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To paint or not to paint... that is the question


Using the term Paint loosley there seems to be a toss up on those who do and those who don't. I don't at this stage with my builds due to my flying experience, or lack of better put. I already have my sweat poured into my scratch builds and designs and it hurts crashing them. If I took the time to properly deck them out it would make a crash double painful.
I have added a couple of strips of electrical tape to some builds to give some refrence points, but nothing I'd call an effort to make them look sharp.

So what say you, do you take the time to deckout the deck or do you fly vanilla?
I think that holding yourself back due to worry of failure may not be the best mind set. How about throw yourself into the build, and consider a crash to be a learning experience (and opportunity for a new build:D)


I think that holding yourself back due to worry of failure may not be the best mind set. How about throw yourself into the build, and consider a crash to be a learning experience (and opportunity for a new build:D)
Are you always right?? LOL I'll do my best to overcome my over protection of my builds. Is there a 12 step program I need to join?;)
Sometimes it may be a good idea to paint. My reasoning is that you will be less likely to loose the plane when there is a sky covered with over cast clouds.


Just someone else.
Every plane I have painted or decorated has been "horrrrrrrible!" The undecorated ones have been good. Not to say I'm superstitous, but I think my spitfire will certainly be undecorated....

As a note, my Alula is decorated and I love it...but I did have a servo die in it..hmmmmm. :)


Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Find a sign shop nearby. Ask them if they have any scrap vinyl left over you can have. You might end up with a giant box full.

Cut and apply to your heart's content.


Fly, yes... Land, no
I use Sharpies and art pens on mine. I've found that if I dont have color it loose orentation real fast. And i will spend almost as much time coloring as I do building but thats part of the fun. Right now my favorite pens are the Sharpie Brush tip pens. Only problem is the lack of colors they come in. Need a good grey one. I am starting to look at ink. There is a local art supply store near my work so I go in there at lunch a lot. Now I just need a new small compressor for my airbrush and Im set to make a bigger mess of things :D :black_eyed:

Also useing pens really dosnet add any weight. I took a 5"x5" peice of foam and covered it with pen and weighed it. there was no noticable differance in weight with or without the ink.

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My artistic talents seem to be better suited to building. Demonstrated here by my "plans" for this particular plane. I do like Freds suggestion, there just happens to be a couple sign shops not far away.
Capture 1.JPG



Junior Member
I certainly am in the YES PAINT camp. However I learned a big lesson with my first build, which happened to be the FT Cruiser. Enamel was used on the top and it came out great, though the paper fibers stood up and I just took a paper towel and rubbed them down. The problem occurred when I painted the bottom with acrylic using an airbrush. I mixed the paint with water to thin it, and it turned out to be a big mistake because the paper started shrinking and warped the entire thing. Pretty devastating! I flew it a few times and retired it to the trash bin thanks to my painting errors.

I now have a Spitfire and am waiting for Chad or some expert to help me sort out the right way to paint it.

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I almost always paint. It is half the fun and it is soooo cool to see a low flybye and it look like the real thing. I am trying to figure out the best way to water-proof my builds. I tried the minwax thing. Not a big fan. Tried it before and after the build process. It made the plane more rigid, which in turn also made the paper pull off due to just flying stress. Tried that automotive covering for putting a temporary front bra on one's vehicle. I bought the clear and tried it before and after the painting was done. It works, but it leaves a slippery residue. So I tried the minwax in a can this time and it seems to work best so far. Do all your paint and graphics work then spray with the minwax in an aerosol can. Hope this helps you guys, if anyone has some other ideas, please let us know. I am sure there is a better way or simpler way out there, there always is.
I always paint every plane. This helps you see it against a blue sky or white clouds. It also tells you which side is up. Very important when you are doing rolls and loops and other stuff. On my wing I always know orange is bottom. If I see green, then roll it 180 degrees or do something to get it right side up again.

Also, when you paint foam, be sure you test the paint on a surface that is not your plane!
I use Krylon for Plastic. Do several light coats. It dries fast. Use blue masking tape as a mask so you can add white stripes or what ever design you want. I put my tape down on a cutting surface and cut out my tape. Then apply it to the foam and spray.

It only takes 5-10m to tape up and spray a simple striped pattern.

Good luck! and don't be afraid to paint them.


creator of virtual planes
I wish my planes lasted long enough to paint them. :(

But I think you guys are right that painting them makes flying more enjoyable. I tend to get bored and then do things that I shouldn't do and crash. It would be nice to admire how nice it looks while flying instead.
With just a bit of masking tape you can add a lot of look for very little actual painting.

Jump to 10 minutes into the video below for quick and dirty masking example.

I like to to keep my planes mostly white and just add some accent areas. However I'm stuck using black foam board for a while so I may try some white electrical tape for some fun stripes.