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Best Covering? Monokote? Ultracote? Koverall?

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Best Covering? Monokote? Ultracote? Koverall?

Old 09-02-2021, 10:28 AM
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gpschult
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Default Best Covering? Monokote? Ultracote? Koverall?

I'm starting my first kit build, a Sig Clipped Wing Cub, and have been thinking ahead to how I'd like to cover it once I get to that point. What are the advantages and pitfalls of the different coverings? I'm looking at Monokote, Ultracote, and Sig Koverall, but I'm open to other materials that I haven't heard of. I really like the strength of the Sig Koverall, but I want to make a fully informed decision. Is one stronger? Lighter? Easier to work with? What looks better and lasts longer? Thanks in advance!
Old 09-03-2021, 05:07 AM
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Best covering?
I doubt that there is a "best" covering, however there may be a "better" covering for the particular job/ plane you are covering. Do you want to paint?, cause that's what you will be doing if you go with Sig Koverall or Balsa USA Planetex or other plain fabric coverings. Monokote and Ultracoat are a heat shrink plastic type covering, IMHO these types of coverings should really never be used on a Cub, full size Cubs have a fabric covering. We used to have some real nice iron on fabric coverings for model called Solartex and Coverite Super Shrink fabric but they are no longer available. Balsa USA is importing Oratex from Germany which is a iron on fabric covering. I have not tried Oratex recently, way back when Nelson Hobbies first started selling Nelson's LiteFab it was rebranded Oratex. It worked fine, it just did not seem to shrink as tight as Solartex or Super Coverite, had to be a bit more careful as to eliminate as many wrinkles as possible while ironing it down. I do remember noticing that it at least seemed "seemed" lighter in weight compared to Solartex and Super Coverite. Jerry Nelson later switched to rebranded Solartex as LiteFab. IMHO, Solartex was king of the fabric coverings. It was very easy to apply and you could shrink just about any wrinkle out and was available in lots of colors. Super Coverite Super Shrink, only came in a white/ natural color and needed to be painted, was also very easy to apply and it was available in 48" wide rolls if I remember correctly.
Koverall, Planetex, Poly Lite from F&M/ Stits, Ceconite, Dacron can all be used and are heat shrinkable. They will all need to either be "doped" to frame or you will need to apply a heat activated adhesive to the plane first (Sig Stix-It, Balsa Right, etc.). The weave on these fabrics will also need to be filled prior to painting. There are many videos on YouTube about fabric covering models.
If you want to limit your painting you might want to try one of the colored Oratex coverings from Balsa USA.
I always felt that Ultracoat seemed to shrink a bit better than Monokote, but Monokote seemed to have the best gloss/ finish.
Good luck with whatever you choose, but please leave the Monokotes and Ultracoats for the sport pattern planes, Cubs need fabric.
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gpschult (09-03-2021)
Old 09-03-2021, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 2 Piece View Post
Best covering?
I doubt that there is a "best" covering, however there may be a "better" covering for the particular job/ plane you are covering. Do you want to paint?, cause that's what you will be doing if you go with Sig Koverall or Balsa USA Planetex or other plain fabric coverings. Monokote and Ultracoat are a heat shrink plastic type covering, IMHO these types of coverings should really never be used on a Cub, full size Cubs have a fabric covering. We used to have some real nice iron on fabric coverings for model called Solartex and Coverite Super Shrink fabric but they are no longer available. Balsa USA is importing Oratex from Germany which is a iron on fabric covering. I have not tried Oratex recently, way back when Nelson Hobbies first started selling Nelson's LiteFab it was rebranded Oratex. It worked fine, it just did not seem to shrink as tight as Solartex or Super Coverite, had to be a bit more careful as to eliminate as many wrinkles as possible while ironing it down. I do remember noticing that it at least seemed "seemed" lighter in weight compared to Solartex and Super Coverite. Jerry Nelson later switched to rebranded Solartex as LiteFab. IMHO, Solartex was king of the fabric coverings. It was very easy to apply and you could shrink just about any wrinkle out and was available in lots of colors. Super Coverite Super Shrink, only came in a white/ natural color and needed to be painted, was also very easy to apply and it was available in 48" wide rolls if I remember correctly.
Koverall, Planetex, Poly Lite from F&M/ Stits, Ceconite, Dacron can all be used and are heat shrinkable. They will all need to either be "doped" to frame or you will need to apply a heat activated adhesive to the plane first (Sig Stix-It, Balsa Right, etc.). The weave on these fabrics will also need to be filled prior to painting. There are many videos on YouTube about fabric covering models.
If you want to limit your painting you might want to try one of the colored Oratex coverings from Balsa USA.
I always felt that Ultracoat seemed to shrink a bit better than Monokote, but Monokote seemed to have the best gloss/ finish.
Good luck with whatever you choose, but please leave the Monokotes and Ultracoats for the sport pattern planes, Cubs need fabric.
Wow, thanks for the great, detailed answer! Much appreciated. I'm of a similar opinion. Monokote looks good on a lot of planes, but I think I'm going to prefer a fabric covering on my Cub for realism. I'll look into Balsa USA's Oratex as well, thanks for that info. I toured the Sig plant in Iowa recently and had my first encounter with Koverall. Man, that fabric is tough! Our tour guide hammered on it with his finger, then handed me a sheet and said, "Here, try to tear this." I couldn't do it. He then said, "The nice thing about Koverall is if you crash, you have a nice bag to carry home all the pieces."
Old 09-03-2021, 12:07 PM
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A couple of points in addition to 2 Piece's excellent advice may be worth mentioning. Most painted fabric finishes are going to be heavier than films. For a quarter-scale Cub, I wouldn't consider anything other than fabric. But covering a .40 size model with Sig Koverall followed by nitrate dope and paint will get you (well, at least me) a model so heavy that it will be unlikely to fly well. Furthermore, for models of lightplanes especially, the added weight of fabric, dope, and paint may make the model more tail-heavy than it would have been with a film covering, making it even heavier if you have to add weight up front.

