The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Forum for discussion relating to the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car, Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and the 40/50hp Engine.
Robert Reid
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The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:06 pm

So having now finished the 25 PDR and finished the limber enough to prepare it for its life... eventually. It's time to get to what I have thought of as the main event now for some two years! That is to tackle the Rolls-Royce chassis and the Rolls-Royce armoured car. And I will be doing them together. WIth the goal being to make the chassis a real detail showpiece (and I may actually put my engine in it from the earlier thread). And the Armoured car to have a mostly out-of-box chassis with a level of interior detail that is commensurate with the chassis. That may change. And I may need to order another engine from Kian (and a steering column) to get the armoured car to a static model that is about 100 percent detailed.

But first, the plebian task of assembling the wheels. Which I had actually been dreading. First, because, well, there are quite a few of them!

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Oh and, no, this is not some kind of tire bunker I built for the 25 PDR... it's the stack of tires that needs wheels!

And then there is this bin full of more than 1200 spokes and ferrules is just enough to scare the heck out of anyone! (I'd love to know how they made those ferrules... talk about an amazing bit of machining... C'mon Kian, post a picture of those in production!!!)

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Anyway, having talked to several folks who said that they were spending several hours a wheel and having nightmarish times with theml... I was dreading this.

How foolish and timid I was!

The wheels are actually a total piece of cake! And the instructions from Armortek are absolutely right on! In less than a single model-shop day, I managed to A. FInd all the parts. B. set up the jigs to do some serial production (I have two sets of jigs with the two kits). And C. Get the rears of three wheels done and start two more.

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Now I may have a bit of an advantage, working with the 'real' wheels and spokes on occasion. But if one follows the instructions, they are not intimidating or hard. But here are some tips that may help you. And I know some of the builders 'before' me have posted some tips that are great, too!!!

The first thing is that the '1:1' size spokes have a very tightly bent head. And it is very important to put a bend in the head that matches the c. 50 degree angle that Armortek specifies in their instructions. This bend means that the head will sit flat in the hub when the spoke is tightened. I used a set of miniature horseshoe pliers (I call them that because as a youngster growing up on a horse farm, these farriers pliers were what we used to shoe horses and remove horseshoe nails.... who knew that it would help with Armortek kits 40 years later!!!). These pliers are helpful later...

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See the angle of the head? This will help you a LOT!

Next, bend your spoke until it is shaped like a surgeon's suture. It should have a nice sweeping radius to it that lets it go from the hub to the third hole (where it belongs) so that is simply goes through the hole. You can bend this with your fingertips and put the right radius on it. Don't worry about bending it. It will straighten out fine later. Not sure what Mark and Kian chose for the material, but it is a mild steel that is brilliant as it will stretch and if you only bend it gently once will NOT work harden. So in a later step, when you fit the Ferrule, the wire will stretch beyond its elastic limit and then stay straight. All the kinks or 'suture twist' comes right out of it. In all the spokes I fitted, I only broke the heads off two. More on that later. It will take some force... and you will think you are going to break the head off But you won't!

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Once the wire is through, slide the ferrule on (it's best to do first, because your pliers will crimp/damage the wire and make the ferrule hard to get on. Then take your farriers pliers and stretch the spoke. One thing that is critical... Make sure you tighten the center hub HARD. Because you don't want to have it rotate during the process. Lock it in well. By slightly stretching the spoke, you will take out any curve or wobblies in it and have a nice straight spoke... just like a real one. The nice thing about the farriers pliers is that they let you use the rim as a fulcrum and you can put a lot of force on the spoke. You can also do this with a pair of dikes (Directional cutters or cutting pliers for the politically-correct), but the farriers pliers are the best. And who doesn't need an excuse to buy another tool???

