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Best Fabric Covering for Giant Scale Gee Bee Y ARF?

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Best Fabric Covering for Giant Scale Gee Bee Y ARF?

Old 09-30-2023, 09:32 PM
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Thumbs up Best Fabric Covering for Giant Scale Gee Bee Y ARF?

We have a vintage Giant scale ARF (1996) still new and wrapped in the factory plastic with an 86in.wingspan, GeeBee series Y. We are removing the factory monokote covering and re-gluing and rebuilding parts that need structural improvements for a new NGH GTT70 Engine with Auto Start: Special thanks to Mike @ Mile High RC for the promotional engine).
Once finished, we want to recover it in white fabric. The plane will then be painted with the corporate Discovery Channel top surface and Travel Channel bottom surface logo's and colors.
Our question is what is currently the best and strongest fabric covering on the market and gas proof paint since some fabric's are no longer in production at our last plane build in 1997. The engine is a gas version, so the paint will need to be fuel proof for gasoline.

Any professional (working experience with the above question) would be of great help.
The model is to be used in an upcoming TV Show in May 2024, so we have some time on the books to get this project underway.

The Discovery Channel N.W. Film crew.

Last edited by DISCOVERY NORTHWEST CREW; 10-01-2023 at 09:14 PM.
Old 10-01-2023, 08:46 AM
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The first question in response is, do you have any R/Cers on your team? If you don't, you would benefit from reaching out to whatever local R/C flying club you can find. If they have a member or two who actually still builds, they can be a great resource. As for fabrics, the two major choices are an iron on covering such as Oratex from Balsa USA or going really old fashioned with aircraft dope and a fabric such as Ceconite Lite from Aircraft Spruce or Koverall from Sig Mfg. A doped on finish, while being very similar to a full scale aircraft requires a degree of expertise and a willingness to deal with some pretty strong solvents. Based on your stated goals I would say that the iron on product from Balsa USA would be the way to go. It doesn't require any other adhesives, comes in multiple colors and may be easily painted. It also has the advantage of being fuel proof. Any of the mainstream fabric coverings will generally be sufficiently strong. Any of the fabric coverings that are suitable for a large model are usually considered to be stronger than the plastic covering currently on the airplane. When it comes to the graphics I would recommend contacting Callie Graphics. This company produces graphics and paint masks that have been used on many super detailed models used in scale competitions. It is a small company that is accustomed to doing small, one off jobs and they are responsive to customer needs. One of the reasons that people like the iron on plastic coverings is that they allow you to quickly have a very shiny airplane while skipping the chore of painting. As a general rule, a fabric covered airplane will never be as shiny as a plastic covered one. You can get a fabric covering job to be very shiny but it will take numerous coats of paint and a lot of hand labor. It will also be heavy enough to impact the flying qualities of the airplane. As for the paint itself there are a wide variety of choices. May people like to use exterior grade latex paint. It is relatively inexpensive, doesn't have nasty solvents, and it can be had in a wide variety of colors. It is not all that fuel proof on its own but it readily accepts various clear coats. If you want shiny with latex you will need a clear coat. Most solvent based enamels are both shiny and fuel proof. Note that some of them may take a long time to dry. Automotive grade single stage catalyzed paints are generally the top of the heap. They perform best with quality spray equipment but are very durable and can have a nice gloss. You can also get them mixed to any color you like but they are expensive and require expertise to apply well. Clear coats can range from rattle can urethane to automotive grade clears. Basically, you get what you pay for. Rattle can urethane is likely to turn yellow after a while, especially after exposure to the sun. If you go for a rattle can clear at least go for something that is advertised for automotive use. The main point of a clear coat is that it fuel proofs what ever paint you are using, seals the edges of you graphics and provides a consistent level of gloss (or flatness if so desired) across the entire model. A final caveat is to be careful about paint chemistry. Some paints will happily go on top of others while the solvents in other will loosen the underlying coat and cause it to wrinkle. I hope this is helpful, I've personally used the products from the companies mentioned.
Old 10-01-2023, 10:34 AM
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Look up Stitts Lite Rc Aircraft Finish. Not only the covering and paint but a whole system with instructions and video.
Old 10-04-2023, 06:09 PM
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I recently refinished this Pitts Special using Oratex and then painted using Klass Kote primer and then Spray Max paints including their 2K clear. Good news, we can arrange for you to see the airplane and discuss the process first hand as I am located in Gladstone. PM if interested.

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