung it, then glued the door to the mounted post. Even Dave liked that idea. This gives a door that fits the body opening perfectly without filling or sanding:


The next hurdle is the MMC Benz door handle and making it operational. After much measurement a hole location is drilled in the door skin so that the handle shaft goes through and correctly engages the 'cup' in the stock Pocher black steel latch - the actual only Pocher part used in this whole door assembly. Shown here is the beautiful MMC handle which comes with 00-90 shaft, chrome bezel and the all-important cam - which 'drives' the latch to open when you twist the handle:


The big hurdle here is that the handle shaft must go through the door outer and have the cam soldered on in exactly the correct position to have a horizontal handle when the door is latched. The cam must ride in the latch pocket and have no slop and be friction free. Much hair lost over that one. So not wasting our old friend test door number one, just back from paint testing, I decided to try Dave's method for soldering a few mm's away from delicate plastic and paint; hopefully without torching the door or blistering the paint off. Seen here, I trail-fit a 00-90 bolt with some washers in and out and proceeded to solder a nut to the shaft. The key here is that yellow towel, soaked in in cold water to disperse the iron tip's heat - and be very sparing with solder, flux and the time you spend heating it. Milliseconds. Presto it worked first time out and as usual, Cox knows his stuff:



OK an overall look at the door guts. Remember on the first door I had built up the guts on an already .060 thick structure; too thick with the window frames and inner panel attached. So to make it thinner I made a slot for the latch in the main .030 door skin and covered it with the .020 sweep cladding so that the latch got 'buried'. The head -scratcher here was getting the window frames in place without impeding the sliding latch mechanism. Some of the structure for the frame supports is seen here and it's labeled so I know what to use on the driver side door when I do this all over again:


Note the travel stop in the center of the latch and the 'cup' that the shaft and cam will (hopefully) sit in. The vertical post marked .125 keeps the latch flat in its groove. Here is Dave's big contribution to Pocher greatness; a music wire 'spring', anchored at the bottom and a fulcrum part way up to adjust the tension. I put a brass cap on the end of the music wire and had to space a .005 clearance above it so it would not bind when pushed back. Determining the location of these bits determines the spring tension; too much and you'll jump the cam out of place. Too little and the handle won't unlatch the latch when you turn it. The first shot shows it at rest in the door-closed position. The second shows my finger pushing the latch back and the travel of the latch. The handle, when soldered on, will do this. I'm using very little pressure here.


Taking low-light pix with one hand makes blurry pix; sorry.


The next group shows how lucky I got. Door here is shown latched on its own; no tape, friction, magnets or parlor tricks. The contours mate perfectly with the body and cowl contours, the beltline lines up and the gods are smiling - which makes me nervous. The dark line at the rear edge is not a gap; it's the test, full length .032 hinge pin which has been on and off thousands of times. This is a 'well-hung' door if I say so myself...





And here is a final look at the latch in action from the business end. The circle shows the latch tongue engaged in the cowl. The vertical arrow shows the mw spring. The horizontal one shows the tension adjuster which finally got cemented in the 'correct' location for operation (I hope). I repeat, this is all by the generosity and genius of Dave Cox, whose patience and generosity guided me on this ever-complicated path of advanced Pocher-building. Some of the wackiness was my own fault; scratching the doors, the Bugatti-style color sweep, Bugatti taillights, luggage rack and a leaky, sweaty engine. And - I'm nuts enough to be consider building my own, thinner, more accurate hood sections (4). Shoot me. My eyes were opened to top cutting, body-channelling, fender rotation and other gruesome acts that sensible classic builders abhor and avoid. But Cox loves discovering anyone as crazed as he is about modifying these. He just cannot find anyone as TALENTED as he while doing it.


A Slippery slope-

Two weeks have past since last update but work has been continuous. Unfortunately it has not been excellent progress.

Seen above, the door was ready for prime and paint - until serious flaws started to appear. The filler you see in the lower rear corner is indicative; where the inner braces were joined to the plastic door skin, they began to 'print through' - show flaws on the outer skin. Many rounds of filler did not yield a smooth skin. It appears the twist in the door caused tension in the skin.

I decided that a skim coat of filler would do no good to achieve smooth contours, plus I didn't trust how long a thinly-sanded skim would last. So I decided to make a smooth face on the lower color section out of .005 sheet. This worked to a degree. However, perimeter gluing it down caused pockets between the .005 and the .030 door. I took it to final cream color and still visible flaws were present - just different than earlier. The paint itself was perfect and I considered 'living with' some visible blemish.

I concluded that in fact, that I could not 'live with' it; the fenders, running boards and trunk are all perfectly finished. That would make even one flaw stand out more than it does alone. And every time I would look at the completed model I would get sick about it.

After much anguish over lost time and material, I decided to cut my losses and today have started yet another (3rd) scratch-built door. Incorporating new ideas debated all the while, I have hopes I will get this one right. It's surely going faster than the first but it is still crazy-labor intensive with a lot of steps to fall in place.

And with luck if this one's the charm, I have to replicate it for the driver door.

I have learned not to discard my failures because they make good test pieces for paint or mechanical bits. Sadly, I have a big pile of them.

I did in recent weeks, consider brass door skin but when I considered all the impracticality plus the fact that I'm not a 'brass smith', I decided against it.

I'm making decent progress today and have a 'door-with-no-guts' that fits nicely and is hinged perfectly. So far so good. Bent the formers and a few new idea parts in prep. Praying I get a latch to work as well as the last one did.

In the current door described above, I have switched to 1/4 x 1/16 flat bar stock for both in an effort to solve the problem of marring the skin:



Here is Door #3 (remember Monty Hall??) - not finished but damn close - and NO blemishes. New ideas incorporated and so far, so good. Not home and dry just yet; still must make the latch and spring work as well as #2 so I'll need luck. But the skin is perfect with NO filler needed and it swings nicely on it's hinges.

A total of four doors (1 Pocher, 3 Codger) have been on and off the car probably 5000 times - or so it seems. A testimony to the screwed-in, removable hinges. Could never get away with this the Pocher way:


Inner workings...

With the completion of the door build it was time to retrieve an inner door panel for final fit and prep to mount. This just before the door is painted. But first to add those bits of details that make it come alive.

Getting a proper look took many trial fittings then some careful drilling to install the MMC handles. They really are a great visual detail. The pleats had been angled 11 degrees to match the slant of the hood and cowl louvers. The wood door cap drops down in the rear to meet the trim around the rear seat area. All the wood finish is highly glossed but I managed to avoid the glare by the camera angle.

With the handles in place, creating an arm rest was last on my list. After much trial I settled on this design of wood with a simple leather cap. With glass in the frames and the frames chromed, more sparkle and visual detail will set it off:




The completed panel taped in place in the body opening. The trick was to get a close approximation of the space and relationship between the parts. This is very similar to many Gurney Nutting cars I studied. But they all have different custom made bits to the customer's wish, so there's no right or wrong. The cabin is getting very close to what I envisioned:


Review of the latch mechanism-

The latch slides in a pocket made by slotting the 030 door skin. The 020 cladding atop it closes the slot from the outside. The music wire spring bears on the end of the latch, keeping it normally closed. My finger is seen pushing the latch inward against the spring; releasing it makes the latch gently snap back to the locked position.

In the photo of the handle and bezel is the cam. With the handle through the bezel and door, the brass cam gets soldered to the handle shaft. The key is the cam lays in the slot in the black latch; when you turn the outer handle 90 degrees, the cam pulls the latch back, unlocking the door.

This is what's supposed to happen provided I got the geometry right and I don't melt the finish-painted door while soldering the part that goes through it. Clear as mud?

A working latch...

Handle installed in painted door and cam soldered to the shaft. Not my prettiest soldering but a sweaty proposition that went far better than expected. Handle is solid and 1/4 turn pulls the latch back allowing opening. Sorry for focus-pocus but better pix later when the frames go on. Now that I've got the system, the other door will be much less fearsome:




An open and shut case...

Hinged in place, it all fits and works. This shows the seated passenger relation to the door top. Shoulders just above the door and plenty of visibility at head height. I'll make a leather limit strap so the door won't swing quite this far. Very minor adjustments to the front window frame when it's time to close everything up with the interior panel. Arrow shows the handle shaft goes all the way through the brace of the front frame. This gives the handle more stability and prevents getting sloppy. Will snip off the excess when the upholstery goes on. Anxious for the chrome but that will take awhile...




Moving along...

It may look just like what you've been suffering through with the passenger door but now the hard part of the driver door is complete. Fitted, hinged and latched.

If you scratch build any parts and need to duplicate them as with these doors, here's a tip I found most useful. Take a photo of the completed part and then diagram it using a simple paint program in your box. Here I dimensioned all the parts, shims and doo-hickys of the first door in its final form. Made building this other door much faster because I didn't have to guess about dimensions and thicknesses:


Here are views of both doors. Note the new one looks 'cleaner' as I simplified and refined some parts. The hard parts were getting the hinge posts perfect for angle and depth, getting the sweep curves identical and matching the body lines and getting the door's vertical and horizontal contours to match the body. Note that there is no filler needed on the skin of this new door:



Hung in place you can see the various channels that will support the window frame legs, retain the latch and the simple (looking) wire spring. The length of the wire, its anchor position on the door and the slight bend for tension all take a lot of fidgeting to get to play nice with each other. You want a modest tension to keep the latch bolted closed but easy enough to turn the handle a quarter turn to unlatch it. Now just remains fitting the frames, paint and inserting the handle shaft to solder to the latch cam:





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Small but important...

