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Finishing and painting fuselages

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Alex Tankink
Posts: 37
Joined: 20 Jan 2021, 11:53
Location: Adelaide

Finishing and painting fuselages

Post by Alex Tankink »

Hello group new to forum so apologies if this is not in right thread.

Noticed a few methods for finishing fuselages.

Am using a kit glider to learn the ropes and am at the stage of covering / finishing the fuselage.

The fuz is a simple box section to profiled nose.

I have seen people use polyester filler on balsa then primed and I assume painted.

Are you painting the primed balsa with 2pack or are you covering it with a film and then priming and painting again?

What is the preferred method for fuselages that simulate gloss finish on the real aircraft and can take a bit of punishment.

Also are you treating the balsa etc before finishing or does the primer ect harden it up?


Posts: 187
Joined: 26 Dec 2018, 08:45
Location: Hungary

Re: Finishing and painting fuselages

Post by StephenB »

No replies so far, so I'll dive in.

Alex, on my latest model "A-Spatz" from the Chris Williams plan I covered the fuselage with Diacov which is an iron on textile that can be painted. I fashioned the nose from car body filler and applied the Dicaov up to the filler with a slight overlap and feathered it in with applications of paint. I brush finished mine but you could also spray paint of course. This worked well for the open structure and the ply sheeted area. You can see the process in more detail on my build thread.
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Peter Balcombe
Posts: 1345
Joined: 18 Mar 2015, 10:13
Location: Clevedon, North Somerset, U.K.

Re: Finishing and painting fuselages

Post by Peter Balcombe »

Apart from Stephen’s response, I would say that it also depends on the size of model.
If a small model (say 60” span or so) then weight is a a premium & a gloss iron-on film gives a good finish at minimum weight.
Otherwise you need to seal the wood grain using a few coats of sanding sealer or similar before painting, else use a covering material which can then be sealed, primed & painted as Stephen has mentioned.
With larger models, you also have the option of applying a lightweight glass cloth & then painting directly.

Remember that the paint must be compatible with the surface it is applied to, otherwise it will either not stick, or will react (“pickle”). Acrylic paints seem to be compatible with most things. 2K paints are carcenogenic and need to be applied using appropriate safety measures.
Jolly Roger
Posts: 517
Joined: 30 May 2015, 20:35
Location: Sutton Bank, North Yorkshire

Re: Finishing and painting fuselages

Post by Jolly Roger »

Hope you don’t mind me tagging a question onto this thread but it seemed the most relevant place.

Is it worth spraying lacquer as a top coat onto an acrylic sprayed finish?

The reason is that, after years of spraying failures, and with a few fab tips from CW, I’ve finally managed to get that smooth deep gloss finish from an acrylic rattle can on my fuselage.

I really want to preserve it from the scuffs and grazes of slope landings, and assume this is where a lacquer top coat comes in, but I’m worried that lacquer only adds gloss but no extra scratch-resistance, or worse still, that I’ll mess up the lacquer coat and ruin the gloss I have now?

Finally, I’ve heard that 2k lacquer is much more scratch-resistant than Halfords one-part lacquer?

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