Pastushin TWA DC-3

Objects incorporating models of aircraft.

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Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby sandmanoverhaul » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:05 am

Having once sworn to never get involved with another Pastushin ashtray model, I succumbed and bought this TWA DC-3 at an antique mall in Ohio last week. The price was good and that was a major factor. The seller had it for a couple of years and needed to get it sold. It had never been cleaned, was missing one prop blade and the airplane is removable from the ball. So I figure that I will take the opportunity to explore the various steps in getting a nice bird better.

Ashtrays, by their nature, tend to live in bad air. I suspect the smoke is a contributing factor for the little bits of corrosion that seem to pepper the surface of a chromed display piece of a 70 year life span. All the paint was worn so that will need to be addressed but the elephant in the room is that loose-on-the ball belly issue. None-the-less the chrome was surprisingly nice so the purchase was made and the process to have it displayable has begun....

Step One- Carefully remove the propellers using a high quality pair of needle-nose pliers ( I bought one solely for this single operation years ago).

Step Two- With the props removed and secured, I proceeded to clean the model beginning with a wash of wash using GOJO hand soap to remove the various residues on the surfaces.

Step Three- I then proceeded to hand polish all the surfaces with Blue Coral metal/chrome polish and then hand buff to remove the polish.

Step Four- From there I put a buffing wheel in my Dremel and using slower revolutions, I methodically went over all the surface areas especially inside the ridges on the base. High speed is not good here but patience is important.

I temporarily assembled the model for the following pictures.

BTW, a quick note to Dremel users (Foredom guys know this already) get yourself a foot pedal switch to run your moto-tool. It will be astonishing how much better your control of the tool will become. Here is a sample I found on eBay.. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Variable-Speed- ... 2591c09108

Once I move to other steps in the Pastushin project I will post new pictures.

Regards, Tom
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby BWBrown » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:41 pm

Hi Tom -
Nice work so far! Thanks for the tip on the foot control unit. I haven't used one of those before, but definitely intend to get one. Cheers! -- Bryan
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby sandmanoverhaul » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:03 pm

Thanks Bryan.

Well live and learn. The ball and socket fix was partially successful. The airplane is still a little loose but, it stays on the ball. The following is my suggestion for others to improve their own models...

1) I believe a friction pad of some material such as cardboard (the stuff they use for full button-down shirts would work). Take a hole punch and punch out about 6 dots. Use an adhesive like RTV or GOOP and add at least 3 dots inside the cavity. What we want is for the bottom of the ball to stick slightly higher than the airplane's belly. Note this is done upside down! Let the dots/pads dry 24 hrs.

2) Cut a slot in an old socket that essentially matches the diameter of the hole. The slot is to clear the arm.

3) Support the model on a block of wood covered with terry cloth.

4) Strike the socket with heavy hammer to dish the brass (actually collapse the brass) surrounding the hole to capture the ball.

5) You may need to used a wide point nail set to further tighten things up.

6) Another consideration is to boil the model to get the molecules of brass pliable. Five minutes at a rolling boil should work. I have used this technique on other metal airplanes with excellent results.

That's it for this session. Next up, paint work.

Best Regards, Tom
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby BWBrown » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:37 pm

You are a lot braver than I am, Tom! I'd be worried about cracking or crushing the fuselage. I guess it depends on whether the model is solid brass, or a hollow brass casting. Now that I think about it, you must clearly be working with a solid brass model, so I guess you are only concerned with protecting the finish. Anyway, I look forward to seeing the final result.
Good luck! -- Bryan
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby sandmanoverhaul » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:38 am

Here you go Bryan- Next to last step... applying paint-
The DC-2,3 and DST series were cast with impressions for lettering, logos and symbols. This is where the the color was added to the chrome. The first produced were the TWA versions as they were the company the inspired the DC airliners and their first customers. The DC-3 became universal and the opportunities increased for Pastushin. Some of the later DC-3 models had painted windows especially with American Airlines. Certainly over time the paint is lost because the feature that chrome offers is that it has a very slick surface and unless a film has an adhesive, it tends to come right off.

Anyway, repainting your Pastushin is easy as this slippery feature becomes your detail assistant...

1) Clean all the areas to paint with isopropyl alcohol with a cotton swab then let dry.

2) TWA used a bright but dark red. Good old Testor's red works fine. Dip your fine tip brush to saturate but not drip then lay the tip into the depression and let the paint unload. Brushing is not necessary.
We are mimicking a poor man's enameling process. The paint, when wet will fill the cavity. As the paint dries, the color simply adheres to the surfaces.

3) Don't be too concerned about getting any paint outside the depressed areas. You do have to walk away from your work and leave it alone for about six hours.

I will finish up with a last installment shortly.

Regards,
Tom
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby sandmanoverhaul » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:42 am

....And to wrap things up I will do two posts for the final grouping of pictures.

The devil is always in the details and can be confirmed with pictures. Here is the TWA emblem on the front of the ashtray base. The first shot is as it was found with the paint worn after 80 years of display (and cleaning). The second shot shows the emblem repainted but not quite cleaned off. The third shot show the model with one of my favorite tools, the three-sided finger nail buffer. BTW, some have four sides, they are good as well. I use these to polish all metals, wood and plastic- very effective.

My last post will be about props and other shots.

Regards,
Tom
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby alumtube » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:51 am

Wonderful job.
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby BWBrown » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:58 am

I agree! Nice work, Tom. By the way, I use the same techniques to restore old auto trim pieces and emblems that are in need of repainting. Just flow new paint into the space, let it dry, and then clean off any residue from the surrounding chrome. Works great! -- Bryan
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby sandmanoverhaul » Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:48 am

I happen to have a small cache of cast props that were very similar to the Pastushin design. Mine are cast "pot metal" (probably tin-zinc-aluminum) whereas the originals were cast in brass. That is probably the reason the Pastushin were painted a flat black.

Never to be accused of being a purist, I had no problem replacing the ho-hum Pastushin stock prop with a pair of polished props that would have been like those used when the DC-3 was the queen of the commercial skies. So, that is about it for a basically stock airplane. Sometime when I get the urge I might add flat black painted disks to the front of the engines. I might even make new prop shafts with polished propeller bosses out front. Who knows, the skies the limit...

Regards, Tom
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Re: Pastushin TWA DC-3

Postby chrsn » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:25 pm

Tom,

Just curious: the Pastushin DC-3 prop shafts are basically held in by friction and can be safely pulled straight out with needle-nose pliers?

The reason I ask is that I have come across an American Airlines DC-3 with a broken prop, and I was thinking about possibly replacing it.

Chris
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