• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

lightweight covering

#1
So my mountain models switchback sport just arrived and I decided on a color scheme. I am going with blue for the wings and tail, black for the fuse. My question is this: What is a good covering material? I looked at the solite but the transparent blue looks to be a very light color, almost baby blue, and I'd like a transparent mid color blue. Not navy or midnight, more like royal blue or sky blue. Anyone have any ideas? Also, if that's not feasible, what is the easiest light weight covering out there? Google search isn't being to fruitful and this is my first balsa build. I've looked at the parklite as well, and it seems thin enough that it is probably a bit transparent. Any ideas or tips would be welcome! Thanks everyone!
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#2
From the SoLite colors I've used (6 so far) they're all a little transparent - part of the deal when you go with the lightweight covering. With that said, I absolutely recommend using SoLite for the Switchback! "Regular" covering is far too heavy and will crush the balsa structure very quickly. Also use an iron for shrinking it instead of a heat gun as you can better control the heat.
 
#3
I've used Parklite from Horizon Hobby and even the opaque covering is somewhat transparent. And I didn't like the fact that it is difficult for me to get it to stick down. I have resealed several seams on a fuselage that I covered two years ago.
 
#4
I’ve had reasonably good results with the park lite, but your mileage may vary. SIG sells a decent lite weight covering, but they have limited colors left. Word on the street is that they are discontinuing their light weight covering. Stevens Aero sells a light weight covering as well.
 
#5
Awesome. Thanks guys. I figured that the lightweight stuff would be a little transparent. I'd really like to be able to see the wing and tail structure a bit. Still waiting on MM to get me a few pieces that were missing from the kit and don't plan on starting until the temps get to hot here in Florida to want to fly much. But I'm excited to begin so want to have everything on hand. Appreciate the insight!
 
#6
I've used Parklite from Horizon Hobby and even the opaque covering is somewhat transparent. And I didn't like the fact that it is difficult for me to get it to stick down. I have resealed several seams on a fuselage that I covered two years ago.

Did you seal the seams after sealing with the iron are you using enough heat? I use Acetone with a Q-Tip and wet the edge.
 
#7
Did you seal the seams after sealing with the iron are you using enough heat? I use Acetone with a Q-Tip and wet the edge.
Used the recommended heat and temped my sealing iron with a non-contact temp gun. I eventually used Monokote Trim Seal and they have stayed put for now.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#8
A thought on getting lightweight covering to a specific coloring - don't discount the classic tissue and dope methods. While the colors of iron on coverings are limited, and light weight options even more so, the old school silkspan with nitrate dope leaves you with all the paint colors in the world to choose from, or dyed esaki tissue for a translucent look.
 
#9
Not a bad thought. As this will be my first balsa build, and therefore first covering job, I also want to use the easiest covering. So what method would be easier? Tissue or iron on? and is the durability of tissue as good as the iron on covering? There's going to be a whole lot of learning going on and I want to be able to simplify things that can be simplified.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#10
I think a good lightweight iron on will probably be easier to execute, but you'd probably need to compromise on color expectations. Tissue durability is great - especially when you're talking about 5-10 years down the road. It doesn't sag and require re-tightning like the iron on stuff.

For iron on brands, I have had good success with the Aerolite from Stevens Aeromodel, which is the same stuff as Solite from Mountain Models. Dust the adhesive side with a puff of talcom powder to prevent it from sticking back on itself if it starts to drive you crazy when applying it. The stuff in stock is the last we'll see of that however, as the manufacturer of that film in the UK just discontinued it in March. I haven't tried the Parklite that Bill Stevens is recommending as a replacement yet. Coverite's Microlite is a bit different to work with - it shrinks a lot less than Solite, and requires Balsarite liquid adhesive to be brushed on to the balsa and film before application.
 
#12
I used solite blue on my EVA and was happy with the way it turned out.

I have some left if you want a few square inch sample you can IM me an address and I'll send you a small piece to look at in person.

IMG_1024.JPG
 
#15
Nice plane! And thanks for the offer. I pulled the trigger yesterday and ordered a roll of black and translucent blue. If it looks have as good as that EVA I'll be happy.
 
#16
Thanks for the compliments. It doesn't look totally clean in person, but I think it turned out decent for the first plane I have covered in about 25 years!

Jared, take your time. Sand everything, and then sand again. My biggest regret is missing a few areas swollen by CA that I didn't see while sanding. It REALLY sticks out AFTER the covering is on. Also Solite turns out nice, but it can be VERY frustrating to work with. Read some forums, watch some videos, and try some practice parts. The dreaded sticking to itself is probably the worst part. You just have to work slow and try to maintain patience and you can do it.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#17
To solve the sticking together problem, dust it with a little talcom powder after you peel off the backing. It doesn't reduce the iron on adhesive strength but prevents the dreaded self-stick