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Pocher 1931 Alfa Romeo 2300 Monza


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#1 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:44 PM

I finished this one a few days ago. This is Pocher's first Alfa Romeo kit, released in 1968. As with all Pocher kits, it has all the typical Pocher problems and headaches... poorly fitting parts (or even non-fitting parts), glaring omissions, inaccurate details, vague instructions, etc., etc. Anyone who has ever built (or tried to build) a Pocher kit knows what I mean.

 

Anyway, I built this one to look as it looked when fairly new, not a restored car... so the paint was not rubbed out or cleared, just painted the way it would have been painted (I think) back in the day. In fact, I slightly "dirtied up" things to give it a slight "patina," sort of. 

 

Here's the overall view (pardon the pix... I do not have any sort of "real" photo lights, etc. I pretty much have to fake it with a combination of room lighting and the camera's flash). I gotta say, the fit of the body panels on this model is surprisingly good compared to other Pocher kits I've built. Note the pretty tight fit between main body, firewall and hood. That, folks, is about as good as it gets with Pocher body panels unless you do some surgery (which in this case I did not have to do!)

 

alfa20.jpg

 

The car is painted Testors "Dark Red" enamel, right out of the can, no polishing, no clear, no nuthin'. I was trying for a finish as it might have looked when the car was new, not a restored, overly shiny, glass-smooth finish. The wheels are plain old gloss black.

 

The list of things I changed, added, scratchbuilt, whatever, is long... so I'll list things as we go. Let's begin with the heart of any car...

 

alfa8_zps7f785ba0.jpg

 

alfa4_zps2729c814.jpg

 

The engine was built pretty much out of the box, but I added a lot of missing linkages, wires and cables, according to photo references. Among the things I changed under the hood:

 

• Added correct ignition wire terminals

• Added scratchbuilt distributor linkage and distributor cap hold down clips

• Added misc. wiring and cables

• Added a scratchbuilt ignition wiring loom and brackets per reference photos

• Added electrical connections to coil

• Added hose clamps made of strips of BMF and short lengths of styrene rod

• Cut upper intake manifold into two separate pieces (it's molded-incorrectly-as one piece)

 

Because Pocher kits are meant to be built using either screws or friction fit (no glue), many of the parts are assembled with screws. The problem is, many of these parts were not assembled the same way on the real car, which means there are visible screw heads in all sorts of places where they would not be on the real car. For example, the engine block halves are meant to be screwed together. Obviously the real thing was a cast metal piece that was definitely not screwed together in halves... so I filled all the non-prototypical screw holes and assembled parts using glue instead. I tried to do that wherever I came across a screw that wouldn't have been there on the real car.

 

alfa6_zps404340b7.jpg

 

The fuse boxes are kit pieces, but they are positioned incorrectly, so I filled the holes in the firewall and drilled new ones for the boxes and the wiring.

 

More to come...



#2 martinfan5

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:03 PM

Very nice job,  I did not know the kits were designed to be built with out glue.   I fake it to when I take pics right now, but I do wan to get some better lighting.  It looks like it weights alot, what is the kit made up of?, like metal /plastic ?



#3 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:16 PM

Up front, I added scratchbuilt headlight mounting hardware (the kit's interpretation is completely wrong and simplified). I made the various bits and pieces out of styrene, following reference photos. The bolt heads are all fake, they're made of slices of hexagonal plastic rod just glued in place (they're not real bolts). The kit's fender stays are also wrong... they're made of flat, stamped steel that you're supposed to bent into shape. The real car has tubular (not flat) stays, so I scratchbuilt them out of aluminum tubing with styrene mounts that connect to scratchbuilt chassis brackets (to replace the inaccurate Pocher version of things. The kit supplied fender stays are supposed to attach to the underside of the fenders with screws... on the real car they are attached by rivets that are visible on the fenders... so I cut away the mounting bosses on the underside of the fenders and drilled holes for the mounting rivets. The "rivets" are plain old sewing pins, the heads look pretty much in scale to me.

 

alfa9_zpseb282b30.jpg

 

I also changed the kit's radiator grille. Pocher gives you a stamped aluminum piece that has a "grille" pattern embossed onto it, along with the "Alfa Romeo" script that's also embossed. They blackwashed the part for you, and it actually didn't look all that bad, but I wanted real, open mesh. That meant I couldn't use the kit part (which had the Alfa script embossed into it). But I needed that Alfa script! I could have gone aftermarket and bought a PE stainless steel script, but I wanted to see if I could somehow "save" the script from the kit's grille insert.

