Painting an electric powered balsa park flyer?


New member
The last time I painted an airplane was nearly 20 years ago when building and flying glow powered models. I have always just used film covering for everything. But, the plans for the MM Dandy mentions painting the tail feathers and fuselage, so am debating buying cheapest spray paint can find at Dollar store and doing just that. Seems to me it shouldn't be much weight difference, and will surely be cheaper than using high priced film.

Anyone else using cheap paint for balsa electrics?


Skill Collector
I haven't yet, and I don't expect doing so to be a problem on Mono or Ultra coat heavy duty covering. Not so sure how the lighter Solite type coverings will handle it. Definitely recommend doing a test - I like to cover one of the balsa trees (the weird shape left over after punching out all the parts) just to test the covering temperatures out - hitting that with some spray paint before doing the model would be a good idea :)

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Are you talking about painting the wood directly, or covering with film and THEN painting? If you're talking about painting the wood I'd really suggest against it. The wet paint can make the wood warp, it soaks in unevenly, it gives you a very dull finish, and the finish is also very grainy. Yes, you can do it, but the covering looks so much better and protects the wood from moisture on the grass. SoLite (or similar light weight covering) is all you should consider for a lightweight design like the Dandy. Heavier coverings will bend/break the structure very easily, and add more weight to the plane. Plus, you'll need the covering for the wings, so why not use it for the rest of the plane as well?

Unless you're talking about painting the covering... I haven't tried it, but I have noticed that my planes covered with SoLite (and even the heavier coverings) need occasional re-shrinking. I'm guessing that won't work well with a painted covering.