Received the View-Master D today and the only negative I can say about it is that the old batteries were still in it and were on the verge of leaking. No actual damage though and everything else is in great condition. The box itself is worn but I already knew that and wasn’t as interested in the box itself anyway, just a nice bonus. The seller also included more discs than originally expected so that was nice as well. A few of the discs are quite old although I’m still not familiar enough with the various series to estimate exact dates. One of these days I hope to post some photos.
Well, “accidentally” purchased a Model D View-Master from eBay yesterday. These seem to be the most sought-after units yet it didn’t cost nearly as much as some of the sites on the ‘Net are selling them for. It was not exactly obvious that it was a Model D at first, although after purchase I noticed the box has Model D on it. Anyway, looking forward to receiving it. Will have to start posting pics of these as well as the various reels I’m accumulating. I expect it will need cleaning, at least eye-pieces and lenses but will remain patient (for at least 2 more days).
So, a mistake on my part. The model E and later apparently come apart reasonably easily and can be cleaned that way. However, the earlier models are riveted and require more finesse. Assuming everything is intact and just in need of cleaning, a plastic pry tool can be used to remove the metal “keepers” from the translucent eye-pieces. Once the unit can be blown out and the actual lenses cleaned with a long cotton swab and alcohol. The translucent portions can also be cleaned up and then re-installed.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been buying a few View-Master items as time permits. I have one of the old Bakelite types from the 50’s to 60’s and another of the red, white, and blue from the 60’s. The older model E was somewhat grimy so I finally summoned enough courage to disassemble and clean it. While I didn’t find instructions for the older model they apparently hadn’t changed overall mechanical design and the instructions for the later models (http://www.retrofixes.com/2013/07/vintage-view-master-1962.html) worked pretty much the same. I used an alcohol to clean the windows and eye pieces and you’d be surprised how much crud came off on the q-tips. The difference isn’t really too noticeable on some discs but is hugely noticeable on others, depending mainly on colors and depth. As always, YMMV. Also, if you have one that needs cleaning but you’re nervous about doing it yourself, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch.
As an addendum, tonight I also cleaned the newer model. It came apart in much the same way. If you are working to open these up to clean them, I recommend separating about 1/16″ maximum at each of 4 corners until the spring-loaded keepers are finally released. Going too far at once will most likely weaken or permanently damage them or the bakelite/plastic, where a little patience would have served much better. Also, use a plastic pry tool; I’ve been using a screwdriver but obviously plastic won’t deform the bodies and would be about 1000% better.