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Author Topic: Chris Craft Corvette  (Read 4091 times)

tonyH

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #50 on: June 09, 2020, 10:34:08 am »

Hi Bob,
Do you know what motor/s was/were in it originally, if so you should be able to get the power needed to reproduce the historic performance. Assuming, of course, that it wasn't a total dog!
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #51 on: June 09, 2020, 10:55:02 am »

Hi Bob,
Do you know what motor/s was/were in it originally, if so you should be able to get the power needed to reproduce the historic performance. Assuming, of course, that it wasn't a total dog!


Yes I do Tony - it was a 50cc two stroke motor !


It probably went quite well, but I think the motor was bunged-in with no consideration for the model itself and its installation and use has been the cause of at least some of the restoration work I am having to do now!


Possibly the original builder used twin electric power, but that could have been as long ago as the 50s and I have no knowledge of the boat prior to the abused and rotten skip-dodging wreck that I took on - which is a pity - because from what I can see the boat was originally built quite well before its last "user" beat it up!






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tonyH

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #52 on: June 09, 2020, 12:31:07 pm »

I know it's a bit off the wall, but this may be interesting then! https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=81702
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #53 on: June 09, 2020, 12:31:32 pm »

I think that the almost "model aircraft style construction" of mostly balsa wood with a small amount of very light weight (and low quality) ply that Sterling kits produced this model with, probably made it one of the least suitable r/c model boats for use with a 50cc single cylinder two stroke engine, and the motors rough installation and heavy duty abuse that followed just about finished it off.


The petrol easily soaked into the balsa wood framework of the boat and the many "botched-up" repairs that followed (these mostly included wiping the outside of the hull over with various layers of filler paste and pouring some sort of resin or shalac inside the hull) has made the restoration far more difficult and time consuming that could be reasonably expected.


There is no doubt that without the Covid 19 lockdown (and my continued need for shielding), there is every likelihood that these fuel soaked and abused remains of what was once a magnificent classic 1950's model boat would never have escaped the skip,  as in all honesty there was nothing on the model that was worth saving - apart from the fact that is is a fairly rare and quite desirable obsolete model, and I thought that it would be a shame to see it lost forever.


Having said that, I am still finding it quite a 'draining" project that demands far more time that it should do and is why I take a break from it now and again to work on something else - but then I see it needing some more attention and I get hooked back into spending a lot more time on it trying to resolve yet another unexpected problem that a well cared for example simply would not need!


In short, getting this model rebuilt back into one half tidy lump that can be sailed again one day has become a challenge and an addiction!





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radiojoe

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #54 on: June 09, 2020, 02:14:18 pm »

Bob what ever the reason why you are doing it you are making a great job of it, and in the end that is going to be one rare bird, she's already come a heck of a long way and I look forward to seeing her finished and vid of her sailing would be icing on the cake.   :-))


Joe
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #55 on: June 09, 2020, 02:26:54 pm »

Bob what ever the reason why you are doing it you are making a great job of it, and in the end that is going to be one rare bird, she's already come a heck of a long way and I look forward to seeing her finished and vid of her sailing would be icing on the cake.   :-))


Joe
 


Thanks for the encouragement Joe.


The Mayhem has been a sound source of good information, help, and support for me  - something that I really appreciate.


Tony H has also helped me a lot by posting my pictures on here as well. This is something I have not been able to do for myself using my fairly old MAC and my very limited computer skills!


Thanks to Tony's ongoing assistance,  I will continue to take some snaps of the restoration and put them here for anyone interested to see - and hopefully that will one day include a short video of the boat sailing in the water!











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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #56 on: June 09, 2020, 02:30:36 pm »

I know it's a bit off the wall, but this may be interesting then! https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=81702


That is an interesting comparison between a 50cc moped engine and the equivalent electric motor power.


I still need to decide whether to go for the twin shaft/twin motor drive that I have planned to go for, or to go for a late change of mind and have a single shaft drive with a 600 size helicopter motor that should shove it along at a good speed.


Decisions, decisions........................


Bob.
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #57 on: June 10, 2020, 08:57:54 am »

Yesterday I cut a new 4mm plywood floor for the cockpit of the Corvette and now the glue has dried and the clamps have been removed it has strengthened the cab quite a bit and straightened the cab sides too.


I cut some glass fibre matting to sit inside each of the small box sections of the hull and after wetting the area with Bondglass I stippled them all into place to strengthen and seal everything.


The inside of the bows have also received the same treatment so that when I replace the foredeck stringers and cover this area with a new 1/16 plywood deck I can be reasonably confident that this sealed compartment should not leak.