 

So I took the kit grille insert and ran the back side of it back and forth, flat, across some pretty rough grit sandpaper. Remember, that kit piece is stamped aluminum... it was pretty thin, and since it's aluminum, pretty soft. I kept rubbing the piece back and forth until the raised "Alfa Romeo" script began to be freed from the rest of the fake "mesh." I continued on until I had it about as thin as I dared to go... I didn't want to go so far and sand away so much material that the letters in the script would begin to separate. Once I had sanded off as much of the grille as possible, I cut the remaining bits away from the Alfa script with an X-acto. It was pretty tedious and delicate work! Finally, I glued a piece of mesh into the grille shell (it's actually a piece of black fiberglass window screen) and attached the script to the grille mesh by taping it in place and adding tiny dabs of 5-minute epoxy from behind. The round Alfa Romeo medallion is the kit piece... it's cast metal with all the detail included! It's incredibly fine, a real nice casting. I painted the various areas and added a "dome" of clear 5-minute epoxy. The only aftermarket bits on the model is the safety wiring, because there was no way I could create the tiny metal studs with holes in them that the safety wire runs through. In the photo below you can also see one of the infamous Pocher fit problems... notice how the hood panels don't follow the curve of the grille shell. Fixing that would have required major surgery on the hood panels. I decided to live with it.

 

alfa17_zps5a7b6991.jpg

 

One thing I forgot to mention... the kit's headlight lenses are waaaaay too thick. They look like "coke bottle" glasses! Plus, they were too large in diameter to fit into the metal bezels. Since I couldn't enlarge the metal bezel openings, I had to reduce the diameter of the lenses. I sanded them down, checking my progress all the time, until I got them to the diameter they needed to be to fit into the bezels. But there was still that problem of thickness... the lenses actually stuck out past the front of the bezels and looked completely goofy. So to thin them down, I used the same technique that I used to "free" the Alfa script from the grille mesh... I ran then across sandpaper, this time the front side (because the pattern is engraved on the back side. I went to progressively finer and finer grits of sanpaper as I thinned the lenses. The last step was to polish them back to clear by rubbing them across a piece of plain old paper, which has just the right grit to get them back to their original clear state. Finally I attached the lenses to the bezels with Future. Obviously I could only thin down the lenses because they are completely flat... if they had been domed like on many cars of the era, I don't know if I could have fixed the thickness problem.

 

More to come...



#4 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:17 PM

Very nice job,  I did not know the kits were designed to be built with out glue.   I fake it to when I take pics right now, but I do wan to get some better lighting.  It looks like it weights alot, what is the kit made up of?, like metal /plastic ?

 

The main parts (frame rails, engine parts, body, etc.) are plastic. Many smaller bits and pieces like linkages, suspension parts, shock absorbers, etc. are metal. And of course hundreds of tiny screws, nuts and washers.



#5 trogdor

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:29 PM

Looks very good. How much time have you got into it, or do you not want to think about it :lol:



#6 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:32 PM

Looks very good. How much time have you got into it, or do you not want to think about it :lol:

 

I didn't keep track. If I had to guess, I'd say maybe 100 hours or so total. It's hard to say... I built it in about 3 months, but not steadily. A few hours here, a few hours there, etc.



#7 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:35 PM

By the way, the model looks much brighter in the photos than in real life. It's actually a fairly dark red, not the bright tomato red that it looks like in the photos.

 

More like this color:

 

 

Attached Files



#8 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

More...

 

The exhaust is on the left side of the car. Once again, the infamous "Pocher fit" reared its ugly head. If I had used the exhaust manifold as is, the exhaust pipe would have touched the body (and also interfered with the placement of the rear hood latch). I had to somehow get the exhaust pipe out away from the body. That meant I had to extend the exhaust manifold so that it stuck out further away from the body side. I used a razor saw to make a straight cut right across the manifold pipes, about halfway between the mounting flanges and where the individual pipes begin to curve into the collector. Then I drilled small holes into each exposed end of the cut pipes and inserted short lengths of brass rod as "pins." I cut extensions out of styrene rod that was of the same diameter as the manifold pipes. These extensions were cut to the length I needed to get the exhaust collector away from the body side. I drilled holes into each end to receive the brass pins, then reassembled the exhaust manifold. I filled all seams with Bondo and sanded everything smooth. Now the exhaust collector was away from the body side and I could add the exhaust pipe. The heat wrap is just a strip of plain cotton cloth that I dipped into a thinned mix of water and black and brown craft paint to sort of dye it and give it an aged appearance. Then I just wrapped the kit supplied exhaust pipe (after I sprayed it a dark dirty grayish black) and attached the end of the wrapping with a dot of Elmer's glue.