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Once the ferrule is in place and the spoke is straight, follow the Armortek pictures to use a small screwdriver and a pair of pliers to bend the wire. BTW, (and I will post a picture of this tomorrow), don't just go for a 'bend'. I used a very aggressive "Z-bend" to take the end of the spoke and bend it in a way that it kept the ferrule under tension. Again, you are going to "Think" you will break the spokes. But you won't. Or if you break a couple, you will find the right tension. This "Z" bend puts a lot more force on the spoke and helps create a strong wheel. The originals were threaded and you tightened the ferrules with a big wrench until all the spokes "Sang' when hit with a bar. The strength of these wheels comes from tight spokes that the whole 4 ton armoured car "Hangs" from! Think about that... the car hung from a handful of 3/16" wires. Brilliant! This above picture is the inside of a wheel showing how straight the 'stretched' spokes really are.

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Here are three wheels with the 'rear' spokes finished. About 5 hours work, including sorting through bags and doing all my setups. These wheels may have been intimidating when I first saw them.... but honestly I did a wonderful little white metal Armoured Car from ScaleLink a couple of years ago and those wheels were a far greater PITA. And these, really, are easier and better than Pocher wheels, which were always sort of the industry standard. So don't let the wheels scare you off one of the most interesting kits Armortek has made yet!

Note that after fitting all the spokes, I ran a light bead of cyanoacrylate around the inside of the hub to lock everything together. And a thick bead of JB Weld anaerobic epoxy around the outside to 'pot' the ends of the spokes. With these two little additions to the wheels, you will NEVER get loose spokes on RC models. Certainly not on static models.

More wheel work tomorrow and I expect at least another full weekends to get 4 chassis wheels, two spare wheels, two armoured car front wheels, and 4 armoured car double wheels done. But with that behind, the rest of this is going to be easy. And in reality, these are fun, relaxing and easy to do! Just follow the Armortek instructions and some of the tips here on the forum. And you'll have your wheels banged out in no time!

Cheers,

RPR

P.S. IF anyone has any extra hub/spoke/rim sets.... I'd like a couple more as spares for the chassis. Or maybe I am just a glutton for punishment!

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by simon_manning » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:14 am

Interesting and great information, an often overlooked kit on here, where are all the Rolls Royce Armoured cars? keep the post's coming, regards simon.

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:59 pm

Just a few more pictures...

And some realistic times... 5 wheels, 11 hours. Including finding the parts in the boxes and setup as well as reading the instructions. So my (and other) apocalyptic predictions of "hours" per wheel were way off base.

They were fun, too! Very relaxing and therapeutic to do. I still have 3 single and two double wheels to do. But I'll bang that out next Saturday Right now it's Daytona 500 time!

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Here is using the pliers to 'Yank" the wire and tension it. I didn't break any today in doing lots today. You get a feel for it pretty quickly.

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This shows how nicely the heads sit down when you give them a bend.

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The very tight Z-bend I mentioned above. This is before clipping. But you can see how it gets tensioned and locked in. Just going a bit past the original Armortek instructions, which are right on! Oh, so far, 1.5 tubes of Krazy Glue consumed.

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Before potting in epoxy, this shows how tight the wires are. Also trying to be neat and tidy!

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Five wheels done 100 percent in 11 hours. Happy! I will update my note in the sticky above, too!


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And a quick squirt of Etch primer on one. I need to wash it. THe spokes are trying to shed paint. Must be some machining fluid or finger grease on them.

These wheels are also RUGGED! i don't know if it's by design or by chance, but the jig actually pre-tensions the wheel, so when you do the face and 'release' it, you can feel it pop a bit and this really tensions the spokes.

Cheers,

RPR

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Richard Goodwin » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:14 pm

Great write up Robert with some excellent pics! I'll never complain about the Chieftain track bash again :lol:

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Brian Ostlind » Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:24 am

Great info.
epic

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Jeffrey Goff » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:34 am

Superb work Robert, watching with interest
Regards Jeff

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:13 pm

I'll finish the wheels this weekend, I think. But today I took sort of a busman's holiday in the shop and modified the radiator of one kit. The rad is perfect for the Armoured car, but for the chassis, I wanted to do a low-radiator, parallel bonnet car. The Armoured car uses what was called a Colonial Radiator, which was taller (aka more cooling capacity). So to do the chassis I wanted, the radiator needed serious modification.

