My Sterling Catalina has finally arrived...HELP!! - RC Groups
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Jul 03, 2005, 03:40 PM
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tim slocum's Avatar

My Sterling Catalina has finally arrived...HELP!!

Well my Catalina model I purchased off Ebay arrived yesterday,well, pictures on ebay can be deceiving. I hope I didnt bite off more than I can chew. The most
noticable problem is the hull.The forward part where the individual planks are used is really bad,you can see the individual planks as whatever was used to cover this area was insufficent to do so.Can I just fill with squadron putty and prime and repaint?? This problem is also evident on the cabin roof.Theres also a one inch crack where the transom meets the hull on the starboard side.This should be easy to fix.The fittings are really crap.I'll replace as many as i can find replacements for,Mack makes some nice lights,hopefully in my scale.The mohogany looks pretty good after cleanup,but dull. The original builder didnt use any urethane or other glossy covering.Suggestions please,miniwax polyurethane brushed on OK??Would you guys suggest cleaning the mohohany with murpheys or something first?This old wood scares me,could it crack if I put something wrong on it?Does anyone know which seachlight that mack makes be appropriate for my boat?As for the interior,theres not much there.Since the windows are large and it is very easy to see the interior I would like to do something to the interior,but I dont know exactly what it should look like.The antique motor that is in the boat right now doesnt work,so I'll replace it with a speed 400.THis wont make the boat fast,but thats not what I want anyhow and maybe the runtimes well be longer.A 550 just seems too much for this very light boat.Well any suggestions will be GREATLY APPRECIATED.Thanks again to CG Bob for his suggestions in an earlier post.This is really a great looking yacht to model and when Im done should look nice.If it doesnt drive me to drink first.

Tim from the banks of the Missouri River
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Jul 03, 2005, 04:10 PM
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tim slocum's Avatar

Sorry so many questions,but is there anyone who...

who makes the following for my Catalina

1. Replacement mast,the kit supplied one is really bad especially the base.
2. Stern jackstaff.
3. blinds or shades for the cabin.I could make them if I have to.
4. nice propeller,3 blade?,brass? old one is plastic
5. replacement seats, kit ones look ok but not great.

Jul 03, 2005, 04:27 PM
Useful Idiot
For "4" Raboesch makes a nice range of brass props, although I think they have metric threads.
Don't run a 400 type motor above 6V even with the smallest 30 mm prop. Personally I think you'd be better with a Mabuchi 550 to keep the amps down
Jul 03, 2005, 11:29 PM
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Tim, I'm assuming the worst case here, I wouldn't recommend squadron putty to fill the forward section of your catalina... sounds like it needs a bit of fairing-

the long way: again, assuming worst case, carefully sand the hull- you may not need to go all the way to bare wood but you want to make sure it isn't glossy anymore- after that, skim the whole thing with automotive spot putty- (go really thin here) I like evercoat 2 part spot putty more than the single part Bondo product- if you havn't used this before practice with it so you have a feel for mixing ratios and working times- Fair the hull with a "long board" (sanding block) and a something cylidrical for the forward sections- when you are happy with the shape, prime and paint- same applies for the cabin top- (i can can tell you about the colors used by Chris Craft for the catalina, if you are interested) depending on how much material the original builder left on the boat, you may need to glass it to make it more ridged prior to fairing-

Personally, I prefer varnish instead of urethane because it gives the wood a more golden color- urethane is too clear! murphy's oil may brighten it up but you will have to reapply frequently and it won't provide any "weather proofing"

good luck and please keep us up to date!
Jul 04, 2005, 12:29 AM
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tim slocum's Avatar

Thanks for the info,I'd would be very

interested in what colors they used or any other info you could give me.Where can you get the spot putty you referred to?Is there a one part product that works as good ??Should I fill in the low spots and sand the high spots or just use one thin coat and sand smooth? Thanks

Jul 04, 2005, 01:24 AM
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Tim, the evercoat product can be found at most automotive paint stores and some of the 'better' auto-supply places- the bondo one part stuff works well enough but I find it a little more 'grainy' and crumbly than the evercoat two part- It seems like you have to work harder with bondo- the same issue with the squadron putty has been my experience-

sometimes you can get away with just filling the low spots- it really depends on how bad things are overall- again, I am thinking 'worst case'-

In general though, you do get better results working the entire surface when things are bad-

Chris Craft Catalina info: my source is "Chris Craft, The Essential Guide" by Jerry Conrad, published by the Mariner's Museum in VA (I love this book!)

50' Catalina 1951-1954
Number Built: 107
LOA 49'7"
Beam 12'6"
Draft 36"
Displacement 22,100 - 24,620 #

An interesting note, it looks like it had twin and triple engine options! Triple engines to keep those Ex-PT boat drivers interested perhaps?

Bottom Paint "copper bronze" (I use Dulpicolor Lacquer "GM Camel" for this as a close match, caution paint compatibility, lacquer will react with some enamels)
Boot top: (water line stripe) Blue
Hull Side Color: White
Cabin top color: Blue until 1952, Grey 1952 fwd
Decks: "natural"

Most pictures I've seen show blue fabric for the exterior seat covers-

The picture in this book shows a 1951 model- it appears that the windshield frame on the flying bridge is painted white on the outside and left natural on the inside. it also shows a spot lamp very similar to those sold by M.A.C.K. on the cabin top.

