I have had various discussions with Bryan Brown one of our moderators here in the Recognition Model section of MAC. I know he carefully stores many of his models in drawers and boxes with various means of support. This is certainly the safest method for keeping these models secure as their weight alone can cause them to fracture over time. Currently I have a client's Bronzart B-17E here in my shop and his number one wish is to have it on a stand for display
. The airplane long ago lost its original black paint, the embossed "government property" lettering and has also suffered losing part of it counterweight (another issue to rectify later). The tough obstacle, though, is what to do to get the model on a stand? The original Bronzart recognition models had a large hole in the belly with a small hole in the cabin roof. These were meant for hanging from the ceiling back in 1942. See more about these models by reading Bryan Brown's excellent article here...http://www.ebay.com/gds/WW-II-METAL-AIR ... 923/g.html
With the the metal composition, these models are generally heavy yet fragile especially the multi-engine versions. After 70 years, hanging one from the ceiling is an iffy proposition. Mounting it on a stand is also questionable. Having an attachment strong enough through the belly is questionable. After doing some research, I decided to try using a BLIND JACK NUT
system similar to those needed in the aircraft industry. Seemed fitting to me
. These are applied into the hole and squashed into place. This supports the metal on the outside and the inside of the model and leaves you with a threaded nut on the inside. I have a picture with two blind nuts on a bolt, one is stock and the second collapsed. The blind nut requires a special tool that functions much like a pop rivet tool. You stick the fastener though the hole, collapse the screw nut and it is ready to use. One recommendation is to measure the metal surface thickness on your model. If thin, add a washer for extra depth. Check this by collapsing the blind nut to see how tight a fit you will have.
The Blind Jack Nut I found on eBay.... http://www.ebay.com/itm/Steel-Blind-Jac ... xyTjNSevXx
The tool was found the same way... http://www.ebay.com/itm/321973662959?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
Finally, these models never had a desk stand. The later, post-war models were generally smaller in size so could be mounted on their smaller post-war metal stands. What is needed is a heavy cast metal stand but even reproductions are expensive and hard to find. What else can be used? I prefer something vintage, cast iron would be good, hopefully something stylish, easy to modify, and not terribly expensive. So what fits this bill? As it turns out, one of the best and easy to adapt are the cast iron bases from one of those mid-century electric fans.
With a cast iron base acquired, my first step was to drill and tap a hole on the top of the base for a 6-32 threaded rod. Next, apply my new BLIND JACK NUT into the belly of the B-17. Finally a measured and rounded-on-the-top-end threaded rod to add support in the radio cabin on the B-17 model. The model was then test fitted using a rubber washer between the two metal surfaces. Further mods on the base will include filling the original horizontal hole and giving it a re-paint in my favorite period finish, black-crinkle. I will add more pictures in my next entry and update the progress on the model and the stand in the future. BTW, my client says he likes this stand. He says its like the prototype B-17E is teat flying over Mt. Rainier in Washington.
Note that the heavy cast iron stand can be further weighted by either Plaster of Paris or even cement. This will keep the model standing under most conditions except possible in the west coast in "Earthquake Alley