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Covering a Cessna 182 Top Flite Kit

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Covering a Cessna 182 Top Flite Kit

Old 10-06-2018, 06:36 PM
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David Shaffer
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Question Covering a Cessna 182 Top Flite Kit

Hello! Iím getting ready to start covering on my Cessna 182 Skylane. Itís built from a Top Flite Kit. My question is, is there a covering material that I can use that goes on and shrinks like Sig Koverall that would have the look lof a real ďCessnaĒ when itís done? A friend of mine said it wouldnít have the right look if I used Koverall. I agree with him, but I really like the finish I can get when using Koverall. He suggested using Monokote covering which I have used on many models in the past. The problem is I always get wrinkles in the Monokote. I was hoping to find a covering material other than Monokote that would give the correct finish without the wrinkles. If anyone out there has any suggestions for a covering other than Monokote, please let me know.

I was was also wondering if there could be some kind of automobile finish I could use to get the correct finish on my Cessna. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Old 10-06-2018, 09:54 PM
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I never had a wrinkle problem with the old Monokote but I've heard that isn't always true with the recent stuff. My most recent planes have been done with SolarTex/WorldTex. On my Corsair I used plain white SolarTex and sprayed white Monokote Primer to get a fuel proof coat. Then sanded that smooth as metal and sprayed Rustoleum in two different blue colors to get the 3 color Navy/Marine paint scheme. It's a little heavier than just plain Monokote gives a fantastic, metal-like finish. Whatever you use finish it up with Maquires Car Wax. It protects the finish and makes cleanup a snap. I've put it on both the SolarTex and Monokote coverings. And I use Orange cleaner which is pretty heavy duty stuff to clean up fuel residue and it doesn't hurt the finish. Just rewax a couple of times a years.
Old 10-07-2018, 03:38 AM
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David Shaffer
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Thank you for your quick reply! I will have to get some solartex covering. Did you use a brush yo put the paint on or an airbrush? Just wondering. Thanks again!
Old 10-14-2018, 12:00 AM
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DGrant
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Be aware SolarTex covering is a textured material. Very good for a Cub or a model that you want a texture on, particularly for a model that used a fabric covering on the full-scale version, however if you're looking for a shiny smooth finish the Cessna has(being a metal base with it's gloss paint)... then a film like Monokote would probably give more of a scale look with it's smooth/shiny finish.

You'll do fine with either one I'm sure. Film's just take a bit of practice, but are very doable without getting any wrinkling. I just thought I'd mention the above about the SolarTex... as the "Tex" in SolarTex stands for texture, and it definitely has a mild texture. Good luck with your project.
Old 10-14-2018, 07:29 AM
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Personally for a scale model of an airplane where the full scale was aluminum I would go with glassing the surface. All it takes is covering the surface with 3/4 oz fiberglass cloth to seal the wood and then application of primer while sanding between coats of primer until it is as smooth as you want it. The main thing to success here is product selection. The cloth needs to be adhered to the surface with epoxy laminating resin. Since that kit uses some ABS plastic parts, the glass/epoxy will stick to those parts well and will keep the seam between wood an plastic invisible. For primer I like to use Klass Kote white primer with the quick dry hardener. Once primed and ready to paint, I use Duplicolor Lacquer that can be purchased in most auto parts stores. Lastly I spray a Urethane clear for fuelproofing. This is more expensive and time consuming then other methods however it will give great looking results that will last for years.
Old 10-14-2018, 05:43 PM
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David Shaffer
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Thank you for your input on finishing my Cessna 182. I appreciate it very much!
Old 11-05-2018, 05:11 PM
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mkjohnston
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Just remember if you want your airplane to be light then fiberglass can be very heavy and then you have to paint it and that adds more weight too. It takes practice to learn how to cover an airplane with Monokote or any other covering material. Monokote requires high and Solar Film which is no longer made is low temp. I have never used Ultra Kote but somewhere down the line I will cover something with it. There also videos out there show you how to do it look on YouTube.
Michael
Old 11-06-2018, 04:03 PM
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David Shaffer
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Thanks! For your your response to my question. I think I've decided to cover my Cessna with MonoKote.
Old 11-10-2018, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by David Shaffer View Post
Hello! Iím getting ready to start covering on my Cessna 182 Skylane. Itís built from a Top Flite Kit. My question is, is there a covering material that I can use that goes on and shrinks like Sig Koverall that would have the look lof a real ďCessnaĒ when itís done? A friend of mine said it wouldnít have the right look if I used Koverall. I agree with him, but I really like the finish I can get when using Koverall. He suggested using Monokote covering which I have used on many models in the past. The problem is I always get wrinkles in the Monokote. I was hoping to find a covering material other than Monokote that would give the correct finish without the wrinkles. If anyone out there has any suggestions for a covering other than Monokote, please let me know.

I was was also wondering if there could be some kind of automobile finish I could use to get the correct finish on my Cessna. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
A little late to the dance but,

Monokote is a decent simulation of a metal finish. It's lighter than glass/paint and will go over open structures. I wouldn't use it in a scale application for competition but I know some have and have done quite well. They however have a knack with it that I never developed.

