Covering and Finish on the Cream Cub
Update. Nelson Hobbies is no longer in business. You can still get the paint, but not in all the color options that Jerry had. Systemthree paint
This was the first time I covered the plane. This job had held up for over 10 years and only had to recover due to a plane landed into me.
I used white Super Coverite to cover the entire plane. To me it is easy to apply, you can heat and pull around curves good. It shrinks well and gives you a nice fabric look to the plane. Unlike other coverings where you have to pant the structure with an adhesive or dope this irons on well and takes hold to the wood. Super Coverite will take most paint and dope but as always try it on a sample first. Front section in front of the window is glassed in with epoxy and cloth to simulate the area that is sheet metal on the real cub. I applied a coat of Sig Nitrate Dope thinned 50% to the entire fabric covered surface.
The Cub that I modeled after was an almost antique white in color. So the first question is how will I match that color. Getting covering that color is out of the question. Going to the hobby shop and getting that color in paint is also out. To get the color I needed I had to have it custom matched. Looking around some of the ideas that I came up with are Auto Paint, and Enamel paint. First for these you need to spray them on to get a good look. Second this is going on a wing and fuselage that have open back areas (areas like between ribs) where the covering will flex. Most enamel or acrylic paint dries to a hard finish unless you add a flexing agent to the paint. After doing a little more research I came across a page called Nelson Hobby Specialties. They carry paint called System Three. This is Full-scale quality Polyurethane paint that can be thinned with water. I called and got an info pack sent to me on it. After reading the info I knew that this was the way to go although I could not find many people that had used it, it was a fairly new product at the time. So I send them a sample to match and shortly after that my paint was at the door.
What I like about the paint
You can thin it and clean up with water so no special thinner to buy. A little paint goes a long way, on my cub I used 1-1/4 pints of paint and this was with three thin coats. You can apply the paint safely setting at your kitchen table. The paint has no smell or fumes. The best thing is that you can apply it with a foam art brush and get a great result. If you spray it the over spray will be dry by the time it hits the floor. Dries quickly, unlike some that take a day or two. Can handle up to 50% nitro fuels when used with crosslinker.
What I did not like about the paint
If you let the paint set for about 5 to 10 minutes it changes color (mine turned a yellow color) but all you do is swirl the paint in the container to mix it back up.
How the paint grip the surface?
Although not required I applied a coat of 50% thinned Nitrate Dope to my plane. I applied the paint as directions said adding the crosslinker for fabric covering. After the plane had set for a day I was adding a small detailed part to the plane when I got thin CA between my finger and the plane. Before I knew it my finger was glued to the plane. When I pulled my finger off the plane it made a pop sound on the covering and to my surprise the only paint that came off was about the size of a pinhead. But I had made a 1/2 inch diameter fingerprint on the plane from the glue. I do believe that the paint had bonded with the covering well!
Nelson Hobby Specialties
I would defiantly recommend it, and no I’m not getting paid to say this. Jerry has a lot of colors available but he also can match the paint for you. Jerry also carries a line of instrument faces, control hookups, pull/pull system, scale hinges, flying wires and more. I have a link to his page available in the products page.