Another long-dreaded task out of the way. After the ordeal (for me) of making the brass side window frames months ago, I finally got them polished. This is required for chrome plating. Since paint hides nothing, chrome hides even less. (I have learned that the actual thickness of the plating on my parts is half-a-thousandth – that's .0005” !) So the tedious work of sanding file marks and scratches out of the 3/32 square brass channel is required . Not perfect but the best I could do.

When they come back, the Lexan 'glass' will be cut and installed and the door inner and outer panels joined for final time. The various notches and flat strips are for clearance of the latch mechanism and to stabilize the fragile corner solder joins.



While waiting...

Anxious to see the chrome so finally finished the second inner door panel. If I guessed right, these will mate to the outer skins with the frames and glass sandwiched between at just the right angle to meet the cowl:


One thing leads to another...

While waiting for the chrome bits to return, I turned attention to getting the bodywork finalized. I removed the body from chassis in preparation for drilling the lowers for the running board mounts. For (many) months now, I've had them as well as all four fenders in a storage box, lovingly wrapped in microfiber cloth. Out of harms way and all set to attach the gleaming bits when the time comes.

The fenders were painted over a year ago, color sanded and the clear was applied at least three months ago. So everything well gassed-out and very hard finishes. I now needed to mock-up fenders for running board clearance. I decided for a little change of pace, to final-polish the clear since they were all out.

Careful inspection showed a few slightly coarse spots in the clear - the dreaded very fine 'leather finish'. Not quite peel. So using 6, 8, and 12,000 grits I wet sanded them out. Then 3 stages of compound; coarse red, Meguiars Ultimate compound and Micro-Finish White as an overall leveling finish. This really brought out the depth of the red. The final touch was 1:1 carnuba wax.

Finally, it's very satisfactory. No lollipop kustom kar gloss but very much a well done 1932 period enamel (or nitro-cellulose) look, even though all paints here are lacquer. The challenge now is to get the awkward-to-handle body in a matching state.

These will now be stored in this plastic bin, not touching anything or being touched. Until that glorious day (I hope) when they get final-bolted on. Took them outside for some natural light and hung one fender indoors for a little inspiration. It's been covered so long, I forgot how excited it makes me to see it.






Lipstick on a Pig...

Or in this case, jewelry on an Old Crock. Bugatti tail lamps on a Rolls-Royce. Just before the fenders go for a months-long nap, I assembled and mounted my brainstorm from last year.

You have to trust me on this; they look smashing on the car next to the trunk. But you are certainly entitled to not like them:




A little more bling...

After removing the tail lamps from their storage crypt, I realized I could do the same up front. I dug out the Pocher front fender lamps, assembled them (after a dip in Future) and mounted them on the fenders for good. Feels good to see bright bits going on slowly. All this while waiting for some prep work on the interior headliner to dry:





Using flash appears to light the lamp...


Headline news...

Quite awhile back in the thread I mentioned that I had an idea to make the headliner for the interior from the textured dryer sheets used to soften clothes in the dryer. Some ideas you get turn out not to be good. It more closely resembles fiberglass. Because my roof is radically cut and seamed I needed to conceal those marks. Also the Pocher 'ribs' had to be ground down as much as possible and concealed. So through a process of trimming and fitting, I got it to fit with just one pleat at the inner corner curve. Here is is glued down with contact cement:


I just wasn't happy because it had a texture like stucco when painted. I turned to Dave Cox for advice and he generously shared his headliner method with me. Since virtually all of his Rolls tops are chopped it was the answer to my situation.

Using sheet styrene you fab an inner 'shell' with one long piece making both sides and one simple flat one for the top. It took a great deal of time making patterns for the parts and trial fitting. Then removing and shaving or trimming some more. Cut too much and you need a new one. Have a nice supply of sheet goods on hand.

The idea is that the back corners curl so you don't have a ripple or seam in the corners. Keep the curl to a minimum so that the seat will fit deep within and touch the back roof wall. And the real secret is the three cats used as a 'fence' to support the bottom of the vertical piece. Because the piece is so long side-to-side, I had to let in a central addition because the Evergreen sheet I have is only 12" long.


Now don't try this if you're in a hurry - it eats up hours if you want a perfect fit.



The seam where top meets side will be hidden when this is covered with fabric. I will use a light color on Dave's advice because it gets dark in there when all assembled. I'm too chicken to put in vanity or courtesy lights. Besides, starlets work best in the dark - I'm told.

Here is a placement of the seat, which I had to modify at this late stage. I had to trim off the ''package shelf' area attached to the Pocher seat back so it would sit deeper in the interior right under the rear window. Yes, the seat back will be at the window's bottom - this is just stuck in there. This can now all come out for painting of the body shell. But some holes to drill in it first:


To clarify; all the genius praise goes to David Cox. It's his method which he kindly shared with me.

The new plastic headliner will be most likely covered with leather, possibly suede side out. NOT dryer sheet. Another possibility is gabardine fabric if I can find the right color and weight. I am using gabardine as the outer top skin. Seen here resting on the seat:


Regarding the thickness of fabric edges; the unseen bottom and front edges will be cut flush. The top edge of the vertical panel will have a roll-over as will the rear window. The roof horizontal will be rolled-over all around and the plastic thickness will be trimmed for the leather / fabric at the time of final assembly. Jury still out on the final material.

The next phase...

Having sorted the headliner the big step of body paint is now under weigh. Headlliner fabric cannot be installed before paint goes on body – can't mask it. Holes were drilled for the running boards and spotlight and everything sanded to 600. Then masking of the upper (red) area. Three coats of white Mr Surfacer 1000 left a very nice and smooth base. Then these three coats of Krylon Sweet Cream. It layed down surprisingly well with nearly no peel. Tomorrow, weather permitting, another stronger coat of cream to provide depth of color and complete coverage of the door sills. Large masking by sheets of tin foil. Then unmasking and curing for about a week before fine grit color sanding:




A little daydreaming...


Paint Stuff...

 Applied by spray can unless noted. Primer sanded to 600 grit. Barrier of Future over any filler spots. All sanding wet. Color coats go on - generally 2 light and one medium coat with adequate out-gas time in about 110-115F heat (windows closed in my sedan in driveway on sunny days). Let sit for 2 - 3 days then sand back the color (800 / 1200 / 2400) to get it dull and flat (meaning smooth). I build paint like that so as not to sand through to primer. Then either one or two coats again of color which is now much smoother than prior. Final sanding of color with 1200 / 2400 / 3600. I do this with both the red and the cream.

  I am using Testors Wet Look Clear but this I decant and airbrush on. Three medium coats - I want some 'meat' on the surface so I can aggressively polish. Lays down very nicely and becomes a good hard surface when dry (not long). It richens both colors and makes them vibrant.

  Finally I polish with 4000 / 6000 / 8000 grits but the hand-rubbed look comes with Meguiars Ultimate Compound, Micro-Mesh fine white polish and then Menzerna carnuba wax.

Turning the corner...

Body in color at last. Both colors are in raw paint, not color sanded or polished yet. Only doors and trunk are in final finish and polish state. Much handling of the main coach yet to come before finishing steps.

Seen here, some bits are just hung on for a look-see, The wheel, chromed windshield frame and door are just placed and the running board is clipped from below. I can now finally see what my vision turned out. The lowness of the roof compared to stock Pocher is readily apparent. Contributing to the streamlined look are the Bugatti color sweep, sectioned, sloped and lowered trunk and the ~7mm trimmed rocker panel under the doors. The roof covering fabric is seen in the foreground for color compatibility. The lowered, streamlined effect is heightened when the fenders are attached but they're protected in storage for now as they too are in final polished state.

So here you have it my friends - love it or hate it but I don't think many will yawn. For many this is sacrilege to afflict to a stately RR. But I did get closer to my vision than I expected. Rolls and Royce may be spinning in their graves but maybe George Barris is not. In fact he may think I didn't go far enough.









Differences in finish explained-

The question of variations of finish is the difference between the clear coated door panel and the fresh coach paint, not yet cleared. In both the cream and the red. As I've noted earlier, part of the reason I chose the Testors Wet Look Clear is that it actually makes the colors more vibrant. It somehow imparts a richness to the colors but doesn't actually change them. It does not yellow the colors. either. The red, after clear becomes deeper - almost like red wine shines through a glass. The cream becomes 'stronger' - I don't know how else to phrase it but I love it. Adds character. The true color situation will become apparent when shot in outdoor light. But that's a ways off just now. To prep the wheels for paint, I wiped the completed wheel (and all the spokes) with swabs of lacquer thinner to get hand oils off. Then lightly primed, then shot the color. The key is 'lightly' - you just want color coverage.

