Archive for February, 2011


Lights, Camera, Almost action…

I got to say I hate Wiggly Eyes! That’s what they give you for light lens. I had to flat sand each one until I could get the backs off. Then clean up the edges. What a pain. They tell you to use a dulling spray on the back side to frost them. I didn’t get the same effect and will and some matt clear on the outside ( by hand and a brush) to help defuse the light more.

Gluing the windows, lens, and the frames was all done using CA. And on the Windows and lens thin CA. Scary and nerve racking work because if it runs onto the clear surfaces you’re screwed (it did! Lucky I had an extra). They said use white glue. Yes perfect but when it hits the water you can forget it. Doesn’t work.

Soldered up all the connectors and connected everything and that works although I think for this kit bigger more diffused LEDs should have been in the kit for the little lens but hopefully diffusing them more will spread them out a bit.

So I’m ready to move on to the wheel house tomorrow. That’s the end of the road on the model build.

Next up is water proof the board and battery. Mount them and add weight and foam for the trim for water running. Lots more still to come.




Today was fun with wiring and soldering a circuit board. Randy’s Voodoo FX lighting kits are great. But they are kits and you have to have the right soldering iron and steady nerves. But as usual you plug everything lights up as advertised.

Tomorrow I have to add a couple of connectors so you can remove the hull, the windows, water proof the board, and with any luck get the wheel house started. All the lights are in. Crock eyes, salon, and wheel house. 20 LEDS in all.

Here are some pictures.



Starting the paint…

Re: Custom Replicas 66 inch Nautilus build-RC

Started the paint job today after adding more parts and making the wheel house removable to add figures, repair and replace lights if ever needed. Magnets did the trick and pins to remove the rake.

What’s left is to go over the boat by hand and add weathering, streaks, bare metal effects and other details but we are safe to go ahead and add the lighting tomorrow and the windows. So far I’m sticking to my daily quota.

Here are some pictures of the paint so far. All acrylics paints were used and the entire paint free hand with an airbrush.

Here are the pins that remove.

Those other parts that were added I over looked.

70 bucks worth of paint and thinner.

Outside in the shade of the late day.

Lighting tomorrow!


Primer on and ready to paint, light, and window…

Most of today spent making her ready for paint. Nothing like a coat of primer to show you where things are flawed. I found a few bubbles in the limber holes. Some seams and joins that needed filling. So thin CA that ran down over the hull I didn’t know I had done. But overall I was really pleased that she’s quite sanitary for a mixed medium garage kit.

So tomorrow let’s slam some paint on this baby and I can start the lights and ad the windows.



More progress on the Nautilus

Made a change to the ram attachment that holds down the hull top. The styrene would have eventually failed IMO. So I nice thick piece of brass did the trick.

Got the insides all primered black. This cleans things up and takes away the eye distractions from the eventual wiring I’ll be doing.

The outside of the hull will get gray primer next.



More on the Nautilus…

Today was spent getting every last single part in all those bags on the boat. All that’s left now is the windows and the wheel house which I can’t do until I primer and paint the hull. Then I can install the lights, windows and detail out the wheel house.

Tomorrow she gets primer and the last pointing up stuff. On Tuesday, paint, Wednesday lighting, and Thursday the wheel house gets detailed. Well that is the plan.

All the grills and PE is on. Everything fit pretty well. Locations were a bit of a mystery but all the pictures I have of the boat helped there. Instructions were a bit vague but not too bad.

Here are some pictures,


This is the removable ram. This all get filled and evened up with finishing glaze tomorrow. It’s rough but functional right now.

Top just lifts off after you remove the ram.

Here’s that flange in the stern that keep the top down.

Not sure how this happened but I suspect the molds for this model are getting worn. This could take a long time to fix, or I paint it up as barnacles and sea life.

I drilled some simple holes to drain water from the hull.

I then added the grills. I did the same thing with the vents top side that are covered by the PE grills. This releases the trapped air under the deck and helps the sub dive.

All the bits on.



Builder of the original TOS Enterprise passes on…

Richard C. Datin Jr., only child of the late
Richard C. and Mary Loson Datin,
formerly of Laguna Hills, CA
passed away on January 24, 2011 in Reno, Nevada.

Richard built the large-scale models of the Starship Enterprise for filming of the original STAR TREK television series.

Richard C. Datin, Jr.
October 10, 1929-January 24, 2011Born in Syracuse NY, on October 10, 1929, during his lifetime he resided at a number of places, including Petersburg, VA, Brooklyn, NY, Hollywood, Malibu, and Lafayette, CA, Reno and Sparks NV.

