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Restoration of XSL-01 by Revell


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Here we go. I started this restoration project on Dec 19, 2010. As progress is made I'll be sure to share images.

 

You may recognize the box art as one of the old classic Revell kits.

XSL01RevellH1800.jpg

 

I aqcuired the model in a built up condition in a recent garage/estate sale. The model was left mostly unpainted with the notable exception of the black panels on the boosters. The decals were, of course, total write-offs after so many years. The first step in a restoration project like this one is total disassembly and thorough cleaning of the parts. One wants to return the parts to the same condition, or as near as one can get, as when the box was first opened by the original owner. No paint, no glue marks, no decals, and no parts left assembled.

 

The first step was to disassemble the boosters. The following two pics show that process.

MainRocketBoosterPriortoDisassembly.jpg

 

MainRocketBoosterBeingDisassembled.jpg

 

A small metal hobby saw (the metal blade inserted into the seam) was used to cut the booster halves apart.

And the last pic in this series shows the booster parts disassembled.

 

MainRocketBoostersDisassebmled.jpg

 

At the base of the boosters one can see the orange nozzle support brackets and control rods. More about those later.

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Hi, Dick,

 

Of all the Revell space models I shoulda, coulda, and oughta bought back in the day when they were available, I missed this one. I'm expecting another of your first-class restorations. In my experience, the old glue joints come apart fairly easily just by slipping the tip of a #11 blade into the joint and gently easing the blade further in and along the seam. The old cement even chips and peels off the parts without much marring of the plastic surface. But I am referring to the old tube glue we only had available to use. I get real nervous about taking a saw blade o an old kit.

 

Ed

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Yep. Sawing is a permanent operation. I bought a set of razor saws some years ago and use them for such purposes. The line these things cut is s.m.a.l.l., very small. And the saw was employed to cut through the locating pins while an Xacto blade was used to snap the rest of the glue loose.

 

Next step is to replace the buikheads that "cap" the rocket nozzle ends of the boosters. I'll need to cut them to the exact inner diameter of the booster but that will not be too difficult.......just time consuming. But then every minute spent on this project is pure joy!

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Has this ever been rereleased in its original form (excluding the Moon Ship and Space Pursuit sets) - do the original molds even exist at this point?

 

 

I do not know the answer to your question but the data that I have found indicates it would be a "negative". The Manned portion of the XSL-01, that being the delta winged portion of the spacecraft was released as a separate kit and was named "Moon Ship". The kit # is H-1825. The copy I have is molded in red plastic while in the XSL-01 box it is molded in silver plastic. The decals also differ slightly from one box to the other. As for the original molds, I wonder about that myself. I would think that if they did exist, given the huge interest in these kits over a very long time by kit collectors, that the owner of the molds would cash in by issued a re-release. But that is just an opinion not supported by any facts.

 

MoonShipRevellH1825.jpg

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Today's effort centered around the manufacture of the Thrust Plates for each of the four boosters. The engine nozzles are mounted on an "X" bracket, which in turn is mounted on a thrust plate that fits just inside the booster tube near the bottom.

 

ThrustPlateTestFitted.jpg

The original thruster plates, unfortunately were damaged beyond repair in the process of removing them from the boosters and in removing the nozzle brackets. The replacement process began with cutting replacements for the plates from sheet plastic. Each disk, of which there are four, two larger and two smaller, were cut and test fitted into the part location grooves which one can see in the above image. Those grooves had to be cleaned out. The original builder of this model used a ton of glue to fix the plates in place. Clean up wasn't that difficult but had to be done with a steady and sure hand. A cutting wheel in a Dremel was used to remove the debris and glue that remained in the groove, and the main concern was that with a slip of the hand the cutting wheel would penetrate the outer surface of the booster. No worries, all went well.

Each plate was then test fitted in the boosters with the booster halves held tightly together.

 

ThrustPlateInPlace.jpg

 

The next step was to cut and glue some brackets on the plates that would hold the nozzle bracket in place. such brackets appeared on the orignal parts.

 

TestFittingNozzleBracketsonThrustPlate.jpg

 

Two of the newly manufactured thruster plates show the orange nozzle brackets resting in place on top of the tube brackets, which can be seen on the top two plates with the nozzle brackets hiding them from view.

 

The last step for the day was to paint the thruster plates and that area of the interior of the boosters that will be visible once the stack has been reassembled. Once the paint has dried the orange nozzle brackets will be glued in place and then await installation into the booster halves. But that's a task for tomorrow.

 

ThrustPlatesFinished.jpg

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The 1st stage and 2nd stage boosters have been reassembled, along with the thrust plates being glued into place. Today was just taking care of the seams where the booster halves joined up. Basic grunt work but its still very enjoyable to be working on such an old and classic model kit.

 

I hope you have a project on the bench that is as fun as this one!

