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Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Hi.

All work on this CD-ROM is intended to be:
a) an aid to any model kit builder attempting to restore an Airfix Stingray;
b) a walk down memory lane for people of a certain generation like myself;
c) a document for posterity giving as much information as possible on one of the rarest model kits of all time;
d) a bit of fun for anyone else interested in the model.

All the pictures are either original scans or photos of material owned by myself.

The BoxLabel pic is a large, tidied-up, hi-res scan of the original box label (as shown in the "OrigBox" folder; the kit was mail-order only and came in a plain cardboard box with a stuck-on label). The KitInstructions pic is what it says.

The three CorelDraw files (cdr) are all A3 size printable files:
the PosterA3 file is the above label sized to fit A3 paper;
the StingBoxTop is a full-colour box top mock-up that's big enough to house the original kit pieces;
the StingBoxInner is a slightly smaller plain inner box outline.
Regarding each of the last two, cut out the whole outline then score the fold lines and stick it together!
The Box Top mock-up is meant to be a tribute to Airfix - no malicious copyright infringement is intended and it has been designed wholly by myself using original examples of labels, etc. in my possession "just for fun".

All parts have been photographed and scanned for dimensions (some pieces have had to be left attached where they have already been cemented together as separating them would have caused damage). The only missing parts are the stand pieces (which I do not have and consider to be superfluous) and the two small vertical tail fins - I have recreated specifications for the fins by scaling down the "Monsters in Motion" large resin kit pieces. And although I have the (separated) spindle and sleeve for the rotating eddy damper, I haven't bothered with any scans as these are a simple, non-visible, interior parts.

An explanatory text file within each individual folder offers further information on its contents.

As of writing this text, I have not started rebuilding the Stingray; this is because I have so far been unable to obtain any cheap (or preferably free!) 3D imaging software that I can use to create accurate all-round images of the parts. I have some trial software that will give a low-res result, can construct the necessary enclosure and have a suitable laser light source, but can't afford the 199 euros for the full software! I'll perhaps have a go with what I do have and hopefully come up with something useful. Once I begin the rebuild, I will document each step with photos etc.

All this work has been carried out and documented with half an eye on the faint hope that perhaps one day this much-missed model kit will be resurrected!

I can be contacted at atlantis522000@yahoo.co.uk

Paul Bradbury, Somerset, March 2010.

Many, many years ago, as an enthusiastic, but impoverished, model-kit-building child living in Manchester, I pestered my parents to death (until they capitulated just to shut me up) and eagerly sent off my "Sea Jet" iced lolly wrappers with a 6/- postal order for my Airfix Stingray kit (6 shillings - a lot of money for a kit then but only 30p today!). A year or so earlier, I had done the same for the Kitmaster Fireball XL5 kit. I built Stingray to the standard expected of an impatient 11-year-old without any proper tools or equipment (money was tight - I used to tidy up the parts with one of my dad's discarded flat razor blades snapped in half; the mere idea would give the Health and Safety Gestapo apoplexy!) and was happy enough with it that I displayed it in my bedroom window alongside Fireball for all to see!

A year or so later, Thunderbirds made its debut on TV and I couldn't wait for Airfix to release the kits of each craft. But, of course, this never happened. (At the age of 57, I'm still waiting for "proper" kits of them instead of the clumsy, inaccurate Japanese wind-up motorised toys with stupid wheels and firing rockets that masqueraded as model kits some years ago; although to be fair, Aoshima finally DID produce a superb and accurate TB1 kit a couple of years ago - and their transparent TB2 with interior detail was sublime!).