That said, there are ways of building even small, light models with painted or doped finishes. Silkspan (or other tissues) and dope, Polyspan and dope or some paints, silk and dope all require a fair amount of work. And if you're using electric power and so don't need a fuelproof finish it becomes even easier.
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Old 09-07-2021, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Top_Gunn View Post
A couple of points in addition to 2 Piece's excellent advice may be worth mentioning. Most painted fabric finishes are going to be heavier than films. For a quarter-scale Cub, I wouldn't consider anything other than fabric. But covering a .40 size model with Sig Koverall followed by nitrate dope and paint will get you (well, at least me) a model so heavy that it will be unlikely to fly well. Furthermore, for models of lightplanes especially, the added weight of fabric, dope, and paint may make the model more tail-heavy than it would have been with a film covering, making it even heavier if you have to add weight up front.

That said, there are ways of building even small, light models with painted or doped finishes. Silkspan (or other tissues) and dope, Polyspan and dope or some paints, silk and dope all require a fair amount of work. And if you're using electric power and so don't need a fuelproof finish it becomes even easier.

Good info, thanks!
Old 10-14-2021, 06:05 AM
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i am using Ultracote, my first covering job of any kind. I've been happy with it, i get some wrinkles but have been able to shrink almost all of them out.
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:41 AM
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Not for a cub necessarily or a WWI warbird, but I absolutely love Monokote. Nothing is shinier, NOTHING shrinks and shrinks and shrinks like Monokote. Nothing is quite so forgiving. If you get a wrinkle just keep heating an rubbing it until it goes away. Turn up that iron to 11 and go to work.

I'm currently covering a Sig Riser 100 in transparent Ultracote and it just doesn't shrink the same or pullout wrinkles the same. Mono will shrink enough that it will open seams if you keep the heat on it...... I haven't used Ultra since my last electric glider. I probably won't use it again until my next.....
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Old 10-21-2021, 06:41 AM
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If you are covering a scale airplane like a Cub, or maybe a Waco then Stits with Ceconite would be my choice.

Now if your covering an aerobatic 3D aircraft, then Monokote all day long!

Bob
Old 10-30-2021, 02:27 AM
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Hi!
Been around 46 years in this hobby and tried nearly all coverings film available.
Silk and dope is fine but demands more of the user.
Monokote is good and very shiny, but I prefer Oracover as it shrinks much better and is much sturdier as it does not break (rip holes in open structures) as easy as Monokote. Oracover and Ultrakote are the same, made in Germany.
Solartex and Oratex are nearly the same but I prefer Oratex as it shrinks a bit better than Solartec and stays hard.These are suitable for larger planes like a CUB. For smaller planes in the .20-.40 class Ultrakote is the covering I prefer.
All the planes below has been covered with Oracover.