 

 

alfa15.jpg

 

At the back, I added a scratchbuilt mounting bracket for the pipe.

 

alfa13_zpsa9d93b32.jpg

 

In the above photo you can also see my scratchbuilt "quick-release" gas cap that replaced the completely inaccurate kit cap, along with fittings made of hex-shaped and round styrene rod, per my photo references. Also visible is the scratchbuilt rear-view mirror, a part that was not included in the kit, and more of that aftermarket safety wire.

 

More to come...



#9 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

For some strange reason, the seat is molded in place on the main body section. Geez, for a megabuck kit (even when new), you'd think they could have molded the seat separately to make painting easier, but nooooooo...  :rolleyes:

 

Obviously a molded-in seat wasn't going to cut it in my book. I used the old "back side of an X-acto blade" scribing trick to separate the seat from the body without any significant loss of plastic. Once I had the seat loose, I cut the bottom cushion away from the backrest using the same technique. I wanted the bottom cushion and the backrest separated because I wanted to upholster the seat, not just paint it.

 

I found some "leather" material in the sewing section of Hobby Lobby (yeah, I felt a little out of place!). It's actually vinyl, but has a very realistic crinkly "leather" texture. I cut pieces of my "leather" to size with a bit of overlap, and applied it to the plastic kit seat pieces pleat by pleat... running some superglue along the first molded-in pleat on the plastic seat part and attaching the material... then glue along the second pleat and attach, glue along the third pleat and attach, etc. Finally I wrapped the excess around the seat parts and superglued the "flaps" to the back side. I reattached the upholstered seat cushion and backrest with 5-minute epoxy from behind, being careful so that no epoxy squished out to the front side of the seat where it would be visible. The reassembled seat was not attached until almost the end of the building process... after the painted body shell had been attached to the chassis. I attached the seat by gluing wooden spacers to the front wall of the rear "cone" section of the body, and spacers to the cockpit floor, then glued the seat to those spacers. It was a tricky process to get the spacers the exact right thickness so that the seat would be in the exact correct spot. Finally I added the upholstered padded roll around the seat back. I made it by cutting a length of thick aluminum rod and wrapping some of the upholstery material around it. Gluing the material along its length was a real pain, but somehow I got it to work. Once the glue dried (I used flexible craft glue), I carefully bent the rod to shape so it followed the exact contour of the seat back. That process took many tries until I had the piece bent to the exact shape needed. Since there was no way I could clamp the piece in place while the glue dried, I had to have a perfect drop-in fit, and that took some doing, lemme tell ya! The material I used to upholster the seat and the padded roll was a dark brown. It looked very much like brown leather. I went back and forth in my head over and over, but in the end I decided to paint it black. I think black just looks better than brown on this car.

 

alfa19_zps643817b4.jpg

 

In this photo you get a better view of the scratchbuilt exhaust pipe mount and the scratchbuilt rear view mirror and windshield frame (more on that item later...  ;) )

 

More to come...



#10 Cato

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

You knocked it out of the park Harry. It's wonderful to see a substantial build on here. Now make a glass case for it like mine!

 

The wheels in black are perfect-I love painted wires. I also love your 'in-the-day' build philosophy-not the over-restored, toy looking things we wind up with today.

 

I'm also assuming you left out the rods, pistons and brake shoe trivia that Pocher goes nuts over??

 

Now where's all that gingerbread you bought from Marvin and Jorge?? Fess up!! :angry:

 



#11 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

You knocked it out of the park Harry. It's wonderful to see a substantial build on here. Now make a glass case for it like mine!

 

The wheels in black are perfect-I love painted wires. I also love your 'in-the-day' build philosophy-not the over-restored, toy looking things we wind up with today.

 

I'm also assuming you left out the rods, pistons and brake shoe trivia that Pocher goes nuts over??