Several years later, my family were due to move to a new house just a few miles away so I packed all my kits into various empty kit boxes. By now, XL5 and Stingray were a little worse for wear and had begun to come apart but I still had all the pieces. Unfortunately, I just threw parts into boxes willy-nilly without thinking; so half the Stingray and Fireball Junior went into one box and the rest into another. Years later again, after I had married and moved out of my parents' home, I climbed into their loft to collect all my kit boxes and took them along to my own house, intending to rebuild some to a better standard now I was a more capable adult. Sifting through the parts, I was horrified to learn that some of the boxes were missing - including the one containing half the Stingray parts and XL5 Junior! Losing any of the other kits wouldn't have mattered but these were my most cherished models! The whole rear half of Stingray was missing, apart from the "eddy damper", along with all the transparent pieces and cabin surround. After a desperate scouring of my parents' loft again I accepted grudgingly that they'd been lost during the moves, but part of me still hoped that they were lurking in some dark corner somewhere. I still have a sneaking suspicion that my father threw some boxes of "kids' rubbish" out in a fit of pique one day but he always denied it (this is the man who only recently admitted to destroying my full set of "Mars Attacks" cards back in the 60s, having believed the overblown hysteria about them in the newspapers at the time. He said nothing as I spent days searching for them. Worth a fortune now! Stupid man! And apart from a tendency to flame-throw passing dogs, the cards never affected me at all: note to any of the aforementioned H&S Gestapo that may be reading this - that last statement is not true; it is a humourous fantasy and is known as a "joke").

I spent a lot of time in the intervening years trawling through charity shops, advertising in local newspapers etc. on the off chance that I'd come across an Airfix Stingray or Kitmaster XL5, or even just some parts, but all to no avail. Some model kit "experts" I met during my search even denied the Stingray had existed!

So that was that and I believed I'd never, ever, get to rebuild my Stingray. I even bought the Comet vac-form kit under the assumption that it was adapted from a surviving Airfix kit and that I could use the parts, but they're not compatible (it's a good kit, a little larger than the Airfix, but, without serious reinforcement, the heavy white metal parts tend to distort the thin vac-form hull after a while).

Fast forward to the 90s, the new millennium, the advent of ubiquitous personal computers, the internet and Ebay: say what you will about Ebay and the ravenous monster that it may have become, but I would NEVER have been able to rebuild Stingray and Fireball without it! (Or another kit I lost completely - the Revell Moon Ship; the first "space" kit I ever built back in 1960 that started me off!) So, as the later years of my life began to get under way, I had finally found the parts to replace almost all the missing ones.

And this is where I'm up to with this CD-ROM.

I didn't want to rebuild the kit until I'd documented as much as I could to help anyone else in a similar position. I've been very lucky in getting hold of the missing parts - very occasionally an unbuilt Stingray kit turns up on Ebay and goes for an unbelievable price. I can only hope (but seriously doubt) that one of those buyers feels the same as I about the kit and considers "back-engineering" the pristine parts to recreate it (as Moebius are about to do with the "lost" Aurora 2001 Moonbus) - I understand that only pristine parts are suitable for this procedure but unfortunately they are destroyed during the process. I'd certainly have considered this route had I been able to afford to buy a pristine kit; it would be like resurrecting the dead!

Realistically, I know that copyright issues with Airfix/Hornby and whoever owns the rights to Stingray at the moment (Carlton?) would probably kill the idea before it got off the ground; and that the parts copying procedure itself is very expensive, let alone the cost of a limited production run of any resurrected kit. Any attempt at such an enterprise is unlikely to be profitable but, just once, I'd like to see something happen for the sake of it, simply because it CAN be done, without the accrual of money - apparently the whole point of life and the Universe to this society - being the motivator. And hey - if Moebius (all hail!) can do it, you never know!

Anyway, considering my limited resources, this CD-ROM is the best I can do for now. I hope you find it useful and/or interesting.

Thanks for reading this drivel!
Paul B.

IMPORTANT!!!

Here is an early warning alert for anyone attempting to restore an Airfix Stingray (or Kitmaster Fireball XL5)!