Marutaka DC-3

Q-500 racer


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Old 10-30-2021, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jaka54 View Post
Hi!
Been around 46 years in this hobby and tried nearly all coverings film available.
Silk and dope is fine but demands more of the user.
Monokote is good and very shiny, but I prefer Oracover as it shrinks much better and is much sturdier as it does not break (rip holes in open structures) as easy as Monokote. Oracover and Ultrakote are the same, made in Germany.
Solartex and Oratex are nearly the same but I prefer Oratex as it shrinks a bit better than Solartec and stays hard.These are suitable for larger planes like a CUB. For smaller planes in the .20-.40 class Ultrakote is the covering I prefer.
All the planes below has been covered with Oracover.

Marutaka DC-3

Q-500 racer

Those look awesome! I hope mine look that good when they're finished.
Old 11-06-2021, 10:08 PM
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What is the anticipated lifespan of your model?

If it is a year or less cover it with a film, any will do and they all will begin to sag or wrinkle within the year. Monokote also becomes fragile and brittle after a few years requiring constant patching. However, the labor involved with applying the film and maintaining it will be manageable IF the plane doesn’t last long.

If you anticipate the model to last longer than a year, the labor expended in maintaining the film will soon exceed that of applying a quality painted fabric finish. Fabric and paint is therefore the best choice.

I have used Sig Koverall on planes powered by .10 glow engines and I can assure you that when properly applied it can be as light as film. However, you must accept a finish that looks like fabric, if you desire a film like finish then fabric is the wrong choice and will indeed be too heavy.

Another choice is Polyspan which works very well on planes smaller than .40 glow size. It is very strong and very light but has some unique application properties.

The choice comes down to how much effort you want to devote to the project and when to apply that effort. A fabric/painted finish is maintenance free once completed and a film finish requires constant maintenance after completion. The fabric finish will require more labor to apply than film.


Old 11-07-2021, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
What is the anticipated lifespan of your model?

If it is a year or less cover it with a film, any will do and they all will begin to sag or wrinkle within the year. Monokote also becomes fragile and brittle after a few years requiring constant patching. However, the labor involved with applying the film and maintaining it will be manageable IF the plane doesn’t last long.

If you anticipate the model to last longer than a year, the labor expended in maintaining the film will soon exceed that of applying a quality painted fabric finish. Fabric and paint is therefore the best choice.

I have used Sig Koverall on planes powered by .10 glow engines and I can assure you that when properly applied it can be as light as film. However, you must accept a finish that looks like fabric, if you desire a film like finish then fabric is the wrong choice and will indeed be too heavy.

Another choice is Polyspan which works very well on planes smaller than .40 glow size. It is very strong and very light but has some unique application properties.

The choice comes down to how much effort you want to devote to the project and when to apply that effort. A fabric/painted finish is maintenance free once completed and a film finish requires constant maintenance after completion. The fabric finish will require more labor to apply than film.
I don't know. I hate to sound like a Top Flight spokesman but that has not been my experience with Monokote. Maybe its the Arizona sun but here in Missouri, I haven't had any issues with properly applied Monokote wrinkling over the long haul. My oldest planes now are well over a decade old and the covering does not appear to have become brittle. Given the narrow staircase up from the basement and my horrific landing skills they do get hanger rash. A few seconds with a heat gun and they are back to normal.

I do want to try silk or coverall and dope but I'm more than a little concerned about the weight. Now that my lovely wife has acquired an air brush I'll have to give it a try.
Old 11-07-2021, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jaka54 View Post
Hi!
Been around 46 years in this hobby and tried nearly all coverings film available.
Silk and dope is fine but demands more of the user.
Monokote is good and very shiny, but I prefer Oracover as it shrinks much better and is much sturdier as it does not break (rip holes in open structures) as easy as Monokote. Oracover and Ultrakote are the same, made in Germany.
Solartex and Oratex are nearly the same but I prefer Oratex as it shrinks a bit better than Solartec and stays hard.These are suitable for larger planes like a CUB. For smaller planes in the .20-.40 class Ultrakote is the covering I prefer.
All the planes below has been covered with Oracover.

Marutaka DC-3

Q-500 racer

You sir are an artist
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Old 11-07-2021, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Bigshark View Post
I don't know. I hate to sound like a Top Flight spokesman but that has not been my experience with Monokote. Maybe its the Arizona sun but here in Missouri, I haven't had any issues with properly applied Monokote wrinkling over the long haul. My oldest planes now are well over a decade old and the covering does not appear to have become brittle. Given the narrow staircase up from the basement and my horrific landing skills they do get hanger rash. A few seconds with a heat gun and they are back to normal.

I do want to try silk or coverall and dope but I'm more than a little concerned about the weight. Now that my lovely wife has acquired an air brush I'll have to give it a try.

