HOW TO .....
This document was assembled from various questions and answers gleaned from the Web News Group called:
This is probably the single best source of information for fixed wing RC modelling. Ask a question and you will usually get a response within 24 hours. It's free!  Legals: Since the information came from the Web, use it at your own risk. Ironsides accepts no responsibility.  Click on the links to go to the appropriate subject. Click on INDEX to get back
[Revision #26 dated 31 December 2002].........*** = Web Site.................................................. INDEX



There is a very good chance that the news group has already discussed your issue.  This is especially true for new members who have no knowledge of previous posts.  You can search the news group's archives by using Google at the following URL:

To search this particular news group, click the left radio button.  The other buttons expand the search.

The key to using Google is to come up with the correct "key words".  Instead asking, "How Can I Paint Monokote?", simply put in            paint          monokote              as two separate words, with one space between them.  If you want an exact match, such as The Brown Cow Company, then enter the search spring between quotes as per  "The Brown Cow Company".

The real beauty is that you will get a return from Google listing EVERY archived mention of your topic.



The single best source on the Web to find information about batteries is the site called Red's R/C Battery Clinic.  It is maintained by the battery guru of the RC community, Red Scholefield, AMA 951.  The low number should give you hint as to his experience and contribution to the RC world.

You can find his site at:




Cliff Griffin has developed a very complete FAQ home page that covers a huge amount of material.

You can find it at:



Alan has indexed a remarkable variety of hobby-related bookmarks.  Using his subject matter groupings, it is easier to find groups of relevant sites.

All sites must acknowledge the source of any published listings.  Copyright on the list is retained.

A.T.   <>



Running in your Engine    Original publication by Norman Osborne.  Adapted to current views by Pé Reivers


This article by  Kevin Ross  explains how a standard Futaba S148 servo can be modified.

This article by Robert Pebly explains how to modify a Futaba S148 servo to get 360 degree rotation.

Caution:  The above procedures void any warranty.  Make changes at your own risk



1 - thin the epoxy to slightly thicker than water consistency with denatured alcohol. Use SLOW epoxy or finishing resin.

2 - lightly draw lines on the wing showing exactly where the FG is to go.

3 - put 1-2 strips of masking tape about 1" outside of the lines you have drawn to keep the epoxy from getting all over the wing.

4 - you can lightly spray the cloth with 3M 77 spray adhesive, but I usually don't need to.

5 - brush the epoxy right on top of the cloth saturating it and sticking it to the wing.

6 - lay Saran wrap over the cloth, and carefully squeegee all of the epoxy off the sides of the cloth. You should remove all folds and bubbles, and make sure the cloth is completely adhered to the wing.

7 - wipe the extra epoxy from the wing, and remove the masking tape.

8 - when completely cured, sand the edges of the wing to remove any extra epoxy.

9 - I usually do the top and bottom of the wing in two stages because I can't get the cloth to wrap around the leading edge without bubbles or wrinkles.

10 - If you need to, use thinned spackle (or CG Model Magic) and a little sanding to smooth the surface.

"J Leonard DeCarlo" <>




Other suggestions to get a hermetic seal between the wing and fuselage, thus preventing servo spoilage:

Plumber's solder. Just melt it and pour it into the gap. It's only slightly heavier than silicone sealer.

Oakum. Soak it in pitch, tamp it with a mallet and rod. Castor goo cleanup is unnecessary if you use this method.

Beeswax. Melt, pour. Watch out for angry bees.

Tar: Melt, pour. Avoid feathers. I tell you from experience.

Duck tape. Tape joint heavily. Side benefit is it prevents part scattering if you should have a quack up.

Embossed copper gasket. Use an SAE bolt every 1" and torque correctly or it may blow.

Silly Putty. About as silly as the others. May cause bouncy landings.

Ice. Pour water in gap, keep model outdoors so it will stay frozen. Seal will last until spring thaw.

Bubble wrap. Cut a thin strip, glue it on saddle. Keep away from children. The little $%^& will burst your bubbles.

Buna-N O ring. Warning: may become brittle and seal poorly in cold weather.

Leeches. Line them up on the saddle and quickly attach wing. Mist them daily to prevent dessication. A drop of blood weekly will keep them vital.

"Bob Adkins" <>


That's right epoxy in my drawers. Well, drawer of my roll around tool box, anyway. There is an up-side to forgetting to cap the epoxy tightly; the goo got distributed over a stack of sandpaper and the handles of my covering irons. I discovered two modeling tips while sorting through the mess.

Are you tired of wasting time with a tack cloth after sanding your 1/3 scale model of the Spruce Goose? Well friends, just spread some epoxy resin on your sandpaper before you start sanding and say goodbye to wasted time. The sticky goo picks up the dust as you sand, all in one easy operation. This will cut your work in half. Just be sure not to add any hardener to the epoxy. I use 15 minute epoxy for 80 to 220 grit and 30 minute for 400 to 600 grit wet or dry.

Also, have you ever had those pesky covering irons fly out of your hand when covering a swept wing jet? Well suffer no more, put a dab or two of resin on the handles and just try to put those puppies down. Works great when you need two hands to pull the covering, just stick the iron to your forehead. It will free up your hands and you won't
forget where you set that iron down.

If you get epoxy in *your* drawers, you might come up with some good ideas of your own. Alcohol makes a good solvent to clean up such a mess, so I am off to the liquor store for some gin...

"Tom Johnson" <>



There's a book just on Saito from RCM. Recommended if you've owned the engine for a while and feel the need to rebuild it. However, if all you want to do is adjust the valves, here's how:

1. Remove rocker covers.

2. Rotate the engine to firing TDC (both valves closed, and they don't move when you rock the drive washer).

3. Check the clearances with the little gauge thingy they give you. If you don't have one, 0.1mm is about right.

4. To adjust, stick a hex key into the screw on the intake valve pushrod bucket (the thing with the locknut, on the rocker arm opposite the valve). Hold it in place while you loosen the locknut.

5. Move the hex key a little to loosen (usual after break-in) or tighten the clearance as appropriate. The gauge should just bind slightly. Hold the hex key there, tighten the locknut and check again.

6. Repeat for the exhaust valve.

George Wagner



I use epoxy finishing resin with enough phenolic microballoons stirred in to make it like dough. Use a popsicle stick and your finger to apply and smooth it out. Once you get the hang of doing this you can make the canopy fillet so smooth that only light sanding will be necessary before painting.

I usually glass the fuselage before installing the canopy so that there's a hard surface for the fillet material to attach to. Just use masking tape to mask off the canopy to form a fillet line at the canopy base.

"Curt" <>


JK wrote:

> I'm very new in this hobby, and won and OLD airplane kit.  I've managed to build half of the wing straight, but the > other half has a slight warp in  it.  Can the warp be corrected when I cover it, or do I need to repair it before > covering?

You can get small warps out before covering by misting water on the wing and then twisting the warp out by overshooting your target "set" by an amount equal to or slightly less than the current warp.  Then pin it to the building board with this opposite "set" blocked up until dry.  When you un-pin it, it should assume a straight "set".  It all depends on how your wing is shaped, the chord and the span.  You can re-do numerous times until you get it right.

If it is a slight warp, you can un-warp it with covering by slightly twisting the wing opposite the warp as you shrink the covering.

Another way, if it's a bad warp, is to pin the wing down so it is straight and then install shear webs between the trailing edge sheeting (and additional webs at the front or rear of the main spars if there aren't any there in the
first place).  Stronger wing, but heavier.

"Don Hatten" <>

If you use an iron-on covering, you could be lucky and warm the warp away. Otherwise, you could straighten the wing in a kind of vice, and then use the same kind of chemicals (ammonia) we use to bend balsa. When sprayed or brushed on and then left to dry, you might have gotten a straight wing by the next morning. You could also soak some old towels and lay it around the wing.  Beware of your wife when doing this!

"Sigurd Henrichsen" <>

Been there done that! Try hot water in a spray bottle....then rig it up to dry correcting for your warp plus about 50%. The way I build I'm getting awfully good at it ;) -----I must be the wood!

"john smith" <>



Plug a second battery pack into an unused slot on your receiver.  Just make sure both batteries have the same number of cells (i.e. both are 4.8v or both are 6.0v batteries) they CAN be of different capacities.....  Run a second switch harness for the second battery.

Mark  <>

Use dual packs.  Nothing else required except a standard pack and another switch harness.

See article at the Battery Clinic entitled "Parallel Operation = Reliability & More Flight Time"

Red Scholefield  AMA 951
Red's R/C Battery Clinic



Editor's Note:  The following notes were transcribed from a fairly lengthy discussion on the News Group.  The reader has to read all portions to get all the information needed for this technique.  The author is acknowledged at the end of his contribution.

I just finished re-covering my big old Senior Telemaster in laminating film.  It was very easy to work with and shrunk up drum tight.  I experimented previously with cheap Wal Mart spray cans and found adhesion to be good on a test piece.   I painted a piece of the film yesterday using white catalyzed lacquer (trade name Plasticolor) that I intend to use as the primary colour of the plane.  Adhesion and flexibility seem excellent so far, and this is on unprepared gloss film.  I tried scuffing the film first but found there was no advantage - just more work and poorer results.  I plan to use Wal Mart paint for the trim after testing for compatibility.  I have used the Wal Mart stuff before and found certain colors to be fuel proof (15%) but at least one was not - white as I recall.

I gave a friend a piece of this film that he used on the bottom of his North Star with excellent results.  (The clear film allows water leaks to be spotted quickly.)

The stuff I am using is 3 mil gloss finish.  I would have used matte, but it wasn't available at the time.  It was the end of a 500' roll, 38 inches wide that I got from a firm that laminates plans and general offset work.  There was probably 30 or 40 feet left on the roll.  I paid either 10 or 20 bucks for it.  ($6.50 or $13 US)

Don't know why they end up with these roll ends, but I speculate it is because there is a top and bottom roll used in the laminating machine and even though they start off with the same size rolls, wastage occurs on one or the other.  When they shut down the machine to change rolls they probably want to start with full ones to avoid another shut down soon after.

I like this concept.  It appears to work well enough and I like the low cost.  It will cost you over twenty bucks Canadian to take home a roll of Monokote or equivalent around here.

"John Hawkins" <>


Since our group has always tried to economize on different materials, our latest venture is with a laminating material for use as a covering. The material is in a roll and comes in 50' to 500' lengths and is used for laminating purposes. It comes in a variety of thicknesses and samples I have seen have been painted over with almost any kind of paint. The material is an opaque white and once heated and shunk to an airframe it becomes almost transparent. The cost is about 10 to 15% of other film coverings. My question is, have other modelers tried this materials more extensively? And what have their results been like over time?

Mike Aitchison <>

Laminating film is actually identical to model film coverings except for the glue layer. Monokote is the same polyester film (sold by DuPont under the trade name "Mylar") but uses a different adhesive- of course theirs is colored. The fact that laminating film heat shrinks as well or better than hobby coatings is due to the manufacturing process rather than anything specific to our hobby coatings.

