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Covering a Gee Bee Z

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Covering a Gee Bee Z

Old 08-27-2002, 06:30 PM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

I realize this question may be in the wrong category but with all the Gee Bee discussions I decided to put it in the Scale section.

I am just about to cover one of Adrian Page's Gee Bee Z's and I am seriously considering the Nelson's LiteFAB/ColorFAB fabric. I am pretty new to building and have only used Monokote. I like Monokote (Please no Monokote/Ultracote discussions) but I really want to try fabric.

The fabric is iron-on and I understand it is much easier than any plastic to apply.

My question is can I simply mask off the fabric and spray the trim scheme of with any fuel proof paint?

Also do you know what the real Gee Bee was covered with?

Thanks for the help
Old 08-28-2002, 02:43 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

I encourage you to try a fabric. Nothing looks worse then a Gee Bee with a plastic finish. They just didn't make 'em like that back in the 30's. I don't know anything about the Nelson fabric, but I would be critical of the weight. If it is designed for giant big-birds, then it might be too heavy for the Page. I have tried Century 21 fabric with mixed results. It gets a little spongy over open areas, but goes around curves very well. Maybe the Page doesn't have any open areas ? Sure, you can just mask it off and trim it to your liking. The covering on the original aircraft, I believe was muslin ? However, todays synthetics are much superior.

Over the past few years, I have been using a very light weight polyester dress lining from a fabric shop. It's called "posh", and it's heat shrinkable. Of course it doesn't have an adheasive, and so it must be applied with nitrate dope, or other stickum stuff. I finish with SIG butryrate dope which is of course fuel proof, and you might want to consider dope for your trim ?

I'll include a Pic of my Pitts, covered in posh, and painted with Sig dope.
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Old 08-28-2002, 03:32 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Nelson fabric is lighter than 21st Century cuz it doesn't have all the paint embedded in it......

One source I read stated that the origonally covered with fabric, and 14 coats of hand rubbed dope.......

The biggest problem I had with mine was trying to determine exactly what shade of yellow it was.... I couldn't find any color references for the original Z. Both the full size replicas have some scale errors and there is no reason to believe they got the color exactly right.... I settled on copying the Eicher/Kimball GeeBee that now sits in Kermit Weeks Museum........
Old 08-28-2002, 01:46 PM
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Default color

A very close color match would be Prowler Yellow that is used on the Dodge prowlers.
Old 08-28-2002, 01:59 PM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Thank for the input guys.


I think I am am going to use the fabric.

One more question though...

Can I cover the plastic wheel pants with the fabric?

I ask only because the fabric comes colored but the paint to match comes in bulk, as opposed to a spray can which is what I would use.

I realize I could not use an iron on the plastic but what about some kind of spray adhesive?

-Steve
Old 08-29-2002, 01:01 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

painting is a far easier option...it would take a herculean effort to cover all those curves and not have any wrinkles....
Old 08-30-2002, 04:12 AM
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Default covering geebee

I'm not quite there yet but I'm wondering how to cover the forward wing mount flange area which is ABS. How do you transition from balsa to the plastic with covering. I'm planning on monocoat because I think the fabric and paint will add too much weight. I'm told these fly great if you keep them as light as possible.
Old 08-30-2002, 05:00 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

I am building the Adrian Page R2 this winter. I purchased the glass pants and cowl. I alsp sprung for the radial engine. I can't wait to start building this kit!

I have been kicking around the idea of buying the Z as well and had a few questions.

How did it go together? Is it one of the new Z kits? Did you get the glass cowl? Does he offer glass pants for the Z?

Thanks
Ted
Old 08-30-2002, 05:40 PM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Rdcracer ...The instruction on the Z said to mount the ABS plastic wind fillets before covering but I am not going to do that. I will cover the plane then cut out the covering where the plastic goes then mount the painted plastic. And the nelson fabric is lightweight, just slightly heavier than plastic. And there won't be any on the nose where the weight needs to be light. The color is also already in the fabric and there is no extra fuel-proofing, just iron on like monokote.

To TRP. I do have the new Z kit. It goes together well. This is only my second plane (and build) so it was a little intimidating at first. My Sig Kadet was a picture and instructions for every step. This is more of a blueprint and a pile of wood. The instructions are decent though and the blueprint is nice. Once I got used to looking at the prints I realized that this kit was very easy to build. And to give Adrian some well deserved credit. I have called him a few times and e-mailed him even more and he has always helped me. E-mails were answered within a day.

He does not offer glass pants and he actually talked me out of the glass cowl. I was questioning the need for it because (I'm new of course) I see many people on-line scraping the ABS before they even try it (because it supposedly cracks or it too much work...etc) , but the people I actually see with ABS on their planes think it is fine and don't bother spending the extra money. The ABS is taking a lot of time to put together of course but I like to build so It wasn't an issue for me.

If it cracks or something else goes wrong I'll consider the Glass. (Adrian said he also uses the ABS cowl)
Old 08-31-2002, 02:00 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z



The funny li'l front wing fairing was painted and added after the fuse was covered.

The glass cowl is by Stephen J Webber, and it is a work of art !! I almost hated to paint over it.

The Abs wheel pants do take a lot of abuse from the grass, and also from air loads as well. I understand that Adrian has simplified the whole landing gear (thank goodness) but I would have preferred the durability of fiberglass here and forgo the damage inspections after every flight...