Clearing things up...

Well finally got the good spraying weather and applied three coats of clear. Now let it air out for a day or two before color sand and polish. Just tacked on a few bits to give myself incentive. Door, fender, wheel, seat and running board just placed not fastened.





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A small review...

Working on a long-term project, it's easier to get bogged down in the minutia of building part by part, small areas at a time. I've learned you must always keep your overall idea in mind as you go. Because when complete, one views the entire entity and its overall presentation far more than the clevises (for example) in the linkages or the drips from the oil pan. These are photos seen earlier in the thread in various places. But I'm sure few of you have had the stamina (or desire) to have read the entire saga. 

  I simply offer these in the hopes that the few of you who build Pochers gain confidence that you can modify and add your ideas to a stock build.

  The first photo shows the completion of the entire chassis and drivetrain. Many Model Motorcars parts here including tires and steel spring sets. Photo is just over  two years ago:


The next shows the main modification that allowed all the others; lowering the firewall on the chassis. There were .250 spacers in the circled area which when removed, lowers the firewall and the body's cowl as well. This gives the needed level line of the top of the hood to radiator. Remember, Gurney Nutting cars were my inspiration for all the stock kit changes:


Here are a fair amount of the changes from this early mock-up seen here. This what you get when you build it out of box. Of note; the incorrect ride height, sectioned and lowered trunk, wedge cut roof chop, removed door posts (later to be scrapped completely and scratch-built doors added), channeled and lowered body and firewall, trimmed lower body and rotated rear fender and chopped windshield. The suspension was shimmed to lower the chassis on the wheels. These changes forced many other smaller changes like a new, lower headliner and scratch built seats. Non-stock parts fabricated include the chromed windshield and side window frames.


Finally a rendering of where we're at today. This is a photo of the actual model with parts in place but complete coloration done in a paint program. The color sweep is shown on the hood side and the ride height, cut roof and trunk are plainly different from stock photo above it. Much closer in concept to the Gurney bodies I have studied extensively than Pocher offered:



A long time between updates due to much head-scratching and pure guesswork. But a very major hurdle overcome. The headliner is complete, permanently in place and is playing nice with the long-ago designed and assembled furniture. All in the hopes for a cozy cabin.

Designed  'on the fly', making up as you go and trial and fit at infinitum. The headiner consists of two main pieces of plastic to recontour the rather odd-shaped, truncated inner roof. Remember, it's been cut 13mm in front and 6 at the back. Plus Pocher gives you screw bosses and ribs you don't want. The top section is one simple flat piece with a tediously curved back edge. The sides and back are all one piece of .020 plastic cut from many templates and shaped over and over and which curves at the corners. This reduces the area a bit and required narrowing the previously fabricated seat. Many bad vocabulary words were tested here. When finalized and press-fit in place, it was covered with light gray leather, suede side out. The lighter color chosen because it would have no visibility back there with a dark skin:


The side panels, also from many months back are the same gray leather as the seats with burl wood photo trim panels to mate with the 'wood' door caps. I think the suede imparts a nice nostalgic 'mohair' or mouse fur fabric. I felt glossy leather would have been out of place back there:


As mentioned the seat required narrowing due to the corner curves so some sweaty time on the belt sander resulted in the diet seen here. Thankfully, no catastrophes occurred because I have only small scraps of gray leather...



And this is the result. Yes, the head room is low and the leg room generous, all designed to encourage 1932 reclining starlets. Jean Harlow would not complain:


Here are some views with the seats in place (they plug in) and the inner door panel propped in place. Mercifully, they all seem to harmonize. More (easier) work to be done making front kick panels and dashboard installation:




The door panel pleats were made to be in symmetry with the cowl and hood louver angle:


All-in-all, I consider myself lucky. I'm very far afield now and nowhere near helpful instructions. This is not strictly 'scratch-building' but very close to 'scratch-altering'. The damnable part is that any misstep or poorly executed, highly visible part ruins 2+ years of work. The coming roof outer covering is such an area. Although I dreaded the headliner for many months, it is done and I was lucky. The roof covering is now the new dreaded part. As will be the hood (bonnets?) alterations when that comes up. I can still snatch Defeat from the jaws of Victory...:



Cabin details and top worries...

The suede is the back side of the goat skin but a lighter gray than the seats. It has a very nice soft, plush feel.

Yes, the seat trims were - interesting. I used softer brass rod as a 'template' and replicated the bends in the aluminum. Tedious but OK. Polishing them caused them to change shape somewhat so a lot of trial and error.

I AM worried about the roof covering -a LOT! Screw it up and the entire finished coach is junk. Organizing my thoughts on that subject right now. Sure will make test patterns of scrap cloth to test bends and adhesives. It may NOT be a leather cover; I may use gaberdine which is a lovely fabric weave. Lot of testing and eyeballing to find my preference. Lot of looking at finished RR's by advanced builders for good examples to shoot for. Luck needed; another task I've never done before...

Coming (soon) attraction:

This long delay has been eventful and  here is a teaser of what's to come. A gabardine fabric top is well and truly in progress. It consists of 3 parts; the main center section and both sides of the roof. All have been sized, cut, hemmed and the sides are now attached. The center's edges will overlap the side's top edges slightly. The critical part is cutting  a single dart or slit at the compound curve on the roof top corners. Not for the faint of heart.

Here is the fabric (scraps) just draped in place to give you the idea. The door is just placed. The color in person is very close to the body's dark red but will photograph almost magenta in some shots due to the camera metering. But you'll get the idea:


I will admit, today I had the unexpected help of an expert in the fabric / gluing /  sewing field. My dearest mate heard me wailing in pain and looked in. She proceeded to bark commands for certain of her tools and sat down and attacked the hugest problem; cutting the slits at the corners of the curves. I jumped at every order and when I opened my eyes, saw that her fabric magic gave me what I prayed they would look like. Full explanation and look soon..

Topping off...

To answer some prior questions, here's a closer, near-complete look.

First is GYD-26, from which I gained much inspiration (translation - stole every facet!) for what a real top (although this one folds) looks like:


Here is  a close look at the gaberdine fabric. It has a pleasing (to me) weave and a nice 'body'.  For a man's suit the term would be 'hand'; not a floppy rag but with a workable firmness and lays out nicely. Holes and fuzzes will disappear; they are mounts for the chrome landau bars which I'm hopping up and down for, Yes, there will be a piping edge all around for final finish:


The infamous corners. Remarkably lucky for a first effort. Lots of scalpel, razor blade and blood letting action:


And here with its toupee placed on:


Again about the color; it's all the lights and exposure, different in every shot. In person, dark cranberry red, all even sides and top (should be, all came off one piece) and pleasing to me with the body red. Couldn't be happier about my luck. The corner slits and a strip across the back as close as I can get to GYD - 26 will conceal virtually all the slits. Some small gathering on the right slit unexplained but I'm just mortal. Tried my best for perfection. Indeed a close look at GYD will reveal some puckers and wrinkles but I'd sure want it in my garage...


Getting anxious...

The temptation now with top nearly complete is to rush headlong into unwrapping all the delicious details and stick 'em on. Like the spotlight, wipers, Flying Lady (she'll be last to the party) and all the door windows. Here is the completed top save for the tack strip, rear glass and frame. And various bits in place to judge what I've wrought. Of course miles of work to come like the dash, wheel, w'screen, folding hoods and all the chrome bits due back any day now. It's getting exciting - for me at least.










Last top details...

This portion of the job was a big chance to trash the model by the smallest mistake and I feared that. Slavish testing of glues, tapes, knives and materials made me brave enough to try it 'live'. That and figuring out an actual method.  It IS a pivotal moment in your build when you may go too far past your skill level and ruin it. You need to assess your bravery when you go off the path. Huge relief now to be nearly home safe and dry. Still plenty of chance on other less challenging tasks for me to soil the sheets - but the confidence of this part is at work.

Only the rear window frame and glass to go back here then onward:






A very exciting time for me and a long time coming: The brass has come back from chrome plating. And it's beyond my dreams!

 Seen here are the roof landau irons, the side vent window frames and the door glass frames. They came back virtually flawless and look like 1:1 OEM trims. Some words of recognition and sincere thanks before my euphoria.

I commissioned David Cox to make the landaus to my specifications and proportions; necessary because of the radical roof cut as the also beautiful Model Motorcar landaus became too big to fit. Although many miles away from me and the model, David made them as perfectly as if he had the car on his bench. The very neat little buckles on the top straps are also his work. I am privileged to have David's running board strips and these parts on my car; all chromed, they are spectacular additions. Small caps will go into the tube ends and center pivot of each. Bit by bit...

  Thanks too to Marvin Meit who offers his chroming service for his customers. Marvin treats your parts as though they were his own. And his plating man has done top-notch work on my bits. I just bought the cast bronze headlights from Marvin and the chrome is also spectacular. Wait until you see them. The Pocher stampings look like pig-iron by comparison.

  A lot of hard work goes into this but you will get an enormous visual reward if you do it with diligence. Cutting and soldering brass square channel to the right sizes was a steep learning curve for me; indeed I made many of each to get the correct parts. I'm a hacker remember? The key to perfect chrome is what Dave Cox taught me; when you think you've polished the parts enough, polish them four more times!

