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Solartex alternative?

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martin collins 116/11/2018 20:20:27
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I have a 1/4 scale model to cover in antique tex, are there any alternative options to the hard to source/very expensive Solartex?.........Martin

Martin Harris16/11/2018 20:28:32
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8799 forum posts
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Nylon or Sig Koverall and dope? Although out of fashion for many years, the results are excellent and give a very strong structure.

Edited By Martin Harris on 16/11/2018 20:31:48

Former Member16/11/2018 20:43:48

[This posting has been removed]

Bob Cotsford16/11/2018 21:14:11
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7972 forum posts
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Not that hard to source, but it's true it's not cheap!

Ronaldo16/11/2018 22:48:07
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As Bob says, still available but in limited colours and lengths. A club mate bought some from the website in the link, they take paypal, ..... but yes the prices have gone up !!

Frank Skilbeck16/11/2018 22:56:51
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4447 forum posts
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I've seen large scale gliders covered in Diatex, and they are now doing a covering with adhesive for modellers, Diacov http://www.diatex.com/-Aeronautical-fabrics-.html

Note sure where you can buy it in the UK though.

Roger Marshall16/11/2018 23:14:49
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38 photos

Hi,

Is dope fully fuel proof? In larger amounts its cheaper than some other fuel proofers I uesd. Is it still available in different colours?

cymaz17/11/2018 06:18:23
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Posted by Bob Cotsford on 16/11/2018 21:14:11:

Not that hard to source, but it's true it's not cheap!

Had a look Bob....no sign of Clearcoat or paints ? sad Any thoughts on an alternative?

Edited By cymaz on 17/11/2018 06:18:49

Stearman6517/11/2018 06:59:04
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The nearest thing to Solartex is Oratex, various UK suppliers, but it aint cheap.

**LINK**

Philip Baker17/11/2018 07:33:53
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Solartex is great and easy to use especially good round complex curves where it takes a lot of pulling and shrinking to shape. However I think it still looks plastic unless spray painted. Silk and dope is the way to go, cheaper than oratex and in my op, the easiest of all to apply and finish if you are patient. Can't find silk? Search for lightweight dress lining for synthetic (polyester) or real sllk. Polyester will heat shrink too, to an extent. For tricky bits, overlaps and edges can be sande smooth after drying and dooing. Difficult to get under 100 g per Sq m. For the best, get Etaki Silk from Freeflightsupplies.co.uk. Only 3o g and doping doesn't add much if you are careful. One coat to apply and shrink. Another to fill, then pu satin varnish to fuel proof. Cellulose paste (wallpaper paste ) mixed thin for allocation also works well.

Ernie17/11/2018 07:45:15
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diacov

ernie

Percy Verance17/11/2018 08:04:15
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Roger

The usual older type of cellulose dope has no fuel proofing qualities at all. Those had to be applied as a final finish, usually over the painted finish on the model. I have no experience of the much newer non smelly dope type liquids, so can't comment on them. I doubt they'd be fuel proof though. Paints on our sort of models - particularly if you're applying a fair bit - are better sprayed than brushed. This keeps the weight down.

The primary function of dope of old was to both shrink the covering - nylon, silk etc - and fill the weave of the material to make it airtight. Some even used it to actually adhere the nylon or silk to the airframe before final shrinking.

Once all the existing stocks of Solarfilm items have gone, then we're down to the alternatives. Nylon or silk can be immensely strong as a covering, but takes a little skill to apply well. Tissue is much easier to work with, but again care is needed to avoid unsightly wrinkles. And of course tissue is very easily punctured. Those whom used it a lot often carried a matchbox full of tissue patches along with a little tin of dope and a brush for on the field repairs. The clever modellers sometimes used a covering of tissue first, before applying nylon or silk over it. It sometimes made the job a little easier, having something to lay the main covering onto. You certainly could get coloured dope, but the range of colours was always limited. A trick I sometimes used with Humbrol dope was to add talcum powder to it. This helped to fill the weave of the nylon, meaning fewer coats were needed to complete the job. You could also add dope thinners to reduce the thickness if you wanted to spray it on. Thinners also reduced the sometimes powerful shirinking action too, which could warp weaker airframes badly. There was (is?) also Banana Oil, which offers a finish similar to dope, but without the shirinking properties.

