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Model Tips

We will be periodically adding tips on how to get great results in both building and flying your airplanes. 
Check back often to see what we add.



To cover a lightweight indoor model’s structure with condenser paper or Japanese Tissue, it is important to pre-shrink the material before applying. These materials have a tendency to shrink after being exposed to moisture (even from humidity in the air). If the tissue shrinks after it is applied to single surface covered structures, it will warp the light framework of your airplane and destroy its flying abilities.


To help prevent this, lay the tissue on a piece of carpet or a bath towel before misting. This will allow air to surround it as it dries. Use a spray bottle (like window cleaner comes in) to apply a mist of water over the sheet of tissue. It should have an even pattern of moisture droplets evenly distributed over the tissues surface that will soak in and cause it to look evenly damp in a couple of minutes. When damp, it also has a tendency to stick to itself if it becomes folded and is somewhat difficult to pull it back apart, so be careful. After it dries (maybe 20 minutes), mist it again.


Double shrinking it now will cure most of the shrinkage problems that could occur later (it can shrink as much as 1/2 across the 15 direction). When it dries, it will look VERY WRINKLED. No problem. Use a standard clothing iron set to a very warm setting (cotton) and gently iron it on an ironing board. It will now be flat but have a slightly wrinkled, skin like texture when you are done. This is your goal.




(cover ONLY the top surface)

There is a grain direction in nearly all paper that runs parallel to the manufactured edges. In covering a wing or horizontal stabilizer it is best for that grain to run parallel to the leading and trailing edges. Pre-cut the paper to be slightly larger than the piece to be covered (maybe 1/2 on each edge). Always cover individual sections before assembly (i.e. if a wing has dihedral, cover each piece with its own precut sheet). Protect the floor with newspapers and set the component in the middle. Using Spray Glue (such as 3M Super 77), hold the can straight over the wing, at least 24 away and dust on a light mist (3 seconds maximum). Move the component back to a clean, flat surface to help prevent any warps when applying the covering. Carefully set the paper in place.


Caution: The covering will immediately stick wherever it touches, so it is a good idea to work with a partner, each holding one side. Do not attempt to stretch the paper, just let it comfortably lay on the structure of the wing. Then gently pat down all contacting surfaces to insure adhesion.


Using a new super sharp double-edged razor blade, trim off the excess paper all around the edges. An alternate method of trimming excess paper is to gently sand the outside edge (using fine sandpaper on a sanding block). Stroke downward at about a 45-degree angle to sand through the paper only so the excess will just drop away.


Note: For repair work and for portions that are impractical to use spray glue (because of the extremely sticky overspray that may get on adjoining covering), here is a good alternative. Mix Elmers Carpenter Glue (or comparable aliphatic resin glue) with rubbing alcohol. It can be diluted to as much as 80% alcohol and 20% glue.


When thoroughly mixed, it will have a translucent amber color. It can be applied with a brush, a cotton swab, or squirted out of a small applicator bottle. It is important to work rather rapidly once the glue is applied as it looses its adhesive quality quickly. If covering a larger surface it is sometimes necessary to give a quick second coat just before applying the tissue. Allow the moisture from the glue to completely dry before trimming the edges as described above.


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Dave & Eileen Zeigler  770-460-0939

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