When I restored my XL5 kit recently, I came across an infuriating problem: I had filled the wing to booster joints with good-quality tube putty but discovered tiny pitting on the underlying plastic surface as I sanded down. I re-filled the seam twice, only to find that the pitting was getting worse each time, no matter how careful I was or how fine the paper I used. Suddenly it dawned on me - the modern filler composition was attacking the surface of the 40-odd-year-old plastic! I'd had no problems and great results using it on newer kits so thought nothing of slapping it on the XL5! The solution was to use fine Milliput instead. Now I don't know whether the plastic of the Stingray is of a better quality than the XL5, but I'm certainly not going to find out the hard way!
P.B.
 

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
The Instructions and box artworks

These pics are of the original box, instruction sheet and runners.
As far as I can tell, there is one runner missing (and the transparencies runner).

The kit was packed in a clear, plastic bag.

















 

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Parts Images

This Section contains large digital photographs of all the parts for the Airfix Stingray (except the rear tail fins). They are taken from different angles to give as much info about the parts as possible: used in conjunction with the scanned part pictures (see next section), an accurate idea of the shape and "feel" of each part should be achievable.
There are also several pictures of assorted pieces that show the parts I had to hand at various stages of collecting them.

Part 22 - the cabin surround - still has an instrument panel attached. I left it in place to maintain the curve dimensions as severe damage would have ensued had I tried to remove it.

The terminology of the parts pics is my own interpretation and bears little relation to the part descriptions in the original instructions (e.g. what I call the periscope is referred to as a searchlight in the instructions).



























































































































































































































































































 

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Scanned and dimensioned parts

This section contains scans of all parts against a metric ruler. The "00Blank" picture is just the ruler against a large black background - all other pics are to the same scale and resolution; using suitable software, all the individual parts pics can be cut and pasted onto this background and manipulated against the ruler to give various dimensions at different angles.

The pictures are numbered as per the part numbers on the instruction sheet.
Some include several images of the same part from different angles.
Pics can be reversed to get the "other handed" part.

Missing parts:
05 is the retaining sleeve for the eddy damper shaft (not shown in scans);
34 and 35 are the genuinely missing rear tail fins - the picture shows a scaled-down "Monsters in Motion" resin Stingray tail fin to the correct dimensions.

PLEASE NOTE: a flatbed scanner is designed to "read" FLAT images - there will be some parallax error distortions in certain scans because of this, so compare with photographs of the parts to reach a better estimation of their true dimensions.

Some parts are shown fitted together loosely to give their overall dimensions; some parts are already cemented together and cannot be separated without damage.

One of the front window transparency pictures features my thumb - this is because I am holding it down onto the scanner to ascertain the correct flat width measurement across its sloping front edge.

Part 22 - the cabin surround - still has an instrument panel attached. I left it in place to maintain the curve dimensions as severe damage would have ensued had I tried to remove it.

The files are all large bitmaps - this means that no info or detail will be lost as the pics are manipulated,changed or adapted. Keep working with it as a bitmap until you're sure you've finalised the image before saving it as a (compressed) jpeg file - each time it's saved as a jpeg, a little more info and definition is lost.













































































































 

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Alternate Parts

These pics are of alternative parts/suggestions. The large Matchbox Stingray toy with removable cabin cover is a possible source for replacement Aquasprite canopies; they are a little too big but can probably be cut/sanded down with care. Damaged or well-played-with examples can often be found for reasonable prices on Ebay and the loose canopies simply fall out after dismantling the hull.

NOTE: this is the LARGE MATCHBOX Stingray - the smaller Carlton/Vivid Imaginations wind-up toy with the hinged cabin cover is unsuitable as it has no clear aquasprite canopies. Also, NEITHER toy's "eddy damper" clear piece will fit the Airfix kit.