A 1950 graduate of New York Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences of Brooklyn NY,
where he acquired a degree in Architectural and Structural Technology. Richard pursued a career of engineering and of the arts, culminating in his own long-time business of building architectural and structural scale models for firms in the Los Angeles area. Among his most noteworthy accomplishments were studio models for the original The Star Trek TV series, plus Petticoat Junction and numerous props for TV commercials such as Alka-Seltzer, and Jolly Green Giant during the 60’s. This brought him to be employed by Twentieth-Century Fox for the motion picture Tora, Tora, Tora. Later he found employment at Litton Industries, AMTD Division in Venice CA and Bechtel Power in San Francisco.

His career changed abruptly in the mid-1970’s when he moved to Nevada where he was engaged by the Nevada Historical Society as a researcher, followed by a brief stint at UNR Special Collections.  His love of Nevada history, railroads and research abilities brought him to furnish weekly articles for the Carson City’s Nevada Appeal for a number of years. In 1979 he was selected as the founding curator of the Nevada State Railroad Museum. As an avid collector of old toy trains and vintage post cards, Richard became a dealer at many antique shows up and down the coast.

Following his retirement in 1989, he dedicated most his time researching a number of pet projects including writing and publishing a history of Virginia City’s International Hotel, as well as a pictorial of Reno’s past utilizing his vast collection of historical post cards.
Other projects still on the shelf included a history of the famed Reno Arch, the history of Reno and a comprehensive history of the Carson & Colorado Railroad.

In the meantime he found time to search the Datin Family ancestors who originated in France, and compiled an up to date genealogy history that included Louis XIV and others clear back to 1096, translated the Duke d’Antin’s memoirs, and was able to visit each of the French-born Noel Datin’s (his great-grandfather) early day locales from Kentucky, Missouri, to Illinois. He also initiated several informational websites telling of his past accomplishments and favorite subjects.
He treasured his travels, particularly along the Oregon Coast with his long time companion now surviving wife Margie, as well as occasional train trips to San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and New York City.

Burial will be at Nauvoo, Illinois,  among his many relatives, including great grandparents Joseph Noel and Catherine Sparks Datin.

// //


She’s starting to look like the Nautilus…

Yesterday I finished up the method for opening and closing the hull to access the WTC and battery. Simple. A flange at the stern and in the front I filled up the upper hull bow with epoxy. Put some wax paper in the lower bow and closed it up until the epoxy hardened.

I added a former to the lower bow that extends to the upper. Drilled a hole through it and into the epoxy. I fitted the ram with a brass tube of the same diameter to fit the hole. All you do to open and close is remove the ram. I didn’t get pictures of this but I will. It’s the end of the day for me.

Today I started in on adding the hull parts. The wheel house is still removable at this point. There’s a lot of parts still to go inside it and the floor and PE stuff-lights. But I wanted to get the hull all sorted out and even primer on it tomorrow. Wheel house will be last.

More tomorrow and here are some pretty pictures. She’s a beaut!


She’s a big girl. I just got to have myself one of these!

PE parts fit like gloves. Just excellent.


Honor these men…

B-17 veteran back in air aboard a WWII-era bomber

Feb 15, 3:48 PM (ET)

