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Solatex Covering

Started by m51sherman, August 28, 2016, 16:25:00 pm

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m51sherman

Well,the Nieuport 11 has now been constructed and looking good! Really pleases with it so far and has been a challenge and a lot of fun to do. Just about to do the covering and have decided to use Solatex to give it the authentic fabric look. Have had experience with the old tissue paper and dope but never the iron on stuff before. I've read the blurb on the Solafilm site,which is good but would appreciate any tips.
Many Thanks
Alan.

Michael_Rolls

Alan
How big is the Nieuport? Solartex is quite heavy
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

Michael_Rolls

Just remembered that you are building the Peter Rake design. As you say, Solartex gives a fabric look, although for a model that small it may look a bit over scale - the main thing, though, is the weight. Solartex weighs 0.2 ozs per 100 sq/ins - check how much weight you would be adding and see if you are comfortable with the answer.
HTH
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

m51sherman

Hi Michael. Just looked the weight up,it's around 23-25 oz, 33" wing span

Michael_Rolls

So, at a very rough guess, 'tex would only add a couple of ounces (but better check my maths) over and above a lighter finish
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

m51sherman

That's great, Thanks Michael.

PDR

Hmmm... I'll readily defer to anyone with recent and direct experience of this sort of thing, but I suspect the structure of an aeroplane of that size may not be suitable for solartex - the shrinking my distort or or even damage stringers & longerons, and make the LE/TE rather wavy.

If I were doing one of that size I would probably lean more towards the "nylon over tissue" technique beloved of scale modellers in the 70s and 80s - cover the model with heavyweight tissue and dope it sufficient to seal the tissue. Then cover over the tissue with wet nylon, laying it on very wet and brushing more water into it to exclude any bubbles between the nylon and tissue so that the surface tension of the water sucks the nylon down onto the tissue.

When it's all nice and flush brush a little cellulose thinners (or dope thinned 80-90%) through the nylon to anchor it and leave it for a day or so to dry out. Then brush a coat or two of 50% thinned dope into the nylon to stick it down, but not fill the weave. Leave for a week to fully dry out then lightly spray you chosen colours.

This method makes for a covering that is extremely strong, sealed and airtight, but with a very prominent fabric texture, and by not sealing the weave with dope the result is typically 30-50% lighter than straight nylon covering.

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

itsme

Do Solar film still do Lightspan? Sounds like the best option.

Sent from my SM-A300FU using Tapatalk


Gordon W

August 28, 2016, 22:08:18 pm #8 Last Edit: August 28, 2016, 22:13:04 pm by Gordon W
Further to PDR's nylon on tissue, most scale modellers of the Eric Coates era, 1970's etc, used silk over tissue applied as PDR suggested.  Silk has a finer weave than nylon.  I still have some Japanese silk I bought back then, left over from covering a 48in span Avro 504k using the silk-over-tissue method.  Regrettably a google search fails to come up with a current supplier.

What I do remember is that back in 1958, Vic Smeed published a chubby-fuselaged single-channel model of  about 30in span or so for 1cc diesels called Chatterbox in Aeromodeller. 

    http://www.myhobbystore.co.uk/product/15675/pet715--chatterbox     

The write-up described covering the model with nylon over tissue.  But not the "normal" nylon which is like Solartex without the glue and heavier than silk.  The nylon Vic used was from discarded nylon stockings the ladies wore back then.  Modern ladies tights might do the same job.

If anyone still has a copy of the Dec 58 Aeromodeller maybe they could look up the details for you.  I suspect that the June 2000 digital edition listed in the advert isn't the same write-up but I might be wrong.  In fact the covering article might have been separate feature from the actual build instructions so a bit of digging in the Aeromodeller around Dec 58 onwards might be needed.

Gordon

Michael_Rolls

Alan
Just re-read your opening post - I had assumed that you didn't want to go tissue/dope etc route. If you are not committed to a shrink covering of some sort, I would agree with Peter's recommendation - although I would substitute silk (if you can find some) for nylon, most sources of which that I have used in the past I would see as over heavy for the Rake design. Incidentally - a VERY light covering in the dope/tissue etc., genre is - again if you can find it, haven't used it in years - is chiffon over tissue which again gives a 'fabric' look to the finished result, although not as pronounced as 'tex (whihc as I mentioned before might seem a bit 'over scale' for the Nieuport)
HTH
Mike
PS it's a long time since I bought any silk from a model supplier (or any other supplier for that matter) so I may be out of date - hardly for the first time
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

PDR

Good pointer Gordon - I remember reading an old aeromodeller annual which had a long piece about PE Norman's experiments with FF scale ducted fans. IIRC these mostly had moulded sheet "shell" fuselages which he covered with doped-on nylon stockings because they easily conformed to the compound curves and large changes of cross-section.

I guess the year would have been some time in the late 50s (well before I was born) - it was one of a pile of aeromodeller annuals I found in a school jumble sale. Another one had a detailed write up of the work done by a chap in Norfolk developing and flying axial-flow turbojets using galloping ghost RC. The articles were extremely detailed, accompanied by nice drawings and  vague photos, and were of course complete and utter fiction. I think that was in the 1955 annual.

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

Michael_Rolls

It was the 1954 Annual, pages 87-94. As a credulous 17 year old I read it in amazement. The author, W. Ball claimed to have flown a prototype delta of 8 ft span and 10.25lbs weight with an engine he described as having 'a 4 stage axial compressor, annular combustion chamber and single turbine'. The engine was designated X-J-E 10. In the article there is a detailed drawing of a jet turbine described as X-J-E 20 with alength of 2' 4", a weight of 3 lbs and a claimed thrust of 10.8 lbs.
Mr. Ball claims that his model was flown in October 1947 for 8 1/2 minutes and that local sports timekeepers were used to establish a speed of 100 mph. Interestingly, Mr. Ball says he wrote to Aeromodeller telling of his experiment and was told that flying F/F jets was against the law (bit puzzled there, as he says the model was R/C - in 1947?)
Interestingly, although the article is accompanied by several photos of models, there are no pictures of the various engines he says he built - and also he lost everything in his modelling workshop in the East Coast floods of Jan 31st 1953.
I believed it all at the time, but to the best of my knowledge Mr. Ball never reappeared, nor did his turbines and I grew increasingly sceptical of the article,
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

itsme


Michael_Rolls

Here's the (hopefully legible) article from Aeromodeller 12/58
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

Michael_Rolls

Yes - you may need to use Ctrl and mouse wheel to enlarge the image
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

Gordon W

August 29, 2016, 11:45:35 am #15 Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 11:54:04 am by Gordon W
Thanks for that Mike.  I have to admit that the details aren't just what I thought I remembered as you end up with the stocking material under the tissue, and hence no weave showing.  It looks a bit of a dicey proposition to me, too.

Airspan sounds good.  I've used silver Litespan on an electric job, and that might be just right for saving paint weight on a small French or British Nieuport model.

2nd edit.  Cream Litespan might suit an Italian Nieuport

Gordon

edit - I originally wrote Fibafilm, but it was Litespan that I used

m51sherman

Wow! Thanks for everyone's help with this. You all know your stuff!.I have unearthed an article by Peter Rake on building the Nieuport and he recommends Litespan. (Although it will be a smooth finish )Will look into the many ideas put forward and see my best option. Many Thanks.

Michael_Rolls

I used Fibafilm a good while ago and IIRC one side is smooth, the other is slightly textured (it doesn't have an adhesive backing, of course)
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend