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Gilera 500 4cyl Protar

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7 hours ago, Fastcat said:

Nonetheless, Protar had many unique and wonderful subjects that we aren't likely to see again

Yes, Dave, it's the fact that they (or he....) took the trouble and made the effort to make them at all is the thing that is worth celebrating.. 

No guns, no bombs or missiles, no military tat or celebration of weapons of killing and destruction..... Just fabulous and beautiful machines. 

I spent several happy hours bashing away on the old Airfix Dakota model, the awful gunship version, putting it back to a half decent DC3 airliner in Lufthansa colours. Rewarding project! 


Speaking of happy hours bashing away, I have some small progress.

This is the prototype throttle arm for a carb. 


Then I made some more in a little production line, trying to keep them all the same. Plus an operating arm, trimmed the brass shaft to a better length and slid them together one by one like this.... 






Just the attachments to the bits of stretch sprue that are inserted in the tops of the 4 carbs, and we're sorted. 

Don't know how much will be noticeable in the long run - it is hard enough trying to get a picture of the arrangement on the real thing even with the fairing removed, 


Still, it's a bit of tinkering fun and as Dave said, at least Protar supplies the basics that you can try things out on. 👍

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Thought I'd better try to get the frame assembled around the engine unit. And it's in.... 


It makes for quite an awkward assembly that rolls around and can't stand up in any way, so temporary use of the stand is made and a sprue leg in the steering head.... 


At least it isn't rolling around the mat, while I figure out the next step. 

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There are some periods of grim disappointment and frustration with this kit, and moments of simple click together fun. 

I'm having difficulty with the wires and cables. The stuff supplied, red for HT leads and black for brakes, clutch etc, are quite bendy, especially with a bit of warmth. But they are solid in cross section and what is required is tubing, so that they push onto the various fittings. Getting 5 mounted on the distributor is a bit of a nightmare. It could have been so much easier..... 

The rear swinging arm and the front forks assembly, on the other hand, basically click together and the fit is OK. Nothing wrong with it. 





Here's the Museum front end, 


Bearing in mind that things are just clipped together and dry fitted, I think that will do 👍

There's even an option there for me to crack on with the general build and leave any thoughts of respoking wheels until another day, when I'm bored and looking for trouble... 😎

That's all still totally dismantle-able in the wheel area. 

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Nice update Rob, coming on well whatever the tribulations! :)


I've never ridden a bike (apart from a pushbike!) but for some reason really like classic motorcycles and after having discovered it a few years back really enjoy watching 'The Motorbike Show' with Henry Cole on ITV. Managed to miss this years series so have just caught up on ITV hub. The last episode had a couple of nice items on Sammy Miller's museum and that's on my must visit list now!



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Oh no, I thought to myself, the front brake is on the wrong side......! 




The reality of the situation has finally dawned, and this bike is fitted with twin leading shoe front brakes on BOTH sides. 

Before I start hacking at the wheel hub, I'm going to investigate the possibility of cloning the example supplied. If it's a challenge too far I'll just forget the idea and build it as it comes. With the fairing fitted there is not a great deal to be seen, but I fancy having a go to see if it can be done. It's always helpful to have a ready made example to work from 😎

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I think I have the basics of a solution to the front brakes problem. I realised that the hub had to come out and be repurposed for the brake plate. 

After many tiny holes were done by hand using a pin vice, and a bit of blade work, the beast came out. 


The white disc then fits in the back of the hub.... 


.... And the extracted piece forms the basis of the plate, complete with the important overall domed shape. 


The front air intake is the main item 


Rather than removing more plastic inside the intake, I went for the simpler solution. Very little is to be gained from opening up the inside here, and much to be lost. 

I have a plan to use gauze on the intake anyway, and now I have 2 to do. 

There's another outlet vent at the back of the brake plate and a few details to sort incl operating arms, and I got to remember to make a left and a right side. 

But I think I'm sorted for the main structure 💃💃💃😎

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Hi Rob,

                    The kit's actually correct for earlier versions of the bike. A trawl of the internet shows duke aboard with a single sided brake. BUT, the tank and fairing shapes varied significantly with the season. 