It’s possible that you are the one guy in a thousand that can apply Monokote in a way that avoids wrinkles that appear over time. I’ve been a modeler for as long as Monokote has been around, and have used it on countless planes, every single one has developed wrinkles especially over sheeted surfaces. Every model I’ve seen at the field that is over a year or so old exhibits the same problem unless the owner recently re-ironed them down. Some modelers are blind to them and deny they exist unless pointed out, sort of like dropped cellphone calls.

I’m not sure what you would call it when long blades of grass or weeds punch holes in monokote but I call it brittle and as the plane ages it becomes more prone to the problem. No such problem with fabric.

If you can apply Monokote in such a way that avoids all the problems then I say you are a Master Monokote Applicator and I truly stand humbled by your skill, if I lived closer I would try to learn your secret.

By the way, I like Monokote and still use it from time to time but only on planes that I expect to be short lived or relatively unimportant, like a 1/2A pylon racer or a trainer. For planes I expect to last many years I devote the time to cover with fabric, polyspan, silkspan or tissue and then dope/paint. Monokote looks great and applies easily, it just doesn’t age as well for me.

Last edited by 049flyer; 11-07-2021 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 11-08-2021, 02:18 AM
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I agree with the above...For planes that you want to keep for years or decades that are scale like or scale or are big and should look like new for years to come ...covering with 25 glas fiber and 24 hour epoxy is one way of fixing a nice, durable finish, at least on the fuselage. On the wing, if it is a smaller sport, pattern plane, around 1,2-1,6m in span Oracover is the covering I would choose.Oratex or Solartex is too heavy in that case. But for a Piper CUB typ plane with a span of around 2m-2,5m I would choose Oratex.
Soo the question is what type of plane do you have in mind??
Picture below is a .20 size Curare pattern plane (powered with a MVVS 4,5cc glow engine) where the balsa fuselage is covered with 25g glasfiber /24 hour epoxy/Brown microballons and sprayed with 2-part auto paint (Sikkens).Panel lines using 0.1mm black ink pen then sprayed with clear 2-part auto paint.
Wing covered with Oracover.


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Old 11-14-2021, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bigshark View Post
I don't know. I hate to sound like a Top Flight spokesman but that has not been my experience with Monokote. Maybe its the Arizona sun but here in Missouri, I haven't had any issues with properly applied Monokote wrinkling over the long haul. My oldest planes now are well over a decade old and the covering does not appear to have become brittle. Given the narrow staircase up from the basement and my horrific landing skills they do get hanger rash. A few seconds with a heat gun and they are back to normal.

I do want to try silk or coverall and dope but I'm more than a little concerned about the weight. Now that my lovely wife has acquired an air brush I'll have to give it a try.
I just finished an Ace 4-40 bipe in uncertified lite aircraft fabric and dope. It flies fine and isn't over weight. I did a Phil Kraft Kwik Fli III (.60 size) in fabric and dope. The all up weight is 5.6 lbs.

carl
Old 11-15-2021, 07:07 AM
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Best covering, well if covering in plastic film, Monokote for its light weight and shine, if covering in cloth then it’s uncertified ceconite and Stits.

Bob




These four are covered and painted with uncertified ceconite and Stits.



these three are covered In Monokote.
Old 11-16-2021, 07:57 AM
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People have posted photos of some down right beautiful airplanes using a variety of covering methods. I myself have been using a lot of Koverall lately BUT I think we are missing an important point. OP sounds like a fellow who is doing his first covering job. Unless he has a local mentor to help out (would he be posting here if he did?), a lot of the planes shown would be pretty intimidating. If this is the first covering job that he is attempting I would suggest keep it simple. Stick with iron on plastic covering and peel and stick graphics. It is easiest to apply and easiest to repair with a higher probability of actually making it to the flight line.
Old 11-16-2021, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mgnostic View Post
People have posted photos of some down right beautiful airplanes using a variety of covering methods. I myself have been using a lot of Koverall lately BUT I think we are missing an important point. OP sounds like a fellow who is doing his first covering job. Unless he has a local mentor to help out (would he be posting here if he did?), a lot of the planes shown would be pretty intimidating. If this is the first covering job that he is attempting I would suggest keep it simple. Stick with iron on plastic covering and peel and stick graphics. It is easiest to apply and easiest to repair with a higher probability of actually making it to the flight line.
If using an iron on covering then Monokote makes it simple, you can cover the entire airframe in one color then apply all the trim colors using Windex and a squeegee, apply, squeegee the excess Windex out and allow to dry out for several days.

Now come back and pass the iron over the entire surface using a sock on the iron and your done, no bubbles, no issues. I cover with Monokote and trim with Monokote as I just explained.

Bob

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