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Couldn't sleep last night so about 3:30am I stopped fighting it and went to the workbench. Earlier, on Saturday, I saw a new approach to applying body putty at a meeting of a local Figure club and decided to give it a shot. One dips an applicator (the brush in the glue bottle works) into liquid glue and then dabs it into the body putty as it is squeezed from the tube. The idea is to get a mixture that spreads like thin syrup. Just paint on the mix over the seams, even filling small holes, and let it dry. The image was taken after the wet sanding residue was scrubbed away with water and a tooth brush. Works great! Finished up about 4:30a.m. and happy after having worked on the model I jumped back in bed and was asleep in minutes. This restoration project is so much fun!

 

1st2ndStageBoostersCleaned.jpg

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Those boosters that you see in the image in the previous post in this thread have been the focus of much of my modeling attention for the past week. It is very time consuming to hide the seams when one is working with parts that will from a cylinder and in the case of the XSL-01, there are four of these booster cylinders. I used 3M Acryl Blue thinned with liquid cement and applied the putty with a paint bush.....learned that technique from Bob B of Lone Star Military Miniatures, and it works like a charm.

The putty went through several iterations of sanding/reapplication until the seams disappeared. The affected areas were then wet sanded to a high glossy shine starting with the 400 grit that I usually use for the rough work down to 6,000 grit. At 6,000 grit the end result is a clean, smooth, and very shiny surface.

 

The boosters went in the spray booth and were "primed" with Tamiya TS-14 black. I use this paint a a primer for Alclad as well as for anything that needs to be gloss black. The boosters are black and "aluminum" on the box art so the TS-14 acts as a primer for the upcoming Alclad Aluminum as well as the "final" paint for those portions of the boosters that are black. One of the main boosters is not shown in this image.

 

 

BoostersprimedwithBlack.jpg

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Some major progress has taken place on the XSL-01 in the last 48 hours. The boosters were made ready for an Alclad paint scheme by being "primed" with Tamiya TS-14 Black. After allowing that paint to dry for a few hours the boosters were taped off using blue painter's tape and the exposed panels were shot with Alclad aluminum. Today the first significant engineering challenge arose. The exhaust nozzles on the original kit had a ball pivot upon which the nozzles could gimbal. Those ball pivots either were damaged in the installation by the original model builder back in the 70s, were were damage beyond recovery in the intervening years.

Today's assignment was to "engineer" a new pivot so that the nozzles could be restored to a condition in which they would "gimbal". My initial thought was to use some of the smaller nuts and bolts that I use in my model HO railroading work. As I was digging through a parts cabinet I happened to open a tray full of little brush applicators, the silver "toothpick" looking device with the small "cotton fluff" on the end. I was struck by two of the characteristics of these applicators that were readily apparent. The first was that the diameter of these applicators was a very close match to the diameter of the original opening in the nozzle which accepted the ball pivot. The second thing I noticed was the the applicator had a small area on it, smaller in diameter than the remainder of the applicator that might just snap into the opening in the orange nozzle frame. A test fit indicated that the fit was perfect. What luck!.

 

The image below shows the components that were required. An applicator was to length, and that portion of the "stick" was inserted into the nozzle with a pair of needle nose pliers. Inspecting the orange "frame" one can see the slot into which that part of the applicator would be snapped. One can also see the section of the applicator at which the diameter gets smaller. That is the point which "snapped" into the orange frame.

Gmbalcomponents.jpg

 

 

The image below shows the applicator in place. The subassembly is now ready for insertion into the base of the booster.

DesigningaGimbal-2.jpg

 

The orange frame must be glued to the thrust plate and the "X" of bracing inside the booster. The image below shows the orange frame being test fitted with the nozzle removed for clarity.

ExhaustNozzleMountingFrame.jpg

 

The orange frame was glued to the "X" bracing on the thrust plate and one can see that the nozzle is "gimbaled" to about the 3:30 position. It works! Not that anyone will ever see the new and fully functional gimbals, but I'll know they are there and that they work as was intended by Revell when they designed this wonderful model.

 

GimbalFinished.jpg

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A major milestone in the restoration project has been reached. The two 1st stage and two 2nd stage boosters are now ready to be assembled into their "full stack" launch configuration. Its a bit tough to see in the images but attached to the smaller booster tubes are two crossbraces which serve as the mounting points for all four boosters. The attachment points are very tiny and delicate and the "physics" of the manner in which the parts fit is such that the stack will need to rest on the launch pad in order for the parts to remain attached as the glue dries.

In short, each booster will need to be added, one at a time, and then allowed to remain in place on the launch pad until all four boosters are firmly attached to one another.

 

Its very satisfying to get to this point of the restoration and to see the vehicle coming together but great caution is the order of the day. A small slip now will damage the paint job.

