Defarbing the What Price Glory BC 611 Radio Reproduction
Review Date: 6/10/2014
Author: Chris Guska
Being unsatisfied with the appearance and small details of the WPG Reproduction BC-611 Handi Talkie, I did a quick cosmetic upgrade. Here's what I started with:
I was unsatisfied with the following aspects:
- Antenna Insulator
- Phillips head screws
I purchased the Antenna, Insulator and wrinkle paint from Robert Downs @ WA5CAB
The small slotted screws for the data plate and frequency card plate came from McMaster Carr
2-56 Slotted Brass Screws Part # 91783A076 - $3.27
The large slotted screws for the switch plate came out of my antique screw bin. I haven't found a good off the shelf source of modern sheet metal slotted screws that are a direct replacement of what came from WPG. It should be a machine screw, but WPG used a coarse thread sheet metal screw...
The Signal Corps Green Wrinkle paint from WA5CAB is out of date and a bit difficult to use. I was able to previously get OK results with it in repainting a BC-1000 radio, so I figured I'd give it a go on the BC-611.
I started out by wiping the unit down with denatured alcohol to prep for paint. My first attempt at using the wrinkle paint was not successful.
For the second attempt, I sandblasted the unit to get a better prepped surface for the paint. It appears that WPG used powder coat rather than paint on the reproduction as it is a very tough coating which took some time to sandblast down to bare metal.
In the process of cleaning up the thin sheet metal switch cover plate and frequency cover plate I warped both parts from the sandblasting. Ugh...
To get the paint to wrinkle (poorly), I had to use multiple light coats then bake the paint in my paint oven at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours.
If I had to do more of these, I would not use the wrinkle paint, especially considering that the example I am comparing against has flat smooth paint. For future 611's, I would most likely scuff the existing powder coat and over spray with automotive enamels.
Side view showing the replaced slotted screws and re-oriented frequency card plate.
The original antenna and insulator really set this de-farb off for me.
The upper plastic internal frame of the WPG BC-611 is retained with a single screw. The frame slides out with the antenna attached. The old antenna can be slid out, the hole enlarged slightly with a file or appropriate sized drill bit and the original antenna slid in place. The antenna wire from the FRS radio can be soldered to the connection on the original antenna if desired.
The insulator hole on the top cover needs drilled and threaded (or dremeled) to accommodate the original insulator.
This is a pretty easy project, with all the parts being fairly easily available on the internet. I was able to find all the parts in an hour on google. Provided you don't go with the wrinkle paint route, this would be a straight forward afternoon project to complete.
For another ~$50 in parts and shipping, the WPG BC-611 can be cleaned up to be a very convincing replica that you shouldn't be afraid to take out in the field to use or be embarrassed to display.
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