Aerokits Crash Tender

An enquiry from London asked about the restoration of this rather forlorn RAF Fireboat





The basic structure looked okay, but it had definitely suffered the ravages of time!



An internet search soon revealed the models origins.











Upon receipt of the model, removal of the debris & a closer look revealed a number of issues to be dealt with.  It had been well used in its time & then stored in less than ideal conditions for some years.


The deck planking seemed to have suffered the worst as it almost fell apart as it was touched!  Before stripping, measuring the various decals was required.













A closer look at the hull as it was rubbed down revealed many more structural issues that had been anticipated.  Some of the ply had come away & there was this horrible staining that had caused the original paint to bubble & go soft.  Nothing for it, but to strip the hull entirely & have a proper look.





The source of the staining was traced to the spillage of fuel for the O/S Marine motor.  Over the years this had impregnated the plywood.


Before any work could be done it had to be left for a fortnight to let the residue hopefully dry out.  Attention moved the the O/S Motor.









This was seized & missing the ‘Glo Plug’.  Copious amounts of Methylated spirit eventually remove the gummy remains of the Castor Oil and the motor turned over freely enough, UNTIL…..  the meths had evaporated & then it seized again.

The throttle I just could not safely dismantle.  As the model was to be a cosmetic restoration I decided to leave it.  A good clean & a coat of clear varnish the motor looked a treat & was replaced in the hull.  I appreciate that at the time the model was built it was designed for this motor, but it must have been very difficult to control on the water.  No possibility of going astern & if you stopped the motor on the water, impossible to restart.  I guess it required catching when it came into the side & that probably explains a lot about the damage.  We are very fortunate these days with the electronics that are available.









The repainting & reconstruction phase begins!  To ensure the Castor Oil did not penetrate the new paint job, the hull was primed with Zinssa Bin Primer / Sealer & the top coats were all ICI Dulux.  The decals came from Cornwall Model Boats.







Next came the reconstruction of the engine room & centre cabin roofs.  The fire hydrant needed major repair as the arms had been broken off.  I decided to replace the twin bladed prop with a three bladed one.  Just a personal quirk of mine, I thought it looked better.  It came in red moulded plastic by the way.


Next came the reconstruction of the searchlight.  Fortunately the lense & bulb housing were intact, but the gimbal stand was kaput!  reconstructed in brass.







Rewiring of the electronics & the plumbing in of the added working fire hydrants completed the work.

To see the completed model, click here!