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Started by cutting out the center with a mill. That way, as on the real thing, you can look through the honeycomb and see the front of the radiator. Nature of tube rads. Unfortunately I had a slipped tool in the mill (%$#@ing %$#&(!!!) and had to do some repairs. But the high-end aluminum billet used by Armortek made that a piece of cake. See more in a moment...

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As I needed to remove the scale-equivalent of around 4", I used a mill to cut the shell in two with the plan of welding it back together. Unfortunately, the fixture slipped and put a massive and annoying strip of teeth marks in the face. Later removed. But I was cursing and throwing things in the shop. Not relaxing.

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After welding back together... using the mill to both clean up the welds and to try and get rid of the nasty striations I put in the part.
Using a flycutter to clean up the face. Nice to have the tooling available to clean up one's mistakes. This is why owning a mill is good!

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After cleaning up the welds with a mill... the new 'low' radiator suitable for a parallel bonnet car is coming together.

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Here is modified radiator along with the original radiator that I will keep (mostly) intact for the Armoured car. The center will get cut out. But the main part will stay intact. Note that I also put a 'Step" in the radiator between the top tank and sides, which is how the original was. It's a tiny detail, but since I have the ability to make the modification, I chose to do it.

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Here is another picture showing the material removed. I have a piece of stainless steel to use as the big firewall for the parallel bonnet car. I looked at 1/16th aluminum, but it's too soft. So a piece of stainless will make a perfect firewall!!!

Wheels tomorrow and I suspect that I'll finish them up. But the radiator is now ready for plating. I am going to have it nickeled along with some other parts, for my chassis kit. Not for the armoured car.

Cheers,

RPR

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:23 pm

So finished the wheels this afternoon... a Definite marathon, but they are done and perfect and I really enjoyed them. If you are veering away from one of the RR kits because of the wheels.... don't! They are not hard as they seem and are really fun. There is a zen to them. I enjoyed it.

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The rear wheels took a bit longer, not because they are harder, but because once you do a couple of single wheels, you know the pattern and they are really easy. The hardest thing about the rear wheels is that the head twist and the 'twist' you need to put in the spokes vs. the single wheels is different... and counter-intuitive. But is not hard once you get it.

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Rear wheel finished and showing pattern. This is one of the doubles for the armoured car. As I am building a chassis and and armoured car in parallel, this meant I had to do 2 front wheels and two spares for armoured car, four wheels for chassis and two double wheels for the armoured car. In other words... a lot of wheels! Total time... 2 hours per wheel for singles, including rears.

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I post this as merely a milestone picture... the last spoke on the last wheel... Getting ready to twist it. I think I did something like 1400 spokes and ferrules over two weekends. The fact that I took a picture of it is testament enough!

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The whole bunch. One enameled and ready to fit with a tire.

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Dunlop fitted and looking lovely!!!! BTW, these tires won't go on cold. You can huff and puff all you want. But if you put them in boiling water for 3 minutes, you can slide them on in about 2 seconds. Also, be careful on the single wheels about how you leave the spokes as you don't want to have them push the tire away from the rim. Or use a small grinder and cut away a bit of the outside of the tire (the hidden part) to accommodate the spokes that protrude.

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As I get ready to move onto the chassis and armoured car... here is a great resource. For anyone building in parallel... if you want drawings or pictures of anything you want to do in extra detail... let me know and I'll try and post. I still owe some pictures of linkages here and will post! This is a Rolls-Royce parts book for the Armoured Car chassis. I have never seen another one, but they must exist. I hope that Bovington or the IWM has one. I found this at a flea market and it is the only one that anyone knows exists in the RR world. So if you want some pictures from it, let me know and I will post. I loaned this both to Kian and to Dave Dibb at Armortek which is how we got some great details on the initial kit. But there is more detail there.

