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Good evening All, I don't have a good track record with starting and finishing WiPs, but let's give it a go.  I eyed this model at the 2010 Salisbury Show, the first model show I ever went to, and to save my dithering my (much) better half just bought it.  It was already started (mostly built or painted) but when I got it home and looked at it I knew I didn't have the skills to make a decent job of renovating it.


Ten and a bit years on I may still lack the skills, but I am going to try and see if I can actually fix it and build a decent model.  I know the clutch actuating lever is missing, but that is something I can fabricate, and as far as I can tell the rest of the kit is preent in one form or another.  Right then, what I started with...


Both wheels were cemented together at the hubs.  Fortunately the rims weren't cemented so I could get in with the Airwaves (?) photo-etch razor saw and cut through the hubs to separate the halves for further refurbishment.  The brake drums were cemented in position so the wheels couldn't rotate, which wouldn't have been too bad but the painting was bok and it all needed redoing.  So it was out with the scalpel and the razor saw and with courage fortified with a cup of tea I set about breaking things apart.  All in all it was a qualified success.




I don't have any photos of the frame, forks, tank, battery and transmission all fitted together.  Why?  Because it was so bad and so much out of alignment that I started to break it up almost immediately.  I tried to split the frame but the front half just wouldn't separate and I broke the head stock trying to get it apart to remove the forks.  That was easily fixed with some liquid cement, and then I tried to split the frame upright to free up the seat support stem which should move but which was cemented in place and did not move.  Alas I broke the frame trying to do this, and in the end I couldn't free the seat stem and had to cut the remains out with a scalpel.  I did manage to separate the rear frame where the extra part was fitted to get the vinyl 'chain' in to place so that will need fixing later.




Mmmm...  the forks.  They are supposed to articulate and spring, but they were all cemented in place and just didn't work as advertised.  Once they were out of the frame I managed to split some parts apart but others needed to be cut or drilled out, but I managed to get most of them apart.  There's nothing I can't fix without a bit of plastic rod, some plasticard and a few bit of wire.  The original modeller hadn't done any cleaning up at all, just stuck the bits together.  This photo shows the shavings taken off just the mould seams of the main fork sections.




The engine was put together but was not great.  Yes, you can see light between the cylinder head and the barrel of the left hand cyllinder.  Not good.  They are now separated and will be cleaned up and reassembled at a later date after the engine has been stripped, cleaned up and repainted properly.




The previous modeller had made an attempt at 'priming' and painting.




Into the bath of brake fluid went the first lot of parts.  I reckon that fluid is still good enough to use in my Land Rover!




I'll try and update occasionally, and hopefully I won't lose my way with this model.

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13 hours ago, Natter said:

I reckon that fluid is still good enough to use in my Land Rover!




Interesting project this, I think you're a braver man than me!


Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.


Good luck! :)



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This guy does amazing wheels:



I have some NiSi wire on the way to see if I am brave ebough to try respoking the wheels on the Harley.


The paint is all stripped and repair work has started.  I have found the handgrips are missing as well, and I'll have to think about how to replace those as the originals are fluted elongated ovals.  More pondering required.




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Hi Dave


This is the method that I used with my KH after trying other methods, it works really well and is quite straightforward.  The end result is well worth the effort,  but once you do your first, you will never go back to OOB wheels again.



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OK, standby for a load of photos and blether about them.  As well as repairs I have started to respoke the wheels too.  Repairs first.


The cleaning up has been a heck of a job as some of the assembly was quite poor and required correction.  The components had been broken rather than cut from the sprues and then assembled with tube glue: badly.




The frame had been split as far as could, but in some places this just wasn't possible.  I have managed to rework the vertical frame tube so that the seat will be sprung again, and I have filled as many gaps as I can and used Mr Surfacer 500 to assist with the clean up.  You can see join lines in the photo but this is discolouration of the plastic and not gaps.  I am sure that there will still be work to do once the first coat of primer goes on, but it is significantly better than it was.




The same sort of work has gone on with the underside of the fuel tank.  There are several inserts with the holes for the fuel and oil lines and these were fittted poorly and the tube glue had made quite a mess.  As an aside on the real motorcycle the right side of the 'fuel tank' is actually an oil tank, and in the photos the two tank model sides are just taped together for the photo.  Some of the inserts have been removed and refitted and the gaps filled with perfect plastic putty and good old Mr Surfacer 500.






And after...