It looks scarey, but flies great....l can't say that I have mastered the landings yet...I would like to think I have, but......
Old 09-02-2002, 05:29 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Thanks for all the info. I was thinking of adding the fairing piece after the cover job also. I'm glad to hear I'm on the right track. I would like some more info on the nelson fabric. I have heard very little about it and didn't know it came in colors nor anyone who has used it.
Old 09-04-2002, 05:10 PM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Look at www.nelsonhobby.com . It also sells as worldtex and solartex (The LHS say's it is all manufactured by the same company), just depends where you buy it.
Old 09-30-2002, 03:00 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

I will cover the 1/5 Z I built with silk and dope. Available from Sig. Still the easiest to apply. Coats can be added, sanded and finished off with just about any paint system.

I'm not by far "old school" but this systen is still one of the best ways to cover a model that is destened to be painted. Color dope is available from Brodak.

Charles
Old 09-30-2002, 03:09 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

My Gee Bee is almost completely covered now and I could not be more pleased with the Nelson Fabric. I did not have any trouble with Monokote but the fabric is MUCH easier especially around curves. Not to mention it looks much nicer. I am not a big fan of bright shiny finishes on models just as someone else has replied. Plus the real Gee Bee was fabric. I do not think I will return to using plastic on a model.
Old 10-01-2002, 03:38 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

I have been told that yes this plane was from the 30's and fabric but it had upwards of 15 coats of dope and was hand waxed to cut wind resistance. It was very glossy. The reproduction in the Fantasy of Flight Museum looks like monocote.
Old 10-01-2002, 05:01 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

RDCRACER,

Yes, It didn't take long for those that were building and flying "Racers" to realize that
slick or shinny airplanes flew faster. Fabric or not their goal was to apply coats of dope
and bring the finish to a"high gloss" standard, eliminating the weave in the fabric.

Fabric at that time was applied with dope using a brush. Today, restoration shops purchase fabric
(for real airplanes) with an adheasive backing. Just like what's available for models. And guess
what? That's right, they iron it on and shrink it with heat. Sound farmiliar?

Things do change a little but some things don't change at all.

This pattern ship I scratched many moons ago is covered in 3/4 oz glass cloth and fiberglass
resin. This system too if done correctly can be extreamly light especially when your goal is to
eliminate the weave. Which really isn't difficult on such fine cloth.

This model is finished in automotive acrylics and has real gold leaf for lettering. The clear finish
is Dupont. This model took a "Best Finish" award at the WRAM show a long long time ago. No pun,
but, time dies fly!

Charles

Charles
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Old 10-13-2002, 08:06 PM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Hey fellas, I just wanted to jump in here about the color of the GeeBee Z. On the original, you don't have a lot of reference because the photos were black and white. Even so, photographic specialists can analyze from the black and white what the actual color was, or very close. The original GeeBee Z was yellow, but not nearly as bright as everybody wants to believe it was. In fact, it was close to cub yellow, which in that time was considered to be a very bright yellow. I was a bit disappointed to learn that photo analysis revealed that the Z wasn't as bright yellow as I wanted it to be, as I'm about to finish mine and (like everybody else) wanted it to be bright, but I want it to be scale as well. However, I did split the difference and decided on Spacewalker yellow, which is half Lemon Yellow and half Cub Yellow when using Sig Paints. My Spacewalker is pretty bright, brighter than Cub Yellow, at least, so that's the color that I'm going with.
Old 10-14-2002, 02:55 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

I did cover mine with cub yellow, only because I was looking for something a little darker. The fabric is a satin finish as well so it is slightly dull. I am just finishing the trim on mine and I sprayed it in a gloss black and had intended to spray the entire plane with a coat of flat clear but I might leave it as is. I'll post pics when I finish.
Old 10-14-2002, 08:37 PM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Looking forward to it. Sounds like your Z will be very scale. The black was the shiniest part of it because much of the black was on the metal parts, so you should be in pretty good shape.
Old 11-14-2002, 07:51 PM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Well this is the best pic I have so far.
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Old 11-14-2002, 08:25 PM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

It has an inverted Saito 72 (being broken in below) and an APC 14 x 6 prop. I has flown once and did so quite well. Again this is only my second plane (and build) so I am being very cautious. Elevator trim was a bit off otherwise all looks good. I brought it home after one flight to look it over and make sure everything was tight, but more so to calm my nerves. (It is slighlty faster than my LA powered Kadet) It will be back in the air on Saturday if the Wisconsin weather cooperates.

I will post one more completed picture when I have one. It is actually finished (just no pics) except for the canopy is still off because I am working on a dash.
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Old 11-15-2002, 01:58 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

You did a fine job - especially for your second model....

I'm used to looking at all the flying wires and struts ,so it looks a bit nekkid to me.....Not taking anything away from the wonderful job you did, I just have never seen a clean one before. It should go like stink without the drag, and with that .72 !!!!

Have fun with it....you will certainly attract a lot of well deserved attention at the field!!!
Old 02-25-2003, 01:52 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Better late than never huh . Yeah the canopy is still not on in the picture but I made an awesome scale dash. Brushed aluminum with nice dial gauges.
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Old 02-25-2003, 03:31 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

Beautiful work! :thumbup:

how about a pic of that dash?

Thanks,
Old 02-25-2003, 05:04 AM
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Default Covering a Gee Bee Z

I'll try to take a pic but with the canopy on now I'm not sure how it will turn out. It was one of those things you do for the sake of personal gratification because you know very few people if any will notice.

The instruments I found at the LHS were by J'TEC. They are really nice. They come with plastic lenses that cover paper dials so they look like they are behind glass. The dials come in different scale and each sheet comes with instruments for different eras of airplanes (Golden Age, WWI, WWII, etc), jets, boats and cars. I drilled holes in a piece of aluminum and put the whole assembly together based on the plans and a nice picture I had of a Gee Bee Z dash.

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