Here is an example of the extra fuel tank that goes in the firewall... and other details. I'll be soldering one of those up. It is full of good stuff.

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A great weekend and with the wheels done, it's time to move onto two chassis rail sets. Going to be fun detailing them!!!

Cheers,

RPR

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by simon_manning » Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:52 pm

Captivating build R.P.R. I am not a R.R. Kit owner, but this is interesting., regards simon manning.

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:05 pm

simon_manning wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:52 pm
I am not a R.R. Kit owner,
Well... there is no time like the present ;-)

Cheers,

RPR

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:59 pm

So a preview of this weekend's work... which is going to start some detailing on chassis.

One of the iconic parts of a Ghost is the extra oil tank.... a gallon of oil carried on the frame rail, ready to add to the engine with a simple twist of a valve. Made of German Silver (or Brass was an option in the early years).

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The barrel. In 1/6th scale, this is a 1" piece of brass tube.

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The ends are made from brass bar that was rounded and then cut inside to fit the tube. Now it's on to the fill cap, brackets and drain flange.

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Here are all the parts ready to solder together. I tried two brackets... and like the smaller ones better. But both will work. The smaller ones will go on the superdetailed chassis and the longer ones on the armoured car, which will keep the tank closer to the frame.

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Another picture of the 'bits.' Note the 8BA square head bolt in the middle... There is NOONE on the darn planet who makes an 8BA square head bolt. And the Ghost is full of them. On the armoured car, which sort of 'hides' a lot of the bolts, I will be using most of the Armortek fasteners, But on the chassis kit, I want to use a lot of square head bolts.

So... a square collet... cut the shank to .088" and run an 8BA die down the stem. I think I am going to have to make about 100 of them. But, hey, it's what we do! More to come this weekend! Starting on the chassis now that the wheels are behind me.

Cheers,

RPR

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Robert E Morey
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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert E Morey » Sat Feb 29, 2020 1:00 am

Lovely job on the wheels Robert, and beautiful brass work on the oil tank. Really cool stuff.
Best regards,
Bob

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:31 pm

Got my lazy gluteus out of bed early this morning and so got in some significant chassis work this morning. Interesting that this kit, if assembling "by the book" is a really straightforward one! But has so much room to play with that I can't resist.

I started by putting rails together enough just to lay out the flat firewall for the parallel bonnet chassis. I have a ton of modifications to make to these rails tomorrow. But for now... they are just together to lay out things I will need later. Namely, radiator and firewall bits! As well as instruments, coil box, and other jewelry!

Just to show the variant I am working on... here is a nice cockpit for a c. 1912 Ghost. Late enough to be a torque tube car. Early enough to still have a parallel bonnet. Not copying everything, as I will not use the CAV switch box, and will use the Armortek mag/ign. switch. There is so much variation in these early cars that almost anything goes!!!

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But first... here are the oil tanks (one for armoured car, one for chassis) soldered together. Made one mistake, which is that the tank runs parallel front to back, but is bolted to an angled part of chassis. The front leg should be longer than the rear. I fixed with a spacer. Don't make that same mistake yourself. You have been warned! But these came out great. The one going on the armoured car will be left 'natural' and actually probably painted a brownish color (which is what German Silver patinates to...) The one for the chassis will be sent out and nickeled. These were solid German Silver in practice. Or brass on certain very early cars.

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Now on to the main event. I got this slab of 1/16" stainless cleved off by a friend with a big shear. I though of doing aluminum (as original) but in 1/16" was too flimsy. The stainless is rock solid and will polish up great. It's a bit harder to drill and shape. But with time and cutting fluid, all works! This has a bunch of holes and shaping done, with a lot more to go. These cover coil box, instruments, bonnet (a hint of things to come), air pump (see below) and mounts to the chassis. This is all matched to the low radiator I modified above.

