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Old Jan 21, 2013, 07:24 PM
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About to build a Topflite Stinson...and never painted a plane before

I am realizing that I will not be happy unless this bird gets a total paint job.

I want to use Solartex. I can't find a for sure match to the colors I am planning (the stock scheme...I know...it's a bit boring and played but I like it)...so I think the only answer is to paint.

In my research I have found that Nelson Hobbies makes a great paint and that's what I'm planning to use...it's worth the cash for me I guess.

The problem is, I've never painted with a gun. I have no experience, no equipment (save a compressor...that may or may not be adequate) and no confidence.

I don't want to spend a fortune on a paint setup that may or may not get used again for a long time. I found a decent gun on the Stits site, and there is always harborfreight, but if I have to upgrade the compressor it's going to be a no-go (no space in the garage for a bigger compressor...my current 8 gallon sits under the work bench and allows my car to park in the garage).

So the moral of the story is:

I know there are a few of you with experience in this subject. What do I need to successfully paint this plane? Can I use the compressor I have (5 CFM @ 90 psi, 8 gallon tank)? Is this something a total noob like me can do? I can cover really well, and am confident with that, but I've never used solartex.

In addition, I'm an A&P, am familiar with the poly fiber process, and I do not want to go that route. I like the the ease of iron-on covering.

Any advice, encouragement, etc. If there is a canned paint that matches solartex well, I'm all ears as well.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 08:23 PM
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Go for it....

I paint with a Harbor Freight HVLP where the cup is on top. Also where you buy your paint they should sale an in line air filter for just a few bucks that screws right into the base of the gun. The HVLP is High Volume Low Pressure so you only need about 30 - 40 PSI constant not the 60psi that traditional guns use. You can adjust the volume of paint and the volume of the air the fan of the spray. for about 30 bucks its a bargin. Make sure you buy some laquar thinner to clean it up good after you use it and take it apart to clean it. use a soft synthetic bristle brush and not brass or metal brush so it doesnt scratch the smooth surfaces and ruin it for next time. Wipe it down with thin layer of oil and put it on the shelf.

As for the paint check out your local automotive paint supply. You can get a quart of paint and a quart of reducer and now you have a half gallon of paint for about 50-80 dollars. They also sale clear coat by the quart and you will be plaesed with the outcome.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rjstrickjr View Post
Go for it....

I paint with a Harbor Freight HVLP where the cup is on top. Also where you buy your paint they should sale an in line air filter for just a few bucks that screws right into the base of the gun. The HVLP is High Volume Low Pressure so you only need about 30 - 40 PSI constant not the 60psi that traditional guns use. You can adjust the volume of paint and the volume of the air the fan of the spray. for about 30 bucks its a bargin. Make sure you buy some laquar thinner to clean it up good after you use it and take it apart to clean it. use a soft synthetic bristle brush and not brass or metal brush so it doesnt scratch the smooth surfaces and ruin it for next time. Wipe it down with thin layer of oil and put it on the shelf.

As for the paint check out your local automotive paint supply. You can get a quart of paint and a quart of reducer and now you have a half gallon of paint for about 50-80 dollars. They also sale clear coat by the quart and you will be plaesed with the outcome.
Awesome. That was the gun I was looking at (the 30 dollar one with included regulator). As far as the automotive paint, is that flexible enough to not crack? I'm sorry for the dumb questions...I do assume you all know a lot more about this than I.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 09:14 PM
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Steinbach, MB, Canada
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Originally Posted by sirzeppu View Post
Awesome. That was the gun I was looking at (the 30 dollar one with included regulator). As far as the automotive paint, is that flexible enough to not crack? I'm sorry for the dumb questions...I do assume you all know a lot more about this than I.
CAUTION, CAUTION.

If you are really concerned about Auto paint, speak to the people in the auto pant store, there is an addative to make the paint flexible, it is used on plastic auto bumpers, but beware it does change the shade of the paint slightly, just ask the questions at the auto paint store.

My caution is two fold, firstly MAKE SURE THAT YOU USE A BREATING MASK while applying the paint. Secondly, auto paint is actually quite heavy, BUT it does not take a thick application to cover, multiple very light applications after tack off of each prior one is much better (ask auto paint store about tack off). The real gloss only comes usually with an application of a clear coat which also protects the color layer against UV breakdown, again a very light layer. Again ask the auto paint store about the amount of thinners to have in the clear coat layer.

I know a lot of flyers out there do not believe in dope applications, but often they are not aware that dope comes in various colors. Dope can be sprayed on as well, and in my opinion will be lighter than auto paint, though the odor from the dope thinners is often stronger than from paint thinner. The main reason is that dope itself is made up of a larger percentage of thinners I believe. Also dope is much more flexible than auto paint. However caution about which TYPE of dope to apply FIRST(Nitrate or Butrate, again ASK)

However it is all a matter of choice.

I have doped a TF Stinson, finished the interior as well, and with a US Engines 41 gas engine the flying weight is 22 lbs.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Sackie View Post
CAUTION, CAUTION.

If you are really concerned about Auto paint, speak to the people in the auto pant store, there is an addative to make the paint flexible, it is used on plastic auto bumpers, but beware it does change the shade of the paint slightly, just ask the questions at the auto paint store.