 

Now where's all that gingerbread you bought from Marvin and Jorge?? Fess up!! :angry:

 

 

Actually I did do all the engine internals, but yeah, I left out all the brake parts. Nobody will ever know...  :lol:

 

The only stuff I bought from Marvin is the safety wiring kit. I scratchbuilt everything else that I needed. I figured if they can make the parts, I can make the parts! And I did!  :D



#12 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:44 PM

According to the reference photos I found online, the oil tank is supposed to be on the left side of the car; Pocher puts it on the right side. I went with what my eyes (rather than Pocher) told me and relocated the tank to the left side. Before I attached it, though, I used a razor saw to remove the filler tube. Then I added a mounting flange (cut from cardboard) and four sewing pin "rivets" to the flange before regluing the filler tube back. The tank is symmetrical front to back, so turning it around to mount it on the opposite side of the car was no problem. Of course, relocating the tank meant making the oil lines differently than the patterns Pocher provides, but that was easy enough to do. I also replaced the inaccurate Pocher cap with another of my scratchbuilt "quick-release" caps. The cap is actually a lens from the front turn signal of a 1/9 scale Harley motorcycle kit! The metal grab handle is a length of aluminum rod and the actual "catch" is just a strip of cardboard that I bent to shape and painted silver.

 

alfa16_zpsd6cedf52.jpg

 

Also visible in the above photo is a scratchbuilt step plate seen in some of my photo references (styrene sheet and bent aluminum rod, attached to the chassis rail with sewing pin "rivets." Photo references vary-it seems no two of these cars were exactly alike, but I saw the step plates on one of my reference photos and added them. I think it's a neat detail.

 

More to come...



#13 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:06 PM

Ok... now on to the windshield frame that I mentioned earlier. The kit comes with twin windshields, and I have a lot of references that show such a setup, but I also have photos of this car with only a single, driver-side windshield... and that's the way I decided to go on this model.

 

The Pocher windshield frames are awful. They're more a cartoon than anything resembling the real thing. They consist of a flat metal "frame" that you're supposed to screw to the cowl with two completely out of scale screws. The real car's windshield frame and mounts are completely different, so I axed the kit pieces and made my own. I used styrene "U" channel for the main frame, and bits of styrene sheet for the brackets. "Bolt heads" are once again just faked with slices of hex-shaped styrene rod, and the brackets are mounted to the cowl with more of my soon-to-be-famous sewing pin "rivets." Note that I had to fill the existing holes in the cowl for the twin windshields' mounting screws and drill new holes for my sewing pin "rivets." I filled those existing holes (and all other unneccessary holes in the various kit parts) by taking a piece of styrene rod that was slightly thicker in diameter than the hole I needed to fill, sanding the end of the rod to a taper and jamming the rod tightly into the hole. Then I just cut off the rod a bit above the surface (both top and bottom) and flowed a bit of liquid styrene glue over it. When dry I sanded the "nubs" smooth and level with the surface.

 

The kit-supplied "glass" was used, but I painted the bottom and side edges (but not the top edge) black. When you do that it gives the illusion of a thinner piece of "glass."

 

I added a bit of black wash (thinned black acrylic craft paint) around all the various joints and seams to give a slightly dirty, "old" look. I did that black wash trick on all the various exposed "rivets," screw heads, seams, etc., throughout the model. It really adds a touch of realism that you don't notice at first, but makes the model look much less like a model and more like the real thing.

 

alfa5_zpsc3c88321.jpg

 

The "rivets" you see on the body are also sewing pins. I sanded down the molded-in rivets and drilled holes for my new, more three-dimensional "rivets." They are a subtle touch, but look much more realistic than the little molded-in nubs that were there originally.

 

More to come...



#14 XJ6

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:34 PM

I am lost for words....on this Build....what can i say....well they say a picture is worth a thousand words....and the pictures of this Poucher 1931 Alfa Romeo 2300 Monza speaks for itself...

 

The Quality...and your eye for Scratch Build...along with the Detail....you have done....is just "Out Standing".....And Most Beautiful...

 

The Subject it self is a Wonderful Piece of Automotive History...

 

.....and Thanks for the very well put information you shared with all on this Poucher Kit......

 

Thanks.....Cheers....Don aka XJ6



#15 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:44 PM

Moving right along...  :D

 

The dash is a simple flat piece. Unfortunately, this kit was probably sitting somewhere for many years before I bought it, and the dash was severely warped. I tried to gently bend it back into shape, but 40 year old plastic is brittle. It didn't bend, it snapped. Not a big deal, though... Like I said, the dash is perfectly flat, so I used the warped kit part as a template. I laid it on a sheet of styrene and traced around it, drilled all the gauge and screw holes, and finally cut my new dash away from the rest of the styrene sheet. I painted it with Metalizer "Aluminum," epoxied the metal gauges into place, and there ya go! New, unwarped dash!

