My '44 Flying Control Dodge

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

October 11th - More Stencils and Markings

I took some measurements of the rear panels yesterday to estimate some sizes for the stencils, based on some wartime airfield Dodge pictures. I printed the samples and took them to the Dodge for a test fit. All seemed well, with them all fitting around the reflector depressions and roof canvas rope hooks.

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The print outs were then tacked to thin card and the stencils cut out. Back out to the Dodge and it was moved forwards in the garage about 18 inches, so I could work behind it with the door shut, as it's getting really cold now. The bumperettes were then given a few coats of white for their blackout markings. The stencils were taped in place and the painting began. Three thin coats applied with a piece of sponge foam was enough to give a reasonable coverage. The drying time was shortened due to the thin coats and a fan heater to speed up the drying between each coat. It wasn't long before I was able to peel off the stencils.

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Steve Carr

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

I then came back indoors to make a paper template for the hood star. Back out again to mask it up for painting. I didn't have any card big enough for a star stencil and the central hinge and proximity of the screen rests resulted in masking being the easiest option. It was brush painted like the truck itself and while wet, I went over with a small glossing roller to take out the brush marks.

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With the hood star drying, I went back to the rear of the truck and attached the unit marking stencils to the bumperettes. They were then painted olive drab with the sponge method. The tailgate was hooked back on for another rear end shot looking pretty much complete. It looks quite busy with stencils, but the pioneer tool rack will hide everything on the tailgate and that's how my reference pictures looked.

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Around the front of the truck again and the white had cured enough to remove the masking tape. That's all the markings complete, but for the name on the screen.

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Steve Carr

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

October 12th - Windscreen & Roof Bow

I spent quite a bit of the day cleaning rubber but started off reassembling both the mirror arms now the paint was dry. Both of the rubber screen seals, the one on the main frame and the opening section, had been overpainted in olive drab followed by black and white from its flying control days. Both rubbers were quite stiff as a result, which probably didn't help them to do their job as intended. The inner screen seal was sanded with 240 grit wet and dry paper over the sink, gradually breaking through the paint until I reached the rubber. I've been told in the past that brake fluid was good at removing paint, but it didn't seem at all interested in the white emulsion on the rubber!

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It took a while, but as can be seen from the second picture, it came up very well.

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Looking for a faster method for the main frame seal, I ended up scrubbing it with fine wire wool, lubricated with cellulose thinners. The thinners helpded to soften the paint while the wire wool scraped it clean. That also cleaned up well.
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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

Once clean and dry, I refitted the inner screen rubber to the frame and then used the left over mastic, squirted into a small syringe, to pump it into the gaps around the seal and frame. Hopefully this will keep the water out. Because the rust has already started to force sections of the inner screen apart, just fitting a new glass seal was never going to be a solution to keeping the water out. Masking tape was used to keep the seal still to stop it twisting to one side or the other while the mastic dries.

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I then used a scalpel to cut out much of the original rubber glass seal, long since hardened and gone brittle. This left a small 'V' gap between the frame and glass where I added more mastic to stop rain water getting into the frame next to the glass. All the edges are done but for the bottom.

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I'm waiting for the current mastic to cure before I turn the screen the correct way up. With the mastic sealing the bottom where the rubber seal is, I should be able to pour some epoxy and possibly some milled fibreglass fibres into the rotten area of the frame to reinforce it and keep water and oxygen away from the already badly rusted internal structure of the frame. It should give the frame a few more years of life without complicated welding repairs.
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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

I also started painting the roof bow and wooden frame behind the cab. There were a couple of areas that needed some filling where other wooden parts had been removed. That was going to take a while to dry, so I left that to set and painted a first coat on everything else. I can catch up on the patches with a quick sand and early coat of paint in the morning, then probably the whole thing again later in the day.

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

October 13th/14th - Windscreen & Roof Bow

The bow frame was painted olive again on the 13th and set aside to dry. I then turned my attention to putting the screen back together. Like the Jeep screen, the design of the Dodge is the same, with the inner frame opening to 90 degrees to slide in or out of the outer frame. Two interlocking curved pieces of metal form the hinge. When everything is new, that's how it's meant to work and sometimes it's a bit tight. The Dodge was at the other extreme. The screen slipped into place very easily and I'd greased the joint to be sure, but I'd just got it into place and it fell out!

I think the two curved interlocking pieces of metal that form the hinge, have been over extended at some point in the past and have opened up a little. This was allowing the inner frame to drop out of the hinge slot. I'd get one end in and the other would drop out before I had time to close the inner screen so the hinge closed up more. Eventually with lots of huffing and puffing and some blocks of wood to support the frame and stop it dropping while I fought with the opposite end, I got it together and closed. I was able to stand the frame up the correct way to allow gravity to fill the rotten part of the frame with epoxy resin and milled fibreglass fibres and finally, mastic to seal the remaining glass joint.