There are many brands and types of laminating film available; some work better than others. The greatest variance is the adhesive, and the better ones are nearly fuel proof (but NOT fuel proof). There are types of film that have terrible adhesion on clean surfaces and worse adhesion on anything short of sterile :-(

The best ones seem to be the very thin coatings (1.5 to 1.7 mil) that are advertised as low temperature, high adhesion types.

If the seams are sealed with either clear dope or thin CA glue, I have found laminating film to be generally superior to the hobby coatings. It does not loosen up over time as most dedicated coatings usually do. It's as durable but far lighter. It shrinks very well and is easier to work with than either Monokote or Ultracote IMO. It has no backing and I find that this too is an advantage. As you have already mentioned, it's quite cheap by comparison- my 500 ft. roll was something like $55 delivered (25" wide). Just about a lifetime supply :-)

I've only tried three types, and one of them was a sample of unknown brand or type. The film I like (out of the two I bought) is DigiSeal from USI in Connecticut. It comes in a variety of widths and thickness' but unfortunately the 1.7 mil thick type is only available in 500 foot long rolls. It's a great deal if you like it but an awful lot to buy just to try it out. You might be able to get a sample from them to try though.....?

How paintable is this laminating material???  Unknown- I use it 'raw'. I had initially planned on painting it or coloring it in some fashion but instead just got used to clear planes. Several other people here have mentioned painting various hobby coatings though and as laminating film is the identical material, I would think that the same methods would work equally well.

The material is a bulk laminating material. Our contact buys it for her business as part of laminating services. The rolls can be ordered in different thicknesses. We are looking at 1.5 mil and 3 mil thick. The 3 mil comes in a 250 ft roll 24" wide and the 1.5 mil comes 500 ft roll also 24" wide. The cost is quoted as $70.00 Canadian (or about $45.00 US). The material is self adhesing and can be used to repair itself with small patches and a heat gun. The it takes a fair bit of heat to work with it (a little tougher than monocote but not as tough to work with as Micafilm). We are in the experimental stages right now so be cautious in its application.

"Brian D. Felice"

Test some if you can. The thinking we have here is the 1.5 mil would be suitable for aircraft under 40 and 3 mil for 40 size and up. at about 90 or 120 size and up maybe 5 mil (if availiable). I would think that any professional laminating service would sell the material. We have tried some samples and we expect to place an order within a week or two for a real test
on 40 size aircraft.

"Michael Aitchison" <>

I have used the 1.5 mil. laminating material from USI.  It works great!  Irons on like Monokote...shrinks like Monokote...treats my wallet a whole lot nicer than Monokote!! I have given a lot of it away because's cheap and 250 feet is a LOT of covering material!  I think the 1.5 mil. is a little thin and if I order some more, I would get the 3 mil.  It takes paint, but I haven't done a lot of painting on it.

"VideoFlyer" <>

First, I must give credit to "Iskandar's Tips for Cheaper Modeling" I came across as a newbie.  I bought a 250' x 25" x 3 mil roll for $55.00 Canadian ($30US) from a supplier in Mississauga, Ontario after I was convinced I could work with it. I had first acquired some from the local printing shop that also did laminating.

The product works great. It likes a hot iron, does not go around corners as good as "moneycote", so I put lots of relief cuts when I do corners. It will iron directly onto blue or pink foam, but be mindfull of the heat. It will take a tremendous amount of heat from a gun before it burns through. Seems fuel proof too.

After I have finished covering, I use a green scotch brite pad to take the glaze off the film. Then I use the high build scratch filler primer to paint seams on the turtle deck or anywhere I don't want them to be seen.  Then I follow up with 400 water paper. This makes the seams disappear. Then I paint with Tremclad paint and let it sit a few days to harden. Then I apply stripes with low tack masking tape very lightly tacked on, followed by other colours of Tremclad.

Be careful removing the tape as I have had paint lift. The finish has really past the test of time and the only damage was when my darling daughter was dusting the wall unit and bumped her baseball trophy onto the wing about a week after I had finished it. Fortunately it landed on the spar and damage is very visible. Had to sell my daughter for medical experments as a lesson to the other children.

I sometimes do not paint the underside of the wing as I like to keep the weight down. I find it hard to justify an extra 50 to 100 buck$ to cover a plane, and for and with some patience, this film will do a fine job.

"Brian Stephenson" <>



Silk is pretty expensive and many modellers have gone to the synthetics like Sig Koverall. In either case the balsa surface must be prepped with dope, Butyrate or nitrate for silk, or nitrate(best) for synthetics. I like at least a couple of coats of dope on the framework and sanded to a finish which has no 'snags'. I apply silk wet but there is no point in applying the synthetics wet as water has no effect on them. If there is sufficient dope on the perimeter surfaces, thinners (lacquer from the H/W store) by itself will stick the material. The synthetics shrink real well so you don't have to worry about getting it too tight before ironing. The silk, of course, shrinks as it dries. You will find that the synthetics take the 1st coats of dope a lot easier than silk as the dope tends to run right through the silk. I use several thinned out coats of clear nitrate followed by butyrate for fuel proofing. I follow this with a couple of sprayed on coats of silver to make everything look the same and then follow with white then trim...all butyrate. Most true aircraft dopes are formulated to go over the silver and retain their true colours but I prefer a nice thin white base anyway. Covered and sprayed in this manner results in an extremely durable finish that is very light.

Some thoughts: Butyrate can be used for everything with synthetics but are not preferable as they do not stick so good to the material. Where you will notice this is after a hard arrival, you may see some checking and peeling in the finish. Also, there is a product called Stixit which can be used on the balsa instead of dope. This gives you a surface that you can iron the material to instead of doping. I have not tried it but understand that it works very well.

Gord Schindler



I am wondering if some of the fliers in Europe could tell me in some
detail how they achieve their low sound levels and what these levels are
in terms of loudness.

Bill  <>

82 dB(A) at 7 metres in the UK. See

With most motors of up to 91 (2 cycle)/120 (4 stroke),  just using the standard muffler and a larger prop than is commonly used in the USA is enough.

For example, we would generally suggest a minimum size of an 11 x 7 on a .46 & most sport flyers will see little or no difference in performance - except that the engine is a lot quieter!

Using lower nitro (<10%) also keeps noise down.  Rounded tip props are better than square, wooden props can also be quieter than standard props.

There are lots of other techniques that can be employed, but this is a good starting point.

Jim Archer, Norwich, UK

Our field (Netherlands): 80 dB(a) at 7 metres .

1) take a prop at least one size larger than recommended.
2) If need be, increase engine size a bit
3) use an after muffler in series with the standard one
4) Jim's advice
5) most important, avoid resonating planes by rubber mounting the engine

This is combined with a limited number of planes allowed up at any time. I have a calculation sheet on my home page, link to "goodies'.

It allows you to calculate the dB sum of different engines as well as environmental requirement limits during daytime and evenings, combined with penalty for pulsating sounds as in IC engines.

Pé, from Arcen, south-east Netherlands



Here is how to set up the low end mixture. Disconnect the fuel line from the header tank keeping the line connected to the carb, make sure no fuel is in the line. Blow into the line and adjust the low end so that you hear air lightly coming out of the carb. Reconnect and adjust the low end so that its slightly more rich.

Chris Southern



1: Using a low pitch prop, start the engine and let it run rich at a low rpm for about 2 to 3 min.

Do this about 3 to 5 times and let the engine cool completely between runs.

2: Run the engine up to 1/2 throttle or a little more while still running rich. Run about 2 tanks of fuel.

3: Install the prop you plan on flying with and go for full throttle but still running on the rich side. Run another tank of fuel this way.

4: Now you are ready to fly the engine but don't go for full lean runs for a few more tanks of fuel.

This method works with all types of piston / cylinder combinations and creates a strong running and long lasting engine!

Curt Easterbrook



A guy in the UK by the name of Chris Golds has built some stunning aircraft from Brown paper over foam. Some of his designs are published by the Nexus magazines. I have built two airframes which have both been very successful. They are adequately strong for all flight loads but if crashed, I have no doubt that they would disintegrate because they are so light with only the thin brown paper stressed skin. One was the CC Golds 90 inch Lancaster for 4x20 glow the second was adapted from a free plan, a Me 110 for 2x25 glow. Both are still going strong after three and four years.

The paper you seek is simple brown paper, wrapping or parcel paper, the heavier weight the better, (its still very light) The paste is watered down PVA, about 30% water with a little food dye to colour it.

Briefly, paste the paper panel and the model with paste, allow the paper 5 minutes and then smooth it onto the model. Rub down with a cloth and allow to dry. Make generous overlaps between panel and around the edges of wings, tail planes etc.

The paper will bubble to begin with, but as it dries it will go drum tight. When dry, brush all over with paste again and sand lightly when dry. This will give a good surface for paint.

Build light, The 90" Lanc has no spars or wood in the wing except the nacelles which are epoxied to the foam. After skinning with paper, so local reinforcement is applied by a layer of surface glass cloth and resin, but only in the centre section. The finished wing is flexible but plenty strong enough for the job. A stubby winged sloper would not be a problem.

Stuart Knowles

If you need to know more contact:

Subject: Re: Improving the finish on brown paper

One of our club members, Laddie Mikulasko, uses kraft paper (brown paper) for covering some of his foam models, and comes up with a smooth, fine surface with his. His method is to dampen the paper with water and ball it up, that way the fibres are broken down. He paints the foam with a water diluted solution of white glue, and lays on the paper. While still damp, he again overlays the kraft paper with another coat of the diluted white glue and allows to dry. The surface hardens up and the seams are sandable. After sanding the seams, another coat of dilute, watered down white glue is applied as a filler, and to fill the seams where the paper has been exposed to the sanding. He then applies latex paint via airbrush for an even colour and smooth surface texture. Some of his building techniques are quite innovative, and have been published in RCM and MAN.

Bill Swindells <>



There is a Scotch brand "Hair Set Tape" that hair dressers use that is 1/2" wide and pinked. It looks like it is made of silkspan and is sticky on one side. Ideal for rib tapes.

Gord Schindler



The trick to having a good looking centre section after covering with fibreglass and painting is to layer the glass cloth. I start with a 1" strip of 3/4 oz cloth and epoxy it down by brushing thinned 30 minute epoxy through the glass; I immediately follow it with a 2" strip, then a 3" strip and sometimes (depending on the size of the wing) a 4 " strip. All these strips are done at the same time. When it all cures, there is only a tiny 'edge' on the glass cloth, which can be sanded and primed. A good paint job will make the centre section glass strip almost invisible.

Ron Van Putte



Your best bet is to first Fiberglas your floats with a light weight 1 to 2oz. fiberglass cloth and either polyester or epoxy resin. Personally, I find epoxy resin's easier to work with (doesn't set up quite as fast) and they don't smell nearly as nasty. Epoxy is also a lot more flexible than polyester. Seeing as your floats are foam on the inside, balsa on the outside, I would not recommend using anything below 1oz, if you are looking for dent and ding resistance. A lot of people have a big misconception about fibreglass cloth and how to go about using it properly in the hobby. If your floats were light ply or covered with something a little harder like obeechi wood veneer etc., then strength wouldn't matter as much and lighter gauge clothes could be used.  The strength and dent resistance of the wood that covers the float basically is the deciding factor in which weight of cloth you should or shouldn't use.  The goal here being to keep them light but make them tough and strong. If you are flying off of water, your plane is bound to find itself exposed to the usual beach elements such as stick's, stones, rocks and log's etc. This is where it pays to use a little tougher fibreglass on your floats than say what you would glass your competition pattern ship in. A certain amount of common sense must prevail here.