So I did. And he was certainly right.

  These views, although poorly lit to try to get the flash of chrome, hopefully show the proportions and elegant streamlined style I was trying for. Like those Gurney Nutting Phantoms that inspired me.

 Now where did I put those Bugatti tail lights ...?








The front windshield's chrome frame is in the box but I haven't made the rear one yet. Coming up soon as is the door glass and frames and then the doors!

Ooops - forgot the dash too soon...

Never satisfied...

I have well proven that I can never get anything 'right' the first time around. To that end, dissatisfaction at the tack strip on the roof caused me to add hours to this saga by trying new techniques to make a more accurate one - or at least more representative. 

Here is the result; narrower - 3mm compared to 4.5 and thinner, one layer instead of two. Compare to GYD-26 again. Also fettled a retainer strap for the roof flap holder thingie...





I give you the work of Messers. Cox and Meit. Alas, I am not they. Knowing my limitations, I opted for the matching fabric as the prototype I showed you and many others I studied. In fact, I found no prototypes with chrome tack strips among Gurney cars.

  But for Marvin and Dave, having done 30 or so of these over the years, this is a mere parlor trick. Dave is a master at cutting and filing ultra thin strips and linkages on all his cars. Marvin at handling and fitting gaberdine fabric (David prefers leather) .This being my first and only, I let discretion be the better part.

  Note that even for them, it is very difficult to cover and hide the needed darts at the compound corners of the roof. But a look at the MMC custom-built gallery will show you several Sedancas beautifully done for customers with this feature:


I just want to say...

All the good wishes and banter along the way have been an unexpected bonus to building my Sedanca.

  I have learned something new after the years spent developing this thing. And it's that a Pocher classic can develop a personality of its own. It doesn't just sit on a shelf after completion, it takes the mind back to another era in time and a sense of history. It exudes a timeless persona and becomes a focal point wherever it is displayed.  Pochers are large enough to convey that stuff with detail and authority.

  Getting into the stage where it all begins to come together is exciting and to finally see what the heck I've tried to do. Developing fantasies about starlets, spit-and-polish mechanics or obedient bellhops has been part and parcel of the fun for me. And carried me through the rough spots when I bit way more than I could chew.

  There are several Alfas, Bugattis and Benzes (where are my Rolls mates??) on the horizon here which are clearly unique windows back in time and they're being built by guys who know how to bring that out. Very exciting to see.

This is why I truly urge all who've considered a Pocher classic to dive in and get a dream started in plastic and metal. Concoct your own idea of how things were or should have been with classic vintage automobiles. It's enormously rewarding.


The Last Detail...

--For the top that is. Here is the brass window frame, already sent for chrome. Its dimensions are 60 x 7 x 4.5 mm's by .020 thick. Plexi to be added after chrome. The fabric is left slightly over size at the opening then just press fit in, partially in this view. It is just deep enough to meet the headliner inside. The hole (for hanging in the chrome tank) and seam are at the top to be invisible in place.



Out of hibernation...

Here come the details, out of storage and permanently affixed. A good feeling - most of them even still fit!!

Attached now; the windshield glass to frame, the frame to the cowl, the dashboard, the landaus and luggage rack. The door is just placed until the interior upholstery and windows are attached. Yes, the odd flap of leather, a bit of touch up and all will be jake.

Still to come the inside rear view mirror, the wipers, the stunningly beautiful MMC spotlight on the cowl post, the wheel and spark controls and that tiny notch under the steering column. It was needed to drop the body down into place on the chassis. When the body is finally affixed, that notch will be filled with its mate.

Seen first is the 'screen and I'm not proud to say it's the 4th and final glass I cut and fitted; reason, got CA spots on the other 3 (perfect cuts too...). The final answer was epoxy, thinned a drop and spread verrrry carefully:



Overexposed dashboard so it can be seen more clearly. Kickpanel leather on left needs tidying:


Managed to get a bit of window light into the cabin and it's nice and snuggly back there. Rear window frame and glass to come after chrome next week:


The overall look now:



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The latest...

There will be (window) light ! One side done waiting for leather inner. Door not hinged but latched so it's close to the final contours:



Pain and pleasure...

In the interest of honesty, I feel it necessary to report the bad with the good. If this build report is to be of any value to interested builders it must be so. Seems those couple of posts above about careful handling were prophetic.

In the course of finally installing the windshield, a tiny finger smear of epoxy ruined the perfectly blemish free clear Lexan. Heartbreak. Couldn't live with it. The glass is easily removable by lifting off the top crossbar but the frame was epoxied in place in the cowl opening. I managed to remove it without cowl damage but the frame needed harsh treatment to remove the hard epoxy. That raised a chip of chrome on the face. I spoke to Marvin at MMC about stripping the chrome and replating but he advised me that frequently destroys the solder joins (in the lower corners). Without further ado, I took two days to make a new one, now better-fitting and polished than the first. I also cut 3 more new Lexans on the bandsaw - in for a penny...



You can only walk on water just so long before your trouser belt gets wet - I have tried but I've been lucky to this point. We all reach the point in these projects where you're on the model with tools and glues on perfectly finished areas. This is so for me from here on out and as stated previously, for me it's a nervous time. For a relief from the door panel assembly (same thing; finished paint on the outside / finished leather on the inside) I 'relaxed' (NOT) installing pretty details from MMC on the boot. In the swing of things, I made a proper Brit plate and holder and finalized the spare and the boot handle and clips. Awaiting the final bits of MMC jewelry, the cast bronze tail lights which will go on either side of the plate. This all required drilling holes (they even had to be perfectly centered and perfectly symmetrical!), screwing things and gluing things on the finished painted surfaces.





Some observations about Sedancas; you can see here how long the rear overhang really is. I'm very glad I shortened the boot, made it lower and sloped it. The stock kit one now looks like a huge box (which it actually was) from the 1:1. This one just works better with my 'laid-back' look.

Also, this thing has gotten HEAVY. With 5 solid rubber tires, wheels with over 80 parts of mostly steel, many chromed brass bits, stainless steel springs, solid bronze axle and very heavy resin and wooden seats, the workbench groans when I put it down...


A question on the trunk handle; Since MMC does not make a Rolls-specific handle for the lid, it is the Benz hood handle. A very good likeness for the prototype's seen on GYD-26:


One Done!...

Complete door panel hung in place.  Need to trim the body door jamb so it closes fully but very excited about getting past this hurdle. And no mishaps !! 





A note for any Rolls builders that plan leather interiors; the stock kit doors are literally twice as thick as my scratch-built ones. Also twice as heavy. But making an interior backing panel for the leather and wood on the doors adds to their bulk. Depending on which seats you're using, be mindful for thickness and be sure doors will close fully against the floor pan stop. If you look back in the thread, you'll see that my doors are basically skeletal and the upholstery is hung on very thin backers.

A 'glad-it's-over' update...

The rear window frame and glass in place finally. Chrome is great, glass is perfect (on only the second attempt !) Static electricity makes it dusty despite constant brushing... Yes, it's too small; got a yelling at by Marvin but it's what I wanted. Just a neat, thin edge of sparkle in the dark red fabric. Heck, it's my model !




A valid question was raised by Ron Clark as to why the rear glass was inset more than the prototype's. This was a conscious decision on my part to accept that compromise. Several practical reasons made it so.

First off, chrome on highly polished brass is incredibly slippery I found out. Handling it with precision while fitting a part inside it is above my pay scale. This piece was made to slip snugly inside the fabric of the rectangular opening (no glue) and requires a bit of pressure to do that.

But the danger is dislodging the glass insert when doing so. Having ruined the first glass like the windshield, with a smudge, it's imperative to not touch the glass - with anything. It's very sensitive to anything more than a make-up brush and will show marks as scratches. Even removing the protective paper is very hard to do on a small piece like this.

Needing to press the chrome frame into the opening meant pressing on the glass too if it were flush. The first glass I made, I adhered in the corners with clear parts cement. A tiny drop too much in fact. Out it came, cleaned the frame and made another. I decided to space the glass within with a 1/16 plastic shim, face down on clean paper. I then switched to Future mixed with a little Windex (to thin it a bit) and applied it with pick to the vertical sides by wicking it in. Let it set an hour, and I had an even depth within the frame. This allowed me to press in the frame (wearing gloves) on the  outer edge all around without glass contact.

So that's the why of it. Sure I prefer GYD-26's look but I'm also very happy to have a perfect, clear glass with no flaws there. It's nice when light reflects across the thin chrome and the flat pane of glass.

As I said many times, knowing my limits and when to stop is best. I can surely live with the compromise.

Those of you who build for clients (as Ron does) must produce what they demand even though they have no knowledge of the difficulty or impractical nature of the demand. That's why I'm several levels down from the professional ranks.

Here I go again...

I have taken a pretty regular beating around here (especially from a certain California engineer) for my inability to get anything 'right' the first time - leading to multiple attempts at satisfactory. This of course is certainly deserved. So here's another example.

