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Nov 18, 2020, 12:16 PM
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Covering Material Suggestions


I'm in the process of completing a HK Tiger Moth - 38" span kit, reading for covering.

I'm at a loss at what to use on this kit. I'd like a fabric texture while also keeping the weight down. Monokote, my go to covering, just doesn't seem appropriate, plus it may distort the relatively light construction. I have used Solite on another small plane - 36" span MIni Taurus but I'm not sure it still exists.

Silk or silkspan and dope (showing my age!] could be an alternative though I haven't used them in ages.

I'm amenable to painting after covering if that's the best solution.

What say you?

John C
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Nov 18, 2020, 12:47 PM
Still the "Pro"-crastinator...
Steve85's Avatar
Hi John,

If it were me, I'd choose Polyspan. It's a silkspan-like covering made of polyester that can be ironed on, heat shrunk and then painted. It needs an adhesive applied to the underlying structure, like Balsaloc or Mod Podge, and should be sealed once shrunk with a couple of coats of either thinned clear dope or, my favourite, hardware store clear lacquer.

Polyspan has a grain and a "good" side (for sealing and painting), and can be applied and heat shrunk over moderate compound curves without wrinkling. I used it to cover my latest model (pictured) and I'm sold.

Steve
Nov 18, 2020, 02:28 PM
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Steve,

Thanks for the prompt response.

I have a quantity of Balsarite. Would this be OK, or should I look for one of the other alternatives adhesives?

Also, do you one of the water based lacquers, such as Min Wax

John C
Nov 18, 2020, 05:49 PM
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Coupez's Avatar
Another option might be Oratex. It's a synthetic fabric that comes with a heat sensitive adhesive, so you don't need to pre-treat the wood; and it shrinks very nicely with heat. Comes in a limited range of colors as well as unpainted white and "antique" (natural linen color). I've had good results painting it with acrylics. The only drawback is the weight, which is heavier than MonoKote.
Nov 18, 2020, 06:29 PM
Still the "Pro"-crastinator...
Steve85's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John_R_C
I have a quantity of Balsarite. Would this be OK, or should I look for one of the other alternatives adhesives?

Also, do you one of the water based lacquers, such as Min Wax
I've never used Balsarite, so I don't know if it would be suitable. Polyspan doesn't have any adhesive, so a heat-activated adhesive is needed at least around the periphery to glue it to the framework. Apparently even thinned Elmer's white glue will do the trick.

I can't think of why a water-based lacquer (polyurethane?) wouldn't work as a sealer, although I haven't used one myself.

Steve St. Martin ("Fuzz" to his friends) is a regular poster in this forum, and he's the resident Polyspan guru. Hopefully he'll weigh in here too.

Steve
Nov 18, 2020, 06:42 PM
Veni Vidi Volavi
Brian Allen's Avatar
Balsarite works fine with Polyspan, have used it a couple times. It is no longer being produced so it may be hard to find which is why people recommend Sig's Stikit or Modge Podge.

Brian
Nov 18, 2020, 10:33 PM
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Steve, nice looking covering job. Did you use Stikit /Modge Pod on every stringer and rib? Looking at the pictures makes me think you did.

Coupez, thanks for the Coverite option, but the weight would be an issue for me.

Brian, thanks for the confirmation on the Balsarite.

John C
Nov 18, 2020, 11:18 PM
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EddieGil's Avatar
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...aminating-film
You might take a look at this thread, very satisfied with this product.
Nov 19, 2020, 01:02 AM
Big gov never Works
St. Martin's Avatar
Hi John, Go through Steve's Bolly thread. I "indoctrinated" him pretty good there. Poly Span is one of those coverings that is a take back to traditional model covering, with a little present day tech included. Like silkspan, silk and tissue, it takes an acquired knack, but to a lesser degree than the others.
I would avoid any woven polyester fabrics. Just too heavy. As far as the visual look, Poly Span is more accurate. Stand 20' from a full scale rag, and you cannot see the sealed weave.