If you need to go the modern heatshrink way, the alternatives are now fewer. There are heatshrink films available from Hobbyking and Bangcrashwallop or whatever they're called. There is also Oratex, made by the company whom produce Orafilm - formerly known as Profilm. I think it comes from Germany, and like most things German it doesn't come cheap. There is also Diatex/Diacover. My knowledge of these is limited though so I can't comment on what they are exactly, or where you can obtain them. I have heard them being mentioned as a good alternative though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 17/11/2018 08:22:55

alex nicol17/11/2018 10:22:47
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285 forum posts
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I agree with Percy, although My experience of tissue or nylon doped finishes is limited to my time in control line early/mid 70's

dope and light sand the airframe before covering then use dope to stick the covering on.......tensioning was done by pinning the nylon around the perimeter. once the structure was covered and dried out......remove the pins and then dope the remainder of the nylon.

A doped nylon structure is about as strong as you'll get, having flown a lot of the old control line combat wings where it wasn't uncommon for them to be piled in, pulled out muck scraped out restarted and flung back into the air to complete the bout. You could be left with a nylon bag containing a semi destroyed structure that held its shape and was still fly able................mind you I don't miss the three days spent after completing a model picking the dope off your fingers!!!

Final point I've used solar text but for me a nylon and doped finish looks much better.

Don Fry17/11/2018 11:37:07
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3920 forum posts
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Ceconite, available from LAS aerospace, Exeter Airport. Does mail order.

We need the lighter version. It's without glue, use a heat activated glue like an equivalent to BalsaLoc. It's not painted, a translucent white fabric, so best used for models which have more than one colour. I have found water based acrylics seals it well.

Very nice to apply, nice shrinking. Finished weight on the plane, painted is similar to Solartex, but cheaper. Way cheaper than Oratex.

For someone versed in silk or nylon finishes, exactly the same, but with precise control over the shrink with temperature on the iron.

Don Fry17/11/2018 11:37:10
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3920 forum posts
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Double post digit tremble.

Edited By Don Fry on 17/11/2018 11:39:02

Bob Cotsford17/11/2018 11:41:06
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Posted by cymaz on 17/11/2018 06:18:23:
Posted by Bob Cotsford on 16/11/2018 21:14:11:

Not that hard to source, but it's true it's not cheap!

Had a look Bob....no sign of Clearcoat or paints ? sad Any thoughts on an alternative?

Edited By cymaz on 17/11/2018 06:18:49

When I enquired about Clearcoat they told me that it was only available to callers because of restrictions on posting it.

Percy Verance17/11/2018 11:49:35
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alex

I used to apply dope to Solartex if I intended to paint the model. I used to get a fairly good finish. Someone else in my club used to totally spray the Solartex with Clearcoat to fill the weave prior to using Solarlac paints. His finishes were very durable, looking good even 15+ years later. It did all add a bit of weight though, so not so suitable for smaller models......

Yep, I used nylon/dope on my C/L combat wings back in the early 70's. Happy days.......

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 17/11/2018 11:54:03

cymaz17/11/2018 11:56:49
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8652 forum posts
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I put the Clearcoat on after paint..it doesn’t matter now with these not in stock anymore

Martin Harris17/11/2018 12:54:40
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8799 forum posts
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Back in the days before Solartex and buddy leads (mid-70s) I built a trainer called a Lumpers (I suspect Pete Christy was one of the people who recommended it?) which I covered with nylon. This model survived numerous "incidents" during training with Brian Cooper trying but not always succeeding to snatch the transmitter from my white knuckled hands in time to save it - including the odd vertical terminal dive. The fuselage (and on occasions the trusty Enya .15 engine/silencer - what happened to that white heat resistant Devcon?) just being stuck together with epoxy (cyano was not yet generally available) and the rubber banded wings which would generally fly off from the scene of the crash in a hurry to escape the worst of the carnage just rattled more with each repair of the fuselage...

P.S. Every crash was the result of interference from CB radio.  blush

Edited By Martin Harris on 17/11/2018 13:22:50

Stearman6517/11/2018 13:47:16
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769 forum posts
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Covering in Solartex/film was oftetn described as having a built in carrier bag for the bits when you did a whoopsie.

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