Northern Electric model 5110
Baby Champ Deluxe

ca. 1946-47

The "before" picture...

Northern Electric model 5110 "Deluxe"

This cabinet design, like several others in the 5000 series, is nicknamed the "Rainbow". See also my brown Baby Champ 5104. The Deluxe model is so called (I guess) because it has an extra knob for Tone control. I've seen other Rainbows with a third knob for a BC/SW band switch. This one is strictly BC (AM). Something that struck me at the time as being unusual is that the Tone control has two positions - Bass or Treble, with no in-between setting.

The stepped pyramid sides and the parallel waterfall lines in the speaker grille mark this as a classic later Art Deco design.

This was an eBay purchase, described as being in working condition and having been repainted.  It looks worse in real life, because this photo doesn't show off the brushmarks and drips. They got paint on the plastic dial cover, which also has a crack in the upper left. Notice also the small ding in the Bakelite under the rightmost knob.

I was sort of glad to see that it had such an awful paint job done to it, because it gives me an excuse to try a more interesting colour scheme on it.  The dent will give me some practice using auto body filler on a Bakelite cabinet. The cracked dial cover gives me an excuse to try reproducing a replacement. As Anne Shirley (from "Anne of Green Gables") would say, "So much scope for the imagination!"

August 26, 2000
I've gotten most of the old paint stripped off, after letting it sit over night covered in 3M's "Safest Stripper", which is much more pleasant to work with than most strippers. The top layer came off readily (probably was latex), but I had to use a plastic scraper to get most of the original paint off. I saved a big wide strip of the original paint (which was a warm ivory colour), in case I ever wanted to repaint it as it was once upon a time. I also let the knobs sit in some stripper. I was surprised to find a layer of bright red paint hiding under the white. That might have looked nice too, against the ivory. Now that they're down to the original plastic, I can tell that probably only the Off/On/Volume knob should have a black dot, unlike the two that came with my brown Baby Champ, which had dots on both knobs. I suspect a substitution at some time.

June 9, 2001 - Several questions resolved.
I spotted a vanilla model 5110 on eBay, which had only two knobs - off/on/volume and tuning. I asked the seller specifically to confirm whether it was a model 5110, and they said yes, so that means that the "Deluxe" model is a 5110 with a tone switch.
The other three-knob rainbow model is the 5002, with a BC/SW switch. The dial numbers are in a circular pattern, BC on top, short-wave on the bottom, and a double-ended propellor-style pointer. The 5002 knobs have dots on the off/on/volume and band select switch. since the tuning knob turns many times, it makes sense that only that one should have no pointer dot.

Brainstorm: I should see if I can use polymer clay or plaster to make a mold for a DIY plastic dial cover. The dial covers on the rainbow Baby Champs have more of a dome than is typical, and it would take quite a few layers of hardboard to build a mold up to the proper thickness, plus a lot of sanding and shaping. (update July 12 - Polymer clay didn't work, I couldn't get the center the right thickness.)

June 30, 2001
Now I've got a "vanilla" non-Deluxe version of the 5110. It jumped out at me at a flea market in Amherst, Nova Scotia.

July12, 2001
I found a spray paint that is a pretty good match for the original ivory. It's the Canadian Tire house brand of "Exact Match" automotive paints, 47-2151-8 "Pastel French Vanilla" which is supposed to match the the colour for Ford cars and trucks from 1982-85. (Actually, it's an even better match for the Truetone D2018 Ivory.) You can get fairly heavy coats on before it starts to drip. I'm halfway through painting the 5110 now. The can was small, and I had to drive over to Amherst to get another can or two. The final coats go on tomorrow.

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