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The Restoration of the Giant 4x4 Baby Rolleflex Model 1 - Part 1

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    Posted 1 year ago

    (34 items)

    After almost 7 years since I found the giant Rolleiflex dummy, I decided it was time to man up and restore it. To start the restoration wasn't an easy task, as a rare item like this can easily get its value ruined by a bad planned approach, wrong materials, the lack of a reference to start with and ultimately, a bad restorer.

    I started by the easy part: the research of the history of this object. I was lucky enough to find some people, Rolleiflex collectors and enthusiasts that pointed me in the right direction. Mr. Frank-Peter Hoffmann was one of these people and he was kind enough to provide me with detailed pictures of the two giant cameras he owns. The last picture in this post was sent me by him and it shows how these almost centenary objects look like today. These pictures and the advice of other collectors were invaluable.

    Now, for the materials used, I chose those which were reversible by nature, making it easy to remove in the future, if a new restoration is needed or if new and better materials get available. I used water-based markers, covered with archival fixative spray. the camera was fully disassembled, cleaned, lightly sanded to eliminate old paint (except on the parts painted with the original crackle paint, that doesn't exist anymore as it contained lead), degreased and carefully and patiently hand painted.

    At this point, I am testing the materials that will replace the original leatherette (actually a textured paper that resembled the leather used in real cameras). In the pictures you can see the mock-up camera disassembled, all the parts painted and ready to reassemble, the third pic is my camera in its original "destroyed" condition. The last picture shows Mr. Frank-Peter Hoffmann's giant dummies, that are in a very good original condition. The second part of this post will be, hopefully, the final product. Thanks to all that helped me with advice and information during my research.

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    1. slackjack, 1 year ago
      Very nice. But.............can you still buy film for these cameras ?
    2. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 1 year ago
      slackjack I be leave it takes the same film as my dual lens camera 120 film you can still buy all day ..
    3. mcheconi mcheconi, 1 year ago
      slackjack, thank you for your comment. This isn't a real camera. It is a dummy made in 1932 to promote the launch of the Rolleiflex 4x4 camera. It is a replica, with no moving parts, it is a giant model of the real thing.
    4. mcheconi mcheconi, 1 year ago
      Roy, thank you for the comment. The Rolleiflex 4x4 would use 127 film, that isn't produced anymore. But my giant camera isn't a real camera, it is a promotional item made by Rolleiflex to advertise the new camera model presented in 1932 at the Leipzig Spring Fair.
    5. mcheconi mcheconi, 1 year ago
      Thank you for the love rniederman, and thank you for your advice on the restoration.
    6. slackjack, 1 year ago
      Yes, mcheconi, this dummy recognized another dummy right away. But wouldn't the film be HUGE ?
    7. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 1 year ago
      sorry about that slackjack,,,..I have a Yashics A TLR I think its a A havent shot it in 10 years or so lol.. and it takes 120 or 220 film ...dont know why I thought yours would ...later..
    8. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 1 year ago
      smiling ...see you can use 120 film ...
    9. mcheconi mcheconi, 1 year ago
      slackjack...I see I am the giant dummy here :) Sorry for ruining your joke :)
    10. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 1 year ago
      No your no dummy ... I love the large neat ... I have a picture of a guy loading 35mm film in a 127 backing paper ... it works , lol..There's a company in japan that sells 127 400 for 12.00 a roll,. seems high. later bud
    11. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 1 year ago
      So, you are saying this is a dummy camera. LMAO !! It would take pix of dummies if you had large enough film.
    12. mcheconi mcheconi, 1 year ago
      LOL oh would be a very busy camera for sure...
    13. Manikin Manikin, 1 year ago
      Looks like a big project Mcheconi and will be anxious to see completed . I sent you a email :-) xo
    14. mcheconi mcheconi, 1 year ago
      Hey Mani, thanks for the love my dear. I will answer it later today. xxoo
    15. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 12 months ago
      I love the side by side comparison of this ICONIC advertising piece. I believe any Rollei lover would trade his eye teeth for this gem. I am in total envy on this one as I believe any camera lover would be ! MAGNIFIQUE !~
    16. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 12 months ago
      The baby was my first Rollei !~

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