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Now that Solartex has gone...

Advice sought on which paint to use over Solartex.

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David Davis03/06/2019 09:01:16
3399 forum posts
598 photos

A clubmate is building an SE5a off the Topflite plan. He wants to order some Dark Green Solartex for it while stocks are still available. It occurred to me that I have a DB Sport and Scale 1/4 scale SE5 unbuilt, still in its box, so perhaps I ought to order some Dark Green Solartex for it while it's still available.

However, Linen Solartex is no longer available for the underside. I have plenty of Antique Solartex which would do at a pinch and given the size of the model I could over-paint the Antique Solartex to get a more realistic finish. The extra weight of the paint shouldn't make too much difference to the model's flying characteristics.

What paint would you recommend?

I've heard that ordinary vinyl emulsion paint works well, latex paint in the USA, and that you don't have to fuel proof it.

I doubt that I shall live long enough to build the SE5, what with all of my other interests and activities, but I like to plan ahead!

Don Fry03/06/2019 09:10:37
3955 forum posts
42 photos

David, buy your beloved a bunch of flowers, and worry about aircraft covering when you need to. A bunch of flowers might get a favourite dish cooked.

Peter Christy03/06/2019 09:18:47
1555 forum posts

A problem a lot of us "traditional builders" are facing, alas, David!

Oratex seems similar to Solartex, but lighter and much more expensive! I have bought a roll of Ceconite-lite, which is relatively cheap and comes in a large size. My roll is 70" by 72". Ceconite is used by full size aircraft as a fabric replacement, but the "lite" version is not approved for full size. It is relatively light though, at 1.9 ozs/sq.yd. It only comes in natural white, and will need painting, which leads to the second problem: What is a good replacement for Solarlac / Clearcote?

I've been singularly unimpressed by Flair Spectrum and its derivatives (Chroma?). Oh, for the days of Kingston Diamond.....



David Davis03/06/2019 09:19:04
3399 forum posts
598 photos

I always do Don, but I'm a better cook than she is!

Alan Gorham_03/06/2019 09:27:37
965 forum posts
102 photos

If you use latex paint without a fuel proofer then it is only suitable for use with petrol engines, not glow!

paul d03/06/2019 09:30:45
63 forum posts
5 photos

This is a good thread, I too am a traditional modeller, I mainly use tissue and dope but I've got a project in mind that could really do with being covered in litespan....Any alternatives?

David Davis03/06/2019 09:31:33
3399 forum posts
598 photos

Well done Alan. I had read about using latex/emulsion paint on an American website!

I plan to use a Laser 155 in the model so I'll have to think again.

Paul, a lot of vintage enthusiasts use tissue over doculam, a type of laminating film or mylar. Never used it myself but it's said to make the covering virtually puncture-proof.

Edited By David Davis on 03/06/2019 09:35:25

Alan Jarvis03/06/2019 09:48:09
165 forum posts
27 photos

I use the covering from Hobbyking and find it very good. Rub it down with fine sandpaper and paint and have had no problems. I used silver on a Vulcan and painted it in camouflage colours.

Alan Gorham_03/06/2019 10:03:55
965 forum posts
102 photos

I would always paint over Solartex on a scale model anyway, no matter what base colour the tex is, so weight build-up is irrelevant to me.

As an example here is my 1/4 Scale(ish) Flair Fokker Dr1 (ish). Covered in natural solartex, then clear doped to stop it from bubbling in the sun, then painted with 2K paint and a clear lacquer coat, even though its electric powered it would still be fuelproof for glow fuel.


Peter Christy03/06/2019 10:16:01
1555 forum posts

The problem I have (and I suspect many others) is that I don't have the facilities for spraying 2K paint, which is supposed to be quite toxic! In fact, I don't really have the facilities for spraying anything of any size.

What I need is something like Solarlac, which produces a nice finish even when brushed, and is pretty fuel-proof too.

Surely someone, somewhere must be producing something like it? If not, why hasn't one of the big distributors snapped up the rights to produce it?



Trevor Crook03/06/2019 10:31:38
855 forum posts
65 photos

Indeed, Pete. As I am now leccy only I can get away with using any paint, but I'd like to find a Prymol substitute as I've had good results painting film after using that.

Oratex may be expensive, but it would probably be used on larger more expensive models, so perhaps not such an issue? Probably more important is the colour range available, as many of us use it without painting.

Alan Gorham_03/06/2019 10:38:52
965 forum posts
102 photos


What are "facilities" for spraying paint? It sounds like you are making it harder than it needs to be.

I use a Machine mart air compressor (also useful to pump the car & caravan tyres up!) that cost £90 some 12 years ago and a cheap touch up spray gun that I got from Axminster tools for about £15 about 10 years ago. Maintenance has been negligible and storage easy too.

As to where to spray, I have seen people buy a cheap tent and set it up in the garden. It contains the overspray and stops dust and flies from getting onto the wet paint, as well as helping with ventilation.

Yes, you need the correct mask and filters when spraying paint, but I would argue that sanding block balsa or hot wire cutting foam also needs a mask.

I honestly couldn't brush paint an average sized model and with todays high quality paints not sure why anyone would want to.




Bob Cotsford03/06/2019 10:49:50
7984 forum posts
444 photos

If you don't want to mess with compressors and sprayguns then either brush on a thin coat of household vynil emulsion or Humbrol matt enamel (goes further than you'd think) topped with clear polyurethane or use Halfords or similar spray acrylics topped with 2k clear spray from a can off one of the many internet sellers. Use a mask when spraying!

My 1 1/2 Strutter built in 1980 was still fuel proof using clear poly over Humbrol enamel when I repainted it with some old Polymax paints (remember them?) a couple of years ago. 30 odd years had left it a bit faded and ratty,

Alan Gorham_03/06/2019 10:54:39
965 forum posts
102 photos

Yes that is probably the route I would think about if I wanted to brush paint.

Allan Bennett03/06/2019 10:57:35
1544 forum posts
39 photos

"Now that Solartex has gone...": It seems to be back, I've just ordered a couple of rolls of Solartrim from them.

Alan Gorham_03/06/2019 11:05:15
965 forum posts
102 photos

No, it is isn't back, they are selling off remaining stocks. As David said in his first post, some colours are already sold out, hence his question about painting!

Frank Skilbeck03/06/2019 11:32:26
4453 forum posts
101 photos

As an alternative to Solartex I'm using this , Not coloured but goes an very nicely, but I've not been able to find a UK stockist so have bought from France.

Alan Gorham_03/06/2019 11:47:37
965 forum posts
102 photos

That's useful to know Frank. I've heard it mentioned a few times and failed to find a UK supplier, as you have.

How did you actually order it from the link? It doesn't look like they do online sales?


Edited By Alan Gorham_ on 03/06/2019 11:48:50

David Ovenden03/06/2019 12:26:51
335 forum posts
17 photos

Not used this French supplier but they seem to list the product

Diacov 1000

Edited By David Ovenden on 03/06/2019 12:27:48

Peter Christy03/06/2019 12:46:48
1555 forum posts

Its not clear from the ad if Diacov is "tex" or "film" (like solartex or solarfilm). Can you enlighten us, Frank?



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