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) – A day before his final mission aboard a B-17 bomber in World War II, Norbert Swierz sat down on his bunk and jotted down a poem for his mother back in Michigan.
“I go so gladly to my fate, whatever it may be. That I would have you shed no tears for me,” wrote the 23-year-old gunner, who had already survived the ditching of his first B-17 in the North Sea that summer of 1943. “Some men must die, that others must be free. And only God can say whom these shall be.”
The next day, Sept. 6, 1943, “Skeets” Swierz and the rest of the crew of the B-17 nicknamed “Bomb Boogie” took off from their base in England, but didn’t make it back. Shot down and taken prisoner, Swierz would spend the rest of his war days in a POW camp and not fly in another B-17 for close to 70 years.
The opportunity came again last Friday, and Swierz didn’t hesitate. He strapped himself into a restored Flying Fortress and held on as the four droning engines lifted the vintage bomber off a central Florida airstrip into heavy cloud cover.
“Wonderful,” the grinning 90-year-old man kept saying during the 45-minute flight. “Wonderful.”
Strapped into the radio operator’s chair halfway back, Swierz looked around and reeled off the name of the man on his crew who occupied the same seat on his old plane, and the name of the gunner who had squeezed into the ball turret underneath. That’s what he was thinking about most, the other guys.
“They’re all gone now, but I still have the memories,” he said. “They were all kids then, just like myself.”
Swierz’s flight came courtesy of the Collings Foundation, which tours the country with several planes restored to their World War II condition. More than 12,000 B-17s were manufactured for the war effort, and the Massachusetts-based charity owns one of a handful around the world that can still get off the ground. Foundation spokesman Hunter Chaney said it’s important to put the old veterans together with the vintage aircraft while that’s still possible.
“We’re in the last throes of this generation,” he said from Stow, Mass. “It’s an increasing rarity that we’re able to share this with our World War II veterans. It adds a sense of urgency to living history programs like this.”
A top-turret gunner in those days – which means he poked his head up into a plastic bubble above the cockpit and blazed away on twin .50-caliber machine guns – Swierz was one of the lucky ones.
Participation in those daylight, precision bombing raids on industrial targets in Germany and occupied France was dangerous and terrifying duty, dramatically recounted in movies such as “Twelve O’Clock High” and “Memphis Belle.” Two out of three young men – their average age was 20 – who flew on those missions did not survive the war. Swierz recalls returning from one especially bad mission and going to bed in an empty barracks.
“Let me tell you, that was a spooky night,” he said.
Swierz grew up in Chicago and Michigan – his mother lived in Dowagiac – and was 21 when he went to Canada to join the British Civilian Technical Corps, a mercenary outfit for those who wanted to help out the British before the United States was pulled into World War II. After Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and volunteered for B-17 duty.
He flew his first mission on March 18, 1943. His luck held out until June 22 when his plane – nicknamed “Old Ironsides” – was shot up so badly it had to be ditched in the North Sea after a bombing run on a German factory. He was plucked from the sea by a British rescue boat and spent weeks in the hospital recovering from a shrapnel wound to his leg.
His 14th mission – the bombing of a ball-bearing factory in Stuttgart, Germany – would be his last. B-17 crews needed 25 successful missions to rotate home, and most didn’t make it. The crew of the famous “Memphis Belle” – they shared a central England base with Swierz and his mates – was the first to do it in May 1943.
“Somehow or another, the Germans always knew we were coming and where we were going to bomb,” Swierz said. “The German fighters were something else. They were fearless. They would come right down through the middle of our formations, scattering B-17s all over hell.”
The attack on Stuttgart was a fiasco. German fighters and flak batteries battered the planes as they flew around looking for a break in the clouds so they could drop their bombs. Of the 338 B-17s on the mission, 45 were lost. Many ran out of gas.
“Bomb Boogie” was pounded by flak and enemy fighters soon after releasing its bombs, and the 10 young men bailed out over Stuttgart, their parachutes blooming in the gray sky. Swierz was captured immediately and spent the rest of the war in a prison camp in Austria.
Swierz and his fellow prisoners were liberated by Gen. George Patton’s Third Army in May 1945. He made it home and has done a lot of living since then. Wife, kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, a long military career, a long retirement. But his recollections of wartime duty in the B-17 have survived in fairly sharp focus.
Swierz’s oldest son, Greg, said his father didn’t start talking about those war experiences in depth until about 10 years ago. His family finally persuaded him to write down the memories.
“I think it was a pretty horrific adventure, and it was just a part of their lives that they just got through,” said Greg Swierz, a retired commercial pilot. “I think they realize now that they are living history, and we’ve got to get it out of them. They are real heroes.”


All systems green and ready to dive…

Got the water tight cylinder working today and all the electronics installed and test run.
Installed the bulkheads to mount the WTC in the hull. All hooks up completed and the entire system tested. Everything works like a clock.

I could run this in the pool tomorrow if I wanted to but now that the hard part is done, and the boat if fully operational, here comes the next, hard part.

Getting all those PE parts installed and all the details from windows to the wheel house. And the lighting system which comes from my friend Randy at Voodoo effects. But this is the real model building part now that the engineering is done. I’ll post a video soon of the planes and motor-pump working.

Fun, fun, installing the servos, and receiver.

The aft compartment. Geared motor, ESC, RX, servos. And the APC-automatic pitch controller.

Bottom of the aft section showing the motor speed control(ESC).

Forward section. Pump, pump electronics and sensors that detect water in the ballast section.

Forward section under side. All the electronics that control the pump.

Ballast section and baffles. Water is pumped in and out of this compartment.

The bulkheads that support the WTC and lock it in place.

WTC installed.



More tomorrow.


February 2011

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