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Filling Pin Holes
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First get the wax out of the pin holes. Use Prepsol or a good 100% alcohol
bath. This keeps interacting with your primer coat. Ed Clayman
I have a sure-fire way of
filling pin holes. Mix up some lightweight balsa filler, often called spackle (make
sure you get the light stuff - Editor) by those who don't fund their local hobby shop :-)
, into a creamy paste with water. Rub it all over the fuselage with your hands. It will
dry in ten minutes when it is this thin. Let it dry for 1/2 an hour an then sand the whole
thing down with 150-200 sandpaper. Not the wet-and-dry stuff (well, you can use the
wet-dry sandpaper, just don't use it wet - Editor). It must be dry. The filler will come
off as a fine powder. Vacuum the whole thing and then spray on the primer. All of your pin
holes should be gone. You will probably only need one coat of primer. The primer seals and
hardens the filler which never shrinks or lifts. Got some ten year old spray jobs that are
still just fine. The scale guys taught me how to do this one. Eric Henderson (I've
used this method and it works - Editor)
I filled the seams with
automotive Bondo. It comes in a light weight white color formula. After sanding
that down, I lightly spray the seams with paint to bring out the pin holes . Believe me
paint will bring them out . Then get a product also made by Bondo called spot putty. It
comes in a tube and is one part . Just take a little on your finger and rub it in the
holes, let dry, wet sand with 600 grit and paint away .You will never see those holes
again. DO NOT USE THE SPOT PUTTY IN A HOLE LARGER THAN A PIN HOLE IT WILL NOT STAY AS I
LEARNED THE HARD WAY. Kirk Sutherland
- Mike Harrison.
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I paint the entire
aircraft because I enjoy the beauty and the consistency of a painted aircraft. When you
practice with the same airplane day after day its nice to have it smile back at you so to
Surface preparation is the
key to a quality finish. This is not technique sensitive or complicated but it is very
labor intensive. I calculate a minimum of 60 hours for a good finish on a
First, glass all balsa with lightweight glass(.05-.06oz.)cloth. Use an
epoxy that can be thinned to the consistency of water and will cure so that it will sand
dusty, not gummy. I apply the cloth with the epoxy using cheap throwaway 2" brushes.
Remember to thin the epoxy to the consistency of water. I use 91% isopropyl alcohol from
Walgreens as my thinner. Typically I mix half and half epoxy and thinner. (I normally
build my wings and stab first,, glass them, and let them cure while I finish construction
of the fuse. They will be cured for weeks that way). I let the first coat cure a day or
so, then sand the rough edges and spots smooth with 220. I just dry sand these with
regular sandpaper and it doesn't take long.
The second coat is the same consistency as the first brushed on the same way. This is a
very easy step and takes very little time, but let this cure a few days. This is where the
labor gets really tiring and long. Do an excellent job sanding for lightness and
smoothness here. Lots of 220 sandpaper. You can still dry sand. I normally sand the
wings by hand and the control surfaces with a padded sanding block. This where you learn
some craftsmanship and some technique in sanding. Most of this comes with experience. I've
been flying pattern for 20 years and I've built every single plane I've flown. I've
averaged at least 2 planes a year.
The third step is the
primer step and I BRUSH this on so that I can massage and work it into the pinholes and
crevices. It is also very thrifty and easier than spraying. This is absolutely the hardest
and most critical sanding phase. Wet sand using 400 wet or dry. Sand ALL the primer off!
The parts should often times be as light or lighter than before the application of the
At this time you must
decide if you want an award winning finish or just a very nice paint job. I typically
settle somewhere in between. This is where I patch all the sand through spots, the botched
corners, ill-fitting parts,etc. If I've sanded thru to raw wood then I coat it with thin
CA+ and paint a little primer on it. After all the little patchwork is done then if it
looks pretty bad then spray a light coat of primer on the structure. Wet sand it all off
and it should start looking really slick.