The rules regarding the use of or application of fibreglass in the hobby are not written in stone and can vary greatly from one person's application to another's and also plane to plane. By using fibreglass cloth on the floats, we are trying to obtain a seamless, water-tight, tough finish. When finally primed and painted, we will have an end product that will greatly outlast any other form of finishing. When glassing, keep in mind that the heavier the weight of cloth you use, the less the cloth will conform to any tight bends or curves. It will want to take a radiused bend as oppose to say a 90 degree bend.

The secret to keeping glass cloth stuck down to those hard to deal with areas is to NOT apply the cloth TOO SOON. Brush on your initial coat of resin and allow it to become tacky. Please note that polyester resin will set up a lot quicker than epoxy resin and the warmer the air temperature, the faster the curing time will be. By allowing the resin to become tacky, the cloth will adhere MUCH better to those hard to cover areas. Try to overlap your seams wherever possible to assure water tightness. After you get all the glass cloth applied to your float (and the first layer has semi-cured, not hardened) go back and give it another coat of resin soaking the cloth completely. Do not allow the resin to puddle on top of the cloth. All we are trying to do here is fill the weave of the cloth. Any excess resin can be removed by gently squeegeeing the surface of the cloth with an old credit card or similar plastic applicator. You will find glassing floats easier if you do it one side at a time as oppose to trying to do it all in one piece (much less frustrating).

When the whole thing has finally cured (longer the better-I like to leave it for at least 24 hours) trim off any excess glass and begin to sand. Sand them smooth being careful not to cut into the weave of the cloth. After you have finished sanding, mix up some resin and add baby powder (talcum powder) until it becomes the thickness of peanut butter. This will become your filler compound for filling the weave of the fibreglass. This is lighter and easier to sand than just using straight resin. Add a little rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) to the mixture to thin it out a little. This just allows the filler to flow into the weave of the cloth better. Allow it to dry again and sand. Keep doing this until you are happy with the final appearance.

If you find your sand paper is clogging up on you, make sure it is stamped O/C (open coat on the backside. This grade of sand paper doesn't clog up as easily. If you find it is still a problem, dust a little baby powder on the sand paper and the area your sanding. This will help to prevent the resin residue from bonding to the paper as you sand. Make sure your sand paper is still cutting so you don't waste time sanding for nothing. Time and patience is the only thing that will guarantee you a great finish in the end. If you accidentally sand through the fibreglass, don't panic. Just take a small piece of cloth and patch over the area. Wait for it to dry and resand the area (carefully this time). Don't worry about getting the edges feathered out perfectly because your filler compound will help to smooth out any left over voids.

Fibreglassing is not difficult to do providing you understand the basics. The only way to really learn and become good at fibreglassing, is to take the "HANDS ON" approach. Only by doing will you become proficient at fibreglassing. Your floats are a good project to start with. After doing these you'll wonder why you didn't learn about "glassing" sooner.

As far as paint goes, anything that is fuel proof can be used. Use a primer coat first (use white primer especially if you plan to use a lighter colour like white, yellow, orange etc. A two part epoxy base paint would be your best bet for toughness and durability. If this is not feasible, a paint such as Flecto Varathane in Colours is a good, fuel proof paint that is easy to apply and given plenty of time to harden up, is tough as nails and very waterproof to boot.

Just be careful when spraying you don't try putting it on too heavy and create a run in the final finish. Multiple light coats are better than trying to do it all in one heavy coat. Check to make sure your primer coat is compatible with whatever finish you decide to go with. Many paints will react with each other because of the various thinners that are in them so always try a sample piece before trying it on the real McCoy. A lot less frustrating this way!




Prepare the surface the best you can. After laying the glass and priming the surface, use auto body glazing putty to fill any remaining minor imperfections in the surface. The glazing putty is nothing more than a thick primer that fills these "minor imperfections".

This can be purchased at just about any auto parts store or even Walmart in the auto section.




Here in Canada, I pick up a product called "Meguire's Mirror Glaze" I get it from an auto paint supplier. It comes in different grades:

#17 Clear plastic cleaner - great for cleaning Monocote, canopies

#18 Clear plastic cleaner polisher - takes out mild scratches in Monocote and canopies then polishes

#10 A polish that restores optic clarity

They have a toll free number in the U.S. 1-800-347-5700

"Daryl B"

If your canopy is dull from etching, you might go to an industrial safety equipment supply shop and ask them for plastic lens polishing solution. It is a fluid of very fine grit and a surfactant that will polish the scratches out.

Be sure to practice on some scrap material first, if you have some available. I used this on a
polycarbonate wind barrier for my bicycle, it did wonders.

However, do not use a Dremel buffing wheel with the polish. It gets too hot and will melt the plastic. It is best to hand rub the area.

"Tom Johnson" <>

If the scratches aren't too deep, I've had success with all of these:

1. toothpaste and a soft rag (or even a paper towel) will work. Very fine abrasive there.

2. jewelers-rouge-based metal polish such as MAAS or Blue Magic (both in tubes) works. Stay away from the chemical ones like Twinkle.

3. You can even use Brasso, by pouring a little on a rag, and letting the solvents evaporate and polishing the windshield with the remaining rouge-like abrasive-- a little water will help lubricate the process.

Note: I've also used all of these to smooth and polish paint that was 'less than perfect'.

"Rick Wallace" <>

Use Micro-Mesh abrasives.  I use them for polishing all kinds of plastics and stuff.  Comes in
1,500 grit all the way up to 12,000 grit, capable of polishing optics.  Just do a web search for a dealer.

"Joe Helmick" <>


Make sure you have enough power. If you are just OK on land, then go to the next larger engine for water. Make sure your engine is properly set to run throughout the throttle range - the idle should be rock steady and no over-leaning at full chat !

Try to waterproof everything - especially receiver, battery and switch- then use liberal amounts of grease or vaseline at the wing joint, tank hatch and any other seams where water could get in - because it will if you give it a chance. Use nyrods for pushrods and epoxy seal them where they exit at the rear of the fuselage - avoid pushrod wires exiting at the rear of the fuselage - water will get in through the slot and make the model tail heavy !

If it won't taxi in both left and right hand circles, something is wrong. Check your rudder throws or maybe the wind is too strong. Blipping the throttle while turning helps.

Before attempting a flight, take the model out of the water and check inside that water hasn't got in anywhere.

Takeoff - taxi into wind, holding full up. Gradually increase throttle while releasing elevator. Let the speed build up - don't try to yank it off - and when it's just skimming the surface, a tad of elevator will put it in the air.

Landing - (in the air, your model should behave much as it does with wheels on) - set up for the landing as normal but - beware - this is not your regular runway so try a few low passes, getting slower each time. When confident you can "make the runway", keep the wings level and you should hear that thrilling sound of the floats 'hissing-kissing' the water.

Malcolm Logan



Basically, you start by making a plug out of foam. I have made several cowls as well as wheel pants and they turn out great. Blue foam is the way to go as white chunks out and doesn't sand too well. Attach a larger piece than needed to the front of the plane, it should also be 1/4 to 1/2 inch longer. When glassed this allows for an overlap and fastening to the plane when finished. Shape the foam to the same size and shape as the fuse. Now remove the plug and support it upright. I usually ram two pieces of music rod or dowel into the back of the foam and clamp it in a vice. Then start layering up cloth strips with EPOXY resin. It is better to do it all at once instead of over several nights. Once the glass has hardened, and before removing the plug, sand the surface to finish.

Running cold water over the epoxy while wet sanding helps a bunch and keeps the epoxy from gumming up. When you are satisfied with the finish, trim the back edge nicely perhaps with a bandsaw. Then remove the plug. I don't like chemicals or gas so I pick it out with a pair of needle nose pliers.

Once picked out clean the inside by lightly sanding. Any thin glass areas can now be beefed up from the inside with glass and epoxy. If right the cowl should slip right over the fuse nose and be a perfect fit.


I normally use about 3 layers of a heavy cloth.  One layer really isn't enough.  1 1/2 ounce would do, I used 6 ounce but it's no longer available to me locally.  I usually end up sanding off about 1 of the layers.  If you use epoxy it's a bit more pliable and still holds its shape pretty well after a crash.

Finishing resin, that you get at the hobby shop, works pretty well also, but is just slightly more rigid.  I don't think it matters which you use.  If you don't seal the styrofoam before glassing, you end up with a bunch of little spikes inside due to the epoxy working its way into the cracks and crevises.  I seal it with Elmers Glue thinned with water, then use spackling (Dap or something similer) to fill the voids.  I apply it with a wet finger.  Sand it smooth then apply another coat of thinned  Elmers Glue.  Once you are done with the glassing, pour gasoline in and scrap out the gooey mess as best you can.  I let it dry then use the Dremel with a crown and wheel wire brush to finish the inside smooth.

Its incredibly light weight and strong.

"Edwin Smith" <>



You can paint the inside which means it will be scuff proof and have a plastic sheen, or the outside. For masking anything, my preference is low-tack masking film for graphic artists available at art stores and places like Hobby Craft. It is like clear Fablon but only slightly sticky so it peels off easily without damaging other paint work or leaving half the glue behind and so on. The film has a backing sheet so you can put a rough-cut oversize bit in place and draw onto the film around the edge of the frame.

Then take it away and cut to the line you have drawn, peel off the backing and put in place. If you slightly misalign it, it can be lifted off and repositioned. This saves you going near the canopy with a knife to cut out areas of tape or masking liquid, you will inevitably leave a score line somewhere.

Paint 2 colours onto the frame, an inside colour such as matte black or dull green, and the outside colour such as silver, did that on my Chipmunk and it looks very effective. If you paint on the inside of the canopy, then paint the "outside" colour first, followed by the inside colour.

"Harry Curzon"



If allowed to cool down naturally from red heat, the wire will be annealed. (No temper)

If you plunge the red hot wire into oil or water, it will be glass hard and snap at the bend.

The easiest procedure to retemper is as follows:

Quench (meaning plunge) the red hot wire into tempering oil (SAE 10 motor oil or auto transmission fluid will work). Then use #320 wet or dry silicone carbide paper to polish the bend area. Then reheat the bend watching carefully for a color change. When the metal turns a "straw" or gold color, quench in oil. This will draw the glass hard temper down to about the original temper.

Needless to say, it is best to practice on a scrap of wire. If you reheat past the straw color, you will see blue - be ready to quench at straw, even if you remove the heat the color may continue into blue if you dawdle.

Bill Bunn


First off, don't let the number of pages scare you into thinking that a Silk and Dope Finish is difficult. It isn't. I have just tried to include a lot of additional detail and information, hence the large number of pages. Please understand that this is a compilation of my own experience and the information available in many of the manufacturers' literature such as the Sig Mfg Catalog.