Having completely assembled one whole door panel with windows, I began the second. But I noticed something different apparently brought on by age. As described much earlier in this story, all the wood veneer trim on the car is not wood (making purists and wood crafters cringe and become ill) but photographic paper with the image of a veneer I chose. After adorning the dash and then the doors and rear seat support, I thought it done so I applied clear acrylic gloss to the portion on the doors, first. However just now I see that certain portions had turned the fiery burl more a dark brown walnut - a major change from the uncoated areas. WARNING: The bright lighting makes it all appear very orangy; there are very obvious dark areas of burl in natural light. This shot shows the contrast:


So in my typical fashion, I weighed the risks and went ahead anyway stripping the previous application of paper wood. Hell it's only time and nerve-wracking stress plus the ability to ruin previously finished bits, right? What could possibly go wrong? - as they say.

Here is the result, better in every way; neater smoother and better fastened with d/s tape and CA gel. And NO clear coat this time; the trick is glossier photographic paper. Looks like polished wood in the cabin but not lollipop lacquer gloss. Peeking out below is the newly completed license plate and tail light array. More on that soon.




Here's an earlier photo of all the car's colors and the match is now much better among all the wood bits. I sleep better now...



  I've completed the glass installation by fitting the passenger door frames and glass. All went well if not a bit nervously. The miracle is that it fits the cowl windshield frame in the proper place with the door shut, matches the driver side and has no flaws in it. Will further press my luck getting the upholstery panel onto the inside...




Life (finally) imitates art...


The ancient sketch on the wall has finally spawned it's metal and plastic image. It kept me going through the rough spots...

  For some time now I have terrorized myself with the idea that adding the big chunks was increasing the tonnage of my svelte creation. This despite stainless steel springs. Gravity affects busty women and Pochers with plastic springs the same saggy way. After several sleepless nights (dumb huh?) I decided that the remedy used in the rear suspension over a year ago, had to work in the front. So using .250 square styrene cut to exact length, I filled the distance between the upper spring pad between the U-Bolts and the lower channel of the chassis above it. I left them white so I could see but as seen here they are hardly visible, especially when the fenders go on. Presto, solid suspension all around and no need for stands and the like. Besides, who will know besides us??


It's been a long time on the work stands so this little dress rehearsal was a refresher of where this is going and for me, incentive to press on.




More dress-up...

I cannot over-emphasize how pleased I am to have the work of David Cox of Detailed Model Cars on my Rolls. Seen here and out of storage are the right front wing (see Brits? I'm learning!) and the running board. David's brass running board strips dressed in chrome look far better in person than in these pictures. They compliment his custom made landau irons perfectly. I pressed my luck with the windshield, all window frames and the luggage rack. Accessories from Model Motorcars like handles and lights are also substantial improvements over the Pocher kit parts.

I am completely pleased that I committed to the hard road to have real chrome throughout the car. I have used all the spray-on substitutes for brightwork in the past and there's simply nothing more 'real' as a feature on classics than chrome. I urge any of you contemplating it to commit to it. You won't regret the results:



Warts and all...

A personal observation; no Pocher classic will ever be mistaken for a Gerald Wingrove masterpiece. With all due respect to those master professionals who build them, I have learned that no matter how thorough you attempt to be (even building straight out of box), the Pocher Gods seldom smile completely upon you. Here follows a long-winded but hopefully useful explanation.

I've reached the stage where a true bolt-together assembly of the major structure takes place in preparation for final assembly. No pinned-in place, taped-on trial fits. That's past now and what you see now is what it will be forever, like or not. Only doo-dads and sparkly stuff gets added. This is the place that the Pocher Gods can make you cry - no matter how hard you tried to outsmart them.

After what I thought was two + years worth of  microscopic examination and measuring I've learned that you can get to this late stage and get a rude shock. Like a supermodel with a pimple on her nose. To help any others who have found reason to follow my journey (and emulate on their own projects) I feel bound to impart this type of knowledge.

In the first year of construction, I discovered that the rear fenders bore little resemblance to each other. Careful fiddling corrected the problem. Warps in the body and mis-locations of crossmembers and other major points of the structure were detected and rectified. The chassis got strengthened and straightened.  Sure - I knew you can't trust the long-gone Pocher guys, mold makers, and four-decades- old plastic in storage.

But the thing I was completely blind to was the sweeping front fenders. Why did I lavish time on their finish, completely trusting that Pocher got those even and symmetrical?

Well, here now in perfect paint and ready for prime-time they are   -  and they're not the same. It's enough to make one cry. This simple shot with bad graphics reveals the problem easily. The fender marked 'left' is fuller, has a fractionally higher arch and different side fender line than its mate. By .062". Just as simple as the one mold made differently than the other. No CNC in the '70's (this is the first boxing of the Sedanca kit).


To compound the pain, the passenger side fender is molded with a warp on its bottom edge, the part that contacts the chassis and needs to sit flush on it. Shown by the arrows, the front and rear edges do contact the chassis but the central portion has a gap. This means overall that the gap to the top of the tire is closer on this side than the other. It's a shallower fender:


This is actually the ride height I prefer and designed for but the other (driver) side is .062 higher:


Well the pros tell me you can't see both sides at once but that's no consolation for me. And by inference this happens more often than not. I've obviously got a lot to learn or have to settle for my lower skill levels. Sure, I could shim the fender up .062 and the tire gaps would be even. But that leaves an unsightly raised edge on the chassis rail. So the moral is to be prepared that you can only go so far no matter how diligent you try to be. Doing it over again, I know to make the door gaps .003 wider than the .018 I recommended to several who've asked about it. And check every damn plastic part in the box for fit and symmetry.

Having said ALL of that (Lord I do go on...) here is the 75% version of the finished product. Some photos in flash, some natural light, the body attaching studs need trimming and a light manicure and wipe-down needed. Light plays tricks with the angles of the body panels. All new interior wood has been fashioned, fits improved and the door panels permanently affixed to the door skins. Major things to be added: the running boards, the four hood panels (a huge project themselves because the body is moved aft and they need to be longer and widened at the rear) and the rear fenders (will be another huge visual impact on the streamlining idea). Minor things are the second chromed windscreen frame and its glass, the spotlight, steering wheel levers, headlights (beautiful large MMC chromed bronze castings), smaller hinge pins, license plate and taillights, interior mirror and that beautiful lady that floats over the radiator cap. She'll be the last to arrive.

A final thought; in the flesh, this thing blows me away. The colors, textures and chrome conspire to lift it beyond my wildest dream. That would be true of any nicely built Pocher, no matter my criticisms. Love or hate it, it has presence. And character. I say that out of amazement, not pride. Many of you criticize me for 'modesty' so I'm even embarrassed to blurt this out.  Flaws and all, I am thrilled that I can see it every day here. Smaller models may be jewels or precise miniatures but they don't pull you by the lapels from the other side of the room. This has not been a contest. Just a personal exercise to see how close I could get to a vision. Judge for yourselves:







That gap under the offside fender seen clearly from this angle. Oh well...




A little 'fun' for the New Year (2017)...

As relief from the heavy lifting of fitting major pieces, I put down the hammer and tongs for a little light, 'eyewash', instant gratification work. To wit, the steering wheel and engine control levers. These control ignition advance, governor and carburetion mixture.

The easy start was to polish the wheel with various grits to yield the bakelite-type plastic look of the original. Pocher molds the control bezel fairly well in black plastic but the lettering for the functions is raised rather than etched and white-filled as the originals. Sort of like the aircraft guys deal with raised panel lines vs. etched. Oh well, plenty of other 'inaccuracies' on the car but it makes for a little visual interest. The letters may also be a hair overscale and you can easily read the functions in place in the car..

Pocher gives you horrid stamped, plated, pointy steel for the control levers. That could be improved on. So a little brass bending and soldering yielded prototypical rod levers:



Here is the original; a P II but with the factory option, 'spring steel' steering wheel, as opposed to all bakelite wheel on the model. Very business-like:


So this is where it wound-up, acceptable for relatively little work. I will immediately point out that Cox routinely makes these WORKING controls (with levers and links going down a fabricated steering column) to the main ignition and carburetor, so I'm taking the beggar's way out with a little visual fakery...




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Securing one's nuts...

Ahem. Actually installing them in the first place. WARNING - a bit more Pocher bashing coming.

Attaching the previously seen front wings, reminded me of a needed fix. Although when complete one need not remove and replace the front wings at all - unless damage should occur. However getting them to stay solidly in place by Pocher's method just doesn't happen.

These giant, heavy, sailboat fenders are held by one 2mm nut in front and one teensy screw in back - both on the side of fender. This makes it like a child's wiggly tooth about to fall out. A method learned from Dave Cox is to install two screws into the TOP of the fender apron to augment the side attachments. MUCH better:


Using a 00-90 bolt (.045" in diameter) so as to keep the bolt head unobtrusive, also means tapping into the frame rail's plastic and securing the bolt. But since the fenders have to go off and on several times while making and fitting hood panels, that is not an entirely secure idea. The answer is nuts - blind nuts. The method is the same as recommended by Paul Koo to attach regular Pocher screws into too-small holes of plastic; melt them into place.