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To hold the firewall to the chassis... I made new mounts for the bare chassis. On the armoured car, I'll use the standard Armortek mounts. But for the bare chassis, wanted to reflect the 'delicacy' of the stamped steel parts. On the real unit, there are 8 countersunk screws through the firewall. I am cheating with 4 10BA bolts. It will look nice, if not being authentic...

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So did I mention the air pump above? If not... it's a key Ghost feature. As there was no fuel pump, fuel was delivered to the carb by pressurizing the tank with about 3 PSI of air. This was done with a pump driven off the ignition tower. But before the car was started... the pressure had to be raised by hand with a dash-mounted air pump. Ghost Owners will understand! As I just happen to have a few lying around, they are easy to replicate! Well, relatively easy.

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So using some 1/4" tube and an assortment of scrap and a spring left over from the 2 PDR... I ginned up this little 1/6th scale pump. It doesn't exactly pump... but it does go in and out convincingly with a nice spring action! Funny thing is that it even makes a squeaking sound like an original. Ghost owners will understand!

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Here it is with an angled aluminum mount, temporarily slipped through the bulkhead.

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Perhaps a better picture.

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As we get toward the end of the day, starting to see the firewall come together. I have rearranged the Armortek instruments, which are awesome, to fit the parallel bonnet pattern. This includes putting two in from behind (engine side) as well as fitting pump, clock, etc. You can see the new brass mounts, too.

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Last photo of the day shows the low radiator and the parallel bonnet mocked up in rails. The clamps are holding on a couple of brass strips that will be used to support bonnet sides. Oh, did I mention bonnet sides? We'll see...

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That's all for today. I'll get another good day in tomorrow with significant modifications coming to one set of chassis rails for the display chassis. Something un-necessary for the Armoured car. And, really, for the chassis. But I can't resist going a bit... insane!

Cheers and thanks for the interest!!!

RPR

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:58 pm

Spent much of the day getting ready to assemble the chassis rails for the display chassis. Will be much easier for the Armoured Car Chassis as it is going to be a standard build (the detailing on that one will go into armour and interior).

First, this is a leftover from yesterday. The face of a "Double Elliott" speedometer and odometer. One of the really cool auto accessories of the Edwardian age. And it gets me on the subject of... anyone out there want to make gauge faces? I have the images... but don't have the printing facilities to make really good ones. Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?

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So back to the builds... as I am doing a bit of an over-the-top display chassis, I needed to make some modifications to the rear crossmember and rails. Why will be apparent later as we add fuel and air lines. BTW, while this is fine with a display chassis, I don't recommend it for a RC or armoured car.... as it does definitely make the rails less rigid. But one of the beauties of the Ghost is the seeming delicacy of things like the chassis...when it is incredibly strong. BTW, a complete (stripped) set of chassis rails with crossmembers weighs only about 150 LBS. One person can lift it easily. It's very thin metal, yet is incredibly strong. Henry Royce was a genius.

Here we are on the mill cutting the rear crossmember into a U-shape Vs. the solid block. Again, for the RC models, don't modify in this way! But for a display chassis, you will see the method to the madness later.

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Crossmember finished. with holes for the fuel/air lines (center) and the wiring to the rear lights (outsides). Having a mill lets one do all kinds of fun things!

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Next, moved to the main chassis rails and cleaned out a lot of the reinforcing metal around the crossmembers and up into the dumbirons and rear tank area. The key here was fixturing on the mill, as these rails are "whippy" of not secured! Small cuts, a carbide roughing cutter and rigid fixtures. I always thought that Meccano and Erector Set were a conspiracy by the machine tool industry to teach kids fixturing.... Marked in red are the areas that are going to be left behind.

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Here's the fixturing for one rail. The curves were fun, and let one be a human CNC machine. After a while, you learn to run X and Y axis simultaneously to made compound curves. It's fun!

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Here is the front radiator mount holes. On the display chassis, rather than use cap screws, I am going to countersink them and cover with epoxy. But add some bolts around it as it will simulate the ball mounts that allow the radiator to 'float' in the chassis rails.