Dope is the traditional paint for both models and full-scale aircraft. It has been in use, in one form or another, since the early days of aviation.

Like any paint, dope has its advantages and disadvantages. By far, the biggest advantage of dope over other paints is its flexibility. Whereas most paints dry hard and are prone to cracking and flaking off, dope stays flexible for years. In fact, even though dope dries to the touch and can be handled in less than one hour, it really doesn't dry completely through for many months. Because of its great flexibility, dope works better than any other paint for finishing airplanes that have large open fabric or paper covered areas, instead of a completely solid structure. Some other paints will even crack when put over completely solid models because of the soft nature of balsa wood itself. The flexibility of dope is the main reason why it is still the most commonly used paint on full-scale fabric covered airplanes like Citabrias, Piper Cubs, Champs, Stearmans, etc.


There are two basic dopes. They are:

BUTYRATE DOPE: The traditional paint for models and full size airplanes. Completely fuel proof. Can be brushed or sprayed. Fast drying. Good for almost any type model, either solid or open framework type, with equally good results. Butyrate dope's light weight and great flexibility make it the best paint for use on completely open structures as found in models of the Piper Cub, Sig Kadet, Aerostar 40, Citabria etc. Can be used in conjunction with a variety of covering materials such as silk, silkspan, coverite, Sig Koverall, nylon, silray etc. Butyrate Dope's high degree of shrinkage, after drying, can cause warps in very light or weak structures.  A LITE-COAT, LOW SHRINK BUTYRATE DOPE is available to help minimize this problem. It is recommended that you consider substituting lite coat, low shrink, clear butyrate dope as much as possible to help avoid warps. For example, if your model is fully sheeted and doesn't have any open structure, you can use lite-coat almost exclusively. However, if your model does have open areas in the structure where the covering is unsupported, it is recommended that you use 2 coats of traditional butyrate clear first to help shrink the covering tight, then switch to lite-coat clear for the rest of the job.

NITRATE DOPE: Is primarily intended as a surface preparation for use in attaching a covering material and for fully sheeted models, all subsequent undercoats. For those models with open structure, the first two coats of clear, following the nitrate used for adhering the covering material, should be of clear butyrate dope to enhance shrinkage. Nitrate dope is fast drying, can be brushed or sprayed. Has superior adhesion to most covering materials, like silk, silkspan, koverall, coverite, etc. Less shrinkage and warps than with butyrate dope. Nitrate Dope is NOT FUEL PROOF by itself and therefore must be top coated with a fuel proof color paint like butyrate dope, hobby poxy, K&B, polyurethanes etc. for the final finish. It will except just about any paint you may choose to put over it.


NOTE: DOPE THINNER is the required solvent for the dopes described above. They both use the same thinner. The dopes and thinner described above can be obtained direct from Sig Manufacturing or through your local hobby dealer. Other companies manufacture dope. Two such companies are Randolph and Hills. There are many covering materials. However, this discussion will be confined to just three of them which are typically associated with "The Silk and Dope" finish. They are:

SILK: An untreated cloth covering material that must be adhered to the model with dope and then painted. Can be used on almost any type of large R/C model with excellent results. This is the traditional covering material still preferred by many veteran modelers. Much more puncture resistant than the paper coverings like Silkspan. Quite expensive.

SILRAY: A blend of silk and rayon, otherwise having the same or very similar characteristics of silk. Can be used interchangeably with silk. Somewhat less expensive than silk.

SILKSPAN: An untreated paper-like covering material that must be adhered to the model with dope and then painted. Can be used on many R/C models, particularly those having an all planked or solid structure. Excellent strength for its weight. Very inexpensive. These covering materials can be obtained direct from Sig Manufacturing or through your local hobby dealer.



NOTE: The following sequence applies equally to silkspan, silk or silray and, unless otherwise noted, to open or planked structures. It is assumed that all of the wood structure has been sanded and all nicks, dings, low spots, etc., have been filled with a good quality Vinyl Spackling. (I personally prefer the vinyl spackling made by DAP which is available at local building supply and hardware stores. To prepare a model framework, either open or planked, for covering, first apply a heavy, unthinned coat of clear nitrate dope to all the wood surface. Sand lightly with 240 grit sandpaper when dry to remove any fuzz. Apply two more coats of clear nitrate dope thinned for good brushing (about 1 part thinner to 2 parts dope) and resand lightly after each coat is dry. Unless a great deal of wood fuzz is raised, eliminate the sanding between coats. However, as you all know, their are three secrets to obtaining a good painted finish. They are: Sand, sand and sand

The bottom of the wing is a good place to start covering. If planked, use silkspan to save money. If open use silk, silray or two layers of silkspan. If using two layers of silkspan, they are applied one after another and not together. Though not required, Dave Platt advises to use a layer of silkspan first when using silk or silray since the layer of silkspan will greatly reduce the amount of nitrate dope needed to fill the weave of those materials. Cut the material about 2" larger than half of the wing. Make sure that, when using silk or silray, you cut it so that any grain or weave runs spanwise (parallel to the leading edge). Whether using silk, silkspan or silray, dip the piece completely in water ( I simply run it under the faucet) then ball it up in your hand and squeeze out the excess water. You want the material wet through but not dripping. Lay the piece of material on the wing and, working around the edges, carefully pull out all of the wrinkles while pulling it smooth. The material being wet, clings nicely to the structure and stays put. You may have to lift it off of the wood in places, due to this clinging, during wrinkle removal and stretching. Now brush around the outside edges only with thinned clear nitrate dope ( the same as used for the initial wood coatings). The dope will soak through the covering and adhere to the dope already on the structure. Let dry before trimming off the excess material with a sharp razor blade. The material becomes crisp from the dried dope and trims beautifully. Check for any rough edges or places that are not stuck down properly and apply more dope, rubbing it in with your finger if necessary. Let dry. If applying a double layer of silkspan, now is the time to apply the second layer and in the same manner as applying the first layer. The other parts of the model should be covered in the same fashion. Don't worry about using several pieces of material and overlapping them. The dope finishing sequence will hide the overlaps. However, good planning can reduce the number of pieces and overlaps and make the subsequent finishing easier.

I always start the wings with the bottom, bringing the top layer over and around the leading and trailing edges to overlap on the bottom. This applies also to the fuselage. I normally use one piece of covering material on the bottom lapping slightly up the sides and then try to cover the top and sides with one piece overlapping on the bottom. Silk and Silray is much easier to use in larger pieces since they easily go around compound curved surfaces without wrinkling. Silkspan is not that forgiving and actually will require some cutting to go around compound curves.


Next, brush one coat of clear nitrate dope, if the structure is planked, otherwise, use one coat of clear butyrate if the structure is open. This coat should be applied over the entire model but avoiding the edges where the dope was used to attach the material. We don't want to soften the attachment coat. Apply a second coat over the entire model including all the edges. We no longer have to worry about softening the attachment coat.

When applying these two coats over open structure areas, brush the first coat on sparingly so that any excess dope will not run completely through the covering and puddle against the covering surface on the other side. When these puddles dry, the large amounts of dope solids in them cause more shrinkage than the rest of the covering and a scarred area may result. So apply the dope lightly the first time over. The second coat will seal most of the pores of the covering and from there on running through will not be a problem. In the case of silk or silray, a third coat may be required to fully seal the material. In the case of silkspan, the two coats are sufficient. Sand the entire model lightly with fine 360 grit sandpaper (3M Tri-Mite Finishing Paper recommended) after the last coat is dry.

You are now ready for primer coats. There are two methods that work equally well except that one of the methods requires paint spraying equipment (not an airbrush but an automotive type spray gun).


If you have spray equipment, you should obtain, from your local automotive paint supply house the following materials: Dupont 30S Primer Surfacer and Dupont 3661 reducer or thinner. Even though manufactured for spraying, when thinned enough it will brush on quite well, sand beautifully, and accepts all hobby paints except Aerogloss Dope. It normally can be sanded thirty minutes after application. After this first coat is applied, sand it almost completely off with 240 grit sandpaper. While it can be wetsanded, the first coat, being sanded almost completely off may expose wood to the water, therefore it is recommended that the first coat be dry sanded. Spray or brush a second coat on and again sand (wet or dry) with 320 grit paper.

If, after close inspection, you feel the need for a third coat, spray or brush a third coat on and again sand (wet or dry) with 320 grit paper.

A second method is to mix clear nitrate dope with talcum powder, such as Johnson's Baby Powder, with the mixture being 15% to 20% talcum powder to 80% to 85% nitrate dope. Stir completely before and during use. Brush two to three coats of this mixture on the entire model and, when dry, sand completely with 240 grit sandpaper followed by 320 grit sandpaper. You can obtain a sanding sealer, equivalent to the mixture described, from Sig Manufacturing Company or through your local hobby dealer. K&B primer is an excellent material and may be used in place of either of the foregoing, following the instructions on the container.


Remember, remove as much of the sanding sealer or primer as possible in the sanding process, but be careful not to cut into the covering material. Insufficient sanding will build up excess weight. You want to leave only enough sanding sealer or primer on the model to fill in the low spots. Hold the model up to a light occasionally, while sanding and you will be able to see the low spots. Two or three coats of sanding sealer or primer are enough depending upon the type of covering material you have and how completely you want to fill it.

If you would like to have the weave of a cloth covering material remain visible for realism, or if you simply want to keep your model as light as possible and are not concerned with having a completely filled finish, then skip the sanding sealer steps and apply two or three more coats of clear nitrate dope to the covering instead. Sand lightly between coats with 360 grit finishing paper.


Your model is now ready for color coats. The surface preparation you have completed will allow you to use virtually any type and brand of colored paint you may want. Some paints you can use to obtain beautiful and accurate scale colors where required are:

COLORED BUTYRATE DOPE can be brushed or sprayed. Thin as required (2 parts dope to 1 part thinner) for brushing, flowing on wet coats and avoiding rebrushing back over an area already painted. For spraying, thin the dope 1 part dope to 1 part thinner. Its been found that a common suction feed spray gun, with about 35-45 pound of air pressure, works well. Try to spray on thin, even coats with adequate drying time between coats. Two coats of color dope will usually give good coverage. it's best to paint your entire model with your primary base color first. then mask off the smaller areas of trim color. Some colors (like yellow, orange and red) are not completely opaque and will look best if they are applied over a white base coat. If you are using sanding sealer, you can achieve this by adding a little white dope to the sanding sealer mix before applying it. If you're not using sanding sealer, you should spray a coat of white dope on the entire model before putting on the primary color, even if there is no white in your color scheme. Darker colors (blue, black, green, brown etc.) have excellent opacity and should not need a white undercoat. After the color doping is all done, complete the job by spraying two coats of Lite-Coat clear butyrate over the entire color scheme. This seals the colors and gives them all an even, high gloss. If you want your model to have a military style, dull non-glossy finish, then spray on two coats of Flat-Coat clear dope instead of Lite-Coat. Again, these materials are available from Sig Manufacturing or your local hobby dealer.