I spray a light coat of white on the entire craft. I wet sand it and
fix those imperfections and you'll find a bunch of them. Then I spray the to-be white
areas until the white is just opaque. Note: it may not be quite opaque; that's o.k. leave
it. As it cures it will become sufficiently opaque. Now wet sand that with 600 just
to get the orange peel off. Now mask off and spray the trim colors.
Wet sand the whole thing with 1000-1200. Shoot a very light coat of clear and
compound and polish.
Minimize the use of metallics. You can
never touch up metallics nicely.
Several companies make
acrylic urethane paints. PPG is Concept, I think DuPont is CronarII, R-M is Solo. There
are others. This is not what is called a base coat clear coat system(2 stage) . I tried
the 2 stage systems, but found them to be very heavy and not fuel proof. A lot of modelers
use it because the colors dry quickly but it requires a thick clear coat to make it fuel
proof. Once the clearcoat is penetrated by fuel you're in trouble. It becomes a gooey
hard-to-repair mess. By contrast, every layer of Acrylic urethane is very fuel
resistant.(Contrary to popular opinion I've found nothing to be absolutely fuel proof.) The
K-36 primer is almost white, easy to sand, and fuel proof.(the acrylic lacquer primers are
Paint- My favorite is PPG CONCEPT
Primer- PPG K-36 with K-201 hardener
Reducer (thinners) these come in a variety of temperature sensitivities.
Compounds-3M Imperial microfinishing compound (rubbing compound)&3M
Finesse It II polishing compound.
Pearls: Instead of using stick on letters use
stick on stencils and spray paint the lettering on. It is actually simpler and easier and
far more attractive.
Having talked about painting the whole plane. I actually recommend
painting the fuse and rudder and monokoting the wings and stab. Do not honeycomb the wings
and stab here. Use quality 6-8 balsa for sheeting with a good grain. Also, epoxy the skins
on-not contact cement.
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- taken from the WEB
If you happen to like the
Deltron, Deltron 2000 or Concept formulations, then consider using the 2-stage (aka
Basecoat/Clearcoat) system. A single-stage paint has color and clear mixed in it. Spraying
a single stage color and then clearing it is like adding extra layers of clear. Stage 1 of
the 2-stage system is just flat color, the second stage is your clear. Stage 1 paint dries
tack free in 5 minutes, tape free in 15, and can be over sprayed with clear in 45 minutes.
So, you could shoot 5 colors in less than 5 hours (shoot, wait 15 minutes, unmask, remask,
repeat), apply decals, and clear in one day! One more thing about the Deltron, Deltron
2000 and Concept formulations - they do not require the very expensive DXR-80 urethane
hardener that Delstar requires. Also, the 2-stage colors come in pints. That's only an
issue if your local shop does not do custom quantity mixes.
If you fog on a coat of
epoxy primer -then use a basecoat clearcoat setup, you will find that the heaviest coat is
typically the clearcoat. On my EMC2 (Big fuselage) --the total buildup for a very glossy
finish--totals at 4 ozs.. We have been testing this procedure using high resolution gram
scales. Dick Hanson
I used the PPG Deltron
basecoat with Concept 2020 Clear over PPG epoxy primer on my Storm EX last year.
Everything you said is correct about it being quick and easy to put on. **However**, if
you have any imperfections or leaks in the clear coat and get fuel under it, you'll have a
mess. I ran into this in 2 places. The first was the chin cowl. There was a tiny
imperfection in the seam and fuel residue penetrated and reached the basecoat. Instant
UGLY, WRINKLED mess! The clear coat was still fine and intact, but the basecoat shriveled
up like a prune. The second occurred when my fuel tank sprung a leak-- due to my own lack
of foresight in the installation. Anyway, fuel squirted out through the hole for the wing
retainers and got under the edge of the cleat coat. Same ugly situation, only a larger
area this time. So I have personally made the decision to change to the Concept urethane -
and it uses the same DU-5 catalyst as the Concept 2020 Clear. I have also changed to K36
Prima for exactly the reasons Sam Turner mentioned. And since the color if in the
urethane, the only thing you need to clear coat is your decals. After that, rub it out and
it's gorgeous. My $.02! -- Exiting the Box! Jim Johns
I'll answer this one,
too...... The Concept is very user-friendly, but you must keep the stuff out of your lungs
due to the isocyanides in it... Remember Imron?