I had managed to break down the engine in to some of the major parts, but not always successfully.  The generator at the front of the engine was fitted at an angle by the original modeller, and I thought I could put up with that but it was simply too bad and would be very noticeable with the engine in the frame.  Despite best efforts I broke the crankcase mount trying to get the generator off.  You can see the big chunk of hardened tube glue on the front of the crankcase in the photo.




Fortunately the glue was hard but had not adhered very well so I was able to chip it away.  I was now able to separate the generator fron the broken crankcase and tidy things up so it would sit straight when reassembled.  This actually meant sanding the mating face of the generator at quite an angle, but that will be hidden when the parts are painted.  The crankcase was repaired and the side sanded flat ready for the case cover to be refitted.




The cylinders have been cleaned up and the fins tidied.  The cylinder head outer fins had big sink marks which have been filled with the ubiquitous perfect plastic putty.




The cylinder head which had a big gap was split from the cylinder, quite easily in the end, and the mating faces sanded flat so they can be assembled properly.




That's it for the repairs.  I'll do the wheels in the next post.

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On to the wheels next, and my first ever attempt at respoking.  I set about using some of the techniques in the video linked above and those used by Mumbly in his build of his Kwaka KH250



The moulded spokes of the kit wheels were actually oval and measured between 0.75mm and 0.95mm in diameter.  That scales up to 6.75-8.5mm at actual size, way too thick.  The spokes on a mate's BM' GS1250 are 3.5mm in diameter, so allowing for this being an old Harley with steel spokes then 0.45mm NiSi wire should scale up to just over 4mm diameter at full size, and should improve the look of the wheels quite considerably.


The first action was to remove some of the moulded spokes to replace them with the wire, leaving the rest of the plastic in place to maintain the shape of the wheel.  The angle of the spokes was marked on the rim to guide the drilling for the new spokes, and ferrules were left in place when the spokes were snipped off.




You can see the difference between the moulded spokes and the 0.45mm NiSi wire, the ruler graduations being a 0.5mm.




I actually needed to take out more of the moulded spokes to get the first two wire spokes in to place.  The moulded bits of spoke remaining on the hub were shaved off with a scalpel blade and 0.45mm holes drilled where the ends of the mouldings had been.  This gave a good guide for even spacing of the holes around the hub.  To drill the rim I left the ferrules in place and used them and the marks on the rim to help align the drill, initially putting a 0.45mm hole through the rim.  Once I was happy I had gone deep enough to have started drilling in to each ferrule in turn I trimmed it off with a scalpel and then I could confirm how central I was with the drilled hole.  By and large this worked quite well, and once the ferrules were removed the mould line on the inside of the rim could be scraped away too.


I bent a tiny 90o bend in the end of the first length of NiSi wire and threaded the whole length through the first hole in the rim without cutting the wire.  You can see the blobs of tube glue left by the original modeller...




Having threaded the spoke I eased (!) the tiny bend in to the relevent hole in the hub and then marked the wire just where it exited the rim.




The whole piece was then removed and the wire cut at the mark.  A bit of fitting and filing brought the length of the new spoke to just level with the outside surface of the rim.  A simple jig was then made from a couple of pieces of 0.5mm plasticard stuck together.  With the bend of the new spoke against the back of the jig the snips could be placed along the front of the jig and the wire cut.  Make another bend, align with the jig, snip.  Repeat.  Perfectly even length spokes.




The moulded ferrules were up to 1.25mm in diameter, scaling up to about 11.5mm actual size.  That's way too chunky.  Albion Alloys 0.5mm brass tube has an outside diameter of 0.7mm; scaling up to about 6mm-ish actual size.  The 0.45mm hole in the rim was opened up to 0.75mm, making any alignment adjustments as required so the spokes would align just right.  The first new brass tube ferrule was cut to the appropriate length, leaving just the right amount showing on the inside of the rim when the other end was level with the outside edge of the rim.  Using Mumbly's technique another simple jig was made with plasticard so all the ferrules could be cut to the same length.  The spoke was fitted and the new ferrule aligned, needing a bit of wriggle here and there, and a tiny spot of thin cyano added to the ferrule and the spoke at the hub.  The first two were fitted, noting the need for alternate alignment of the spoke with the hub: one inside, the next outside to avoid having the spokes bend over each other.




Next I did the opposite set of crossed spokes and then worked around the rim, leaving as many moulded spokes in as I could to maintain the shape and alignment of the wheel as I went.  This was tricky as to get one new spoke in meant removing more than one moulded spoke, the moulded spokes being joined in the middle.  Eventually I had enough wire spokes in place to feel safe removing the few remaining moulded spokes, after marking the alignment on the rim first and leaving the ferrules in place.  The wheel is a little delicate at this stage and needs to be handled carefully as the rim is drilled for the spokes.  Next time I will drill the rim before removing the spokes.