You can have just about any color you want mixed at your local paint store using water based house paint of the exterior or interior types. Must be oversprayed with a fuel proof material. Hobby Poxy and/or K&B epoxy clear in either gloss or satin is compatible and highly recommended. I prefer K&B because it is crystal clear while Hobby Poxy clear has a tint to it.

Model railroad paints offer beautiful very opaque colors in both solvent based and acrylic types. Must be oversprayed with a fuel proof material. Hobby Poxy and/or K&B Epoxy clear in either gloss or satin is compatible and highly recommended. I prefer the K&B because it is crystal clear while the Hobby Poxy has a tint to it.

NOTE: Hobby Poxy and K&B Superpoxy paints are virtually identical. They can use each other's thinner, they can be mixed together. The only significant difference is the tint found in the Hobby Poxy clear as previously noted. Rustoleum makes many fine colors in both spraycans and bulk cans and, by the way, is fuel proof, if allowed to cure for two weeks. Other Model paints can be used but need to be fuel proofed as described above.


Sometimes, high humidity will cause dope to "blush" or turn somewhat white or flat looking. This is not as serious as it sounds. This problem is caused by the water vapor being trapped in the dope. The simplest solution is to wait for a lower humidity situation or go ahead and complete the paint job except for the final clear coats then wait until you have a low humidity day and spray, either a light, thin coat of clear over the entire
model which will soften the preceding coats and allow the vapor to escape, clearing the blush or spraying a light, rapid mist of thinner over the entire model to achieve the same purpose. The final clear coats can then be applied.

It is recommended that you use a low-tack paper masking tape (like 3M Drafting Tape, for masking off the trim color areas. Seal the edge of the tape with a brushed on light coat of clear butyrate dope to prevent the color dope from bleeding under the tape. When the trim color is dry, peel the tape off carefully, pulling it straight back over itself. Another handy material for masking is clear, adhesive backed, shelf paper available at your local stores. Dope will attack some of these shelf papers if brushed on. Spraying the dope often avoids this problem.

In closing, I strongly recommend the Harry Higley book titled, "There are No Secrets" which covers all aspects of building and finishing model aircraft. The sections on finishing are super.

P.R. (Pete) Daino



Proper soldering is more involved than many people realize. I am going to tell you the PROPER way to do it. It is up to you and your conscience to decide what to do.

If you plan on doing much soldering on electronics, you would be best served by getting a temperature controlled soldering iron with a direct temp readout. This will assure that you are not unnecessarily overheating the joint. The temperature should be set at 600deg +/1 35 degrees F. Solder should be Sn60 or Sn63 (known as 60/30 and eutectic solder, respectively). If it has a rosin core, the rosin should be type R or RMA. Type RA should be avoided in electronic assemblies. No other flux types should be used in electronic assembly.

You should have a cleaning solution of ethyl, methyl or isopropyl alcohol to clean the conductors. Wire strippers should be of the fixed die or thermal type. These help prevent nicked conductors. Proper joining of two conductors normally involves the use of a terminal or ferrule. Since this is impractical for servo wiring, this is how I would do it. Strip the ends of the wires to be joined, making sure not to disturb the lay of the wire twist.

Clean the conductors with the cleaning solvent and a stiff bristle brush (acid brush). Do not touch the wire once cleaned. Clean the iron tip by wiping it on a foam pad soaked with deionized water, or with a clean tissue. Cut off the end of the solder to expose the rosin core. Place the iron tip on the wire and apply a small amount of solder to the point where the wire and iron touch. This forms a solder bridge for better heat conduction. Then add the solder to the wire until it is tinned at least 90% of the exposed wire.

Tin the iron tip and place it back in its holder.

Clean the wire with the solvent and brush. Inspect for complete tinning and that the strands are still visible. Tin all the rest of the wires like this. Be sure to cut off the tip of the solder each time to expose the flux.

Cut lengths of shrink sleeving long enough to cover the completed joint plus at least .2" on either side. You will have to estimate this based on the joint you are doing. Slide the sleeve over one side of the wire to be joined, making sure it is far enough away that the heat from the iron won't shrink it. Using round nose pliers, form each tinned part of the wire into a "J" so that the wires can be hooked together. Hook the wires together and gently squeeze the "J" until the wires have slightly greater then 180 degree wrap around each other.

Use the same solder bridge technique used for tinning and reflow the solder on the wires. Add a small amount of fresh solder if needed for a smooth, complete fillet around the joint.

Clean and inspect the joint. Be sure that the joint is smooth, bright and free of flux residue.

Slide the shrink sleeve over the joint and shrink with a heat gun.

For inspection, look for the following:

cold joint:             dull, grainy appearance with little wetting evidence
overheated:         dull, grainy appearance of solder, similar to cold joint
fractured joint:    cracked or grainy appearance around the conductor. Usually because the joint was during cooling.

Paul Mcintosh <
Desert Sky Model Aviation
Dealer for Raptor, G&Z, and CS competition engines
(602) 780-9005 in AZ
(877) 311-3759 toll free


Soldering Two Wires Together.

Remove the insulation from the wire you wish to attach. probably about 1/4 inch is fine. Make sure the wire and the tab are clean and bright. Sandpaper or a small wire brush work good. I like to "pre tin" the connection but you can move right to the soldering step. "pre Tinning" is the process of soldering the wire and the tab separately before bringing them together. This helps in getting a good solder joint and if done correctly with enough solder will require
no more when you bring the two together. This helps in tight spots as well as freeing up your hand to hold the connection. Otherwise you will have to use one hand to hold the connection, one to hold the iron
and your third hand to feed the solder.

To "pre tin" I get the iron hot and place it under the wire or tab. In a short time the wire will get hot enough so that if you touch solder to it it will melt and flow into the wire. Leave a little excess on the wire as this helps when soldering to the tab. If you are having trouble getting the wire to heat up, clean the tip of the iron with a
damp cloth while hot and add a little dribble of solder to it. This will help the heat transfer to the wire when you touch it. Next do the same to the tab until it also is coated with solder. Now bring the two together and add heat again. The solder on the wire and tab should flow together. If there is insufficient solder to make a good joint
then add a little more with your third hand.

The most important thing in a good joint is to have just enough solder to join the two solidly and coat them, as well as keeping the joint perfectly still while cooling. If you move the joint while cooling you will end up with a weak joint that will not transmit power the best and may mechanically fail. Have a look at the other joints you have before
you to serve as examples of what a good joint should look like.

Spadman from Canada's Eastern Coast
From: Spadman <>



There is a guy at my local club that swears by putting Armor All in his fuel.  He proved it to us by flying a flight in his plane with Armor All in the fuel and a tank from a brand new gallon with out. Seeing is believing.


WARNING:  The active ingredient in ArmorAll is silicon, which under the heat of combustion combines with the metal in your glow filiment.  Eventually, the glow plug will quit working.

INDEX                  H


We tow lots of gliders at my field, and you'd be surprised at the different planes we tow with...everything from a CG Cub, to Ugly Sticks, to a Sr. Telemaster. They will all work, but we've found a few tips that seem to make them work better.

First, use a larger propellor on your tow plane, with a finer pitch. In my Sr. Telemaster, I'm flying an old OS 1.20 (Non-Surpass model), and running a 16/8 Graupner prop...don't want a lot of speed, just a lotta torque.

Second, attach your tow line to the tow plane as close to the CG as possible to avoid violent pitch changes caused by the towed glider. Also, provide some sort of 'shock absorber' in your tow line. We use several #64 rubber bands to provide some shock absorbing action.

Third, the towed glider should have a servo-activated tow line release installed in its nose. That way, you don't have to rely on any violent maneuvering by the glider pilot to get off the tow line. He simply flips his switch (we use the retract channel) and releases the tow line.

Also, for what it's worth, I've installed a tow release hook on my Sr. Telemaster as well. That way, one way or another, the glider WILL be released from my plane...we've seen a couple of instances where the glider couldn't release...I reduced power and took a lot of time to come back down to the runway and flew right down the center of the field where I released the line and glider...he landed with no problems, as I flew off minus the glider and tow line...saved BOTH planes {:o)


Last...practice, practice, and then practice some more in making shallow very gentle turns...NOTHING VIOLENT, NOTHING DONE TOO QUICKLY! Talk to your glider pilot and tell him when you're going to make a turn. We say something like "Ok, starting left turn now...!" and then execute as flat a turn as we can. The glider pilot DOES NOT turn using his rudder or ailerons...let the tow plane pull the nose of the glider around. If the glider tries to turn, you will induce a lot of slack in the line which will cause the two planes to 'ping-pong' and could end up causing both planes to become entangled in the tow line - NOT GOOD! Practice on keep the tow line do this my maintaining a positive climb rate, staying on the power, and making gentle turns. By not using his rudder/ailerons to turn, the glider pilot helps keep the tow line taught as well. All the glider pilot needs to do is concentrate on keeping his wings level and let the tow plane do all the work.

Remember...try to NOT DIVE in your turns! This will induce slack and cause the ping-ponging to start. Also, speed is NOT good...! The glider will climb faster than you can with a powered plane, and will cause slack again. We climb at about a 30 degree angle and work to maintain that angle right up until you reach altitude. Remember to maintain communications with your glider pilot...then when he's ready, reduce power and start a shallow dive as he releases the tow line.

Visit us at

Flyin' Freddie            



Buy yourself a D or E steel guitar string. Works very well. Most of these strings come in several sizes, so select thinner (less current ) or thicker according to your voltage source. I use a 16V transformer, and it works well for me!



I have just start sheeting a foam wing using Titebond and an iron. Mix one ounce of Titebond with 3/4 ounces of water. Paint on foam and balsa, allow to dry completely. Set iron to WOOL setting and simply iron on. Works great, no mess.





After you warm it up and slowly bring the engine up to full throttle, set the top end to it's max rpm's and back off or richen up the needle 3~4 clicks.


After top end is set, bring it to an idle 2,000rpm's. From full throttle set your trim so it will hit 2,000 instantly not drop slowly like 35,30,25,22, 2,000. NO it has to hit 2,000 BANG.........After about 3 seconds, the engine will start to let you know if it is too lean or rich.

If the mixture is to rich, the rpm's will start to slow down 2,000 19,18,17.

Lean the low end.

If the mixture is to lean, the rpm's will start to speed up 2,000 21,22,23.

Richen up the low end.

Remember, after you adjust the low end, always bring it back to full throttle and back to an idle to test your adjustments. DO NOT CHASE THE MIXTURE. Make the adjustment within 5 seconds when you hit idle, Do not let it idle for 10, 20 seconds and try to adjust again. You must bring it to full first and back down to check the adjustment.  After adjusting the low end, it should idle at 2,000 consistently for about 20 seconds.

After the 20 seconds, bring it back up to full throttle by rolling the throttle stick up. DO NOT NAIL IT TO FULL !!!!!! THROTTLE............ Roll it. It should take you just over 1 second to go from idle to full.

Another trick to test if the mixture is correct is to pull off the fuel line at the carburetor at idle. There should not be any fuel coming out of the fuel line. If you do, you are still to rich. This is best done on the bench and not on the plane.

With this last test, many other factors can cause fuel to come out of the fuel line at idle.