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Here is the rear spring mount (part of the crossmember) that I drilled to take some square head bolts... on the display chassis. BTW, pay attention to the Armortek instructions when they tell you to add some parts to these crossmembers before bolting the chassis rails together! Especially if you do things like use LocTite or cover screws in epoxy to hide them. I, fortunately, avoided this... by reading the instructions!

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On the subject of all those little bits that go on the crossmember... on the display chassis I did some machining on them just to take some of the "Chunk" out. Again, one of the advantages of having a mill... lets you play in all kinds of ways. These are the sphere mount, the three transmission mounts and the steering mount (you get 5 of these with the kit... as far as I can tell, we only need four??? Unless I am missing something?) And the inside spring mounts that I lightened up a bit and made to look more like the original. Necessary? No. But fun to do!

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Before we turn our attention to springs... here is one of the Green wheels... now that the black wheels are done. No reason for posting... except that it is green!

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Next post (limited pictures allowed, from what I can determine) will be about some spring info for chassis and armoured car. Because they are very different and, for those building display chassis or display armoured cars, may be some interesting info!

Cheers and hope you are enjoying this with popcorn!!

RPR

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Re: The Time has Arrived... RPR's Rolls-Royce Build(s)!

Post by Robert Reid » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:29 pm

Now that I have one set of rails together (and another ready to put together) I am moving to springs.

Having seen the Armortek Armored Car RC in action at Oxford a year or so ago... I can say that on the RC armoured car, the springing works really well! But for anyone making display armoured cars or chassis... here are some tips and data to help with some assembly.

First, the springs we get from Armortek are great and have more than enough material, whether for Armoured Car or Chassis, to get the springs visually perfect. But there is a significant difference between a 'civilian' chassis and an armoured car. It is interesting to note... that the modifications made by Rolls-Royce to the standard Alpine Eagle chassis were minimal. 1. they added weights to the crankshaft to increase torque (rotational mass). 2. Added spring leaves to allow a change from 2,000 lbs of coachwork to 4,000 lbs of steel armour. The modifications were almost 'nil!

So here is a civilian Ghost rear spring set. Note that this is has 9 leaves... and is set up for a medium-weight touring car body. A heavy limo may have an extra leaf or two. A light roadster may have one fewer leaves.

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Note, too, that there are some very short leaves. These are critical for proper spring function! The short leaves have as much or more to do with spring rates than the long ones. More below.... Sorry about the blurry... but this is the top leaf. It's barely over a foot long. And as the leaves are generally evenly spaced in length, you can see that the lengths of the leaves matter.

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Now, here is a genuine set of armoured car springs from the Irish Armoured car Sliabh na mBan, restored by John Black. Note that not only does it have 15 leaves, but note how the 'stack' tapers to some very short leaves! This stack is replicated in height very well in the Armortek kit... and from what I have seen of the RC kits, is exactly right for supporting the 1/6th armour and battery packs, motors, etc.... but visually are off for a display kit. So use my photos with a grain of salt. But here is what they 'look' like in reality for the armoured car. And they are MUCH smaller stacks for the civilian chassis.

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Which brings us to next weekend's project... which among other things will be to create a civilian chassis spring set (on the right) and an armoured car set (on the left)... in process. Ultimately, we'll have a very short stack for the civilian display chassis. But a much larger stack for the armoured car, even though it won't be an RC car... I want the springs to look right. Next weekend, I'll be cutting a bunch of leaves into proper steps so that they move from a very short leaf to the full-length leaves... but maintaining the visual effect of the even spacing. In the upper left is all the 'spare' spring stock I have from the two kits. For those with only one kit... there is enough spring material, front and rear, from Armortek that you can exactly replicate the real springs with what is provided. Again... not needed for an RC kit as the spring action seems to be right on. But for either a visual effect or a display chassis... you have the option!

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And that's all for this weekend!

Cheers,

RPR

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