Chris Craft Colors - RC Groups
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May 25, 2007, 08:21 PM
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P_J_Glor's Avatar

Chris Craft Colors

I just received a Marx 1955 Express Cruiser from ebay, which had been one of my first larger sized model boats. It is in dire need of resoration, which was my plan anyway.

This one had the clockwork motor in it, which doesn't work and will be replaced anyway, but, unlike the electric version that was a kit, this one must have been pre-assembled. The bottom of the hull, as well as the props and rudders were sprayed red. I will be repainting the bottom with the bronze underbody color and red boot top like Chriscrafter's Corvette and Straprats' Catalina seen on this forum.

My question is, what was the color of the rudders? I just reviewed Straprats' Catalina thread and looked at Chriscrafter's Corvette pictures, and they don't provide a view of the rudders or props.

Second, if you are reading this, Chriscrafter, what is the paint brand and color you used for the aqua cabin top on your model. It fits my recollection of the real boats perfectly. I have also seen pictures of white cabin tops, but the aqua really gives it that 50's feeling.


Pete G.
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May 25, 2007, 09:57 PM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
In case C'rafter isn't around, I remember him telling me that the whole model was done with hardware store spray paints (and much hand polishing). I think the aqua was a Rustoleum.

Pat M
May 25, 2007, 10:33 PM
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tim slocum's Avatar
P J Glor, I can tell you what Im using on my Sterling Catalina,Tamiya "coral blue"part #TS-41.In my opinion, this is a close match,but check it out and make your our call.I really love the old CC's,can we see some pictures?
May 25, 2007, 10:40 PM
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Brooks's Avatar
My grandparents had a Chris Craft, and if I remember right, the rudders were bronze, unpainted.
May 26, 2007, 12:48 AM
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Aerominded is one of our resident Chris-Craft color experts.
May 26, 2007, 01:35 AM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
So is D. Anderson. He currently restores them.
May 26, 2007, 01:57 PM
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Which model Express Crusier is this, Pete? I can look the colors up in my book! in 1955, Chris Craft used "Aqua Marine" and on some models, a bright turquiose like green- both colors very "1950's"- These colors look really good with the mahogany cabin tops in my opinion!

Good question about the rudders- I think Brooks is right about that, they may have been left bare... painting them bronze will have you covered! I assume this model is plastic?
May 26, 2007, 02:45 PM
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P_J_Glor's Avatar
It is the 1955 42' Express Cruiser. Same hull as the Sterling Models Corvette. Interestingly, there was only one hull built as a Corvette for the 42' model, but Sterling memorialized it with their 48" model kit.

The Chris Craft essential guide lists the cabin color as "green" and waterline as "black" but the photo on the page is of a boat with a white top and a lighter colored waterline that is probably red. The model cabin top is greener than the aqua of the Corvette, but I think that either the aqua or the white would look better.

I am also going to have to find a good color for the wood cabin parts and deck, as the deck is unpainted with sort of a swirl pattern in the color of the plastic. The hull is unpainted white plastic. It is 18" long -- a little bigger than the Sterling plastic kit of the 42' express cruiser.

I like the idea of painting the rudders to match the hull. I will also paint the hull white, and open up the portholes.

Below is a picture of the boat as sold and received. The white splotches on the bottom are not glare from the flash, they are worn paint, but, as discussed above, I had planned to redo it anyway.

The boat comes in at 1/28 scale, so I should be able to find some passengers at some of the model car parts sites. 1/25 is close enough.

Pete G.
May 27, 2007, 01:57 AM
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Hee hee, sounds like you have the same book I have! the green on the model looks very close but isn't quite bright enough (faded plastic) in my opinion! I know what you mean about the pictures not always being consistant with the descriptions, re color...
May 27, 2007, 05:27 PM
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P_J_Glor's Avatar
Yes, Aerominded, I am sure it is the same book. I almost bought it on ebay. I got caught up in a bidding war and then wondered what it retails for. It was at least $20.00 less at Amazon and, mercifully, I got outbid, so I got it through Amazon.

I found some paint codes on CG Bob's thread for his Catalina. But if you believe the green is close, I recall a similar color on the 1955 and 1956 Ford Fairlanes, so think I can find it as a Boyd color or I can buy the car color through MCW. I still need to get good colors for the wood. I reread Pat Tritle's thread for conversion of the Lindberg PT to a speedboat, but I think the scale of the Express Cruiser is too small to try simulating wood grain. The engine hatch covers are also scribed in the after deck, so I can probably use chrome tape to do the metal edges.

Pete G.
May 27, 2007, 09:12 PM
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The 55 56 Ford colors are very very very close! I've been looking at the Testors/Boyd colors and I think that is the way to go!

When you start work on this project, I / we sure would like to see a thread!
May 29, 2007, 02:57 PM
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E-Challenged's Avatar
I am curious about the duration and performance of the original clockwork power system being an old toy fan. I have an old Erector set spring-wound motor that could power something like that with proper gearing to get prop rpm up but duration would probably be about 30 seconds or less.
May 29, 2007, 03:15 PM
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P_J_Glor's Avatar
I can't say how long the clockwork system would operate, because the motor does not work. There were many tinplate clockwork boats in that era, however that could make a few circles or cross a small pond. There were even a few with a friction motor operated by a handcrank on the deck. I remember a tinplate diving submarine in particular with a friction motor that you would crank up and then it would dive while moving forward and bob back up after the motor slowed and stopped.

Pete G.
Jun 13, 2007, 07:05 PM
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P_J_Glor's Avatar

The "Bible" [Enthusiasts Guide] is Right!

I just came across a 1955 colored ad for Chris Craft boats that once again proves the Chris Craft Enthusiast's Guide [the 'Bible'] is spot on. Although the 42' Express Cruiser is not pictured, there is a 40' express cruiser in the colors listed in the Guide, including the black waterline stripe with bronze lower hull. I had located some Boyd "50's Aqua" for the cabin roof, but the ad color looks a little darker, so I may have do do some color mixing and air brushing to get it right. There are several other boats with the same green cabin tops, so that must have been the "in" color in 1955 before going to the turquoise or white roofs.

I also got a gear puller, so I can remove the prop shafts from the drive gears to slide them out of the stuffing boxes and get the clockwork motor out of the boat without too much mayhem. Appropriately attired passengers [and a few that are probably 'inappropriately attired' for the 50's] are enroute by mail. As for the restoration, I will start with the power train and hull, and I am considering a few options for the cabin and decks. Build thread should start soon.

Pete G.
Jun 18, 2007, 05:53 PM
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P_J_Glor's Avatar

Chris Craft -- The Essential Guide

Speaking of the "Essential Guide," it is currently listed on ebay, but Amazon has it on sale even cheaper at $32.97 for a new one -- normally sells new for $49.95. Check this link:

Got the gears, props and rudders off. Will start a build thread this week.

Pete G.

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