* Bad Check Valve
* Piston ring worn out causing too much blow-by
* Leaking intake valve



It just sits there on your workbench, naked and waiting for you to muster enough courage to pick it up, clean and wipe it down and dress it. No, I am not talking about a centerfold with nothing on but a smile, I am talking about the airplane you just finished and now it's time for the dreaded MONOKOTE!!!

Does it have to be that way? No, it does not, but unless you want to try and fly it naked you must cover it with something, so let's get on with it.

The first thing to do is decide the colors and the trim that will be used, easy enough you say? Well, pilgrim, let me tell you that if you do not plan ahead then you're asking for disaster and this is where most of us fumble the ball.

The way I do it fits my style and works quite well for me, but like everything else in this world there always will be numerous other ways of doing it. The first thing you want to do is read the instructions that came with what you're planning to use for covering. Funny thing about instructions if you follow them then it usually works pretty well.

When covering I use three separate irons, one for shrinking, one for tacking, and the other is a trim iron that is worth its weight in gold when getting into very small cramped areas.

Well? Are we ready to start? Good, because here we go. If you have not checked the iron temperature then you better go and get a thermometer because the right temperature is very important! Is your work area clean? Free of dust and any other thing that might get in the way? Dust is the big killer of a good covering job. The adhesive just will not adhere well and everything will start to come off. Now that would look funny while doing a fancy fly-by.

The model should be blown, or vacuumed clean, and it should be wiped down with a tack cloth at least twice before you start. When it comes time to cut the material I prefer using single edge razors because they are sharper and last longer than #11 blades, besides they are cheaper. Let's start with the wing because it's easier and I am feeling lazy at the moment. You always start with the bottom and do the top last. Cut a panel out about an inch wider than the leading edge, and the trailing edge, but at least 4 to 6 inches at the tip if you have a rounded tip. I will explain later.

When you are sure that the panel is centered right then start at the center of the wing and just tack down a small area, pull it tight towards the leading edge and do it again. Now do it to the trailing edge. Now do the same thing at the tip making sure that you pull it real tight and tack it down in the same sequence. I usually do things in 50% increments from here on out. Go to the center of the wing panel and tack it down in the back and then the front of the wing pulling it tight. Keep doing this in 50% increments until you have it pretty well adhered. Now very slowly start pulling the covering over the leading edge and make sure it's sticking well.

Now get that steady hand ready because you are going to trim the excess off and you want the seam to be as straight as possible. Seams will just about disappear if you do this right, jagged ones stand out like a big wart on your nose. Do the same for the trailing edge. Now for the wing tip. Make sure that you have a heavy glove to protect your hand here because were going to be using the heat gun for this job and barbecued hand is not fun, don't ask!

Start at either the leading or the trailing edge, it does not matter. Grab the MonoKote and carefully heat about 1/4" until it starts to stretch, pull it down over the tip while removing the heat, let cool until it sticks and start all over. It's slow but worth the effort, and remember the long piece I had you cut for the tip? Well, this is why it has to be long because by the time that you're finished it will be considerably smaller, trust me.

The top of the wing will be covered in the same manner, but be neat and take your time; you're in no hurry. Someone once said that it takes about the same amount of time to cover as it took to build the airplane, and it's true if you want to do a beautiful job. If you are satisfied with just the bare essentials then that's fine also, but do it slowly.

When doing the fuselage start with the bottom, you get the covering as tight as possible because if you do then it will stay tight longer. Now it's time to do the sides and it isn't much different then doing the bottom. The top is always last. When trimming off the excess you only need about 1/16" overlap.

If your razor is starting to drag even a little bit then get a fresh one. A dull blade will not give you a straight cut. Do save the used ones though, as they are still pretty sharp and can be used during construction of another airplane.

When it comes time to shrink the covering on the wing do not do the whole bottom at a time. You are taking a chance of putting a warp in it. Shrink about 3 rib panels on the bottom and then do the same on the top, then on the bottom and so forth until you are at the tip. When you do it this way you are shrinking it in a uniform manner. I get very few warps this way, but if you choose to ignore this bit of advice then you are on your own and you were warned! This is especially true when you're doing the tail feathers. Think about it. I hope that this has been of some help, but if you practice and follow instructions then it should go all right.

Art Grabow, Sr.



Anybody try the pop bottle skis yet? Went flying yesterday and my partner had a set WOW. These things worked great on hard pack, don't know how good they would be in powder.  They are lighter than the ARF foam wheels.   They didn't seem to have any effect on his plane at all as far as flight performance is concerned.  He found the plans in MAN I think.    I bet they would work on any size plane by just using a different size bottle.

The set my buddy has are on a forty size plane. You cut the bottle in half, and cut the top half in half.  Cut around the neck of the bottle, this will give you a little curve in the front.  Then you glue a strip of balsa down the middle of the bottle to mount the landing gear on.  At this point he made another set of light ply mounts that were glued to the balsa for mounting, but at this point you can figure out how you want to mount them to your landing gear.

His were painted black and looked real cool but I think I will leave mine clear.

Robert Bleicher



The following sites' FAQ/instruction pages may be of assistance

Alan Tong



The following links may be useful

Alan Tong



Floats come in three generic sizes that are scaled on the floatation requirements of the average 25, 40 and 60 size aircraft.   The firm of John Sullivan Floats has provided a table for their foam core products that will allow you to judge the relative size of floats you will require.

Float Sizing Information provided by John Sullivan Floats at
Float Size
Fuselage Length
Buoyancy with 80% reserve
Average Engine Size
32" to 37"
5 lbs.
.15 to .20
37" to 42"
9 lbs.
.30 to .40
42" to 47"
13 lbs.
.50 to .60
47" to 52"
17 lbs.
.60 to .80
52" to 57"
 21 lbs.
.90 to 1.20
57" to 62"
 25 lbs.
  1.20 and up



Question:   I have been working with 6031 and it seems a little too soft. Any metal experts out there?


6061 T6 is common, reasonably workable and quite strong. 20204 T4 is not as easy to work but is stronger than 6061. Both of these types are readily available in bar form with the 6061 being the most common. 7075 is about the strongest aluminum available but may be hard to find in anything other than sheet stock sizes (it's usually used as aircraft 'skin'). If you are willing to pay a shearing charge, you should be able to get 7075 in the size you need.

From: "Brian D. Felice" <>



This news group has several FAQ's to help you answer those questions that seem to come up over and over, as well as provide web site references to find more detailed information. Beginners primer

From: RedFred1 <>



Keep applying dope, usually 3 to four coats. Make sure it is thinned about 50%. Lightly sand after the last coat using 600 wet dry paper, use wet.  Your can tell when it is filled by the sound. Apply this coats by hand.  After it is filled with dope I apply a coat of white primer dope then sand most of it off. The final step I use is to paint with silver dope sanding again.  After sanding the entire surface/s any shinny spots are low and need to be filled. Auto filler works great. This the the kind that comes in a tube. I fill the spots, let stand for a few minutes and sand with 600 wet again. After all spots filled. I paint the entire wing/plane with regular white dope. After it is dry I lightly sand then apply my colors. After completely painted and dry, I again sand with 1000 wet, clean surface and apply clear dope, usually 3 to 4 coats. If I want a very shinny finish I also us a retarder for the final coats. It allows the dope to flow better and smoother. After this are dry, I sand with 1500 wet (always wet sanding after the first 3 coats of dope) then us a jewelers paste. GORDON'S over all surfaces. Your won't believe the finish, and the smoothness of your model. I learner this from a master finisher John Brodak, He has his own line of paints which are excellent with
more pigment than Sig. When he is finished with a plane, you can't ever feel his stripping tape or decals.

From: "DRJFJ" <>


Subject: Re: Koverall - how to fill weave?

I mix Talc (baby powder) mixed with butyrate dope. I only use nitrate dope to glue the fabric to the airframe.
Jim McIntyre
Ontario, Canada.



I have experimented with foam fuselages and I think its a great alternative to balsa. The blue foam works well and can be sanded to any shape. I have cut up plastic models to make formers then enlarged them and transferred them to plywood to make foam cutting templates. After cutting them out glue them up and sand the whole thing down to get the curves you want. Or just use 3 view drawings to make templates and approximate the fuse shape. Foam doesn't have to be sheeted with balsa either. I have applied lightweight fiberglass cloth directly to foam using either epoxy resin or water based polyurethane with great success. Filling is necessary but you still wind up with a light fuse and its quick from start to finish.

From: PS2727 <>



After monocoating wing and fuselage, drill 1/8" holes every 1/2" all the way around the fuselage wing saddle area. Squirt silicone bath tub caulk about 1/4" bead all the way around on top of the holes you just drilled. Cover your wing center section with saran wrap. Get all the wrinkles out and then set the wing on the silicone bead and push down tight to fuselage and let cure for 24 hours. Then peel saran wrap back from wing and pop off the wing. Then test the curing of the silicone and pull the saran wrap off the fuselage. You can trim excess silicone off with sensors or knife and let newly exposed silicone cure for another 24 hours. If there is no wrinkles in the saran wrap you will have a water tight wing saddle. You can get silicone in black white and clear colors.

PO 2422
Lake Ozark, Mo

Subject: Re: Making a watertight wing saddle

While this method provides a good fit I never found it to be waterproof. I think the silicone is too stiff. The slightest give in the wing/saddle joint will admit water. I agree with John on the silicon method. Although it does provide a
pretty good seal, it will leak. One addition to this that i heard of but never tried was once the silicon seal was made, glue a piece of light mono filament line to the wing so that it occurs in the middle of
the silicon seal. This tends to put a ridge on the wing which pushes into the silicon and forms a tighter seal that is less affected by movement. Sort of like a "o" ring.

In order to obtain seals on my water planes though I have used John's weather stripping idea as well as normal wing seating foam. Both provide a water tight seal that works well and will tolerate some movement as well as conforming to all the gaps and bumps. I've used wing seating tape on my Seamaster for close to 6 years without a

Spadman from Canada's Eastern Coast
From: Spadman <>



Here are a few things you need to know before you do this.

1. Bare painted balsa is not very strong and the paint cracks very easily.
2. Virtually anything you can do to make the finish strong will weigh at least as much as a film covering job.

That said, here is how I would do it:

1. Get the lightest glass cloth you can find (even nylon stockings will "work"). Cut it to fit the fuselage so that you will not have any wrinkles.
2. Use the new water-based Varathane and dab it on the cloth to stick it down. Use only enough paint to fill the weave and adhere the cloth to the wood.
3. LIGHTLY sand the dried Varathane with some 240 grit sandpaper.
4. Spray some automotive filler/primer over the cloth and lightly sand it with the 240 paper until you can just see the weave. Do this several times until the weave is completely filled and sanded smooth. Finish
sand it with 400 grit.
5. Go to an automotive paint store and get a good base coat paint in the color you want. Most stores will put it in a single use spray bottle for you. Also get a bottle of clear polyurethane paint to protect the base coat.
6. Mask and paint the model with the base coat. Do not put it on real thick, It covers very well. This stuff will dry in a few minutes!
7. Wait a couple of hours then spray on a coat of clear. Be careful no to overdo it. All you need to do is seal the base coat.