Glass and Paint is the solution to your "some kind of automobile finish" you asked about. Glassing requires sheeting everywhere as glass will not properly cover an open structure. If the real subject has a fabric covered open structure, the model should do the same with one of the iron on fabrics which is also painted. As for a source? Auto parts store for primer and paint. Mind the types of paint as today you can get all kinds in the rattle cans. BTW, not inexpensive!
Old 11-10-2018, 08:06 AM
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Reed Falcon, all Monokote except for the cowl, gear and wheel pants.


Divergent F3A, all paint. Wings, stabs and rudder were glassed with 3/4oz fiberglass prior to paint application. 70" span, 1,300 sq in wing. Fuselage length is 76". Take off weight is 11.2 lbs. Fiberglass and paint doesn't automatically mean heavy.
Either way has its pluses and minuses. Glass and paint can come out heavy if the correct technique is not used but IMO will look better and last longer. That being said, Monokote is faster and easier to repair. Just like when it comes to power choices I finish my airplanes with what method is most appropriate for the airplane.
Old 11-10-2018, 04:47 PM
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David Shaffer
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Old 11-10-2018, 04:52 PM
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David Shaffer
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Thanks for the reply to my question on covering my Cessna 182. I have decided to cover with MonoKote. I'm not good at fiberglass and paint. I'm sure I would ruin the plane with glass and paint. I'll just take my time with MonoKote and it will be fine.
Old 11-10-2018, 07:37 PM
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I have found that ultracote covering is a lot easier to work with than monocote, it covers corners easier and has a wider heat range to shrink a little or a lot. dc3 is ultracote, cessna is glassed with water based poly and painted with krylon

Old 11-11-2018, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by David Shaffer View Post
Thanks for the reply to my question on covering my Cessna 182. I have decided to cover with MonoKote. I'm not good at fiberglass and paint. I'm sure I would ruin the plane with glass and paint. I'll just take my time with MonoKote and it will be fine.
Perfectly acceptable. It's all part of the hobby.

Let me know when you do your first WWI model and I'll walk you through using silk and dope.
Old 11-11-2018, 11:21 AM
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Your planes look really nice. I might have to use ultracote on my Cessna.
Old 03-21-2020, 02:19 PM
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For those who are interested in going REALLY scale and are looking for a "good covering", the answer is that there is no covering that replcates the surface of a Skylane or pretty much any other Cessna light aircraft because they are not "covered" in real life. The exterior of the aircraft is made up of overlapping sheet aluminum panels that are riveted together leaving ridges and seams along with dimples or depressions in every rivet location.

Although the aluminum sheets are perfectly smooth (meaning having no texture), the overall skin has tons of dimensional detail comprised of ridges, depressions, waves and protrusions of rivet heads. To my knowledge, no one has yet accurately emulated the skin surface that a Cessna and many other aircraft have, although I think it's possible to do if someone cares to. In most cases what RC fliers refer to as "scale" ends up being a somewhat rough representation of a glossy surface that's comprised of lumber encased in colored shrink-wrap, but hey.... who's going to notice when the thing is flying by at a hundred miles an hour?
Old 03-31-2020, 10:55 AM
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jester_s1
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Plenty of people have replicated panel and rivet construction quite convincingly. It's just a matter of taking the whole scale obsession to a higher level.
Old 03-31-2020, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jester_s1 View Post
Plenty of people have replicated panel and rivet construction quite convincingly. It's just a matter of taking the whole scale obsession to a higher level.
Maybe it's an obsession or maybe it's just a goal to achieve the most accurate miniaturization of an aircraft's surface.
You notice I said "miniaturization" and not "representation".
What's the difference? In terms of scale modelling, it would be like the difference between making a profile fuselage that looks representative of the subject and one that is proportionally correct in all dimensions.
In terms of modelling a metal skin of an aircraft like say a Cessna, I've seen examples where the surface was smoothed to varying degrees, some definition was given to the sheet metal panels by applying a build up of primer against masking tape, followed by the application of rivet heads by various methods. This looks great compared to an undetailed surface (although I've seen some undetailed surfaces with a flawless showcar finish that literally made me drool). In any case, the one aspect of a detailed metal-like aircraft surface that almost without exception proves to be missing is any definition of metal distortion. Yes, thin gauge aluminum like you find on a Cessna is not dead flat at all. It has tons of ripples and distortions especially under the rivets that were driven against the sheet metal and cause a depression or a dimple under virtually every rivet in the skin. It's NOT just little dots or bumps sitting atop a dead flat surface!!!
Does it make any sense to detail to this level? No it doesn't, not any more sense than it makes to spend possibly years of work and thousands of dollars on a toy airplane.

I might add that a model detailed in such a manner would be self evident and wouldn't be trying to "convince" the observer in any way.

Last edited by airsteve172; 03-31-2020 at 03:26 PM.

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