Before I "called it a day"  I cut and fitted a 1/16 plywood inner skin to the transom. I had to glue this onto the support spars with Araldite as this area had also been given the glass fibre matting treatment and I was not sure what else would stick it.
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tonyH

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #58 on: June 10, 2020, 09:23:38 pm »

Piccies!
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #59 on: June 12, 2020, 11:38:19 am »

Yesterday I gave the inside of the bows area some more glass matting and Bondaglass to make certain that everything in this large front compartment has been well coated  as the next step is to cover it over with a new 1/16 plywood deck.


Fortunately, the weather was good enough to do this glass fibre work outside so the fumes were much easier to cope with (almost none!) and the resin dried quite quickly, so last night the hull was back in the workshop (shed) again when I really noticed the glass fibre smell for the first time.


The 1/4" square stringers that provide the deck support snapped easily when I touched one by mistake - if I knew they were so rotten I would have removed them all much earlier as it would have made the glass fibre work inside the bows much easier to access  >>:-(


I have some 1/4" square hardwood strips so I replaced the balsa originals with these and extended the central one a little further towards the bow to hopefully give a little more strength to the structure.


Today I will give it another "good coat of looking at" and hopefully prepare to get some ply skin covering in place over the bows area as getting this front deck covered with some new wood will begin to show some real progress and make it possible to cut and fit the front cab screens that need this deck to be fitted first as they need to rest neatly on top of it.

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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #60 on: June 18, 2020, 10:40:40 pm »

I have replaced all three of the long 1/4 x 1/4  balsa wood longitudinal deck support stringers with 1/4 x 1/4 hardwood and lengthened them a little and joined them onto a short length of 1/4 x 1/4 hardwood to spread any frontal loading evenly as they are now all embedded into the upper front apron.


Some more 1/4 x 1/4  hardwood has been glued across the tops of the kit cross members/deck supports as the original balsa wood parts are weak and by laminating these they strengthen them and also give some good solid cross support for the front sides of the hull.


The lower fronts of the Corvette body sides have a tongue cut into them, and each of these plug into a slot to retain the cabin. These slots are in the front bulkhead and are just under the front deck.  As the slots were cut into the weak/rotten front bulkhead, these slots have been encased and strengthened by using some more 1/4 x 1/4 hardwood and the bulkhead has also been given a coat of glass fibre glass and matting to toughen it up.


The hull is 12 1/2" wide and my 1/16 ply is only 12 " wide so I have cut the front deck in two halves. I have glued some 1/4 x 1/4 balsa wood strip along either side of the central hardwood stringer to give a wider bonding area as the front deck skins will be joined along this central spar.


My next job is to make and fit new decking from 1/16 plywood as all of the originals have delaminated and fallen apart .  I am really looking forward to this bit as it will then begin to look like a boat and I can start to tie the superstructure into the hull.


The superstructure sits inside the side decking and on top of the front deck, so once these decks are fitted I can make and fit the front cabin screens and the rear cockpit well can be completed too.
 


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tonyH

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #61 on: June 19, 2020, 11:21:55 am »

Update pics!
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #62 on: June 21, 2020, 12:49:52 pm »

The decking is now fitted and for the first time I can start to see more of the final shape of the boat starting to emerge.


I think after such a long time making repairs, chopping out the rot and solving one problem after another this is probably the first time I have started to see some real visible progress and I have been able to stand back and appreciate the bulky look of the Chris Craft Corvette.



This is certainly a "chunky" looking boat and shows its 1954 design origins very well.  I actually think it looks a bit "spooky" at the moment (for some reason it reminds me of the car from the film "Christine") and I quite like it.


The temptation now is to get on with the superstructure, but the hull still needs some more work yet - especially cleaning-up and finishing-off the inside - even though that is the bit that has already taken most of my time, but at least the hull is now "stabilised" and strengthened so it is not likely to deteriorate any further - but it now weighs a lot more than it did before I started work on it!........and there is a lot of deck detail to be added yet!


Maybe I should just get the superstructure up to the same state as the hull so I know that it is also "safe" but try not get too carried away with the detailing just yet otherwise I may not want to revisit the hull that has already consumed so much of my time since I started this restoration.


Looking back on it, despite the price (about 1200 plus by the time it is delivered to the UK with import duty and vat) I can't help thinking what good value that "same size" Corvette advertised on eBay was as it is all new, has no rot, and is probably a lot better than I will ever be able to make this one - but is is still just an empty hull at the end of the day with a pair of M4 prop shafts and rudders installed and it is a lot of money.