There are other paints you can use, but this one is very fuel proof and
durable. I use Sherwyn Williams Ultra 7000 products.

From: <>



From: Dr1Driver <>
Subject: Re: mousse can pipe
Date: September 2, 2000 7:56 AM

Mousse Can Mufflers got their start in Unlimited Competition Fun Fly, and accomplish two things.

1. They are lighter than either a stock muffler, or a tuned pipe.
2. They provide a pipe-like power boost, but without the peak in the power curve.

This was very important to a Fun Flyer when even a one click change in throttle made a large difference and you didn't want all that power coming on at once.

The size of the can is relatively unimportant. If fact, nothing about these cans is critical. I'm using a White Rain (about 1.5" x 4") for my OS.32. An FDS can works well, too, but you might get some funny looks from the sales
clerk. A .40 size engine will probably take a standard mousse can (about 1.5" x 6"). Also purchase the header for your engine and a 12" length of brass tubing (about 1/4" for the small engine, and 5/16-3/8" or so for the .40's). I know this sounds small, but you're creating a pressure canister that will boost the mix like a pipe would. You will also need a package of JB Weld, available at Wal-Mart. Now for the assembly:

1. Remove the nozzle of the can and release all the pressure. You might want to do this outside.
2. Using a drill and a sanding drum on a Dremel, open the nozzle end of the can to just slightly under your header diameter. Use needle nose pliers to crimp the edges of the hole outward so the fit on the header is tight.
3. In the center of the other end, drill a tight hole to fit the brass tubing you chose.
4. Scuff the can, header, and tube roughly with sandpaper to create a good surface to glue to.
5. Cut about 1"-1.5" of brass tubing and insert it into the hole about 1/4"-1/2".
6. Mix the JB Weld and apply liberally around the tube/can joint. Let stand for 24 hours, no less, and DON'T move it during that time.
7. Slide the header about 1/2" into the other end and apply the JB Weld. Make sure you get a good fillet here. Let dry following the above instructions.
8. Determine what quadrant of your can will be straight down when the engine is mounted, and drill a 1/16" hole at the rear edge for drainage.
9. Support the can with a fuselage pipe mount as you normally would a pipe.

That's it, sounds hard, but is really easy, and I think you'll like the results.

Dr.1 Driver
"There's a Hun in the sun!"



Check out =

From: A.T. <>
Alan T.



If you want true water slide decals (like those supplies with plastic models), there are at least two brands available for ink jet (deposition) printers.

Surf to or

BelDecal make two types of decal paper; ink jet and laser. Both types are available in clear and white background. The laser type requires just that, a non-firing laser copier or printer. Take the artwork master and the decal paper to a copy shop (Kinko's) and have them make the decal. Using the ink jet type, make your own.

MicroMark sell the VitaCal brand ink jet paper, which is considerably more expensive per sheet than BelDecal paper, without any significant improvement in performance that I can detect. Neither brand or type of decal paper is fuel proof out of the box.  MicroMark/VitaCal sell a 'protective' spray which prevents the
ink from smearing. BelDecal went one better, and simply say to use Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic top spray.
You may need to overspray the final decal (of either brand/type) with a clear fuel proof coating. I haven't tested either of the clear coats (VitaCal or Krylon) regarding nitro/methanol fuels. I presume, being acrylic, the Krylon Crystal Clear top spray will be fuel proof.

The other alternative is clear transparency film from an office supply shop. Most are available with adhesive backing, in clear and colors, and most don't 'hang on' to the ink worth beans. A clear 'fixative' coat is required, as well as a fuel proofing clear paint.

"Fred McClellan" <>



Rather than using Lexan look up a plastic sheet supplier in your area and ask for "Pet-G" I've used this product for about 4 years and used others including lexan before that and found "Pet-G" much easier to use and it gives a good job.

You'll need a vacuum box made out of 1 X 4 whatever and some peg board. Put a hole large enough to get your vacuum end into it, then heat your plastic. Drop it over the mold and turn on the vacuum let it cool. Remove the mold and you are done.

Jim Moss
MAAC 16236

To make a canopy, if it's a fairly small model, you can carve a plug and then pull  the plastic from a large soda bottle over it, heating it with a heat gun as you do.  The plastic shrinks as it's heated.

"Morris Lee" <>



After a rather "rough" landing at the International Invitational Gremlin Combat, 80% of my right trailing edge separated from the rest of the wing.  Reattaching well fitting foam to foam is a breeze with polyurethane glue. My creativity was called upon where there were missing chunks of styrofoam. There were a couple of very irregular shaped holes about .5" wide by 1.5" long. Once more I thought of my super adhesive filler mix of lite spackle and Titebond II , but I decided I needed an added dimension, so I mixed in an equal part of polyurethane glue to give it the foaming action to fill all voids. Before smearing this concoction into the holes, I moistened the holes (OK I sprayed them with water) as the PU glue needs moisture to cure.

They have dried and all looks promising. Sands easily enough and appears to be stronger than the original styrofoam. Yes I know "Great Stuff" spray insulation has been used for this exact type of fix, but I don't got none handy, it is messy, and it expands TOO MUCH with too much force.

From: "Bill Archibald" <>



Have a look at:

Alan T.



The Black Wire Disease - What's the Cause?

The black wire syndrome is an occurrence in battery packs (Ni-Cds) where the negative wire becomes corroded (turns from shinny copper to blue-black). This is the result of either a shorted cell in the pack, the normal wear out failure mode of Ni-Cds, or cell reversal when a pack is left under load for an extended period. The sealing mechanism of a Ni-Cd cell depends to some degree on maintaining a potential across the seal interface. Once this potential goes to zero the cell undergoes what is called creep leakage. With other cells in a pack at some potential above zero the leakage (electrolyte) is "driven" along the negative lead. It can travel for some distance making the wire impossible to solder and at the same time greatly reducing its ability to carry current and even worse, makes the wire somewhat brittle. A switch left on in a plane or transmitter for several months can cause this creepage to go all the way to the switch itself, destroying the battery lead as well as the switch harness. There is no cure. The effected lead, connector, switch harness must be replaced.

This leakage creep takes time so periodic inspection of the packs, making sure that there are no shorted cells insures against the problem. The cells should also be inspected for any evidence of white powder (electrolyte mixed with carbon dioxide in the air to form potassium carbonate). In humid conditions this can revert back to mobile electrolyte free to creep along the negative lead. Some "salting" as this white powder is referred to, does not necessarily mean that the cell has leaked. There may have been some slight amount of residual electrolyte left on the cell during the manufacturing process. This can be removed with simple household vinegar and then washed with water after which it is dried by applying a little warmth from your heat gun.

C. Scholefield



I build model planes as a business. I will not use anything but polyurethane glues for my high performance planes such as the Ballistick. It is stronger, fills voids better and is just about the easiest glue to use I can find.  Tape the wood sheeting together with masking tape. No need to glue them together first. Spread a thin layer of glue on the wood. Check for dry spots. The wood should just be shiny. Lay the wood on the foam and place it back in the saddle (outer piece of foam that the core was cut from). When you have both sides on, place the whole sandwich on the
flattest piece of floor you can find. Lay a piece of plywood or other flat wood on top of the cores. Make sure it is at least as large as the foam. Get everything lined up and them place about 50-100lb of weight on the wood to press everything together. I use three 5 gal paint buckets filled with water. Let it set a few hours and then take it all
apart. Your wings will be flat and completely bonded. Trim the excess sheeting and finish the wings.

I don't use epoxy because it is heavier, more expensive and no stronger than poly. Sorgum is OK, but if you don't get it exactly right the first time, you are screwed.  Spray glues are terrible because of poor bonds, voids and the fact that they don't last more than a year or two before they start coming apart.

From: Paul McIntosh <>



The formula is so simple that the only thing I use charts for is to convert drill sizes to decimal inch. Tap drill size is the outside
diameter of the screw minus the pitch (or 1/number thds/inch).

3/8-16 tap drill is 3/8 - 1/16 = 5/16",
1/4-20 tap drill is 1/4(.25)-1/20(.05)=.200".

This formula works for standard and metric threads, the nice thing about metric is they give you the OD and the pitch!

Roger Neal



A good way to do this is to clamp the balsa parts FIRMLY between two pieces of pine and drill right thru the whole stack. The clamping action prevents ripping and tearing of the balsa.

From: (BBrastad)



[Note: Make sure you sand before you hit it with CA - sets up like concrete]

In Pakistan, we use quick field repairs using baking soda and cyno.

That's the quickest way of repairing models if you have only one for that day. In the workshop, that's the best thing for gap filling.  Always sand the part where soda is used and you will get the best gap filler ever available in the commercial market.

Kamal Shamsi



I normally soak the wood, then use a wet cloth on the outside, and use a hot iron to steam the wood against the formers. The heat will make the wood pliable. That works better than ammonia. Rubber band the wood, and let dry,
before removing the rubber. Pin a longeron near the edges of the wood to be bent, to get retaining pressure where it counts. As said elsewhere, be patient and do not rush things. Select the wood that is soft, and has a feathery grain.

The speckled grain is worthless for bending and will snap on you.

From: "Pé Reivers" <>
Please remove the not.this. to reply my messages
Arcen, south-east Netherlands



1.  Wrap the wing where it meets the fuse with clear plastic wrap (Monokote backing
sheet works well).  Tape it down tight and smooth.

2. Put a bead of silicone sealer on the fuse where it meets the wing (yes, it
sticks to monokote pretty well).

3. Mount the wing, come back in about 24 hours, undo the tape holding the plastic
sheet to the wing and remove the wing.  Carefully peel the plastic from the

4.  Trim excess.

Works great!  Use this method on hatches too.

Don Hatten       AMA SOARDOG

We use this way on float fly birds with great success.  The only additions
to the following comments are that it is good to do this before you install
the radio equipment to avoid the acetic acid on the electronics and the best
way I have found to do the trimming is with a NEW single edge razor blade.

"James G. Branaum" <>

I have tried both of the methods people have suggested so far and I find the
silicone seal to be superior.  When using the foam tapes or weather stripping, I
find that the foam absorbs the oil from the fuel (I assume you are not talking
gliders here) and then the adhesive lets go.  The silicone is resistant to the oil.

"Ed Smega" <>



In general, remote the backplate, remote the prop, prop washer, etc., remove the piston sleeve, remove the piston con rod from the camshaft, bump the camshaft out with a block of wood and hammer (the wood keeps the hammer from damaging the metal).

This should get you down to pretty much just the bearings.  Heat the case around the front bearing with a small propane torch, then use a dowel that will just fit through the rear bearing, but not go through the front bearing.

Bump the dowel on the table or with a hammer to tap the front bearing out the front.  Then, heat the case around the rear bearing, and bump the back of the engine case on the table... the bearing should come out pretty easily.

I had a mechanic friend of mine tell me one time that "heat is your friend"... he's right.  I've rebuilt several engines this way, with no damage to the engines at all.  The heat allows the case to expand just enough to allow the bearings to come out without too much trouble.