My caution is two fold, firstly MAKE SURE THAT YOU USE A BREATING MASK while applying the paint. Secondly, auto paint is actually quite heavy, BUT it does not take a thick application to cover, multiple very light applications after tack off of each prior one is much better (ask auto paint store about tack off). The real gloss only comes usually with an application of a clear coat which also protects the color layer against UV breakdown, again a very light layer. Again ask the auto paint store about the amount of thinners to have in the clear coat layer.

I know a lot of flyers out there do not believe in dope applications, but often they are not aware that dope comes in various colors. Dope can be sprayed on as well, and in my opinion will be lighter than auto paint, though the odor from the dope thinners is often stronger than from paint thinner. The main reason is that dope itself is made up of a larger percentage of thinners I believe. Also dope is much more flexible than auto paint. However caution about which TYPE of dope to apply FIRST(Nitrate or Butrate, again ASK)

However it is all a matter of choice.

I have doped a TF Stinson, finished the interior as well, and with a US Engines 41 gas engine the flying weight is 22 lbs.
Thanks for the information. Have either of you (or anyone else) used Nelson Hobbies water based paints?
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 08:33 AM
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The Nelson paint is waterborne, alieviating many health concerns.

I found it takes a learning curve. Since you haven't painted before, it may be a little easier for you, as you haven't learned other methods of spraying.

The paint holds up well to glow fuel, with the addition of their "catalyst". It provides a realistic looking finish.

You can see what was done in my Spacewalker II thread. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=956429
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 08:54 AM
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Tom, I read your thread and studied the finishing portion closely. I am going with the Nelson paint. You say its got a learning curve...are you speaking about the need for a tack coat, the spatter you encountered and the clogged gun issues you had?
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 09:08 AM
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The paint needs to be proper reduced. I think we ended up about 1:1, paint to water.

Light coats should be applied at first, so light that the paint is barely visable. Wait for the paint to tack up between coats (about 10 minutes). As you begin to see paint coverage, gradualy increase the amount of paint that you apply. The final coat should be your "heaviest" coat. I think we ended up with 5 or 6 coats.

I found out later, that we probably used too much air pressure. I believe that 20# is what should be used with an HVLP gun.

If you don't require an absolute color match, Rustoleum may be your best bet. I've been using it lately, and I'm quite pleased with my results.

One nice thing as that you won't need to buy any equipment. I do suggest the purchase of one of those paint "triggers" that allows you to spray by pulling the trigger instead of killing your finger by pushing the nozzle down.

Last Summer, I painted a Cub (a single color) using 5 cans. Your Stinson would probably require a couple more.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 09:17 AM
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Interesting on Rustoleum...that is more up my alley.

I repainted an engine bay on a project car with a "higher end" custom canned paint. I used one of those triggers. The results were nice enough that I went ahead and repainted the front bumper. Those results were mixed. I kind of forgot about that experience.

You are talking about the Rustoleum paints that can be found at Home Depot and the like? What "series" of Rustoleum...just the plain Rustoleum branded paints? Are they flexible enough to keep from cracking and such. I assume the Cub is holding up. Sorry for all the questions...and thanks so much for answering!
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 09:34 AM
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Ya, just the normal "stops rust" stuff.

The paint seems to be flexible enough for our usage. Twinwarbirdflyer turned me on to it. He's been using it for years.

I buy mine in quart cans, and use my gun, but the spray cans provide an admirable finish, with minimum fuss.

Jerry Nelson suggested to not prime open bay areas, as the primer may crack do to vibration. Since he was the paint supplier, I took his advice, and expanded it to my usage of all paint.

If you cover with Solartex, the fabric will readily accept most paint without the use of primer.

I prime over sheeted areas, if I want to simulate a metal look, as the primer will fill the weave.

I post these pics a lot. I'll post them again, in case you haven't seen them. These models have all been painted with Rustoleum. Outside of the Cub, the rest were sprayed with my gun.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 09:39 AM
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OK then...I have seen a couple of those pics around the forums. I didn't know they were painted with the Rustoleum. This is really good news. I think I'll paint the Stinson with the cans, the cub looks really good!

I'll be posting a build thread in the balsa builders forum as soon as I get started. I can't wait to get to framing it up...
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 10:14 AM
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Have fun !!! The Stinson is a beautiful model. I've flown the TF version, and I really liked it.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 10:50 AM
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Have fun !!! The Stinson is a beautiful model. I've flown the TF version, and I really liked it.
I am excited. Another member of our club just built one and the test pilot said it was a very nice flying airplane.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 10:52 AM
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United States, FL, Fort Myers
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Originally Posted by TomCrump View Post
The Nelson paint is waterborne, alieviating many health concerns.

I found it takes a learning curve. Since you haven't painted before, it may be a little easier for you, as you haven't learned other methods of spraying.

The paint holds up well to glow fuel, with the addition of their "catalyst". It provides a realistic looking finish.

You can see what was done in my Spacewalker II thread. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=956429
Tom, what did you use around the openings on the 2nd pic. I want to use something like that On my Waco but haven't found anything yet
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 12:12 PM
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That Spacewalker came with a split foam tube. I sprayed the foam with spray adhesive and rolled it over an old, cut up t-shirt. You may be able to purchase that foam from Sig. Craft stores may have something like it, too.
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