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With the frames together again, it gave me the space available to work out the stencil size for the name to be painted back on. All the little canvas fasteners were soaked in cellulose thinners which brought all the old paint off and they were then repainted and left to dry in my curing cabinet ( basically an insulated cupboard with a halogen bulb ). A stencil was cut for the name, in the same font as before, but in bold rather than standard. With all the checkers on the old Dodge, the name was lost a bit in the glare of the contrasting black and white. Now in white on an overall olive truck, it is probably more noticeable.

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Steve Carr

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

I'd noticed that the ply on the cab bow was delaminating in places. So on the 14th, the frame was inverted and a ton of PVA glue run into all the laminations before clamping it to dry. It was only cheap shuttering ply, rescued from a skip in 2008, so it's done quite well. Once fairly dry, a few short screws were added to keep the laminations secure, so the clamps could be removed and the wood painted again. This was the third coat of olive drab, as the previous checkers were still visible at two coats. It darkens a little as it dries, so I'll see how it looks once fully dry.

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Re-assembling the screen accessories was next, the canvas studs, the vacuum wipers etc. The splines on the wipers were almost non-existant, so a little epoxy was added to help secure them. From the looks of them, they'd been glued before. All the canvas screws vacuum hose screws and wiper motor bolts were then touched up with olive. The rear view mirror had just been held in place by a bent strip of metal, clamping the mirror arm against the screen.

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It's been like that since I got the truck, but I welded up a new bracket which would clamp the mirror more securely and bolt into the same holes in the screen. The tailgate was bolted back onto the truck next, with plenty of grease in the hinge points. I was going to fit the reflectors while out there until I realised they looked a bit scruffy and the machine screws needed cleaning up.

The screws and reflectors were brought into the workshop, cleaned, sanded and some red primer added to bare metal areas, ready for olive later tonight. While out in the garage, I also picked up the pioneer rack and brought that back in to clean up and re-paint. As it stands now, it would look a little out of place on the freshly painted truck. The same probably goes for the jerry can holder.

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Steve Carr

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

October 15th/16th - Reassembly

After painting the pioneer rack morning on the morning of the 15th, the wind screen was refitted back on the Dodge. I got my first look out of the screen, over the now olive drab hood, at the big star. It's strange after seeing the checkers for so long.

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The four reflectors were fitted too and the bench seat chains, which had been removed for the Flying Control truck, were refitted. The rear left locker has a snapped hinge. For a while, I tried to free the rusted bolts to get the hinge off to weld, but the machine screws are rusted solid. I do have a plan to free them.

The tatty canvas covers from the bench seat chains, were moved to the tailgate chains, to protect the paint work. The fabric is rather brittle having suffered from ultra-violet light. I have some spare thin olive drab canvas material, so Lynne has said she can sew some new covers. For now, the tatty covers will do to protect the paintwork. Amongst all of this, I've been cleaning up more nuts and bolts and painting them so the various parts can be refitted. I modified around twenty small coach bolts to fill in the aerial mount and other holes in the rear panels to keep the rain out.

The last job today was refitting the grille and head lamp guards, which was going well until I dropped on nut and it vanished. When it fell, I heard a clunk like it hit some wood. I searched the floor for ages before finally finding it wedged in the chassis rail where the front bumper mount bolts are. No idea how it managed to bounce to there! Eventually all twelve bolts were tightened up and the grille was done. Just the fenders to bolt up and the headlights to put back together, then the front end is complete. Once everything is back on, I'll touch up the paint on the bolt heads.

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The Jerrycan bracket and door hinges were brought indoors to the workshop, after a bit of a tidy up in the garage. The bracket was sanded and a first coat of olive drab applied. It won't be long before the Dodge is ready to go and I've already got an event to attend in November for Remembrance Sunday. That will make two events with the Dodge in the same season, but in a completely different scheme!
Steve Carr

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Roset Trailer -- B-17G Fortress BO-1 #42-31035
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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

First thing on the 16th, I fitted the pioneer tool rack to the back of the Dodge. The back no longer looks overwhelmed by stencilling. I'll leave it a few more days to harden before I fasten the tools back on. We then needed to call in on the old house ( which is still waiting for the sale to complete ) so I didn't get back to the Dodge until after lunch.

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Once back, I bolted the fenders back onto the truck and then turned my attention to the lights. The mounting bolts are also the earth connection, but both parts were rusted. They were wire brushed clean and then tinned with solder for a more corrosion resistant contact surface.

The headlights were then reassembled and after refitting the rear indicator, the truck was run and the lights checked. The indicators only work when the engine is running.

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

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Twenty small coach bolts were fitted into the rear panels to fill the aerial mount holes and other holes of unknown origin. A little mastic was added around the base of each head to give a better waterproof seal. The white on the 'D' of speed was touched in with a brush afterwards.