Eventually the wheel half is completely respoked.  The final result is a world away from the moulded original.




With the two wheel halves offered up together you get an idea of just how different this is going to look when it is complete.




Only three more halves to go...


As Mumbly notes in his KH build, 0.3mm wire would be better for 1/12 models, giving a scaled up diameter of 3.5mm and with 0.3mm Albion Alloys tube for the ferrules, if you feel the need at that scale.  There you have it, Davey's take on respoking wire wheels for motorcycle models. 


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What an improvement over the original, well done! 


My next thing to try is carving chains, these guys from Japan have some awsome skills, and access to some amazing tools, this is from the same guy:




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Wowsers, ace post above and the the chain 'carving' from flymanh is amazing; thank you Mumbly.  I think I may lack the patience though, and I don't have one of those hooked chisels either.  Maybe I'll do something on my next 1/12 model, we shall see - too many projects racing around in my head. 


Alas the Harley has the ESCI/Italeri vinyl rubber band chain which will prove its own challenge.  I have seen @krow113s post about using a 1/12 RC211 etch chain, and Hiroboy used to do a 1/9 etch chain (if you have nigh on eighty quid burning a hole in your pocket!!!) but I may try and get by with the original.


More to follow...

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Hey Natty.

Yes I did use the RC 211 Top Studio chain for my '47 Bobber rendition of this kit.

I'm not one to occlude others threads with my pics , not without asking first anyway.


The kit has challenges even without the previous 'work' done on this one!


I applaud the effort.


I have moulds for casting hubs and rims for this model as well as number of other details relevant to a bobber model.


I did pop for the MFH chain for another model , actually 2 of them as it was for a Hillclimber with an extended swingarm.


You will notice any chain set of merit comes with a jig and specific building instructions.


When Eduard kindly supplied me with 1/8 scale links I had problems all the way through , roller supply , jig set up etc ,etc .


Google ; krow113 and Bobber '47 , or Hillclimber some comes up.

Hillclimber blog:

Auto Modeler :: HARLEY HILLCLIMBER (kitmaker.net)

Edited by krow113
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1 hour ago, krow113 said:

I'm not one to occlude others threads with my pics , not without asking first anyway.


No worries mon frere, happy for any contributions: I am not precious about my threads.  With this one I am likely to go with mostly OOB for chain and the likes, it is going nowhere but in to my display cabinet.  I'll leave competitions to those with greater skills than me!  I have looked at your Bobber for inspiration and there is likely to be some scope for the replacement of cables and tubing on this one.  It would still be sort of OOB as there wasn't any vinyl tubing in the box when I got it anyway, so I will have to find my own to complete the build.

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 The only prob with the kit chain is it is impervious to pretty much anything but looking at it. Tough to form , wont hold shape , absolutely no glue on planet earth will bond it , I even tried melting it together! The best bond was with black tire cyano , I used that to glue a skirt on the seat and it held.


 Super chain-boy , think yer pretty good eh?!


Chain work is only half the work , sprockets must be engineered and made as well. I did make some for The Hillclimber :


That pic shows a resin sprocket cast from a master made up of 7-8 cut vinyl pieces ,which is a viable method for a master.

This pic is of a chain assy jig , one of many I tried , and a pretty good assy procedure , using plastic rod for rollers and heating the end which mushrooms nicely:


I could not get it sorted in time for the contest that year and the chain cost me m/c first and perhaps the BiS that year!



 Some Bobber '47 shots for your wiring reference. I worked in a custom Harley shop for 2 decades and was privy to a ton on info on this bike , my specialties were carb work and custom wiring the bikes that were built:



Wiring here is of varied types , none of it is the stupid black tubing every model has in it. All of it is different materials , sourced from all over the world.

And you can see the chain is slightly under scale and does not match the sprockets , but this only is an issue if yer gonna compete.

Want any other pics let me know.


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Good evening All, a small update with more spoking; this time the centre hub without the drum brake or the brake flange.  The technique is slightly different, but not massively so.  Where the spokes were inside and outside for the drum, the spoke holes have to be drilled in to the face of the hub and staggered so the spokes overlap.  As each spoke overlaps three other spokes before attaching to the rim it was necessary to remove more spokes than with the other wheel half, but the holes in the hub just needed to be alternated, they didn't need to be done in three rows, which would have been challenging to say the least.


