I'm interested in the Pocher classic auto kits that are no longer manufactured. Anybody currently or has built one of these? If so which one(s) and any specific recommendations as to finding them on ebay or elseware? Things to look out for? Dealers you can suggest outside ebay? Thanks for your input as these are not inexpensive, and want to be sure as to what I would be getting myself into although my years of building wooden rigged ships should serve me well I would think as far as experience goes. jim in San Diego
Many years ago I built the Alfa Romeo- the racing version. I got the kit from a salvage operation, so didn;t pay that much for it. It was certainly worth the sixteen bucks I paid, but not what the list price was at that time.
The newer kits are much better kits, and apparently worth the prices, but do not pay really big bucks for the older kits.
One of the things that has frosted me about some of the older Pocher kits is that while they do have some metal parts, they use a silvery plastic for areas that were aluminum castings in the prototype! Sure, I can paint plastic to look like aluminum castings, but why should I have to for such an expensive kit. I can get all plastic kits for a lot less money.
Let me guess, you got this Alfa-Romeo at K-Mart like I got mine, right? ;-) The only part of the kit that was really time consuming was doing the spokes on the wheels for it. Those took a hour or two each to do.
Kmart had Pocher for a short time. They got them the first time Pocher went belly up. That was probably at least 25 and closer to 30 years ago. I picked up 8 kits at that time. I built 3 of these over the years and bought a few others along the way. Right now, I have 8 unbuilt with the shrink wrap still intact (:>
Pocher suffered a fire in their factory sometime in the early 1970's; they took the remaining stock in their warehouse that had smoke damage to the boxes and sold it a rock bottom prices to raise money to rebuild in a hurry. A lot of it ended up in K-marts at around $20-25 in around 1970-74. I'd heard about these kits from old Scale Modeler Magazine articles. They were frankly awe-struck by them, with their thousands of of plastic, vinyl, and metal parts that used almost no glue to assemble, but rather screwed and bolted together like an actual vehicle. To give you some idea of the detail, the Alfa-Romeo had wheels that were made up of huge numbers of stainless steel spokes, each with a individual metal spoke tensioning nut at the top that you assembled on a supplied form. Inside the engine, chromed brass pistons slid up-and-down inside of chromed brass cylinders on chromed brass connecting rods mounted on a plastic crankshaft operated by the front crank starter handle. A small minted bronze and completely legible Alfa-Romeo seal sat atop the radiator, directly under the chrome-plated brass screw-off radiator cap. Tiny metal buckles secured in place the leather straps that held the hood shut. At the time, the retail price of one of these kits was $200-350 dollars, which would equate to around $600 to $800 nowadays. The truly amazing one was supposed to be the Rolls-Royce, with its folding convertible roof, key that turned the headlights on, and tiny leather driving gloves in the glove compartment. If you want to build a Pocher Alfa-Romeo; this offers a little help:
going whole-hog on the kit, it wouldn't take anywhere near as long to build as a wooden square-rigger with rigging, especially if the ship model was of true plank-on-frame construction. If anyone wants to see a oddball wooden ship model, a few years back I scratchbuilt a Greek pentaconter (fifty-oared single oar level warship) in 54 mm scale from the time of the Trojan War for a friend who had given me a set of great translations of Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey". I named it the "Athena" as it was supposed to be Odysseus' flagship, and left half the hull unplanked so you could see the internal structure. I have a lot of jpgs of this. I made it out of balsa wood for ease of forming the hull planks around the framework, and ended up with a model that weighed around 1/2 pound sitting on a ten pound display base. :-) I still have to replace the shields and crow's-nest on it someday, but other than that it came out as a very striking model, and was a great deal of fun to build.
Those should be worth a _fortune_ on eBay. You are looking at a few thousand dollars there. Go over to eBay and look at the prices those are going for:
are probably talking around five to eight thousand dollars for all of those in that condition. Hell, my 1992 Ford Festiva only cost me six thousand dollars brand new. Now that's model buying when it's a _really_ sound investment! Congratulations! :-)
Yep, I got mine at K-mart. Someone at K-mart found a hobby distributor going out of business and bought all their Pocher kits, that is what the guy at the local K-mart store said. This was many years ago, about 1975.
Jim, I don't know of any dealers of unbuild Pocher kits. So, eBay seems to be the place to get them. You are correct. They do fetch pretty high prices. For example,
is up to $800 already! I built this exact kit in the 80s (I still have the model). If I kept it unbuilt, I could make some real money right now.
As for buying advice, check out
. After reading this you might be afraid to even buy a kit. But there is some good advice in there if you pick out the things important to you. If you look hard enough, you might even find some relative bargains on eBay, especially if you don't need a factory sealed kit. Also the Rolls and Mercedes fetch the most money. Many Alfa Romeos can be had for much less.
Also, take a peek at
fro some excellent models and high quality replacement parts (if you really want to build a very accurate miniature masterpiece). Photo of my model is there, in