I have no idea where these models are made, but I doubt it is anywhere in the USA and I would love to see the production line.  Speaking to the selling dealer online (via eBay) they appear to have sold a few of them so my guess would be that they are made somewhere in the far east (China maybe?).  If there was any way of finding out who makes these lovely models, it would probably be possible to buy them for a lot less as it is so expensive to import anything to the UK from the USA.  Even at the same asking price, it would cost a lot less to buy it from China.


Having said that, this one has kept me busy during my continuing period of shielding and I will have saved another vintage model from the skip - even though I have at many times wondered if I that would have been by far the most sensible thing to do with it.


What this restoration has given me is the opportunity to solve problems that I would not have experienced on a new build, and keeping the mind active has been a good thing to do during the lock-down as it has kept me busy.  My Corvette my not end up being a real "show queen" like the ready made one so clearly is, but I am looking forward to seeing it finished and I may even use a little "artistic licence" to personalise it rather than just try to compete with what is a factory built display model - even though it has inspired me quite a lot!
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tonyH

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #63 on: June 21, 2020, 01:18:26 pm »

Closing in on the target!
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #64 on: June 29, 2020, 11:35:25 am »

I have been able to make some new front cabin screens to fit the front of the superstructure and fit them on place, so the superstructure is a lot more "secure" now as there is enough new wood to hold the shape whilst I work-out how to make the very characteristic deep horseshoe shaped fore deck "spray-screen".


The commercially available "ready-made" 48" Corvette does have this shape fitted to the fore deck edges, but it looks to be the same thickness all the way around the horseshoe shape, and this would be reasonably easy to make.


As far as I can see this should be very deep at the front and progressively taper back to a lower side profile by the time it is in line with the cab sides.  This looks like it will be a difficult 3D shape to replicate unless I make it is balsa-wood, but I would like to make an effort to reproduce it if i can - and in a more durable material such as laminations of marine ply or hardwood?


I will see what I can come up with.......
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #65 on: July 01, 2020, 11:10:54 am »

Last night I turned the hull over and bored some holes vertically down through the new plywood keel that I fitted at the start of this restoration.


These holes are deep enough to pass into the original wood and some brass rod was epoxied down into these holes to give a mechanical link to support the adhesive bond between the old and new wood. This is something I had always planned to do but this boat has had so many areas that needed patching-up that I got distracted and forgot about it - until now !


During the day I cut and bonded some plywood to make the foredeck edge "horse shoe" shape. Different laminations were added and then sanded back to give the taper (in thickness) from the front to the back.  Lots more sanding needed here to give the rounded outside edge but leaving the inside edge vertical, and until this has had some more time spent on it I will not be able to see if I need to add some more laminations to give the profile I would like to see.


I have brushed some old grey undercoat paint that I had laying around onto the cabin as there has been a lot of areas where "old and new" have been mated together and when dry it will help me see any surface imperfections that still need filling as well as helping to build the start of a good base for future paintwork.



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tonyH

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #66 on: July 01, 2020, 02:59:44 pm »

Sorry, forgot to add this one!
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tonyH

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #67 on: July 01, 2020, 03:15:16 pm »

And now!
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Capt Podge

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #68 on: July 01, 2020, 04:33:41 pm »

What a difference you've achieved in a relatively short time!
Truly remarkable effort which is to be admired - looking forward to seeing more on this one.


Regards,
Ray.
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2020, 12:12:24 pm »

Thanks Ray,


Due to the lock-down and self isolating I have been able to spend some time on this restoration most days - but I was surprised when I checked this blog to see that I only started working on it at the end of April this year - it seems a lot longer!


I only checked this last night when I read your kind comments and your observation that it has only taken a "relatively short time" to get this far as it has felt more like a lifetime at times, (!) as everything I touched was rotten or delaminating and the more I looked- the more problems I found!


I could have made a 48" Corvette  from nice new wood in much less time - and enjoyed it a lot more too (if I had a full size plan), but the exercise was to prevent this wreck from being lost forever........and to give me something to do during this Covid crisis.


It is nice to see it starting to get closer to being completed, and I have retained as much of the original Sterling kit construction as possible (as I know this is a rare model these days) but it as been difficult to know just how far to go with this as I suspect the original kit built models would have been a little delicate for day to day use on the club lake so reinforcing some areas seemed the most practical thing to do.


The original poor quality plywood all had to be replaced as it was either crumbling or delaminating and most of the balsa wood in the hull had also started to crumble away when it was touched so I am not sure why both these two types of wood became so weak.