 

Here are some pics of the boosters being dry-fitted into place.

 

StackonLaunchPad-1.jpg

 

The booster is resting on the pad without and assistance in the way of bracing or glue.

 

Below, one can see that 3 of the 4 boosters are in place. One can see the "X" cross brace near the upper end of the boosters that serves as the attachment point upon which all 4 boosters hang. There is another "X" cross brace at the lower end but it is attached to the 4th booster not shown in this image.

StackonLaunchPad-2.jpg

 

Below, all 4 boosters are now in place. Dry fitting the parts allowed me to confirm the order in which the boosters should be assembled and that the fit was sufficient to allow for proper alignment. One can also see that the support arms on the launch pad have been "closed" on the two 1st stage boosters. The arms do not really aide in the alignment process and do not provide sufficient support to actually use them for that purpose.

 

StackonLaunchPad-3.jpg

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Hi Dick,

It's great to follow your restoration. The model looks really good. I had one when they came out, and pretty much forgot about it over the years, but several years ago started trying to find out about it - I couldn't remember much at the time, but tracked it down via the internet. I would love to have one again (along with the space station) but the prices now are so out of sight as to be virtually impossible.

 

My recollection is, the Stage 1 boosters were not actually intended to be glued to the cross pieces - they were a press-fit, so the boosters could be seperated away as their fuel was expended. Then the Stage 2 boosters would be dropped behind, leaving the conical fuel tanks attached to the passenger ship, along with the solar generator section which attached over the tail. those parts would then be removed after lift-off from the moon but prior to reentry.

 

Ninfinger I believe has the "Mission" booklet scanned in, along with the instruction sheet and decals. Duplicate decal sheets are available and can be purchased on line.

 

Great model. In my memory, the support arms actually fit pretty well with the booster sections, so I am not sure why yours does not. Not that it matters - it looks great.

 

jon

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I did not know that the decals were available on line. I'll have to check into that. The originals I used to get a "scanned" master were in bad shape and the quality of the scan is so poor I've been looking at other options. Now I've got one!. I've seen the Ninfinger site and I might even grab the image he has of the decals and try to print that out.

 

I, unfortunately, cannot "snap" the boosters together as was the orignal design. When I acquired the kit they were glued together and the locating slots/biscuits were damaged beyond repair. I am, therefore, gluing the stack together. The orange support arm can be adjusted to fit the curvature of the booster but I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. It should not be very difficult. The support arms don't have sufficient "spring" at their hinge points to actually provide any real support to the stack but they can, and will, be adjusted to at least give the appearance of serving their proper function.

 

I just spent 2 1/2 hours in the DMV this morning and am now ready to sit down at the workbench and have some fun on this project.....what a joy to have the experience of working on such a classic kit!

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Not yet displayed in this thread..... the launch pad needed some work.

LaunchPadDisassembled.jpg

One of the support arms (the arm which is not attached to the pad in the image above) needed to have its "hinge" mechanism replaced. Also requiring some attention were mold marks which appeared at various locations on the orange "I" beans and on the underside of the catwalks.

 

The repair on the support arm came first. The damaged hinge point was removed and a new piece was cut to fit from some Evergreen plastic strip. A hole was drilled through the new section and a length of metal rod was inserted. The rod formed to new hinge point.

Holeforpivotarmdrilledintoreplacementsection.jpg

 

Those mold marks I mentioned were removed and the launch pad was reassembled. Scan up to some previous posts to see the newly repaired launch pad serving as a base for the boosters. And by the way, that support arm was repositioned just a few minutes ago (mentioned in previous post) and it now rests against the booster was designed.

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Hi Dick,

Did not mean to imply that the support arms actually gave the model any support - they didn't. But they looked good. Unless you were planning on playing with the model, having the boosters glued shouldn't matter. I can hardly wait to watch your progress on the lander...

 

BTW, If you are not able to locate the scans, I will be happy to copy you mine.

 

jon

 

 

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It has been a few days since the last update and the work being done right now is rather unglamorous. Lots of fine sanding is being done on the base rings of the cones that fit atop the boosters. When those parts were being “unattached” some small pieces of the adapter rings at the base of three cones was damaged. During the original “build” these parts were apparently glued into position with a few drops of glue here and there along the adapter rings. Some of the adapter ring wall broke away leaving small crescent shaped holes along the bottom edges of the cones. The walls forming the adapter rings are being built back up by multiple applications of putty which is then thinned to the same thickness as the remaining portion of the adapter ring. It’s a slow process but one that is necessary to repair the breaks in the adapter rings.

 

Slow and steady progress is being made, and as I have found with previous restorations of some classic kits, every minute spent on the project is enjoyable and great fun.

 

.

 

 

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Jon,

May I take you up on that offer of "borrowing" your scans?.

