A Super Bike

The Ducati is Pocher’s first motor bike kit release and in an impressive, one quarter scale size

Alan Firbank builds Pocher’s incredible 1:4 Ducati 1299 Panigale S

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When the manufacturers reveal their new release plans early in the year, we all spot something that we are longing to get our hands on when the kit eventually appears. In my case, it was Pocher’s 1:4 Ducati Panigale that was announced at Nuremburg in February 2015. A pre-production example was there, in a case with the real bike in the background – it was love at first sight. I decided that I had to have one later in 2015 when it arrived, plenty of time to save up the pounds for what was bound to be a pricey kit. The order was placed and the waiting continued as the release date drifted into February 2016. The kit finally arrived just about a year after the kit was announced.
Pocher have been around since the mid-sixties,  producing very involved multi-media kits of vintage cars with many parts in metal, leather or fabric for the seats, etc, engineering miniatures that make up into large, impressive, museum quality models. Some of the vintage cars featured engine internals that could be moved by turning the starting handle and the brakes would operate in the same way as on the original car. Recent releases of 1:8 super cars have dropped the working engine parts but retain amazing detail where it can be seen and appreciated after the model is finished. Have a look at Humbrol’s web site and YouTube clips to see what I mean. The Ducati is Pocher’s first motor bike kit release and in an impressive, one quarter scale size.

In The Box

The box is enormous and will fill the boot of a family car. Inside, the packing is amazing, made up of layers like a box of chocolates. Two moulded polystyrene trays hold many of the metal parts, all clearly labelled. Other layers contain the plastic parts, around 25 sprues in various colours and finishes, a pair of very heavy solid rubber tyres and many bags of screws, springs, etc. In all there are around 650 major parts and several hundred screws in 25 different sizes. Decals, two lengths of plastic tubing and a 36pp A4 instructions sheet completes the package.
In theory, it is possible to build the model without painting and only having to glue a handful of parts. Screws are used to attach 99% of parts. Most parts do not need painting but the sprues that are meant to be aluminium-coloured are best painted. Some suggest just giving these parts an overall coat of aluminium sprayed paint but I used a variety of metallic shades as I used the parts. Some of the black parts were given coats of dark grey, gloss black, matt black or satin black to add a bit of contrast but most parts were used as they arrived in the box. The finish on the red fairing parts and the fuel tank is superb. The plastic fairing parts have been pre-painted to the highest standard with a superb polished red, blemish-free finish.

Getting Started

Planning the build is essential, arrange all of the sprues (and label their bags) and little bags of screws in sequence so that you can find the parts as you need them, a large working space is needed to set everything out before starting. I take my hat off to the designers of the kit, many parts fit perfectly. The instruction book however is challenging and it is difficult to see where some parts belong. One good idea I have seen since finishing the kit is to download the pdf version of the instructions from the Pocher web site on to your computer/laptop. When a tricky part of the instructions is encountered, the area can be enlarged on the computer screen to make the diagram clearer. I downloaded the Panigale’s parts manual from Ducati’s web site to help too. The diagrams show where everything goes on the full sized bike and a range of photos of the full size bike will come in handy too.
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A range of modelling tools is needed, just as you would have for a standard kit with the addition of a couple of good cross-headed screw drivers and an egg cup full of push bike oil. The small screwdriver  supplied with the kit is handy for some items but not great overall. One screw size (C or D?) is too long and in most cases, needs a few threads trimmed off in order to fit properly. The kit’s screws are self-tapping and in some cases require a lot of effort to be fully home, hence the need for some bigger screwdrivers and the oil.

Construction

The kit goes together in logical order and the build sequence shown in the instructions should be followed but you will see sub-assemblies that can be built out of sequence should you wish to do so. I started the kit by building the wheels and the paddock stand to ‘get my eye-in’. One plus point to the screw together build is that you can back track should you need to do so. I did after making a mistake or two or thinking a part would be better removed, painted and reattached. The most challenging part of the build is that, as the parts come together, the weight increases, the bike grows and becomes difficult to handle.
The most difficult part of the kit was attaching the two rear-view mirrors to the upper fairing. After trying all of one afternoon, I gave in and asked a friend to come to help. The mirrors are heavy and attach using two screws that pass through a metal part of the bike’s framework, through the fairing and into the bottom of the mirrors and the space is very tight. This job requires a minimum of three hands, there is no way of clamping the mirrors in place because of the angles of the parts. I removed the handlebars to make more space for getting the small screwdriver into the tight space inside the fairing. With another hand holding the mirror in place, getting the screws in place was much easier.

A Touch Of Painting

The Panigale generally comes in an overall red livery but special paint schemes are available so I decided to finish my model in a tri-colour finish; red, white and green, the colours of the Italian flag. The current factory Ducatis, racing in MotoGP, carry a black Ducati logo on the white fairing. They look good so I had a pair of logos printed on clear vinyl to go onto my model. I scanned the word Ducati from a Tamiya Ducati kit’s instructions sheet and had the logos printed by a local signs printing company for a fiver.
The belly pan fairing halves and the main side panels were rubbed down to remove their lovely shine and given coats of Halford’s excellent fine plastic primer to cover the red. Zero Paints were used for the top coats. Standard gloss white and the old United Colours of Benetton F1 team car green were used for the fairing paintwork. Decals and the Ducati vinyl stickers were applied before a top coat of clear gloss lacquer finished the job. The chrome-plated decals are very tricky to handle and seem to have coat of instant superglue on the back. Once they are down, they refused to budge so use a strip of masking tape to show where the decal belongs and don’t rely on being able to drift the decal into its final place because it won’t, despite using copious amounts of liquid.
After allowing the fairing parts a day or so to harden, they are attached to the model. At first it looked like there would be a fit problem but after a bit of pushing and tugging they clicked perfectly into position and the screws attached.

Finishing Off

The finished model is very heavy and about 520mm long and really screams for a display case. The official Pocher one is around £250 on top of the price of the kit but Just Bases produced an excellent one to my spec at just under £100.
If I was building another Panigale (and I would at the drop of a hat) I would buy a set of taps to pre-thread the holes for the screws and replace the tubing with a better version. Much of the tubing in the kit was replaced by tubing I had spare from previous Tamiya bike kit builds. A more complicated custom colour scheme could be done by screwing the fairing parts together away from the model, carry out the painting, dismantle the parts and then attach to the model in the normal way.
My model was worked on almost every day for two months, doing an hour or two each session through to the completion of the model. With the exception of one or two items such as fitting the mirrors, the kit was a dream job. The routing of some of the cables is vague on the instructions and some, such as the plug leads, were not worth struggling with as they are invisible at the end of the build.

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Final Thoughts

I sincerely hope that Pocher’s venture into the superbike model market is a commercial success and they produce more in future. Kits of MV Agusta’s or BMW’s current superbikes would be a very welcome sight at a Trade Fair in the near future. The list price of the Pocher Panigale is around £550 but they are readily available for £100 less if you look around. I my opinion the spectacular, finished model, is worth every last penny of the purchase price. I now really do believe in love at first sight!

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