Stix-it, balsa-rite is butyl acetate dope/lacquer product For poly span, the balsa rite film version works great. The original fabric version needs thinning. Balsa-loc/Mod Podge is a water based. As with all unsealed coverings, the frame needs to be presealed wherever the covering is attached, before the adhesive is applied.

Time and space constraints prohibit myself from getting into every detail. But, experience in old time "dope" covering is very helpful. As with them, P/S is an "acquired knack". And like any old doper, we all have developed our own way of doing things.

Just a few of recent P/S applications.

Fuzz
Nov 19, 2020, 01:47 AM
Viceless no longer :)
fairweatherflyer's Avatar
for a 36" span bi-plane you cannot beat polyspan. I've not used it but balsarite was one of the adhesives that was mentioned by Peter Rake that would be appropriate on the Sopwith Strutter. Another great thing about polyspan is that if you need to make repairs, its very easy to apply an overlapping patch. It also seems to shrink in a way very comparable to solartex so you can get it adhered to the frame at a lower temperature and then shrunk up tight at a slightly higher temperature. Good luck with finishing off your build, the Tiger Moth is a lovely subject.
Nov 19, 2020, 06:30 AM
Or current resident
glewis's Avatar
I have to try poly span someday...
I recently started using soft touch laminating film. Easy as using any film covering and it is coated with something that makes paint stick to it very well. At 1.5mil thick it is about the same strength as solite. A bit pricey at $95 for a 12" x 500' roll, but that's enough covering to last a very long time.
Bare was the first to discover it and posted his thoughts here.
I have used it on a few models now and I'm really liking the stuff.
Glenn
Nov 19, 2020, 06:51 AM
Big gov never Works
St. Martin's Avatar
Hey Glenn, How are you? Have not heard from you for a while.
Nov 19, 2020, 09:20 AM
Still the "Pro"-crastinator...
Steve85's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John_R_C
Steve, nice looking covering job. Did you use Stikit /Modge Pod on every stringer and rib? Looking at the pictures makes me think you did.
Thanks John. I used Mod Podge only on the ribs and stringers on the peripheries of the areas I meant to cover with each piece of Polyspan. Like Fuzz mentioned (and I forgot to) I had previously sealed all of the wood surfaces with two coats of thinned lacquer, the way we used to do with dope and silkspan. This prevented the wood from soaking up the Mod Podge, and "stuck" the shrunken Polyspan to the entire frame when I later applied lacquer to the Polyspan, since it's porous until sealed.

The whole "Fuzz indoctrinated" process goes like this:
  • sand the entire model framework
  • apply two coats of dope/lacquer/WBPU to the entire model framework
  • apply Mod Podge/Stixit/Balsarite only to the frames outlining the sections to be covered in single pieces
  • apply the Polyspan to each section using the low heat setting on your iron, shiny side out
  • apply dope/lacquer/WBPU to the edges of each Polyspan section to really stick it to the underlying framework
  • trim the edges of each section's Polyspan with a sharp knife
  • heat shrink the Polyspan with the high setting on your iron
  • apply two or three thinned coats of dope/lacquer/WBPU to all of the Polyspan
  • paint
Steve
Nov 19, 2020, 09:45 AM
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Thread OP
Thanks everybody! I think I'm good to go. I've ordered the Polyspan 20" X 20' roll which will be plenty! Lots of silk and dope back in the day - 60 years ago! My Nobler was gorgeous.

I'll get some water based Minwax for wood sealer, then use the Balsarite as the adhesive. Apply Polyspan and use Minwax before color coat.

Next question, getting ahead, what do you use for the color coat? Assume I'll need to brush it.

John C
Nov 19, 2020, 10:15 AM
Still the "Pro"-crastinator...
Steve85's Avatar
I'm a fan of spraying thinned household latex paint. For a couple of bucks you can get 8 ounces of any colour you can imagine mixed up at the hardware store. Eggshell or satin works great for camouflaged military scale models, but I imagine your Tiggie might want to be glossier.

Steve


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