Author Topic: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket  (Read 3553 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Joe

  • Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 83
Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« on: October 11, 2009, 12:31:59 AM »
Hi,

The very first Strombecker airplane that I built was the Douglas Skyrocket.  One of my goals when I started looking for Strombeckers was to find a Skyrocket and build it.

I managed to purchase two built ones awhile back and, fortunately, one of them came with the original box, instructions, and un-used decals.  Like one of the P-61s I am restoring, I decided to re-build one of the Skyrockets the same way I built it as a boy. 

Hence, I took one of the models apart, sanded it just enough to remove the grime, decals, and the old finish.  Then I re-assembled it with minimal sanding and finished it with varnish.  The cockpit on the original was badly fogged from glue and, so, I decided to paint it sky blue and leave off the cockpit decals.

I am now working on the second Skyrocket and plan to paint it.  It was in poorer shape than the first one I restored and needed lots of woodfiller.  I will post photos later.

lastvautour

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6003
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2009, 04:03:00 AM »
Excellent restoration work Joe. I never had the option of wooden kits when growing up and only found out about these kits some ten years ago. I like your idea of restoring to what you had back then. This lets us all in on the joy of boyish enthusiam for the hobby. Keep posting please.

Lou

Joe

  • Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 83
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2009, 08:23:29 AM »
Hi, Lou,

When I was about 6 years-old I contracted chicken pox and was stuck in bed for about a week.  Back then we had no TVs, computers, etc.  Thus, the only diversions were reading, listening to the radio, and drawing.  My dad thought that model kit might brighten my days and got me a Strombecker DeWitt Clinton to build.  I loved it and after I recovered, I went to the local hobby shop and was intrigued by the large variety of Strombecker models then available.  For the next several years I purchased and built a fair number of Strombecker airplane models. I think I built about 10-15 of them.  Most were not expensive: 25-75 cents.  However, back then a gallon of gasoline cost about 20 cents. 

As I think I mentioned, recently I found a Strombecker P-61 in its original box.  Attached is a photo of the end of the box top with the price tag.  The vintage cost: $1.19!  I found this model at a local antique (= junque) store.  What is interesting to me is that the store and I are located in California, but that the store from which the model was first purchased was located in Indiana.  I would guess that I will never know how it found its way to California unscathed.

My two youthful favorite Strombeckers were the B-17 and the B-29.  I have found a B-29 and plan to rebuild it.  It needs some research because the first builder did not install the landing gear or gear doors; thus, I will need to re-create them and install them correctly.  I am also looking for decals. 

I still have still not found a postwar Strombecker B-17, but that search continues, too.

Thanks for the encouraging words.

Oceaneer99

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 834
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2009, 11:28:59 AM »
Joe,

Nice work on these models.  Sometimes I see for sale some of the old Comet flying model kits that I built as a boy (or started to build; most got to the framework stage only), and it really brings me back.

Joe

  • Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 83
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2009, 06:09:32 PM »
Hi, All,

I am afraid that I am not very rigorous in archiving my work on the Strombecker models I am restoring.  However, I did take a few photos of the as-received model I am now restoring.  As you can see, it was painted in a somewhat ghastly scheme.  And when I dis-assembled it, there was considerable damage under the paint.

In addition, one horizontal stabilizer was missing.  That was a pretty easy fix with some white pine and my handy-dandy bandsaw.  

Also missing was the nose piece.  I replaced that part with some lathe work.  I started with a section of 3/8" dowel in which I drilled a centered 1/8" hole.  I then glued in a section of 1/8" dowel with Gorilla Glue.  After the glue had dried, I tapered the 3/8" dowel section to meet the 1/8" dowel.  This step was followed by cutting the 1/8" section to length and shaping it.  Finally, I cut the back of the tapered 3/8" section down to the 1/8" insert and removed the piece from the lathe.  I cut the rear-protuding section of 1/8" dowel 3/16" long so that it would fit in the nose of the model.  

And, I must confess, this took three tries before I got it right.  Working with such small stock in a lathe is tricky..for me, anyhow.

Then I sanded all the parts to shape and re-assembled the model with a more modern glue. Then came lots of woodfiller, sanding, sanding sealer, more sanding, priming, a bit more woodfiller, more sanding, more priming ...and, of course, more sanding! 

Attached are photos of the painted version of the Skyrocket in primer.  Painting and decals are next.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 06:13:31 PM by Joe »

lastvautour

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6003
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2009, 04:22:31 AM »
Looking at what you started with, you did a fantastic job of restoring the Skyrocket. I look forward to the finished model.

Lou

Joe

  • Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 83
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2009, 12:55:14 PM »
Hi,

I have now finished both versions of the Stombecker Douglas Skyrocket: one that is similar to that which I made as a boy which featured minimal sanding and a coat of varnish; and a second that was sanded and painted white.  Photos attached.

One of the issues that has continued to plague me in these restorations has been the decals.  I have made some progress, but I am still not satisfied with the results.  One of the things that I found helped was putting at least 4 thin coats of the clear sealer helps strengthen the decals.  Nonetheless, they are not as strong as the originals and can be warped during application.  I am pondering  putting on 2 additional coats of sealer, but was curious if any of you had some advice. 

A second issue is color saturation and line-definition.  These decals do not have quite the color saturation of the originals--even when I enhance them with my photo program.  And lines can be fuzzy at the edges.  I am sorely tempted to enhance the decals with some waterproof paint after the decals are printed. Again, any relevant experience out there?

In regard to decals and Strombeckers, I remember sometimes wondering if the folks at the company ever tried to use some of the decals that came with the kits?  By far, they are the most challenging part of a Strombecker kit, in my opinion.

Joe

dave_t

  • Guest
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2009, 06:13:29 PM »
Joe,
   Do you still have any of the kits you built as a kid?

Joe

  • Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 83
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 10:49:04 PM »
Hi,

No, Dave, I do not have any of my old models.  When my parents moved from our old house, my models got distributed around the neighborhood.  That was over 40 years ago and I do not expect to ever see them again!

Thanks for further insights on the repo decals.  I will keep playing with them, but I suspect the best solution may be to "enhance" them with some fine colored pen work after application. 

Joe

Oceaneer99

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 834
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2009, 10:25:21 AM »
I moved the decal discussion to:

http://smm.solidmodelmemories.net/SMF/index.php?topic=436.0
Topic: Homemade Decal Colors Not Vibrant

Balsabasher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1819
Re: Strombecker Douglas Skyrocket
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2010, 10:06:44 AM »
Joe you are doing a great historical conservation job on these historic models,your efforts look very good.
I have a quite a few few unbuilt solid kits and normally build a replica as close as possible to the original from the plans and keep the kit as is,sort of reverse solid modelling as they say !
Barry.