Producing these 1/50th scale cast aluminum DC-8 models is a time consuming, costly, highly labour intensive and material intensive process.
First of all, we invested heavily in the manufacture of costly aluminum molds (both patterns and pouring blocks), a period which took us one year from start of completion.
Each model is comprised of a hollow fuselage section, a main wing section, four engine castings, the stand casting, as well as engine, stand and fuselage attachment bolts and screws.
After an order is received, all the parts are cast in our production shop from the molds in aircraft grade aluminum.
The aircraft fuselage is cast as two hollow parts, with the rear stabilizer section as a separate casting, which are all then carefully welded together into a single fuselage section.
After the casting and welding stage, all the aircraft parts are machined to remove excess casting material that has bled through the mold release lines during the metal pour. There is a significant amount of labour involved in cleaning and prepping each piece when it is released and cooled from the molds. Each engine is cast as a solid piece and forward intake has to be drilled out in preparation for the turbine hub, which is turned on a metal lathe and tapped into position on each engine.
This brings us to the time consuming polishing process. When the model parts come out of the casting molds, the surface is grit-like in texture and far from the mirror grade surface of the finished product. In order to bring the model surface to a mirror like polish, our polishing experts use machine shop polishing wheels, polishing pastes, and a lot of difficult and dirty hand work. The polishing process for each model can take upwards for 40 man hours (a full work week) and this is single most costly stage of the model production process.
Once the model is polished, it moves to the painting stage. The painted surface of the model is masked and the surface is primer sprayed, and holes and bumps are levelled with bondo, and primer sprayed again to prep the surface for the top coat of paint. After the top coat of paint (auto grade non fade) is applied to the crown of the aircraft, all the masking is removed, and the decals and livery paint work details are carefully applied.
Luckily, we have a very limited supply of original Douglas factory decals which are used to decorate the models. Some of the liveries are in extremely short supply, and once our supply is exhausted, there will simply be no means to produce additional models with the authentic period decals, thus the values and rarity of our models can only increase in time.
Our graphic designers are able to generate highly accurate decals of most liveries, so we can satisfy most customer requests that come our way. Graphic design and decal costs also contribute to the final cost of each commissioned model.
After the decals and livery are applied to the model, once again the model is masked, the painted section is lightly scuffed so the clear coat can bite for better adhesion, and the painted crown section of the fuselage is sprayed with anti-UV automotive clear coat.
The entire model production process from start until the model is ready for shipment usually takes in the region of 6-8 weeks.