Seen here is a 00-90 and nut and the correct location as drilled into the fender apron. Simply get out your smallish soldering iron, partially install the bolt / nut into a predrilled (#56 - .0465". That's the size for the bolt diameter. The hot nut makes its own nest in there. Just go slowly and lightly; you don't want to go through completely. Use tweezers to hold the bolt vertical if you need to) hole and GENTLY press down the bolt head. Let the heat do the work and keep steady. Stop when the nut top is flush with the frame rail. When cool, unscrew the bolt, (bolts are better than screws because the hex head is much easier to get good contact with) then trim carefully the little mound of displaced plastic so as to have a flush mounting surface. These pics tell the story. I have also used this technique on vertical surfaces to secure the rear fenders into the trunk walls. Well-worth a bit of extra time for secure and removable parts.





A very deep rabbit hole...

I have screwed up the courage and decided it's time. With the main bits finalized including the front fenders and body, I decided to break from the tiny (but fun) details and plunge into the four hood panels.

Because of the body set-back and lowering, the kit hood top panels are now 2.5mm too short. So to use them would require adding styrene and filling seams. Not what I wanted for the most large and visible area of paint. So a dip into fabricating my own.

After making 3 different panels in styrene with unsatisfactory results, I made 4 more panels but of .015 aluminum. (Too !) easy to shape but with a lovely surface, it seems the best route. Here is a tease of work in progress which may or may not survive the whole process.

I first made a crude but accurate jig of the grille shell contour and the cowl curvature. The grille is difficult because of the 'hip roof' center of the distinctive Rolls grille. It's easy to get a kink in aluminum there. The body cowl is difficult because the curves run side-to-side as well as fore and aft. All this so as not to scuff paint on the cowl end with endless trial fits:


I have now gotten the feel for the panel curves which are quite subtle and tricky. That cardboard tube makes a good rolling form. No English wheel here in the shop!  I'm not 100% there yet but they sit rather well just now. Don't make judgements just yet - they are just placed for these shots. Stiffeners and shims in some areas for the sides and front / rear curves will be added on the undersides. The center hinge is in the correct place and is removable; it will be bolted to each finished panel.

And NO, it will not be a natural metal finish even though I like those; it would just disrupt the color work already in place. More if luck allows me to get this to work:




Work involved; You probably lost count but 7 panels so far to get these two. These are promising. Also made 3 or 4 'file card' templates prior to that.

I did manage to get that front-to-back 'twist' pretty well on both panels. The difficulty is at the 'dog house' at the grille. Straight across the top and straight down each side. The formers will make or break the result.

A significant step...

While waiting for the etching primer for the hoods to arrive, I decided it was time. Partial final assembly where no more work need be done. I had decided NOT to secure the bolts, studs and nuts with either CA or thread locker. It turns out I took apart and reassembled many times the trunk, fenders and body on chassis. This to make new parts I wasn't satisfied with or improve the fit and locations of some.

Good thing because I found plenty to improve. Now I have very good alignment of all the major elements.

Chief among the changes was this inner fender panel. If you don't make these, you see the side of the rear seat past the tire. This one needed tweeking so I just made another.



Everything back here is final (but removable if needed) and the bolts, studs and blind nuts will only allow that. The Pocher screws would be long gone by now. The trunk lid and front seats are easily removable as is the spare tire. The steering wheel can also be removed for 'service'. I am doing a visual test on the running boards with black-grained strips between the chrome spears on one side to see which looks best.









Having some fun...

Dear friend Endeavor (David) suggested above that the running boards could be dressed with wood inlays rather than the black treads I tested. I thought that unusual as I had not ever found any prototypes with such treatment and was skeptical.

But as usual, when an idea arises, sooner or later I'm compelled to try it. So here are some hasty scraps 'inlaid' on the boards as a visual test. It would be a better test if I had the door in place but I'm not ready to do that now due to other work in progress.

As always, all opinions are welcomed; but fair warning - I don't know if I'll take the consensus advice given. It may be 'too much' in my view so I have to look at it over a couple of days to decide.



Amazingly, here is the proof that it was done - either back in the '30's or as modern restoration. The big roadster is even finished in my color!


After looking at it for several days, I've decided. I like it best with no treads of wood or rubber, just the paint and chrome. I fear I'm flirting with over-decoration so it's a tiny note of conservatism.

Here after much adjustment to the suspension and body height and alignment, is the full-assembled look of the design. The front wings will further add 'swoop' and they will go on (as I modify the headlights first) so the hoods can be fitted.  I have achieved my vision for it (so far) which I count as a miracle. As I always note, not everyone's cup of tea.


Next month will be 3 years of this madness. But plans have been afoot for a while for a proper backdrop for photography. Indeed, I have photoed a quaint, local small-town, old-time garage which would make a suitable home for it, I think. That building project will happen with the case, when the bulk of the car is finished - when the Lady goes on the radiator cap. Meantime, it sleeps under a black plastic shroud when it's not being hacked-on...

A needed diversion...

Those expecting a mile-long gleaming hood will be disappointed. So am I but a necessary side-track occurred. It's complicated.

In order to fit the 4 hood panels, the fenders must be in final place. In order for that, the headlights must go into the fender aprons. In order for THAT, you must have all the parts! Seems I lost or never had the  two plastic bodies for the horns which mount on the headlight posts which mount on the fenders. Whew!

Seen here in a Paul Koo illustration are the kit parts in gray plastic. Mine couldn't be found:


So using the photo and eyeball engineering I laminated some plastic and made a pair.


Presto - after making a mess of shavings, here the finished piece. These are mounted to the beautiful and expensive ModelMotorcars headlights. The kit reflector will be modified to fit within. I also cut the posts down by 5mm to lower the lights for my 'look':



With the fender mounted here is a good idea of the look.


Here now is a very good look at the ride height, tire gap and general lines of the car. It is now exactly what I hoped for so early in the build. Note that the hood hinge is perfectly level as is the running board and trunk lid. Picture a yellow hood side and that will be it:


A question was raised here about ride height alterations.

Virtually all un-modified Sedanca kits sit like that when newly built - but not too long. The very early kits (like mine) had soft vinyl-like springs, which the weight of the model eventually sagged. A second design of the kit saw the springs changed to metal inserts within the vinyl and were slightly better, however time took its toll. I opted for the stainless steel PE springs from MMC where the weight is not an issue and the ride height will not change.

Of great significance is the channeling of the body over the frame on mine vs. stock. The  elimination of the device Pocher chose (a .250" spacer under the firewall) also requires heavy modifications to the chassis and crossmembers to get the floor flat on the frame. Note the bolt on the lower front corner of the coach is attached into the frame rail on the stock model; mine is approximately .250" below the frame, a significant amount to get the cowl down flush on the firewall. Note the hood line on the stock kit is sloped to the front grille shell. Mine is perfectly straight as were all Gurney Nutting Sedancas. The bottom body edge on mine  (under the running board) is also trimmed almost 7 mm, making the body visually less tall than stock to accommodate the channeling.

Lights and horns...

Front dress finally complete. The MMC headlight shells are beautiful but their tri-bars and lenses are very difficult to handle and install while keeping immaculate. The parts are delicate. No excuse now, have to solve the hood dilemma. Smaller troubles are installing the spotlight and reinstalling the windscreen.

All the lights are installed but none are functional which will surely disappoint those who install the working deals. I know my limitations and I didn't want a 'touch-me' feature to operate them on the car. Just a pretty face I'm afraid...




More details...

While battling with hood fabrication I decided on a break to install some fun stuff. So back in went the umpteenth new windscreen and frame and the MMC wipers. Without mishap this time. The wipers are beautifully made and chromed but the rubber blades were terribly out of scale. So I made new from the shrink tube I used as door / window insulation.

 The hood is being very difficult and what you see is probably the first of many tries.




I can be dumb...

As you saw, I had convinced myself that I would fabricate new hood panels. That proved to be a long, frustrating and futile exercise. I tried different materials and thicknesses and substructures to support them. With each, I found that I couldn't get them to match the grille shape and rest completely closed. Also, attaching supports to the skins was very problematic. This went on for weeks actually.

At a mental standstill, I decided to re-study 1:1 Phantom hoods. I discovered I was making things too difficult.

In a nutshell without great story-telling, here is the solution; I would use the original sturdy kit hood panels, modified cosmetically as needed. The first shot shows 6 of the nine panels I made and could not get to work. Four are different plastic thicknesses and the two in front are ~.012 ally. Three other panels were discarded for damage while bending.


Here are the kit panels in place, perfectly closed at rest. They need material added in width and to get the edges full size but that will be far easier than what I went through.


And here is the culprit; the bushing I made for the hinge pin is too tall. Removing and replacing with a shorter one allowed the front of the hoods to rest right behind the grille shape.


I began to refine the kit hood top panels as described above. Here they are with the kit side trim sanded off and new .040 strips sized to replace them. Filler is seen at the rear edge and unsanded filler is seen in previous but now unused holes at the hinge area. Hinges for the side panels have been made workable and will be trial fit as the next step in the process. Have a plan now to develop the four hood panels and actually getting the top panels near final fit has been accomplished. Spent a lot of time perfecting fit and minding panel gaps.


