Monthly Archives: May 2016

New Fittings for the Sterling 42’ Chris Craft Corvette


Sterling’s 42′ Chris Craft Corvette

While Sterling Models is long gone, several of their model boat kits remain alive and popular in the form of scanned plan sets. One of the favorites is the 42’ Chris Craft Corvette in 1:10 scale, which makes a handsome and impressive 48 inch model.
Sterling offered separate fittings kits alongside the wood boat kits— a box full of white metal parts for trimming out the deck and cabin, and for setting up the drive (props, struts, rudders). These fittings are hard to duplicate even for many scratch builders, so original fittings sets are highly sought after.  And while the fittings were state-of-the-art for 1960, even the best examples look pretty rough by today’s standards. If you find a set, the fittings will have:
– Bare white metal surfaces (polishing and plating is required);
– Rough pitted surfaces, with plenty of flash and parting line mismatches;
– Little or no thought given to securing the fittings to the model;
– Lots of weight—the Corvette B15F fittings set weighs nearly 2 pounds, most of which is placed up high on the model.
Sterling's B15F fittings kit

Sterling’s B15F fittings kit for the 42′ Corvette

So, I’ve put 3D Printing to work to offer improved replacement parts for the 42’ Corvette. I started with an original fittings set in mint condition (as good as that might be), and reproduced each fitting in CAD. Then corrections and improvements were made—for example, adding the correct curvature to the big side vent scoops, making the nav lamps “lightable” (instead of solid chunks of metal), and adding better mounting bosses to most all the fittings. And the parts are significantly lighter, with thin walls and plastic construction.
Then I broke the set up into chunks to help affordability. When you have the right tools and adequate volumes to justify the tooling investment, it’s inexpensive to produce sets of fittings in white metal with centrifugal casting. 3D printing allows us to avoid retooling and to better support low volume orders, but at a price. So with the sub-kits, you can order what you need. If you feel that you’d prefer to build the big mast in wood yourself, or make your own 2-inch life rings, there’s no need to order those parts in expensive 3DP materials. You’re welcome!
Side lamp assembly

Side lamp assembly

Deck and Cabin fittings on sprue

Deck and Cabin fittings on sprue

Hatch grate

Hatch grate

All of the parts are offered in Shapeways’ “Frosted Detail” plastic. This is a UV-cured acrylic that can hold fine details, but which is somewhat brittle and which requires some extra attention… more on this, below. This material can be painted to a pretty good representation of chrome using Alclad II chrome lacquer.
A few of the parts are also offered in Shapeways’ “Strong Flexible” plastic. This material is, well, strong and flexible, but is also gritty and porous, and is harder to paint.
And yet some more parts are also offered in real brass and bronze. These parts use 3D-printed wax patterns, which go into a “lost wax” or “investment casting” process. The parts can be polished and nickel plated yourself, or you can have Shapeways do the polishing (the nickel is still on your nickel).
Where to get these new parts? At my Matthews Model Marine shop at Shapeways:
You’ll see the parts there, and a helpful document which outlines each part and which set it can be found in (look for the READ ME section). There’s also more info on prepping and painting the parts.
Well OK, here’s a link straight to that document:
Let me know what you think, and if there are any other variations you might be interested in.


Filed under Model Ship Building