Covering EJF's F-18 - RC Groups
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Feb 09, 2001, 02:58 PM
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LJH's Avatar

Covering EJF's F-18

I am comeing along slowly on my EJF's (Mr Cox's) F-18 and I have been thinking about what to use to finish it. To begin with I am going to be flying it with a SP480BB Race Motor so I want to keep it as light as possible but still want to have a decent finish. I have had mixed results with plastic film.I did cover my Tempest with Oracover film at it came out alright. My brother is working on the S-3 from EAM and he is going to finish it with lightweight Silkspan. Should I consider the same? I would think that glassing it might be a bit heavy, and I am not that experenced with glassing surfaces that large. What do you guys recomend? I will be finishing it in "Navy Gray" and I do have a airbrush. Thanks for the info. Look forward to getting it in the air.

Jim Hahn
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Feb 09, 2001, 03:52 PM
Registered User
Greetings -

Good question you ask here - I would think there are a number of these kits out there in the assembly process. I have two I'm working on slowly but surely - one will have a MiniFan and 1010/2Y and the other a Flash EDF unit which is requiring some minor mods to fit the slighlty larger diameter of the shroud/fan.

As for finishing, I am planning on Silkspan and water thinned Pica Gluit (NOT Pica Gluit II as it doesn't work - don't ask me how I know!). Kevin's recommendations in the instructions/manual are worth considering, especially since you are not going with a high gloss final finish like you would on a Blue Angels scheme. I've thought about using dope too as I have plenty of nitrate and buytrate dopes on hand but I'm not sure if I can get a "seamless" finish on the foam nose (can't use dope there) and on the foam core wing (ditto).

Can anyone comment on water based polyurethane(?)varnish finishes? What do you use, weight gain, paint you use on it, etc? I read something in I believe it was R/C Modeler (the U.S. magazine) and could not find it during an initial cursory look through the magazine pile.

As for the gray finish, be sure to add some distinct colors in there somewhere so you can see the model and maintain visual orientation. They don't call it camouflage for nothing!

Fly Fast! Mark
Feb 09, 2001, 04:30 PM
EDF Head
Haldor's Avatar
Glasscloth/epoxy finish - easy to make heavy and hard to remove When done properly it wont be much heavier than regular film.

Filmcovering - easy to make light consistently and easy to remove if you foul it up.

My plan-buildt F18 came out at 17oz (a tad heavy) with glassed and painted surfaces. The wings are also sheeted with balsa for strength so that accounts for some of the weight. (Balsa nosecone too)

For lightweight finishing I would recommend film. It is fast and easy to apply and can be undone if it gets bad. Oracover will accept paint ok so you can airbrush it.
You could go for Oracover Lite and airbrush that.
Since you're reluctant to go for epoxy finish then dont before you have tried it a couple of times and gets more confident.

Here is a pic of it:

Happy flying!
Feb 09, 2001, 06:13 PM
steve neill
steve neill
Use silkspan Jim. I use it on all my planes with great results.
Just for example we vacumme bagged epoxy glass on our YB-49 and it comes out to 8 oz. With silkspan 5 oz. and just as strong in my opinion.
If your careful with it you get no wrinkles and a very smooth finish. Paint it with acrylic paints. They have some pretty glossy stuff now.
You just can't beat it for being light weight and strong. My most recent EDF is a Flying wing with a 480 and mini fan on gear. It's 28 oz. full up. You can see it in the EDF thread pics are there and flight video.
Feb 09, 2001, 07:37 PM
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Kevin Cox's Avatar
Hi Jim,

No need for Mr. just Kevin

Based on the power setup I'd go with the lightest, silkspan. You can get a really nice finish with it but it takes more work. The problem with the tissue finish is that it is not durable. The next best is going to be the low temp iron-on plastic film. Since you have decided to go for the low viz gray you would need to add paint thus more weight

What I have also done, with some success, is to cover the wing in film and the rest of the model in tissue. Then add paint. Lastly and this is one that I use on my quick builts. Cover the wings in film or tissue. Take some spackling compound mix it with water or alcohol and brush it on the rest of the model and sand. Repeat about 3 times. Spray on about 2 coats of clear. Then paint.

Just giving you some more options. Good luck!
Feb 09, 2001, 07:52 PM
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Kevin Cox's Avatar
As for water based polyurethane. My F-15 is covered with this and I'd say it was equal to the weight of dope. It smelled better, cost less, and easier to clean up (wife friendly). The down side this stuff seem to be more prone the cause warps and take a while to dry. It doesn't seem to be as strong either. I used hardware store primer in a can with no problems and my paint of choice is Testors Model Masters. Also with out a problem.

Oh yeah,

The gray jets are to bad on sunny days but those cloudy days can get hairy if you dont fly close in. And for goodness sake DON'T paint the false canopy under the bottom until you get use to it
May 02, 2001, 12:37 PM
Serenity Now!
jbrundt's Avatar
Originally posted by Kevin Cox:
The gray jets are to bad on sunny days but those cloudy days can get hairy if you dont fly close in. And for goodness sake DON'T paint the false canopy under the bottom until you get use to it

The false canopy on the bottom was primarily for the CF-18 the Canadians fly.

[This message has been edited by jbrundt (edited 05-02-2001).]
May 02, 2001, 07:52 PM
Acme Powered!
Joe Elston's Avatar
If glassing is done correctly its much stronger than any mylar covering. Cover compiund cureves exccellently and make a good tough airframe. I use West Sytems Epoxy and 3/4 ounce cloth some of you may have seen my glassed Dago Red that I built for a customer The plane came out at 25 ounces all up with a speed 480 BB race motor and 8 cell 500 ar pack and was wicked fast. I am doing my own now and it will have a B/L Astro 020 7 turn in it.
May 03, 2001, 01:12 AM
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Kevin Cox's Avatar
Correct Jbrundt.
But the Navy and Marines both have them on a few aircraft. Topgun also comes to mind. Here are a couple of links and I have more with the false canopy.....HORNETS FOREVER!....oops sorry