Last edited by Aerominded; Jul 04, 2005 at 03:16 AM.
Jul 04, 2005, 01:37 AM
CG Bob's Avatar
Here's a couple of pictures of Catalinas that I found for sale. One is a 1950 version, the other from 1954. Both seem to have a white cabin top and mahogany windscreen.
Jul 04, 2005, 03:13 AM
Registered User

Fairing, Second thoughts

I just remembered that these sterling kits are all balsa! the automotive spot putties may be too hard to use on plain balsa- in other words, bare balsa will sand much easier than the putty and make fairing a real pain! I can try an experiment with it and let you know how it works- Perhaps someone has an alternative idea to use with balsa like spackle, sealed with epoxy? Do you have any experience with glassing?

Hee hee Bob, those Catalinas would not earn the full 100 points in a concours event!

They do look nice with the white cabin tops though!
Last edited by Aerominded; Jul 04, 2005 at 03:19 AM.
Jul 04, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Tim, as areominded said evercoat is the best choice for fairing , biggest advantage is you can sand in about 15 min. before it fully cures , this makes it easy to work into shape. However as areominded also stated it is much to hard for balsa, You may want to try lightweight balsa filler, sands just like balsa!! Great for filling and fairing, but you have to allow for drying time. You can get this filler at any L.H.S. that sells aircraft in balsa,tower stocks it also I belive. please keep us posted!.....
Jul 04, 2005, 10:58 AM
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Aero or CGBob, saw this color scheme and love it, has this ever been correct for a connie? I love the lines of this boat in this color!
Jul 04, 2005, 12:37 PM
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tim slocum's Avatar

Color scheme

I've seen this color scheme on a connie for sale about a year ago.It's probably a correct scheme.As to my model is the entire cabin roof suppossed to be blue or just the area forward of the windshield?? On my model the area behind the windshield is a light blue,is this correct??Also where can I get new Chris Craft decals for the cabin sides,I have one missing.Thanks for the responses and keep me posted as to how your Catalinas are comming along,pictures please.

Jul 04, 2005, 03:01 PM
Registered User
Tim, the area ahead of the windshield, the flying bridge deck and the 'roof line' along the outside of the flying bridge should be the same color from what I can tell. Often, on ebay, color ads for C-C's come up for auction you can check them for reference on what shade of blue (if that is the color you go with) is correct- it is kind of a 'blue grey'. I few years ago, I used a Testor's Model Master paint that turned out to be a close match- I'll see if I can get the name of it.

the black hulled Connie is very nice looking! Black paint against the bright mahogany is stunning! My book doesn't say anything about it but there were several other C-C cruisers in the mid 50's that were clearly available in black- the Corsair, 36' Corvette and Commander. great chance the Connie was too!
Jul 04, 2005, 06:14 PM
Registered User
Tim, I'm following your Catalina thread carefully; I also have one of eBay origin. Got lucky on the hull. Someone did a professional-looking job of shaping the hull - absolutely beautiful flowing lines. The cabin is another story, though. But I have purchased a Sterling 32-foot cabin cruiser that sounds like your Catalina; the front of the hull has a corrugated look on both sides that needs to be sanded and faired, as Aerominded is recommending. Haven't gotten to it yet; I'm working with the mahogany in the cabin and at the stern right now.
You may find, as I have, that the mahogany ply tends to become delaminated over time. Might want to consider sealing the edges of all your mahogany pieces, to at least slow down the process. Have a look at what Harry Lauer, among others, has been able to do with the mahogany in his magnificent Dumas Commander, in the C-C thread. There is real potential in these old Sterling models, too, it just takes patience to bring it out, given the often indifferent quality of the wood supplied.
Best of luck, please keep us posted.
Last edited by jeepers1940; Jul 05, 2005 at 12:31 AM. Reason: Clarity
Jul 05, 2005, 12:51 PM
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zach54880's Avatar
Originally Posted by viking57
Aero or CGBob, saw this color scheme and love it, has this ever been correct for a connie? I love the lines of this boat in this color!
I got that same model off Ebay not too long ago, with the same paint scheme. At first, I was horrified at the could someone paint a CC like that?? But, my research shows that CC did offer that color hull in the 50s, dunno how many years they offered it, however.

The books I used are:

Chris-Craft of the 1950s, by Jack Savage, and Chris-Craft Boats, by Anthony Mollica Jr. and Jack Savage.

As an aside, it may sound like sacrelige, but I think it'd be cool if someone offered an ABS kit of a couple CC cruisers, maybe even a RTF model

As much as I wish I had the ability to build one of the Dumas kits, I don't. I truly envy those of you guys who crank out GORGEOUS boats with what looks like little or no effort.

Free time, skills, and lack of a decent workshop make ABS boats the way to go for me, and probably a lot of other people. Robbe makes some nice cruiser models, but, (1), they're not CCs, and (2), I can't seem to find a US distributor that carries the entire line.

Apologies for post length.
Jul 05, 2005, 01:31 PM
Registered User
Ach! A plastic C-C??? RTF???

Actually, the old plastic Lindberg and Marx C-C's look pretty good to me! I wonder if Lindberg will ever re-issue those?

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