Surface prep.....fillers, seam sealers....
-- Any way you want to prep it just as if for K&B will work fine....
-- Primer if any...epoxy, regular....
-- Use PPG K-36 2-part primer, light grey in color....brainless application. Application
of PPG concept...thinning...pressure...gun
-- As opposed to the instruction sheet which is written for painting cars, I've found that
you can thin it as much as you like with equal results...you should use the reducer based
on your temperature for one of the regular or touch-up guns and whatever pressure that
particular gun likes to spray at....for an airbrush (always paint trim colors with an
airbrush) it's best to use the reducer for one temp range warmer than you would use with
the regular gun...that's to let the small volume applied flow out better in the thin film
and spray it at the consistency of water....
Typical weight gain...
-- Depends on how much paint you spray on it. That's one reason for putting the colored
trim with an airbrush...that you use much less paint.
-- This paint is the easiest there is to use. I've found it as fuel proof as epoxy, it
doesn't pick up dust after the first ten minutes, is non-critical to precise mixing, can
be rubbed out, and can be repaired.
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Just checked my notes
from last year. The following apply to the glass USA Star I built last winter:
-- 31 oz. Fuse sanded with all internal structure installed (tube sockets, servo trays,
-- 31.7 oz. opaque coat of K&B primer (sanded and ready for color)
-- 35.45 oz. color coats and decals sanded and ready for clear
-- 36.58 oz. fuse with clear coat ready for final assembly (wish I was there now - just
getting ready to lay-up the fuse)
As you can see, the opaque coat of primer was far and away the lightest. Paint used was
PPG Deltron Acrylic Enamel and the clear was PPG DAU-75. The Star is big as fuses go with
lots of side area which naturally contibutes to the weight. It would be interesting if
others ran similar tests as this for comparison. The overall ready to fly dry weight of
the plane was 10 lbs - 6 oz..
If you have (PPG) colors
mixed they are mixed to match over a gray primer. Therefore you will use less color (and
weight ) if you go over gray.
-- I use PPG K36 to prime all projects it fills well and sands great. Then I use PPG DP50/
402 reduced as a sealer (1:1-1/2). You shoot one coat and do not sand before color.
-- If you are going to use the PPG base system, try the new DBC base. It covers better, it
is lighter, and you can use the 860/870 reducer. This is the same reducer that is used in
the 2020 or 2001 clear.
-- Using this method I pick up aprox. 3oz start to finish on an average 2M fuse.
You are right on. I have
a PPG technical guide and the heaviest paint (per some unit-per-part) is Yellow followed
by White. And how many times have you heard people say, "...after priming spray a
base coat of white..." -michael
Sometimes you have to.
If the primer is gray, white paint or yellow doesn't show up well over primer due to the
low pigment. If the primer is white (K&B for example), no basecoats are necessary.
Does Color Scheme Make a Difference
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Has anyone, other than
myself, had any problems with color schemes causing confusion during maneuvers? My ship,
Runaround. is all red with white wings. The white wings have a broad red stripe which is
slanted inwards toward the fuselage located halfway out from the fuselage on each side. I
have noticed a tendency for my eyes to want to align the airplane with one or the other of
the slanted lines when doing maneuvers which have the A/c high over head and inverted.
Notice it most in poorer visability conditions. Dave Gundling
No question color
schemes affect perspective. But there are consistent things that can help....The best
thing to do is watch at your next contest. The planes that YOU can see easily and in any
attitude have the color scheme that's "easy" for your eyes....After they land,
go take some photos....then decide what to try... I don't know of any "general"
guidelines about this other than making the lines / stripes on the plane accentuate
straight lines, lengthwise or spanwise....easier to judge. Bob Pastorello
One thing that
makes sense about color schemes is that you don't want to use those colors that are
already in the sky so I stay away from light shades like light blue. Also, I saw a show on
cable a couple of years ago that was all about camouflage and one point that was presented
was that lots of small areas of different colors aid in the camouflage effect, so I don't
use small areas of color on my planes. Just my $.02 worth. Sam Turner
Having a color scheme
that is visible is obviously extremely important. I once had a beautiful Merdian that was
Red, White, & Insignia Blue, and the wings were done, aka Chipmunk style. Couldn't see
the damn thing in the air. Red and Yellow show up the most in 95% of flying conditions.