The planked balsa wood roof of the cabin seems to have survived OK - even though the plywood sids and screens that were glued to it had either fallen apart by delaminating and /or crumbling away - very strange!


Whether or not this would be typical of any surviving Corvette that had been built from an original Sterling kit from the fifties, or if my example had been exposed to something that had caused the premature failure of the woods used is unknown.  It would be good to hear from anyone that all owns one of these original kit built models to  find out if theirs has survived better than this one!
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Davo

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #70 on: July 02, 2020, 02:12:22 pm »

I have not logged in for some months, so have read build/restoration this for the first time. Many would have consigned this model to the bin, so top marks for a superb restoration in a relatively short time.  As you say, it would have been easier to start from scratch, but inside your model, it carries it's history in the original members that were saved. It will look great on the water with those elegant lines.
Well done
David
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tonyH

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #71 on: July 02, 2020, 05:23:24 pm »

Experimentation..Too high? Too low? Just right?
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #72 on: July 02, 2020, 07:14:37 pm »

In the previous pictures (kindly hosted for me by Tony) my plywood copies of the distinctive air inlet scoops that fix just behind the cab side windows can be seen - glued together and ready for shaping.


However, I actually have the original pair of these Sterling kit air inlets as the original metal castings somehow survived - even when the cab sides around them collapsed (!) I am really surprised at just how heavy these are! To fit something this heavy onto such thin (low quality) ply cab sides seems a bit of a miss-fit, but remembering the time period when the kit was made available (1954) maybe this was how all castings like this  were made ?


They probably have a fairly high lead content as this would have been inexpensive at the time and easy to cast?


I have fixed these original castings to my new cab sides with Araldite but drilled them in three separate places and epoxied in some 2.5mm brass bar stock as a mechanical anchor because if these were to become detached they would sink like a stone! (or a lead fishing weight  %) ).....but I will keep my plywood copies I have made to replace them if they should go AWOL.


My next job is to refine the fly screen shapes that I was playing with last night and get them cut-out on the fret saw, but this morning I finally made up my mind about the power choice and decided that this boat should have a twin motor drive.


I have ordered a pair of 10" prop shafts from modelboatbits.com who also sell left and right handed three bladed plastic propellers, so I bought a pair of 40mm ones to try before committing to buying any brass ones as I have no idea what size would work the best. 


A pair of large rudders were also ordered from the same source, so these will be installed at the same time as the prop shafts so I can then get the hull underside finished and painted.  The rudders may need trimming down a little, but I will try them as they come first as they may be OK.


Meanwhile I will make a pair of water cooling pick-ups as I don't see any of these for sale anywhere other than the low profile/flush mounted types (usually from China) - or the moulded plastic types that I don't want to fit.  All water pick-ups used to be made of brass - much nicer and more related to the time period, so if I can find any "old style" types for sale I will buy a pair of them as I have plenty of other things to keep me occupied without having to take some time out to make them myself.















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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #73 on: July 02, 2020, 07:21:51 pm »

I have not logged in for some months, so have read build/restoration this for the first time. Many would have consigned this model to the bin, so top marks for a superb restoration in a relatively short time.  As you say, it would have been easier to start from scratch, but inside your model, it carries it's history in the original members that were saved. It will look great on the water with those elegant lines.
Well done
David


Thanks David,


I doubt I will be able to match the quality of the professionally made version that can now be bought online from the USA, but I do hope to make it into a working model that looks like a Chris Craft Corvette   -  albeit one that may have been "personalised" by a fictitious previous owner (my excuse for not getting every detail  exactly correct).


Stay safe!


Bob.
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zooma

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Re: Chris Craft Corvette
« Reply #74 on: July 10, 2020, 10:31:53 am »

While I am waiting for my two prop shafts and rudders to arrive from modelboatbits, I decided that I would take another look at the cabin and make my mind up about the shape of the flyscreen.


Continuing with my "fictitious previous owners modifications theme" I changed the height and the rake of the fly screen and also rounded the corners of the window openings as I think it looks more "period related" than the real thing!  Maybe its the way Chris Craft should have done it, and if I had the cash to buy a new Corvette in 1954 I may have even asked for this small mod to my own dream boat!


Now I need to make some doors to replace the indented shapes that were stamped into the original kit panels to represent them - and then make some hatch covers to fit the new doors.  For now they will just be some basic shaped doors because I know I can too easily get too wrapped-up in the small details and forget just how much more work I have to do to get this hulk finished and back on the water.


I can always revisit and make detail improvements later after I have go the boat working and bring it in for its first refit!
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