 

The gauge faces are kit supplied. All I added was "glass" on each gauge using clear 5-minute epoxy. I also added the scratchbuilt levers on the left and right ends of the dash, following my reference photos.

 

alfa1_zps3cc71cb5.jpg

 

More to come...



#16 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

Let's move on back to the rear end of the car. Here is an overall shot showing you the dual friction shocks. Pocher supplies a lot of small metal bits and pieces to replicate the suspension on this car... it's probably the kit's best feature. My reference photos show cars with the shocks both painted body color and unpainted, raw metal. I liked the look of the bare steel so I left the shocks unpainted. I cut the tip of the kit-supplied brass exhaust pipe at an angle to match reference photos. Also seen here are the scratchbuilt rear fender stays and the "rivets" added to the fenders where the stays are attached.

 

alfa18_zps4cc18444.jpg

 

Also visible in the above photo are my scratchbuilt fuel lines and fittings, which Pocher didn't include. In their defense, I have photos of this car without these lines, so Pocher was obviously using one particular car as their reference when engineering this kit. But most of the photos I found show some variation of these lines visible, so I added them... once again, fittings made of bits and pieces of hex and round styrene rod. The "washers" between the fittings and the body are simply two of the metal washers supplied with the kit, painted flat black to simulate rubber. The lines themselves are black insulated speaker wire from Radio Shack. Note that all the louvers on the body panels are molded open... a nice touch that greatly adds to the overall realism of the model.

 

Here is a better view of those fuel lines and fittings:

 

alfa12_zpsae58f546.jpg

 

And you guessed it... more to come! 



#17 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:04 PM

To wrap things up, a few more photos for ya...

 

Another view of a few scratchbuilt fittings...

 

alfa2_zps7af35ca3.jpg

 

Another shot of the scratchbuilt step plates ( i painted them semigloss black and then drybrushed a little silver on them to simulate the black paint having been worn off)...

 

 

alfa3_zpse786b2b2.jpg

 

And finally, a general shot of the rear half of the car with a good view of the scratchbuilt windshield frame and rear view mirror...

 

alfa11_zpsb1889f97.jpg

 

One last thing I forgot to mention. The piano hinge that Pocher provides for the hood is supposed to be held in place by six large, out of scale bolts whose heads would show on the outside of the hood. No good! The real hod hinge is held in place by a series of rivets all along the length of the hinge... so I filled the "Pocher holes" in the hood panels, and drilled new holes in both the plastic hood panels and the metal hinge, to fit my sewing pin "rivets."

 

Also, the left panel of the hood is hinged on the real car, but Pocher doesn't supply a hinge (you're supposed to glue the panel in place). Well, that won't do... if you do it the Pocher way, when you open the right side of the hood, the side panel wouldn't fold and would stick out into space! So I scratchbuilt a piano hinge and attached it between the righthand top and side hood panels, so the hood opens and folds like it's supposed to!

 

This model was a blast to build. I've built enough Pocher kits to be familiar with the pitfalls and quirks these kits have, so there were no real surprises (I've left out a lot of the "gory details"... you'd probably be bored with them all), but I've covered the highlights. All in all, this was one of the better Pocher kits I've built as far as fit goes.

 

Hope you like it. And feel free to ask questions, comment and critique.



#18 Foxer

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:05 PM

This is a spectacular model, Harry!

 

I have been following it all along and one thing that really disappoints me is how poor Pocher are fit wise.



#19 Harry P.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:16 PM

This is a spectacular model, Harry!

 

I have been following it all along and one thing that really disappoints me is how poor Pocher are fit wise.

 

It varies from kit to kit. This one was not too bad. About the only thing I did was to add a thin styrene shim along the lower edge of the right side hood panel to tighten up the gap between the hood panel and the top of the frame rail. The rest of the body panels fit pretty good (for a Pocher!)



#20 Cato

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

Well, that won't do... if you do it the Pocher way, when you open the right side of the hood, the side panel wouldn't fold and would stick out into space! So I scratchbuilt a piano hinge and attached it between the righthand top and side hood panels, so the hood opens and folds like it's supposed to!
 

Not so fast pal; howja do that?? Pics and description please.

And Harry, the wire wheels; a close shot please and how did you get the paint to cover evenly past the spokes onto the hubs???