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After that, I removed the rear right locker lid. This was a roll up lid that I made when I had the meteorological instrument panel fitted over the locker and the normal lid wouldn't open.

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I no longer needed the roll up lid, so refitted the original lid that I kept after removing it eleven years ago. There's still a few little jobs to do, but the Dodge is very close to being finished now.

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

October 17th - Test Drive in the New Colour Scheme

Yesterday, morning I fitted the jerrycan bracket first thing in the morning. The weather looked ok until after lunch and as the Dodge was now complete enough, we decided to go for a first drive in the new scheme and get some photos. There's still some odds and ends to finish off, but nothing that would stop a trip out.

I needed to tidy lots of tools and junk out of the truck and from around it on the floor, then remove the observer's seat so it would fit out through the garage door. Still no word on when the builders might turn up to modify the garage. I'm tempted to do the job myself! Once out, I grabbed a few pictures of the Dodge without the canvas first.

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The spare wheel was pulled out from under the observer's seat floor and fitted back on the driver's side carrier. This false floor will be removed and the seat lowered to the truck floor. After that, the observer's seat was refitted so my daughter's childseat would fasten in, then the roof bows and canvas fitted.

The hood and filler cap look significantly lighter, but it must be just the angle and the way the light is falling on them, as the paint all came from the same tin and painted at the same time! The spare wheel still needed painting to match.

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

The family were then rounded up and off we went for a four and a half mile drive around the local lanes. There wasn't a huge amount of fuel in, so I grabbed the two and a half gallon lawn mower jerrycan as backup. I have a genuine wartime can which will live on the step bracket normally.

There are a few laybys and places to pull in on the route, so we stopped there for a number of pictures from different angles. Here's an interesting comparison of the Dodge as it was in late July and yesterday, parked up at the same layby. Lynne thinks the Dodge looks smaller now that it is in olive drab.

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

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We stopped at our usual 'sunset lane' where everyone jumped out so I could get some pictures without purple coats in shot ( thanks Lynne! ). It was strange driving the same old truck, but feeling like a new toy again.

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

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The childseat sticks above the observer's chair and is virtually touching the roof canvas. Once the seat is mounted on the floor, my daughter will have more head room and I can move it back for more leg room too. The modern childseat won't be needed for much longer, but the observer's seat with the four point harness will continue to be used. It was based on a B-17 pilot's seat and eventually, we'll replace the childseat ( currently used for comfort ) with a replica B-17 seat cushion which Lynne said she can sew. I've more plans for the back of the truck too, but more of that later.

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The forecast was for rain around 2pm so I didn't want to stay out long. I knew it would take a while to remove the canvas, bows and seat, then squeeze the Dodge back through the narrow garage door. One last picture of the content owner with his 'new' toy and we set off home again.

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The Dodge was reversed into the garage, after several attempts to line it up. I'd even removed one of the garage door hinges to give myself another inch of clearance, but still clipped the door frame with the freewheeling front hubs! I didn't do any more work on it that day, giving myself the afternoon off to process the photos.

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Steve Carr

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Re: My '44 Flying Control Dodge

Post by armyairforce »

October 18th/19th - Finishing Touches

The 18th was spent tinkering with some of the odds and ends that needed finishing. The last pipe of the vacuum wipers was fitted up the side of the screen and a number of screws, bolts and nuts were touched up with paint. I'd left many of the fixings in primer as the paint would have been damaged by the spanners, leaving them until fitted for a coat of green. The spare wheel and washer were removed again and both painted to match the truck. Both of the steel bars with the door hinges were stripped, primed and painted and are now baking on the radiator.

On the 19th, I carried on working on the door hinges. The paint had hardened fully overnight on the radiator, so I was able to handle then first thing in the morning. Before the Dodge was stripped down, the metal bars that support the hinge points, were bolted directly to the bodywork. I didn't want them to dig into the new paintwork on the truck, so I used a silicone adhesive to glue a strip of leather along the rear face. They were left a little while to dry and then the edges and front face was olive drab a second coat.

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Back out in the garage, I refitted the roof bows. On Sunday's run out, they weren't fastened into the sockets where they fit. There was play in the sockets allowing them to rock forwards and back and that resulted in the canvas being quite slack. Eventually, once the garage door has been enlarged, everything will be bolted up properly, but for now, I wanted them more solid, but also easily removable so I can get in and out of the current door opening. There were some existing holes through the bows and bench seat backs which would allow them to be bolted to stop the rocking. This held the bow in place behind the cab and that was checked against the door fit.

Originally fitted with nuts in countersunk holes in the backrest, I needed an easier way of removing them quickly, so used a large washer over the holes and a butterfly nut. The front and centre bows had holes, so four coach bolts from the old wooden body were cleaned up and fitted. On top of the bows, I fitted a six feet long piece of timber to tie them all together which would keep everything solid.

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Steve Carr

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Roset Trailer -- B-17G Fortress BO-1 #42-31035