Furthermore, NONE of the pieces, clear or otherwise, from ANY of the Japanese Stingray "toy" kits are suitable as replacements. At about 7 1/2" or so long, the standard size kit by Midori, Doyusha, C.C. Lee and others is too small to be of any use; and although the "Big" Stingray by Doyusha is of a comparable size to the Airfix kit (but a little longer at 12 1/2" or so), the eddy damper is too big, the thick, one-piece cabin transparency tapers to too sharp a curve at the front and the Aquasprite canopies are too small!. Beware if you intend to buy the larger kit because the same box image is often used for BOTH versions- the only way to tell if it's the bigger kit is by studying the boxtop, which has the word BIG in red ENGLISH letters in a white star in the top left corner (see the box pic); without this marking, it's the smaller size version. The kit itself is a poor representation of Stingray and is merely an upscaled issue of the smaller one - see the parts pics. Thus spake the voice of experience.

And I suggest that you be wary of the Ebay Far East seller that displays its models as boxes held in a person's hands - the box picture appears to have been "pasted" on and looks far bigger than it actually is!

The other pics are of larger MIM resin parts of Troy, a seat and steering control column (but no steering wheels were in the box!) included here for detailing ideas.





















 

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
What can I say apart from Paul Bradbury....

You are the MAN!!!! :thumbup::notworthy:

Thank you so much for sharing this with the forum members, what a stunning piece of research and amazing images. Anyone interested in refurbishing this kit will find this invaluable and as Paul noted it would be perfectly possible to build a replica from these marvellous images. Guess what has been added to my build list? :D

I am on a mission to resurrect this much missed and desired kit. I would like to buy, trade or borrow a good example of this kit with a view to 3D scanning it's parts and 3D printing a set of masters. No kit parts would be harmed in this process and full credit would be given to any who contributes.

If you can help please let me know.

Bernie.
 

MkIXHawk

Alphans
IMPORTANT!!!

Here is an early warning alert for anyone attempting to restore an Airfix Stingray (or Kitmaster Fireball XL5)!

When I restored my XL5 kit recently, I came across an infuriating problem: I had filled the wing to booster joints with good-quality tube putty but discovered tiny pitting on the underlying plastic surface as I sanded down. I re-filled the seam twice, only to find that the pitting was getting worse each time, no matter how careful I was or how fine the paper I used. Suddenly it dawned on me - the modern filler composition was attacking the surface of the 40-odd-year-old plastic! I'd had no problems and great results using it on newer kits so thought nothing of slapping it on the XL5! The solution was to use fine Milliput instead. Now I don't know whether the plastic of the Stingray is of a better quality than the XL5, but I'm certainly not going to find out the hard way!
P.B.


The problem would be as bad with Stingray; after nearly 50 years, the polymer chains that make up the plastic will have suffered from oxidative damage and the long chains will have started to break - the very phenomenon that occurs when using solvents as 'glue' (as an aside, Iwas given a brand new pocket calculator in 1978 - the rear part of the case was polystyrene. Although the electronics were still working 25 years later, the outer casing had become so brittle that a fingernail could flake bits off).
Consequently, the plastic is very fragile and the solvents in the filler, which are formulated to work with modern,reformulated, polymers, will do far more damage to the weakened plastic than it would to a current kit.
 
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miger1

Alphans
Superb work there Paul! ---what a post!
Good luck Bernie with this classic kit resurrection project, put me down for (at least) one!
 

TV21Dalek

Alphans
I had no idea that the old kit was so well produced. Having built many old 60 Airfix models with gaps so wide you could navigate through them and lumpy parts this is an eye-opener!

Cap'n IF you ever manage to replicate this piece of model history, please put me down for one.
 

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Wave Stingray

I have an mostly unbuilt Wave Stingray model in my collection (such as it is), perhaps I should photograph it and do the same thing Paul has done and write a feature?
 

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Possibly, I can't find an unbuilt example at all, anywhere.

I am certain I could remove and repair digitally as required though so all is not lost.

Not giving up yet... :D

PWOR
 

TV21Dalek

Alphans
I saw that too... and my jaw hit the floor. Surely the most valuable and rare model ever produced... even more than the Fireball kit.
 
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