Catching up...

This update was compiled over the last several weeks in small fits of time. It has been refreshing because I've finally found a solid method to fabricate the hood panels.

I had to abandon the idea of scratch-built top panels of ally, brass or plastic seen in past posts. The major problem was getting hinges and sub structure to attach. My original objection to the kit plastic panels was that the alterations to the main body would require material to be added to the hoods. I didn't want to glue on plastic shims and then have to putty many seams. But I found a better way after some experimenting.

Seen here is a panel with the raised molding sanded off and replaced with .040 white card. To this was added .040 half-round on the inner edge to mimic the cowl's molding - it is not a straight flat edge but a gentle return. Of course, never leaving anything as Pocher intended, I taper the molding thinner at the leading edge in keeping with the car's 'streamlined' look.


Here are the panels together and the taper is visible. Also seen here is the solution in the works for adding material to get perfect panel gaps. My filler of choice is 3M Bondo 801, a two-part which will not shrink. I learned I could make durable and accurate additions with filler.


The panels required additions on the left front and both rear edges. The method that works starts by applying medical tape on the underside of the panel then applying a ribbon of filler. The 3M cures in 20 minutes but I always give parts an hour or so for complete cure; it sands to a fine edge that way.



Sanding 90 degrees gives a nice clean edge and when the top contours are sanded to match the panel it becomes an invisible join under primer. >>An important tip is the bevel the top edges of the panel before filler is applied; this makes a transition for the filler-to-panel and not a sharp line.


Seen in place the filled edges are evident and the gaps near perfect. I may remove a bit more material for paint thickness but the contours match. The darker red smears of filler are the Bondo 907  for very minor imperfections - it's literally a scratch filler. It can shrink but leaving to air dry a long time and using in very thin applications will stop that. The circle at the left front show that corner slightly raised and needing attention. A hot water dip (185F) and pressure cured that as seen in the next shot. And The Bondo is unaffected by near-boiling water and some pressure - it does not flake or break off as hobby fillers would.


The look of symmetry I was seeking. The other big discovery I made earlier was that the bushing for the hinge pin was too tall; shortening that allowed the center of the panels to sink behind the grille as the 1:1's and no bending of a 'dog house' was needed to match the grille. I wasted a lot of materials learning that:


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On to the hood side panels which needed major modification so I decided to scratch build these with a twist. Using file card, I made a pattern of the opening which differs from the kit panel. It is less tall and slightly longer.


Here is seen the difference between early and late K-72 kit hoods. The early version has a beveled bottom which is wrong. The fender aprons it rests on are flat. So check your kit carefully. I measured out the louver area and transferred that to the file card. Then, using the early spare hood I cut out the louvers with a 5mm border, this so I could piece it into a scratch built .060 panel I will make. Then I would have room around to fill and blend the join:


And this is the direction we're headed. The key element to the Phantom II look is the 'mile-long' row of louvers, absolutely straight in line with the cowl louvers. The stock hood panels NEVER align these key elements. This, along with the absolutely straight hood top line (radically different than a stock Pocher kit) are the pay-off for all the slicing and dicing of panel, roof and channeling the body onto the frame, done so long ago.


Striking while iron is hot...

I know the finish line is ahead in the fog. Just need to make the last few parts hundreds of times as usual, first.

Here's the port side panel in the flesh. Just need to get the 4 sides blended with filler so there are no seams. Lots of fill / sand / prime. Then install the hinge which allows the side to fold from the top panel. Some minor trimming here and there:


The test fit moment of truth; Got the louver tops in alignment with the cowl's - BLISS! Doesn't help that Pocher made the cowl louvers 1mm less tall than the hood's - unless Rolls did that ? IMPOSSIBLE, 'The World's Best Motorcar' in 1932 would never allow that!!


A visual test with the paint program gives a clearer look at where it will be. Can't color the louvers without further insanity...


Final challenge will be to build the starboard side to fit and align perfectly there. But the good news is that this panel fits dead on in that opening so far. May just need louver alignment. Some final details like the spotlight and.....don't even want to think that far ahead....

To be clear, I did not fabricate each individual louver, as some scratchbuilders here are able to do. Rather, I removed the block of them from spare hood panels as seen in this earlier snap. I left a 5mm border around them (yellow tape) so that no filler fouls the tips of them where it joins the cut-out in the fabricated white panel.


An interesting fact...

A brief conversation with David Cox has uncovered a 'taken for granted' fact about Phantom II Sedancas (and probably Torpedoes too) and their louvered 'bonnets'.

To get the placement of the block of louvers correct to Gurney Nutting (GN) Phantoms, I began to experiment with their placement withing a few millimeters. In an off hand comment, David said words to effect that 'Pocher has the  wrong number'. This caused me to more carefully study my books and photos and sure enough there's a significant difference.

Pocher molds 35 louvers into the hood side panels. At least two originals have only 31. Gentile's 201 RY being one - a very famous car (restored to original configuration) at Pebble Beach and other concours.


They are also closer to the edge next to the cowl than Pocher chose. Further, I discovered that Pocher only molds five louvers into the cowl where the two prototypes I studied have eight and nine respectively. This is a significant change in the look of the car's coach.

Granted, these originals were all 'custom' coachbuilt with selections by the owners. Rolls Royce offered a factory choice of 11 degree slants to the louvers or upright vertical and included the hoods with the chassis to the coachbuilder. A few wealthy clients had more or less louvers made with more radical slants to their angle. There is no right or wrong with these cars, just a presentation of what was done most often by coachbuilders.

So my dilemma became what to do? In an early experiment, I shaved and filled-in two louvers at the front to gain some room for filler at the front edge of the surrounding hood. This was successful and the filled louvers are undetectable in primer. That panel is seen in an earlier post.

So I can:

-Fill 3 louvers at front edge and 1 at rear.

-Any combination filled to reduce number to 31.

-Leave as is with 35 because: a. it's easier, b. if it looks good it's OK.

I cannot: Alter the number of cowl louvers. Unless I fill some to make less-BEFORE I painted.

One can look at this classic as a model of a 'Pocher' which resembles a certain Rolls, NOT a custom coach with all the cues of a Gurney Nutting or Barker car. I strove to emulate the proportions of true GN cars; the stock Pocher has too many compromises to that look. Any stock Pocher can build into a lovely model, make no mistake. But the trademark GN low roof, channeled body and flat hood only come with radical alteration to the Pocher.

Tempest in a teapot? Probably. But the thought I wish to impart is that ANY Pocher classic is a compromise to what the prototype cars were. Indeed, most are compilations of features from several models or years of prototypes. Several wildly talented builders here have undertaken intense study and measurements of researched cars and attempted and accomplished staggering alterations (including track width and wheelbase)  to Pocher kits - especially the Alfas. If 'accuracy' is your goal, load up on research and study it carefully. This can apply also to the modern sport cars from Pocher with which Pocher was forced to simplify detail because of the staggering complexity of the original. That's why transkits for them have become almost a 'must-have'.

I still didn't decide what I'll do but here is a fun 'coloring book' look at the actual parts in the actual colors on the car. I graphically reduced the number of louvers to 31 but left the cowl as it must remain. This is the actual fabricated hood with the louvers in their actual placement in relation to the cowl's louvers. I can be happy with this.


A hoodwink...

Which is a very brief update due to forces beyond my control. Since the above, 8 days ago I've decided to keep the full 35 louvers but move them aft as a true Gurney car would have. So I filled the front of the panel and moved them closer to the cowl. Also added the complete beltline mouldings so this is the final look. Have started the side hinges and they are now holding the top and side panel together. The tape marks are for alignment only. Found these in the camera from few days ago but here's where work stopped. More when time permits:



A teeny update...

Returning from sick leave (April 2017) and sneaking up on the Rolls. Spring is arriving and I've gotten the primer and sanding going.

  Here is a comparison of the finished passenger side hood panel and the same one stock from Pocher (darker panel) showing the size and proportion differences. The red line shows how much the louver tops had to come down to match the cowl louver height. Also evident at the bottom edge is how much lower overall the hood sits due to the body channel. The front and rear edges are modified slightly and the louver section has had its angle changed from stock. This to make them visually level from the cowl forward.


With the door on, the overall look is both lengthened and lowered - just as I hoped. Now the major trick(s) is to get the opposite side identical and all 4 panels to play nice together.


Bodywork tips...

These methods work for me and hopefully you too. They are most helpful for large scale part joining, in this case my hood panel which is as long as a 1/24 scale car. Every panel on my car has been modified using these cutting, joining and filling methods. For builders of any of the Pocher Rolls, this is the best way to get accurate louver alignment even if the body is not channeled. They never line up stock.

Here now the driver side lower hood panel is fabricated, much neater and less time than the passenger side which came first. I seem to make up things as I go along...

Seen here is the louver panel cut from a stock kit hood. With it is the main panel cut so as to accept it. The reason for this to refresh, is to relocate the louvers to match the cowl's and resize the whole panel for the lowered body. The significant thing which is very important later is that the stock panel is between .080 and .085 thick (thank you Pocher) and my new styrene sheet part is .060. I intentionally chose thinner material as it's easier to cut and handle.