All my planes are Red and Yellow, and the 3rd and sometimes 4th colors will chamge, but
usually are Metallic Purple, Sky Blue, or Royal Blue. These colors are usually accent
colors only, or on the bottom of the fuse, which always turns dark anyway. Another good
combination is Yellow and Orange. I have a picture of my Sequel on my web page, http://members.aol.com/EChapkis Take a look and
you'll see what I mean. Evan Chapkis
There is almost no such
thing as "a good color", and very few bad ones. Colors work because of contrast.
Large patches of contrasting colors (only two kinds: DARK and LIGHT) that highlight the
alignment of the plane are the goal. A major oversight in many schemes is the need to be
able to pick the wingtip out of the wing/fuse side and from the wing LE, viewed from the
front. The disappearance of small detail, and of weak contrast at a distance allows you
all kinds of artistic freedom. Try to shoot for 50/50 light/dark. Bob Noll once wrote a
real nice article for FLYING MODELS entitled "paint for performance" (5years
ago?) Regards, Dean Pappas
I recently got
into the habit of using Microsoft PowerPoint to design my colors schemes. At first, I was
just trying to get a combination of colors that looked good. Then I accidentally triggered
the "gray scale" option and noticed that some of the colors essentially faded to
the same shade of gray. I lost all the contrast that I was trying to achieve and as well
as the pattern distinction. By experimenting with different shapes and color combinations,
I was able to come up with a color scheme and pattern scheme that when displayed as Grey
scale, continued to provide me with good contrast and distinction. Since all colors
basically become some shade of gray under various lighting conditions, it was easy to zero
in on the pattern that worked best for me by viewing the gray scale display from across
the room. Michael McEvilley
I agree that we don't see
the color as much as we see the contrast (especially when facing the sun or flying on
cloudy days). Dark on light seems to matter much more than specific color on
color. The trim schemes that I've been able to see most clearly are the ones with
spanwise dark/light separations on the top and chordwise separations on the bottom.
My eye catches the 90 deg. change top to bottom moreso than the color difference. I
also use a chordwise strip at the wingtip on top - the spanwise scheme inboard leading to
the chordwise scheme at the tip creates a point of contrast at the tip and helps to pick
I seem to remember reading somewhere that there's a sort of visual hierarchy with
contrast ahead of color - i.e., your eye picks out the contrast (shape) before the
Painting - Eliminating
I had the good fortune of being warned of this problem by Charlie Williams who
suffered through it building three Integrals for Andrew Jesky. That got me
started on some research on wax and grease removers.
The first thing you need to know is that DX330 (which I use), Prep-Sol, and
other similar products don't dissolve the contaminant, they float it up off
the surface of the part. If you take a paper towel and just rub it around, the
only thing you accomplish is to redistribute the contaminant. You can only use
the paper towel for one wipe in one direction and then throw it out.
The best method I had described to me is to transfer some DX330 into a
clean pump sprayer bottle. Tear off 3 or 4 sections of paper towel and have
them folded and ready to use. Spray a section of the surface you want to
de-contaminate and then wipe it off, always making only one swipe with the
towel and always going in only one direction. After you've done this a couple
times, you'll see that the back side of the paper towel never absorbed
anything so you can flip it over and get one more swipe before you toss it.
You'll go through a whole roll of paper towel getting the mold release off. I
played it safe and did everything twice.
After you've tried spraying the DX330 on instead of pouring it on a towel
and wiping it on, you'll never go back. It's way more efficient and actually
makes the DX330 work as intended. I'm building my second Integral right now
and will be degreasing the fuse tonight. Hope this helps! Now if we could just
get Comp-Arf to tint their mold release so we could see it....
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