A recent project: restoring the decals and finish on a vintage X-24A display model. The paint was to be left as-is; existing cracks and blemishes in the surface were not to be repaired. The goal was to make a display model that retained the appearance of being vintage… just not quite so beat up.
Since the paint was to be left alone, the decals could not be sanded or scraped off. Instead, they were removed chemically (primarily: dihydrogen monoxide). In the process of doing so, the overcoat was found to be soluble. Photo below shows the model halfway through the process, with the port side of the craft cleaned of the decals and overcoat, leaving decals and overcoat on the starboard side. The underlying silver paint was found to be substantially brighter with the overcoat off. Presumably the overcoat had fogged over the years due to oxidation and/or UV.
Decals are not available off-the-shelf for this display model, so detailed photos and measurements were made. JBOT Decals was contracted to produce a new set of replacement decals.
Some of the overcoat stubbornly clung to the model. The main patches were on the underside, indicating UV damage as the likeliest of cuplrits for both the oxidation and “loosening” of the stuff. As a result, it was necessary to touch up small portions of the surface; an extensive selection of “silver” paint was procured and one found that matched the existing silver. The patches that needed touchup – and only those patches – were painted and blended in. The end result is invisible. The pitot tube was a red-painted steel rod that had rusted; it was carefully cleaned and repainted.
A thin glosscoat was applied and then the decals; a satin clearcoat was then applied over the decals, finishing the process. The end result is a model with virtually invisible repairs to the decals; with the exception of the pre-existing surface imperfections, it looks right-out-of-the-box.
This model was restored for collector and aviation photography Chad Slattery, owner/proprietor of Chad Slattery Photography. Mr. Slattery kindly provided this testimonial:
Scott’s engineering background, combined with his meticulous craftsmanship and deep knowledge of aviation history, make him the go-to resource for restoring (or re-creating) desktop models. He sends photos to help explain procedures, makes regular progress reports, and is careful to only do what is requested. I cannot recommend him highly enough.
If you have a vintage display model in need or repair – or if you want to commission an entirely new one, just let me know.