"Barry L. McGrady" <>



Make a scraper from a piece of soft steel from a tin can and scrape the carbon off the valve.  You can then spin it up in a drill press and use steel wool or SOS pad to polish it up for the final touch.  Use a small jeweller's screwdriver to scrape the port clean but be very carefull not to scratch  the bronze seat.  Lap the  valve by hand using a small drill chuck on the stem and fine rubbing compound, but understand that you are really lapping the bronze seat which is quite soft compared to the valve.

To install the valve collets, I use a round plastic file handle stuffed into the cylinder to hold the valve closed and a 5mm open end wrench to compress the spring.  Place one collet onto the retainer washer and move it around with a toothpick (non magnetic) until it drops into the groove, then slowly release the pressure till it grabs.  Be prepared for it to let go and shoot the collet into ablivion where you can't find it; try to cover it with a box or plastic bag if you can. Then do the other one.

I got my engine used but in good condition and one exhaust valve had been set with no clearance.  I suspect this was causing the carbon and loss of compression as the other jug was OK.  Yours may have been the same problem or perhaps you are burning castor, bad news in a 4 stroke as it burns on the red hot exhaust valve and builds up carbon.

"Nigel Field" <nfield@*spam*>



If you don't want to unplug the standard jack every time, solder a male and female J plug (from an aileron extension for example) into the battery pack.  Now you can simply pull the pack and charge it with standard J plug cords.  This leaves your radio's protection in place.

From: "CrossCustm" <>

Mrs. AnnMarie Cross
Senior Manager, Proprietary Service and Support
Great Planes Model Distributors



Use acetone.  It will quickly dissolve the CA, but Monokote is impervious to it.

(Editor's Note:  The sooner you get the acetone on, the better.)

 "Ian Maclaughlin" <>  San Diego



I have used trim solvent extensivly for lettering and insignia on war birds. It works very well. I lay out the piece where I want it on the model, then lift one half with a knife or tweezers while holding the other half down. Very sparingly (dry), brush a small quantity of solvent on the suface where the piece will flop down. If you use too
much solvent the color will disolve away from the film and bleed all over the place. It will not stick and the piece will be ruined.

A little bit goes a long way, I imagine one bottle would do an acre!

You might want to use a bit of paper towel and just wipe a thin film of solvent on the surface, that is all it takes to set the glue. As someone else said, once set it will not move. I prefer a small brush because the solvent will dry very quickly from the towel.

Either way be sure to use plenty of ventilation, it can't be all that good for you. I would practise on some scrap before you try it on your masterpiece.

"Tom Johnson" <>



Use a normal iron and set it on Cotton without steam. Make sure the ironing board is clean. Iron the plans face down on the board, keep the iron moving and you should be fine.

"daytripper" <>

I've found a little bit of steam is not a bad thing, and can really help smooth out the fold lines. The plans dry within seconds, and I have never noticed any lingering after effects or shrinkage/expansion.

"Frank von Jaerschky" <>

Iron it on top of a glass coffee table or formica counter top.

"Jim" <>

Also, many printers/copy centers can run those plans thru an oversize copy machine (used for architectural drawings and such) and give you a copy that was never folded.

This also affords you the luxury of being able to mess up the plans you are building on as you always have the original.

BTW, I have used minimally warm iron and have even spritzed the folds first ..... just a touch of sprtiz and then let the paper relax. Iron slowly and evenly. When wet, paper does expand and you want it to dry evenly and slowly so that it does not "warp".

"Bill Archibald" <>



This is probably nothing more than home made window cleaner, but I've been using it for years and it works great:

5 Cups Water
8 oz. Cup Rubbing Alcohol
4 oz. Ammonia
2 Teaspoons Dish Washing Soap.

"Frank von Jaerschky" <>

In all my years I think the best I've ever found is Simple Green as it doesn't leave a film on the covering like window cleaner does.  Pledge wood or Pledge fiberglass works great as a polish when you really want it to shine and stand out.

"StarCad" <>

I have to agree with Simple Green, but I ran out of it one time and had some baby wipes in the truck, I use them when I go fishing, so I wiped the plane with them worked just great and they smell good.

"JCRIGGS555" <>

From time to time, questions come up here asking what to clean the plane with after a flying session. A wide variety of answers usually follows, ranging from special "brews" to washer fluid to Simple Green. Some of the suggestions work better than others, while some have ingredients that can harm plastic coverings over time, such as ammonia, if too much is added.

I found a GREAT product that seems to have NO ill effects, is very inexpensive, and is fantastic at cutting oil. It is also safe for humans and the environment. I found it at my local Home Depot, but I'm sure many other chains carry something very similar.

It's called Zep "Orange" cleaner concentrate, the active ingredient is citrus oil.

It's kind of a _STRONG_ Goo Gone at a much lower price. The price is about $US 6.50 a gallon and can be diluted about 4 to 8-1 for modeling use. I use it at 2-1 to clean gnarly bicycle chains, full strength will easily degrease an engine! It cuts oil better than Simple Green, is pleasant to use, and is inexpensive. Try it! It'll also do a whole
bunch of other stuff around the house.

I have NO connection with Zep, Home Depot, orange growers, etc... <G>  I simply wanted to pass this info along.

"Barry Burke Jr." <>

I don't even use a cleaner any more.  I wipe off most of the goo with a paper towel and then finish cleaning up my plane with one of those 3M Scotchbrite cleaning cloths (thanks, Ann-Marie for that suggestion!).  I've found it does a better job of removing the greasy residue than any liquid cleaner, and when it gets dirty, I simply wash it and it's good as new! (No, I'm not affiliated in any way with 3M).

"Morris Lee" <>



Tape down a piece of sandpaper to the fuse with the business side up, then rub the canopy back and forth till it feels good! If the canopy is too thin for this method you're pushing too hard or using the wrong grit paper, 220 grit usually works for me?

Sometimes a handle made from masking tape folded onto itself at the top centerline of the canopy helps get a more accurate fit? In using this method it takes some patience but you'll end up with a very accurate fit, and a lot of plastic dust to pick up with the shop vacuum.

I usually use white glue to hold it on then use some kind of trim tape around the joint for fuelproofing! Don't forget to remove the sandpaper before you glue that puppy down!




I mix up corn starch and denatured alcohol into a paste and spread it on the area. Once it dries, I just brush it off. It may take 3 or 4 applications for heavy oil.

"Mike Grey" <>

Topic covered many times in past with main suggestions being to use a spray on drycleaner that forms an absorbent powder as it dries - known as K2R in USA. (Goddards in New Zealand).

Preferably use hot iron on top of brown wrapping paper - repeated applications. This "boils" oil out which is soaked up like the fat out of your fish and chips <g>.

see previous posts etc = Google search (used to beDeja)

"A.T." <>

Easiest is to buy K2R spray at WalMart etc. & follow instructions. (spray on, let dry, brush off). Or submerge/fill with CLAY TYPE cat litter NOT the Clumping type. (Oil Dry used in auto service shops is the same). Or mix D.E. (swim pool filter media) or corn starch w/a solvent like alcohol, M.E.K. or acetone into a slurry, brush on, let dry, brush/vacuum off. Of course be aware of the danger of using solvents, use protective gloves, well ventilated area.

"Herb Winston" <>

Many things work for removing much of the oil. K2R, kitty litter (speed-i-dry) allowed to sit for number of days, talc, cornstarch, etc

I have found that none of these will work well enough to have an iron on covering stick properly. Some report that a coat of Balsarite after removal of most of oil will create a surface that coverings will stick to.

Will it weaken glue joints? CA'ed joints most definitely. Epoxy most likely NOT. Aliphatic, I do not know.

Oil soaked wood is not good. It is heavier, it is weaker. It will not deteriorate further i.e. it won't rot .

In the future you would be best to fuelproof the tank compartment. I now spray the interior of my planes with a fuel proof paint.

"Bill Archibald" <>



Model building shops don't need the high-end dust collectors because our dust is a goodly bit finer and the base woods are very much lighter than that of a cabinet or furniture shop working with oak and other hard woods,
which in turn means that even the best dust collector systems have a tough row to hoe catching that fine dust.  Most can't, and the ones that can come with an interest rate nobody likes.

For model shop use you need to get the dust out of the shop entirely, and you need to collect it where it's made, not out of the shop air.

A 12-gallon vacuum will do nicely, along with a  bit of vacuum piping, blast gates, and hoses.  All at Home Depot.

I agonized for a while about the cost of the dust collection piping and fittings, but the $120 kit from Home Depot was well worth it in terms of saving a lot of time chasing down fittings that _fit_ (vacuum piping is not the same
schedule or dimension as other plastic piping, like PVC), and made the installation quick and accurate.  Money well spent.  The 12-gallon Ridgid vacuum was a Christmas present, but the last time I looked they were just at $100.

I mounted all the power tools on cut-down kitchen cabinet bases, and put casters on the bases, so I could roll them back against the rear wall of the
shop when working with large completed models.  I removed the cabinet tops, cut the cabinet off at the top of the cross-piece between the drawer and lower door, and put the top back on; that made the power tool's work surface
'my' height.  For the table saw, I cut out the area of the cabinet top under the saw, put a dust baffle in the top of the lower compartment, and added a vacuum fitting to the rear of the cabinet between the dust baffle and the
cabinet top.  No dust has yet appeared in the lower storage area of that cabinet.  The band saw has its own vacuum port, as does the belt/disc sander.  The only power tools that don't have vacuum ports are the scroller and drill press, but that's in the nature of the beastie.  I made holders to accept vacuum cleaner crevice tools for those two machines.  The only sweeping and dusting I have to do is because of chips thrown by the table saw, the odd bit of dust missed by the crevice tools on the belt/disc sander and scroller, and the gawdawful mess made by the circular saw when chopping 4' X 8' panels down to workable size.  It is decidedly nice to have a 'dust-free' shop, and the little bit of sweeping I have to do is because of the chips thrown by the table saw.

Having installed that system, I built a vacuum sanding box out of scrap 2 X 4 lumber, peg-board, plywood, and an extra length of plastic vacuum pipe, very much like the one at:

The sanding box won't get "all" the dust.  Balsa dust, particularly the very finest sort created by finish sanding with 200 grit or finer paper, can float in the air for days.  The box will nab the vast majority of balsa dust, but don't expect it to turn the place into a 'clean room'.

In that vein, standard vacuum cleaner bags and filters don't come close to trapping all the fine balsa dust; you're lucky if they collect 80 %.  If the vacuum is in the shop all you're doing is recirculating balsa dust, and scratching your head about why the silly box doesn't work right.  You need a HEPA filter if the vacuum is inside the work area (or the house, for that matter).

That's why my vacuum lives in a separate enclosure on the back of the building shed, along with the oil-free air compressor. I don't have to listen to it up close and personal, and the dust that gets through the bag/filter is already outside the work area.  If you don't have the option of moving the vacuum source outside the house or shop area, you may also need a good HEPA-grade recirculating air filter in the work area.

And THAT is why the 'high-end' dust collecting systems are so decidedly 'high-end'.  First there is the dust collector system, and then there's the high-efficiency recirculating air filter system to get the 'lost dust' outta the shop air.  Why pay for both when putting the vacuum outside the work area eliminates the need for the air filter system ?

"Fred McClellan" <>