And there will not be any handling or playing with the finished restoration. I plan on making a display case for it that will preclude anyone from "launch" or "stage separation" once the model is done. I intend on leaving the "moon ship" portion of the stack loose so that it could be separated from the booster stack, but it will not be separated once it is installed. I do not wish risking any scratches in the Alclad that will be used for the "moon ship".

[quote name='racc00n' timestamp='1295670673' post='43921']

Hi Dick,

Did not mean to imply that the support arms actually gave the model any support - they didn't. But they looked good. Unless you were planning on playing with the model, having the boosters glued shouldn't matter. I can hardly wait to watch your progress on the lander...

 

BTW, If you are not able to locate the scans, I will be happy to copy you mine.

 

jon

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

After abot two weeks going by without any serious progress on this project, today saw a step forward. Some sink marks and rough areas on the surfaces of the aerodynamic cones and "Moon Ship" were removed and I shot the parts with TS-14 Tamiya Black. That is the base coat I use to prep the model for Alclad. No pics since there's not much to see except black parts but it feels great to make some progress on this restoration.

 

Looking forward, I'll have to scratchbuild the pointy end of the Moon Ship. The nose cone is a sharply tapered, small diameter cone and that part is missing. I doubt that I can find a replacement in the spares box and it looks more and more like I'll need to cast it. Who knows? I might find a pen that has the proper taper and can use the "tip".

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It's been too long since I was last able to do anything on the XSL-01. My spray booth is in the garage and we've had an unusually long period of cold weather, too cold to be in the garage. Anyway, today we are back to normal with temps shaking hands with 70 degrees.

 

When I last took images of the project it looked like this:

StackonLaunchPad-3.jpg

 

This morning I shot Alclad Chrome on the Moon ship and the aerodynamic cones that fit atop the boosters. The stack now looks like this:

The nearest cone is "open" and will be displayed in that position. The two hinged doors are not yet snapped into place.

AerodynamicConesMountedonTanks1.jpg

In the next few hours I hope to get the Moon Ship assembled so that it can be dryfitted into place.

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Hi, Dick,

 

When you get to mounting the final stage, please stand a ruler next to the completed stack so we have an idea of it's height. I'm guessing this will require some high space in your display cabinet. The boosters look great so far, and I'm looking forward to how you will finish the top stage. I also enjoy redoing an oldie occasionally, having at least four in various states of progress at the moment.

 

Ed

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The stack will be about a foot plus change. I've got the Moon Ship installed (dry fit) and so far everything looks good but I need to jiggle it around a bit to get the adaptor rings on the cones and boosters to line up.better than they are now. Today I installed the interior in the Moon Ship. It was one of the first things I painted and decaled some weeks ago.

The biggie today was to replace the "glass" in the viewports. Six are simply holes, about 1/8" in diameter and I easily filled them with Krystal Klear. They are almost clear now, after about six hours. The hard window was a rectangular window which was about a 1/4" long and a bit wider than the portholes. I was able to get the Krystal Kleer in and covering the hole without any real issue. One has to work a bigger opening a bit differently. Anyway, no time for pics tonight but I'll have some very soon.

 

 

 

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The Moon Ship is dry-fitted onto the boosters and the aerodynamic fairings (cones) are not attached to either the Moon Ship or to the boosters. The interior piece has been reinserted into the "fuselage" and you can see the home made decals. The Krystal Kleer has dried and the windows look good.InteriorofMoonShip.jpg

 

The model will stand just over 12"....that is a standard 12 inch ruler next to the model.

FullStackwoNoseCone.jpg

 

Since the original nose cone was missing I will need to scratch one...I'll try the spares bin first and then move on to casting material if nothing suitable is found. The end of this project is now in sight with the major issue of decals yet to be faced. I've got a good copy of the decals (provided by a reader on the forum) but I'm out of printer material and will need to make that purchase before moving on.

 

No rush...every minute on the project is fun!

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A giant leap forward today!!! After a required absence from the workbench due to the local annual model contest I was able to get back to this project. The nose cone was missing and as this project grew from the launch pad upward I continued to try and find a way to create a replacement part. I didn't want to purchase the casting materials for just one piece so I began looking through my spares piles to find something with the proper contour. Success!

Hasegawa makes a 1/48 scale Weapons Set and the AGM-12C Bullpup has a contour that has the proper height, base diameter, and slope. I cut the Bullpup to length, chucked the part in a drill press and reworked the profile of the part until the slope was improved sufficiently to fill the bill. All in all the whole process took less than ten minutes.

 

In the image below the orange nose cone is an original kit part and the gray nose cone is the business end of the Bullpup after having been sanded down a bit. Once the nose cone has been painted and attached only two items remain. The figures need to be painted and installed in the cockpit and the decals need to be printed and applied. We're getting close to launch!

 

MVC-194S.jpg

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