The following are before and after photographs of several restoration projects.
During WWII a German POW on his way to a prison camp in Canada carved this model of a Stuka from memory. He gave this model to a Canadian soldier who was his guard. A half a century later the soldier's son asked me to restore it. The bomb was missing, the left wingtip broken off and lost, as were several other parts and the horizontal tails were broken off. The model had been carved in birch and national markings were relieved, then filled with a colored wood paste. Stages in the restoration are illustrated here.
Consolidated B-32 Dominator in 1/50 (?) scale, wingspan about 30 inches (1993). A beautifully finished solid walnut model with brass fittings done in the Consolidated workshops about 1944. This is model #29 of the series. Two other models of this series are to be found in the National Air and Space Museum collection. The model was in rough condition and without its vertical tail and stand. Working from photos and dimensions taken from one of the NASM models, the restoration was completed and finished in rubbed tung oil.
Japanese Nell US identification model, black plastic, 1/72 scale, wingspan 13 ˝ inches (1997). Many of the solid black plastic identification models produced during WWII are beginning to disintegrate. They melt and shrink and give off a strong acidic odor. This Nell had shrunk to the point where only the peripheral parts remained whole. The first photo shows what was replaced by wood, the second the model after primer, the third how an actual Nell might have appeared. Normally recognition model restorations are painted all flat black, as the originals were. However, after the war, many of the ID models were sold to the public and were painted to match the modeler’s idea of what the ship looked like in real life. There is a good chance that over the years the rest of the original parts of this Nell will melt away and only the wood will remain!
Lockheed Constellation travel agency model, about a four foot span (1994). This formed aluminum model was in distinctly rough shape before restoration which consisted of taking out dents, cleaning and polishing all surfaces, repainting and making new markings. Finished, it is an eye catching beauty, as most Connies are.
Northrup Gamma in 1/16 scale, wingspan 36" (1999). This model was received in three beaten up pieces, two wing panels and a partial fuselage. The original model dates from the Thirties. It was first stripped of paint and cleaned up. Then, using drawings available to the original model maker in the mid-Thirties, a new cowl, engine, propeller, vertical tail, "park bench ailerons," canopy and dorsal fairing were made. Landing gear fairing and fillets were repaired. The whole was then reassembled and painted in the Texaco Sky Chief markings for which the original model had doubtless been made. What a beautiful airplane model when returned to the original model maker’s vision! A photocopy of an illustrated article about this restoration in SKYWAYS The Journal of the Airplane 1920 –1940 is available from Doxaerie.
Lockheed Electra, about a 40" wingspan (1994). All metal travel agency model restored and refinished to represent the Capitol Airline colors in which it actually flew.
Consolidated PBY-1 Catalinas in 1/50 (?) scale, wingspans about 25 inches (1990). These are solid cast aluminum models from about 1938. One was original, but the paint was badly chipped. The other model consisted of a hull with tail and a wing, no engines or struts. This model had never been completed. New engine nacelles were turned and new struts fashioned and the model assembled. The paint was restored on the original model, then the second was painted to match.
US Submarine C1, Cachelot, length about 30" (1997). The brass work on the model is outstanding, the craftsmanship on the pine hull a bit rough. When received, coats of paint were shrinking and chipping and the decking ink work worn. Rigging was loose and broken and showed signs of previous repair. One of the brass dive planes was missing. The model may have been made at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California in the mid-Thirties, perhaps by someone who worked on the Cachelot there. It is a beautiful and very accurate model. During the restoration, the decking was sanded down, etched and refinished. A new dive plane was fashioned and the rigging replaced. Brass details were cleaned and polished, all paint was refreshed and a stand made to fit into mounting holes already in the hull.
General Aviation PJ-1 "Flying Lifeboat" of the US Coast Guard (1996). This early Thirties manufacturer’s display model is very rare (as is the aircraft it depicts, only five being built by the American General Aviation Co. from a Fokker design). It was formed brass sheet soldered together, then silver plated. The model was received in poor condition, hull damage aft the wing, a buckled wing, detached float, tail damage and damage inside the hull where the stand rod attached. The plated finish was in poor shape. Restoration included straightening and re-forming bent parts, repairing the inside of the hull, re-soldering the wings, then re-plating.
Consolidated P-30, two piece cast aluminum, about a 20 inch span from the mid-Thirties (2003). This model had been dropped several times with resultant damage to wings and tail, and the prop was missing. The paint was badly faded and chipped. The model was cleaned, repaired, reassembled with only the chipped areas being repainted so that the paint on the model remains mostly original. A propeller contemporary with the model was found and added.