The complete radio control model airplane FAQ.  


Covering model airplanes...

What tools do I need to cover my planes with Ultracote or Monokote? NEW!!!

Can I use a hair dryer?

What's your covering material of choice?

How is Towerkote? It doesn't cost as much...

What do I use for trim over top of my Ultracote or Monokote?

How do I paint over Monokote? (and other model painting q's, coming soon)

What is a good coloring scheme for high visibility?

    How about some more high visibility tips?

How much do the covering materials weigh?

    Another material weight chart


Ultracote & Monokote color matches for PPG Paint NEW!!!



Supplier LINKS

Grant Enterprises--offers light, clear covering, very inexpensive

Stits Lite scale covering for R-C Model Aircraft

AAR Superflite


Bill Fulmers Custom Cut Lettering

ARD's custom made graphics

VinylWrite Graphics



What tools do I need to cover my plane?

> I'm planning on using ultracote for my plane (I know it won't be as shiny as monocote, but it sounds so much easier to use), and I've seen many people refer to their heat guns or their covering irons. So my question is: does it matter which one I buy?
    If I buy a trim iron and a heat gun, will I run into problems trying to use the trim iron to tack the covering down, and then the heat gun to finish it up?

    For those that have both, what tasks _require_ the use of one tool vs. the other? Should I just start with the covering iron, and use that for everything? -Ron


RCFAQ Recommended list:

Good iron with temp settings written out and LED, $28-30, strongly recommended

Extra cheap method, cheap iron only, nothing else; $14-17

Heat gun--Optional, $17-20

Trim iron--last optional, $17-22


    At the Pasadena IMS show (or whatever it's called), there's always a guy at the Goldberg booth who covers an entire wing with nothing but a heat gun. I think I'd have difficulty with that, although I've never tried. But, theoretically, you can do it with nothing but a heat gun. I'd bet that it'd be very difficult to get the inside corners where the stabs meet the fuse, though.
    I have covered sections using nothing but an iron--so you can definitely do this. The heat gun is a luxury item, as the iron can be waved above the Ultracote to shrink it. If you get a sock for your iron (They sell them, but you can also use a t-shirt, just make it as thin as possible and 100% cotton) then you won't scratch your UC as much.
    I know for everybody starting out, the costs add up. Even so, I'd really recommend one of the digital irons with precise temp. settings and an LED that is on when the heating element is on. Mine is the 21st Century brand, and I really like it. That allows you to see if your iron is up to temp or over temp when you change settings or first turn it on. It really helps a lot, so you can make sure to get the same setting each time, as well as when you change settings for the different tasks. If I had a choice between a cheap iron and a heat gun, or just a good iron, I'd choose the good iron.
    I have an extra cheap heat gun, and from what I can tell, that's good enough. Like I said, I could easily do without it, but it is a nice little thing to have when you are shrinking the center of the wing. The cheap one gets plenty hot enough, and you can "adjust" the temp by changing the distance to the covering.
    To start with, a trim iron isn't really necessary--another luxury. Not all, but most things can be done with the regular covering iron. The trim iron just helps to get into corners, and if you are careful you can do it with the larger one. I've used one at a buddy's house, but I don't own one. It was nice, but not so nice that I ran out and bought one. The most frustrating thing about the trim iron (a Top Flite) is that it didn't get hot enough, so most things needed to be gone over with the larger iron anyway. When I buy one, it'll be the 21st Century brand. rcfaq


Can I use a hair dryer to apply Monokote?  Yes..

I have used a professional hairdryer 1500 watts and the one I have works great. I checked a friends heat gun and it was only 1000 watts. Jim Criggs


A heat gun usually has a lower air flow creating hotter air than a hair dryer. A good heat gun has a variable air flow so that you can regulate the temp.
    I always end up repairing my wife's hairdryers because the intake gets clogged with lint and then the thermal limit switch cuts out. Happens often enough and a piece of crud with get trapped in the open switch and it won't come back on. Mike in GR


How is Towerkote? It doesn't cost as much...

Towerkote is $5.99 vs $10.99 for Monokote. The weight and strength are listed as the same. Is there some feature of monokote that makes it a better choice?


Tower kote is applied at a lower temperature. Towerkote also comes loose pretty easy with fuel and just does not hold up as well. Monokote is tuff stuff and stays down pretty good. If you are just starting you may want to give ultrakote a try. You pretty much get what you pay for. Good Luck--Ken


Yes. Towercote reminds me of Econokote. It's light, despite the weight specs., and tears easily. It's also mandatory low heat and I suspect it is only fuel resistant, not fuel proof. Dr.1 Driver


Actually, towerkote (which is the same as Econokote) is lighter weight. I use it quite often on electrics when trying to save weight.

    For glow powered planes, towerkote (aka econokote) isn't fuel proof, and will not stay stuck. It doesn't mind the burnt electron exhaust of my electrics however, and so it's a great way to save a few ounces and a few bucks on the covering material. Chuck


I believe your best bet would be Ultracoat. GBC


Ultracote, Oracover and Profilm are all one and the same thing - same seal on the wrapper and often one or the other has backing paper labelled as that of another. - names are simply changed for marketing purposes in different countries ( with some products to circumvent sole distributing rights of a particular brand name.) Alan T.













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