Having cleaned up the spoke to hub attachments the holes were drilled:




A new jig was used to cut the spokes to new length as they are different, there being no drum in the centre.  The rim fitting with the ferrules was exactly the same as for the previous wheel half, but this time the small bend in the spoke was inserted in to the hub.  You can see the overlaps in this photo:




From there it was just repeat the process another nineteen times until the respoke was complete.  Then offer up each wheel half and admire...




Then I realised that the tyre valve looked completely bok.  Remembering something from one of Krow113's posts a ways back I cut off the plastic semblance of the valve and made a replacement with brass tube.  The stem is the same 0.5/0.7mm brass tube as used for the ferrules and the cap and base are 0.9/1.1mm tube.  The cap has a small blob of PVA on the end which fills the hole and should round it off and look 'right' when painted.  The full size caps are about 10mm-ish in diameter, so at 1/9 scale 1.1mm OD tube is just about right:




The whole half took me about six hours to complete, but that included the new jig and working out the best way of drilling the hub.  Oh yes, and even though I was only removing the minimum number of plastic spokes each time there were occasions, especially at the start, when I thought 'where the heck does the next spoke go?'.  The front wheel halves are the same as this one to all intents and purposes, and the one I did this evening was done in under three hours from picking up the first piece to dabbing on the final drop of cyano.  As Mumbly said, once you have done one wheel you'll never go back.  When you have completed your first wire wheel and compare it to the plastic original you just know he's right:




More to follow.

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Hi Dave


Looking great.  Is the bike going to stay as a service machine and olive drab all over, or is the plan to make it a civvy version?  Either way, the new wheel takes it to a new level.





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7 hours ago, Mumbly said:

Is the bike going to stay as a service machine and olive drab all over, or is the plan to make it a civvy version?


This one is going to be olive drab, with light weathering.  I want it to look used but not abused, so light rust and dust as appropriate, maybe a little chipping and perhaps a small oil leak.

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Do you take those wheels apart to deal with the center seam ?

There should be a rim lock opposite of the valve too I think.

Keep up the momentum!

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13 hours ago, krow113 said:

Do you take those wheels apart to deal with the center seam ?

There should be a rim lock opposite of the valve too I think.

Hi Steve, the wheels were respoked in halves, so I will do my best to tidy up any remaining centre seam.  I didn't fancy making a jig to separate the rims and hubs completely at my first attempt at respoking.  I'll have a quick gander at soome of the on-line photos and see what is opposite the valve.  Thank you for the heads-up.

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They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here we go with a picture heavy update, with quite a few words too.


A lot of Harley models, Academy, Revell/Monogram, Aoshima, Matchbox, have the tank in two halves that you are supposed to assemble when the frame is assembled.  This is great for later models as there is a panel covering the join between the two halves of the tank, but for earlier models or those without the trim panel you end up with a seam line.  To overcome this I have trimmed down the mounting spigots on the frame so the tank can be slipped over without springing it too wide, risking splitting the join, but the tank will still locate: 




The tank halves were then joined and the seam tidied up.  This was a bit of a challenge as the tank sits very close to the top tube of the frame and there isn't sufficient space to add any strengthening pieces, it is just a butt join between the two halves.  To allow the seat frame to articulate I have drilled through the tank mounts and added a piece of brass tube into the seat frame.  When the frame is added a narrower brass tube will be inserted and the holes tidied up.




The main job today was to rebuild the suspension so that the springer forks would actually spring.  The original modeller used tube glue, and lots of it, throughout the build he/she had completed.  The lower parts of the springer forks were well and truly glued up.  The instructions show that the wheel mounting plates should articulate on 'bobbins' that are glued to the spigots on the two sections of the forks:




Three of the four bobbins were glued to the spigots and the plates by the original modeller.  Nice work - not.  I managed to free up the right hand plate, but the left hand plate was well and truly stuck and had to be cut free.




This left three of the four spigots broken, and I had shaved off part of one of the mounting plate as I took everything apart.  How to fit it all together again?  Well, I added new spigots from 1.2mm brass tube.  I remade the bobbins with plasticard discs and 1.4mm brass tube.  I added 1.6mm brass tube bushes on to the plates.  All of these were secured with Roket Hot cyano: where would we be withhout ultra thin cyano?




The bobbins fit like so:




and then they are secured to the spigots, allowing the plates to articulate around the outside of the bobbins' brass bushes:




There is still quite a lot of work to do to rebuild the tops of the forks, but this should be less complicated than the articulating parts at the bottom.  More soon (ish).

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