Protar weren't too fussy when it came to specifics and often relied on generic models.

Adds to the frustration factor!



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Thanks for the info @Fastcat. Well, I'm in for a penny now.

I imagine these machines were developed and modified on a regular basis, between one GP and the next event, certainly season by season. 

And if more braking power was required, or just the track was dry on the day in question, you could opt for the double brake up front. Only speculation, this. 🤔

Not that I'm fussing, just having taken some reference pictures to help me out, I'm referring to them probably more than necessary. 

Rear suspension units is the next thing in line. My pictures of the Museum bike show this.... 


..... which isn't what the kit is offering. But then it's only 5 minutes work to swap one type for another if the rider wanted a change . 

So I'll probably assemble the kit parts and try them out. 

One more little addition is a pair of big chrome hex nuts or caps on top of the forks. There's a kit on supplied for the steering head position which probably is a steering damper, which will go on in a minute.. 



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The scratch-building from the chaps on this site astounds me. Great job rob. 


Just contemplating the additional tools required, before getting into the skills and patience, renders me exhausted. 

Edited by slippers
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Well, @slippers, thanks for that, but I'm just messing around with bits of wire and plastic sheet..

I suppose I've accumulated a few handy items along the way, and methods and ideas I have learnt from being on this site. 

A few builders don't even bother with a kit, they just start with some good drawings.....! 

Some are into 3D design and printing. 

Are you familiar with Muller Corner yoghurt? (don't know where you are). Their pots, unlike most packaging, are white polystyrene and are good for our use. Plus you get thick areas and thin flat walls, and ready shaped corners and curves. Bits of wire and metal tubes are often useful, especially tubes that fit neatly into the next bigger size. 

But yeah, just messing around with bits of plastic.... 😃

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Thanks for the tips, rob. 

I did use an old plastic cup to help fill the frame and swing arm of an RC211V. I can't say for sure that I would have thought of that if not for your recommendation. 👍

Edited by slippers
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On 23/10/2021 at 04:53, slippers said:

an old plastic cup to help fill the frame and swing arm of an RC211V.

Nice one, slippers, no going back now! 😁 So for example, the rev counter has a hole right through the middle, so it's been glued to thin pot-wall styrene for a top surface before the decal was applied, 




No hole or pit behind the decal now 👍


This is a great picture...


I think that is Bob McIntire on the right, and obvs an Italian Style-meister with him in an excellent coat. 

But look at the bike...... WOW! 

I was looking for period references for the rear suspension units, and on the basis of this and a few others, I'm sticking with the kit pieces supplied. 



So, heading for the back wheel, and that means one major issue. To sort out the chainwheel sprocket, I need to have a chain. 

After delaying for as long as I could, I took a shot at the chain kit supplied in the Moto Guzzi kit. Here's a reminder, 






There's my Special Tool, a nail let into the end of a wooden dowel. And a balsa board with a groove so the thing can sit flat while it's worked on. 

I'm afraid the result isn't as hoped for. The problem is, you don't know if the riveting action has succeeded on every pin until you start cutting the support frames to release the chain section. And by then, it's too late.... 😕😬


Well, the point is if I want to share a chain between the Gilera and the Guzzi, I'd need a modified or different chainwheel as the Gilera part is clearly a different pitch. (I'm assuming the Guzzi kit part is designed and made to suit the pitch of the chain..... Could be an assumption too far...... 😶

I'd need a decent section of finished chain to check this, and I ain't got one yet..... 😇

Still, onwards and upwards. I'll see what I can save here 

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On 24/10/2021 at 23:11, keefr22 said:

That looks fiddly....

Isn't it ⁉️

4 layers to make a section. 

I got more organised, with a different "iron", a tea light candle and a posable magnifying lens thing to assist. 






And a decent knife blade fitted to release the frames one by one. 

Lo and Behold.... 


I haven't pushed my luck yet with much flexing and testing, I'm just pleased to get a section out in one piece. 