You want a nice snug parts fit so cut accurately; small gaps are fine at this stage. The key here is to mark and cut accurately the louver alignment with the cowl. I made a template out of file card which works very well. Easy to mark and trim exactly to the opening. Then cut your plastic. A major improvement from the first panel was cutting the louvers further away from their top and bottom edges. This way you're not having to sand excess filler out of those tough areas. I also mask a band around where the filler will go to minimize overloading the panel with it. Easier to sand less than more.


The ABSOLUTE key to good panel join is this; bevel the inner edges of all the joining surfaces ! Just sand the 90 degree cut edge of the parts to a rough 45 degree bevel. Leave enough flat surface below to actually glue-join the parts. The reason for this extra step is so that the filler A. has more surface area and B. feather sands into the surrounding part. Otherwise, you will have a hard straight join line which no filler will conceal. Also works for you diecast builders:


Now the trick (BEFORE gluing the parts together) is to get the outer (the part of the panel you see on the car) plastic to have the same surface plane as the louver panel. So you don't get a lumpy, wavy surface - gloss paint will make that VERY noticeable.  On the first panel, I made shim stock glued on the back to level the front surface. Much easier this time, I used index card stacks of ~.020 and ~.025 to shim the outer panel off the bench and make the faces flush. Doh! Much easier and adjustable. Use tape and weights to make sure they all touch the base:



Next comes the filler / sanding cycles. There are usually tiny flaws and pinholes and I do several rounds of this. You're looking tho get the joined edges as soft, feathered, indistinct surfaces - in other words smooth with no waves. I use various combinations of hard and soft blocks and grits ranging through 100, 220, 400 and 600 at this stage -all WET. A vanity sink half filled and a dash of dish soap works well for this - just don't tell any females in proximity... The filler is 2 part Bondo, mixed to a very light pink for slightly longer working time. Note how well is feathers. The slightly darker red is traces of single part filler for minute scratches. Go easy when sanding, use a light touch. Also seen is the finished other side panel in final white primer - it's flawless and smooth. Tape at the top is mask - it gets a darker primer. It took MANY hours to get this because I had less than perfect joins first time around. Much better surfaces this time.


The BEST way to check your surfaces is by sighting over the panel from an edge - here from the front edge looking aft. Look INTO a strong light and see how it lays on the surface. Then by feel; drag a finger nail over the joins, close your eyes and gently rub a finger over the surfaces. You'll feel waves and scratches that way. I know I sound like some psychic nut case....but I crave smooth surfaces on a classic car:


Before and after: here is the joined but not filled panel at last check for alignment. Hinges have not been added yet and the parts are just laying in place. The color sweep and beltline cladding will be added before priming. This will be dark red with cream on the whole lower panel:


Now filled:


At this point I re-check for small imperfections and maybe additional scratch filler. I DON'T use primer as a scratch filler; I do all the filling and smoothing on the plastic surfaces - THEN start priming. Then comes several light coats of Tamiya fine gray prime with 600 grit wet sanding. Next a barrier coat of Pledge acrylic, usually brushed on (it levels well) which I gently scuff dull and smooth with gray scuff pad. This to eliminate ghosting of filler. In this case with cream color top coat, I use Krylon white primer over the Pledge and under the Krylon cream. Time for a nap....

By way of explanation-

A point I made very early on in this odyssey; I stated at the outset that my hope was to build an object that was as much 'art' as 'replica'.

I would (and did in a huge way) take license nearly everywhere to please my own eye rather than have a strict reproduction.

Thus, I combined natural metals with normally painted surfaces, immaculate areas with the shopworn and colors and textures the entire RR factory would have nightmares about.

When (and if) it finally gets the Lady on the radiator cap, it will sit in my view daily and please me - tasteful or tasteless to the outside world. That will have been my ultimate satisfaction for doing it.

More bodywork tips and discoveries...

Still learning as I go along. The hood panels, although looking simpler, were almost as problematic as the scratchbuilt doors. And these are only 'partially' scratchbuilt. It's all about alignment and fit.

In order to get the side hinges as friction-free as possible it was imperative to get the mating edges arrow straight. All four panels had curls in various degrees right on their trees in the box. Four decades in an attic will do that. Even the second set of side panels I bought, although better, were also less than perfect. You don't want to build-in stresses as you glue and bolt things together.

So heating, to get warps out, was vital. I did much heat bending for the doors using both heat gun and hot water. All were effective after much horseplay but none was a sure-fire method. Until I tried this. Not for the faint of heart or delicate of fingers.

Each of the side panels had to have their louver inserts  and part of the beltline structure in place to see where the warp stresses were. That includes CA, cement and Bondo filler, front and back. Ready to make an omelet and certain I'd break some eggs, I procured a 10" small frying pan, (my version of 'cheating on your wife' - she'll never know...  because it is shallow and these 7" long parts could be partially submerged in it. Meaning the side edges. Also on hand, a solid cardboard tube (or wood dowel) of 1 1/4" diameter right next to the pan. Turn on the near-by sink faucet to a slight dribble of cold water and keep it running.

I'd learned working on the doors that 185F was an ideal temp for softening Pocher plastic. That happens just as boil bubbles are small and beginning to appear. You acquire an eye for this without needing the temp gun. When the water looks right, lower the flame and immerse the part's edge into the water, moving slowly back and forth. After a count of 10 or so (you'll get the knack) remove it quickly and place the bowed side on the tube and roll the part from side to side with a bit (!) of pressure on the corners you're holding. This is to get the curl to relax and go the other way. Then, still holding the corners with counter pressure, immerse the part in the running cool water. This quenches the plastic, stops the bending, holds the shape and eases the shooting pains in your fingers.

Now sight along the edge or check with straight edge. If there's still some warp, repeat, several times if needed. Don't try to get it all at once, because you'll surely bend it the other way. You want to sneak up on the straight edge and you will if you're patient. This procedure works better and easier than any I've tried on the whole build.

Surprising facts; the hot water does not affect filler, primer or either of the glues. Nothing comes apart or delaminates. No blisters in primer. Better parts through thermodynamics!

A word about priming (quite a few actually); take your time. I am using lacquers (think everyone not using 2-parts should) which dry amazingly well and (this is primers remember) have been unaffected by humidity and temps as cold as 50F. I spray light coats (a bit more than 'mist' coats - there's a difference), maybe 1/2 hour apart. Two or three to get even coverage. Then ONLY ONE medium coat for 'body'. I let this dry at least 12 hours to outgas and shrink - usually more. This lets you see flaws you might have missed with filler or skim coat. Get in the habit (if you want perfect topcoats) of doing other things while primers dry - the longer the better.  I then WET (virtually always) sand with 600 to leave a bit of tooth but a surface with no dry, 'pebble' grain in it. Smooth top coats start with smooth primers. No acne on the surface. BTW - wet sanding in a sink or basin will NOT lift Tamiya masking tape off a surface. You can re-coat right after sanding if desired by just air blowing with your compressor and 100 psi. Doesn't lift the tape. To reduce the amount of filler and keep it in a confined area  (like away from my louver tips - a bugger to sand in there) I mask a top and bottom line and lay the filler in between. When dry, I sand the filler (with tape still in place) so it is flush with the tape edges - THEN remove the tape and block sand flat.

BTW - Only apply masking tape onto thoroughly dry primer (top coats too actually); it may not lift paint but it might 'print-through' so avoid the possibility. The Fine-line stripe tapes can especially do this with aggressive tack.

Apropos to flaw-free paint jobs is the enemy of all of us; DUST! I keep this down by the simple expedient of keeping the car covered, especially and even while work goes on. A large trash bag (model is 26" long) trimmed to be comfortably oversized and covering all 4 sides will do it. You've all seen it in many of my photos. Sanding or Dremel use 4 or 5 feet away makes mini tornadoes of dust. Your HVAC system blows hot / cold air while you snore and coats DUST on every dormant thing in the house. Pets - well I don't have to elaborate on what comes off of them.  If you made a fabric top as I did, it would be a furry thing quickly if left unprotected. Keeping dust off minimizes brush marks and rag scratches which age the model before it gets to the display case. Especially one that's been out for 3 years...

  The result of all this sermon is this; arrow straight edges at the hinge line, mating nicely with the cowl. This side has 2 primer colors and the full belt in place. I consider myself very lucky to have got it this good on both sides:


Here's the inside showing the corner hinge and pin in place. This will allow the hood to pivot up at the center hinge and fold down (inward) on the side. Might even get to see some of the engine toil done many months ago!


The center hinge having been previously fitted and removed for primer (it's chromed) will join that gap in center, and pull everything on the sides into alignment. Right now the tops are just resting in place. Tiny tweeks will surely be needed but everything's pretty much satisfactory now.


Without the doors on (stored for protection) it's tough to see but in person, the famous mile-long RR hood is what gives the Phantom perfect (in my view) proportions. Getting the color coats right will be the icing on the cake.


Edited by Codger

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