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Old Jul 19, 2001, 10:52 AM
Superhero, Third Class
astroboy's Avatar
Carson City, NV
Joined Nov 2000
888 Posts
Best covering film for newbie?

I'm getting close to covering my Spacewalker, and I'd like some opinions on what is the lightest-weight opaque film that can be recommended for a first-timer. Searches here on Ezone seem to indicate that Ultracote/Oracover is preferable to Monokote.

If there is a transparent film that is significantly more than .04 ounce/sq. ft. lighter than what is recommended above, and still not too difficult to use, then I'd consider trying that and then airbrushing opaque colors over it. Either way,I will be using paint for trim; what type of paint is recommended for use on film, and what sort of surface prep is involved?

Thanks very much,
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Old Jul 19, 2001, 11:43 AM
Moths do not fly inverted
LJH's Avatar
Greenwich CT.
Joined Sep 2000
4,237 Posts
I don't know about the weight part, but I have had much better luck with Oracover, both tranparent and solid colors, then I have with Monocote. I have limited experience covering but I have done a couple of plane , both sheeted and open bay. Good luck, it can be kind of fun covering. Good luck.

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Old Jul 19, 2001, 10:42 PM
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Joined Apr 2001
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I'm an Ultracote bigot. Very easy to use, can be painted ( no dope please ) and doesn't keep wrinkling like Monokote does. Just follow instructions that come with it and you're first job will look good!

However! It does take a little while to "settle". I put a new plane out in the sun, hotter the better, for an hour or so and see what needs to be re-shrunk. Do this a couple of times and its pretty stable.

I'd do this before doing the painting. I don't know what to do if you got a wrinkle in a painted area.

But, I have only used the heavier opaque stuff, very strong, but it is not light.

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Old Jul 19, 2001, 11:17 PM
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Joined Mar 2000
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One of the lighter ones is Solarfilm. It's more stretchy than Monocote, but also easier to apply. I absolutely hate Monocote, tried it once on a friends plane and it just wouldn't work for me. Solarfilm isn't as strong as the others so it won't add a lot of strenght to the airframe but it doesn't shrink as bad so it's a lot easier to avoid warps especially on tailfeathers and light things like that.
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Old Jul 19, 2001, 11:49 PM
Schumacher USA
Tampa FL
Joined Jul 2000
3,038 Posts
I'll second the oracover, I'd never used it before (monokote was all they had at my old LHS in El Paso) but I bought a bunch on clearance @ Hobby Lobby, and 3 planes later I LOVE IT! I was forced to use monokote again for the "flat" colors on a warbird, and I THREW AWAY the 1/2 roll of each color leftover material when I was done. Never again.

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Old Jul 20, 2001, 01:16 AM
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Joined Apr 2001
284 Posts
If weight is not an issue:

The original is still the best for me: Monocote. You have to use high heat to get the proper adhesion and stretching. every iron I've owned ended up all the way up.
ultra cote is a close second. The only real complaint I have about it is the color selection.
All of the rest I've tried were low heat that would stick to it's self if the adhesive side touched and pull the color coat off. The line between shrinking and burning was so fine the possibility of burning through while ironing a compound curve was likely.
And finally look at what the best builder in the hobby use, electric and otherwise. Most use monocote or ultracote.

If you want light weight with extreme strength(and hassles) try micafilm. A pain to apply but almost bullet proof.

[This message has been edited by fisher (edited 07-20-2001).]
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Old Jul 20, 2001, 01:43 AM
Paul Susbauer's Avatar
Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
Joined Apr 2001
4,625 Posts
I'd check out Nelson Litefilm, available from Nelson Hobby Specialties. It weighs .6 oz per sq. yard with its own adhesive, its incredibly tough, yet still light. It goes around curves great, shrinks well, and doesn't sag bad, and doesn't wrinkle up in the sun.
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Old Jul 20, 2001, 07:01 AM
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Nashville TN
Joined Apr 2001
57 Posts
I don't know about the weight, but I just finished covering a MAD Highlander with Oracover (my first covering job, too...) and it was easy to work with and came out great.


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Old Jul 20, 2001, 02:59 PM
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Pinehurst, NC
Joined Aug 1999
779 Posts
Like others have said, if weight is not an issue, Oracover is the most goof-proof covering I have used. It does tend to dull your trimming blade and I change mine frequently to do a good job.

My favorite light weight (and cheap!) covering is Towercote. At $6 per roll (it's perpetually "on-sale"), it is a great bargain and does a very nice job, particularly around compound curves. It has a lower temperature to bond and shrink, so it works well on foam as well.


[This message has been edited by GaryK (edited 07-20-2001).]
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