It holds out some hope of recovery for the 1st section. 

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3 hours ago, keefr22 said:

Way too fiddly for me

Yes, this is not my cup of tea either, I must say! 😶

Used to be amused by those tank guys trying to assemble tank tracks out of 100 separate pieces. Now look...!! 

But the options for a viable bike chain in this kind of scale are few and far between. I had a look inside the Italieri kit of the military version of a motorbike in 1.9 yesterday at the LMS. That has a vinyl parts sprue with a loop of chain included, all one piece. But it looks very thin and lightweight. 

Tamiya 1.12 scale bikes seem to a complete "sprockets and chain" moulded styrene part. 

What I get from this little lot is around 3mm wide overall which multiplies out at something like 27mm and that's probably a bit over scale. Then again, maybe not by that much for a 1950s rear chain on a powerful race bike. 

Looking like I've lost some of the movement in places but it's not gone solid. All I need really is two straight lengths and enough curved section to fit around the chainwheel. 

I won't be pushing this around the floor making Vroom Vroom noises and watching the chain go round.... 😇

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  • 3 weeks later...

I need to focus on a couple of builds to make the deadline in the High Wing group build section, but here's what I've been up to with the Gilera. 

It's not a lot! 

Dealing with the chain situation, I'll reserve the tricky little built-up chain for the Moto Guzzi kit which is the bike it came with. 

I've scratch built an item of similar dimensions. Measurements on the bike frame from rear axle to the clutch housing centre gave me a drawing of what is required. (And it looks like 2 sections of the chain will be enough to do the job for the Guzzi when the time comes.)



A chainwheel was cloned from the Guzzi kit. 









Then I figured that more than half of the teeth needed to come off to accommodate my scratch chain. 


The straight section is a strip of evergreen styrene sandwiched between 2 lengths of the thin sprue frames that the chain links came on. This stuff... 


So it's a little H section girder basically. 

Also in the picture is a length of the strip that is curled to fit around the chain wheel and 2 side pieces cut from yoghurt pot styrene with a compass cutter, and all glued together in this style.... 




Another straight girder section is added, built over my drawing. The front drive sprocket is just a plate of the 1mm styrene joining the 2 lengths of chain and drilled according to my drawing. Nothing elaborate as it's hidden away in the gearbox. 

Some painting followed to try and generate the look of a chain. I glued one of the little links to a cocktail stick and "stamped" paint along the sides. 

Well, it's not a perfect replica but it takes up the space of the chain assembly and does the job better than a rubber band.! 


Visible there are the 3Ali tubes i have for the back axle, the swinging arm bearing and the clutch centre that enable the thing to be taken apart and reassembled. 

A couple more pictures to follow, but I'll post this before my phone dumps the lot! 

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Doing good work.

Wheels and chains are the biggest reason these killer cool kits rarely get built.

As shown re-spoking is possible from a number of different methods.

I have the Gilera and the BMW kits as well and have pondered these problems. The kits are great for their time , arguably some of the first multi-media kits.

The progression , though the series of kits , of the chain and wheels design can be clearly seen. Some are ( I use the term unwillingly) ghastly , while later kits there is improvement.

For  the chains I have used Top Studio RC11 chain sets and repurposed MFH Brough chainsets as well.

I made sprocket masters to suit from layers of cut vinyl , stacked and then cast in metal , laid out to match the chain pitch.

Here is the mask vinyl cut and layered for the drive sprocket masters on my 1/9 Hillclimber:



Good luck with the finishing of the model.

Hit the link below to go to my fbook page ; Custom Motorcycle Modeler Page.

Edited by krow113
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Thanks for the feedback and encouragement @krow113. Glad to see that somebody somewhere provides materials to help these kits along.

I'm afraid the prices (and rarity) of such things put them well out of range for me. I was going to say "maybe one day...." but that seems unlikely!! 

Your scratch built items look superb and I got a flavour of what you are up to from a quick look on the fbook page. Wow! 

There are a few exhibits in the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum that would catch your eye I think. 

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