The "system" consists of Poly-Fiber™ (a lightweight polyester fabric), Poly-Tak™ (for attaching the fabric), Poly-Brush™ (to fill the weave), Poly-Spray™ (for opacity and sanding filler), Poly-Tone™ paints and our line of the worlds first scale finishing tapes. The "system" is a solvent based polyester vinyl paint which chemically bonds. The fabric is a custom woven polyester fabric. The paint (Poly-Tone) is a polyester vinyl. This paint (Poly-Tone) chemically bonds to the fabric and each layer of paint. It will bond to any polyester but, we can only guarantee predictable results with Poly-Fiber. Repeat the five "Poly-words" and give yourself a gold star.
These instructions will cover:
The fabric (Poly-Fiber) is attached with a cement (Poly-Tak) designed to bond with the polyester. It
dries very fast and should only be used around the edges of the wing or the airframe. Whether applying the fabric to an open area such as a ribbed wing or fuselage longerons, the technique is the same. On a constant chord wing, I prefer attaching only the trailing edge. This allows the fabric to "crawl" around the leading edge of the wing and seek its position when heat shrinking. Do not trim the fabric until after heat shrinking.
Pour the Poly-Tak into a small container. The Poly-Tak works better on balsa and soft woods if thinned very slightly with MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone).
Only cement about 12 to 24 inches at a time. Apply the Poly-Tak directly to the model airframe and lay the cloth over the Poly-Tak while it is wet. Work the glue up through the cloth. If the Poly-Tak begins to thicken from evaporation, just thin it with MEK. Don't worry too much about getting the cloth tight when gluing, it can shrink 10 to 12% at 350 degrees F.
Why not use a heat gun? You may go beyond the memory of the thread and get elongation instead. Some heat guns go beyond 500 degrees. In this case you would loosen the fabric instead of tightening it. Since a fabric covered wing or fuselage is really a monocoque construction, we're depending on the memory of the material for strength. After heat shrinking and before trimming, brush a little Poly-Brush along where you intend to trim. Let dry and trim. This will eliminate the "fuzzies" and unraveling.
Fill the weave of the cloth with Poly-Brush. It can be brushed or sprayed. All of our paints are supplied ready to spray including the Poly-Brush. The recommended method (by Poly-Fiber Inc.) is to brush on the first coat and spray the second. I personally prefer spraying both coats to eliminate any chance of brush marks. All clean up Is with MEK ( Methyl Ethyl Ketone).
Next is the Poly-Spray for opacity. The Poly-Spray used on full scale aircraft is for UV protection. On the model aircraft, use it only if you don't want to see through the airframe. It does give you a sandable surface and an undercoat for your paint too. Poly-Spray contains talc and aluminum pigment.
POLY-TONE (Color coats)
NEVER PAINT IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT. Always use a respirator and gloves and properly dispose of your waste! Make sure you stir and shake your paint well. The Poly Tone is a very highly pigmented paint thus, it takes fewer coats for full coverage. Poly-Tone dries to a Semi-Gloss or satin finish under normal conditions. Normal drying time is about 30 minutes depending on the temperature. Make sure your paint is stirred and shaken well! I cannot emphasize enough to stir the paint! This is not some thinned lacquer with color in solution! This is highly pigmented and pigment settles.
Poly-Tone spraying hints and tips
SPRAYING EQUIPMENT: Poly-Tone may be sprayed with any equipment rated for lacquer and enamel using from 30 to 40 psi. Clean the equipment with Poly-Fiber Reducer or Methyl Ethyl Ketone.
COVERAGE: One quart of Poly-Tone Poly-Brush or Poly-Spray will cover approximately 50 sq. ft. with one coat. Modelers have been known to more than double this coverage.
COLOR SEQUENCE: Apply light colors first and overcoat with darker trim colors. All pigments are non-bleeding.
DRYING TIME: Dust free in 20 minutes. Allow 12 hours drying before using masking tape. All drying times are given at 70 degrees F. and 50% relative humidity, and must be compensated accordingly.
THINNING: Scale Stits Covering paints for models are already reduced to the proper consistency for spraying. Blush retarder BR8600 is also added. If you feel additional reducing is necessary use only Poly-Tone reducers, R65-75 for spraying at temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees or R8500 for temperatures from 85 to 100 degrees. DO NOT REDUCE WITH MEK! If the container has been left open, additional reducing may be necessary to prevent Orange peeling. To improve gloss, after 30 days buff with polishing compound or cover with PT-100 High gloss clear coat.
Trim lines and adjoining colors
By now you have probably realized this stuff is not difficult Just different. I know a lot of you use clear paint to seal the masking tape when painting trim lines. The next time, try this technique. This is a technique used and taught in the full scale painting and covering seminars. It's a lot easier to do than it is to explain.
Let's use a base color of white for an example with a red stripe. After the masking tape is applied to the aircraft, paint the first coat what ever color is under the tape. In this case the base color was white. Paint the tape edges white, then paint the red trim.
Read this next paragraph carefully `cause it was confusing to write and I know it will be confusing to read but, it explains the process.
By painting the first trim coat what ever color was under the tape, we have sealed the tape. If the tape bleeds, the color is the same as the color underneath and it won't show. Now paint the trim color (red in our example). This technique will give very crisp trim lines and is a lot easier to do than to explain.
Feather Coat is a one part, no mixing, no curing product designed as a "bridge" between composite structures and the Polyester paints. Use FC-900 as a primer over bare wood, solid surfaces or fiberglass before applying Poly-Tone. To prepare the surface, sand first with 320 grit Wetordry sandpaper. Feather Coat may be applied with any spray equipment rated for lacquer and enamel. Reducing is not necessary. Apply 1 to 5 coats at 5 minute intervals to build a sanding base. Sanding time is 30 minutes to one hour. It seals and sands beautifully. For a thicker material, microballoons can be added. Be sure to apply a final coat of FC-900 after sanding the microballoons. It is not recommended to use FC-900 over the open bays of wings or fuselages. The flexing may cause it to "eggshell" or crack.
SUPERLIGHT EPOXY FILLER, SUPERFIL OR THAT BLUE STUFF
Superfil is custom designed for use as a high grade, ultra lightweight aircraft grade filling material. It is produced in two parts, each filled to capacity with sanding fillers. Superfil may be troweled over rough composites, aluminum, or wood. It sands extremely well (approximately 33% easier than epoxies filled with microballoons) and has enough shear to make it more easily finished than any other available polyester or epoxy filler. Pot life is one hour and full cure time is 8 hours.
Superfil is an extremely lightweight filler. It is a two part epoxy and works like all other epoxies you have used in the past. Superfil works great for making fillets on bulkheads, fillets for wings and fuselages, or just filling that hole where the ironing board fell on your new wing. A little known trick to smoothing epoxy fillers is alcohol. No! Not Jack Daniels, that would be a waste of good spirits and it would stain the fillet. Use a high grade alcohol like 91%. It's available at CVC or any other good drug store. You may have to ask your pharmacist for it. Use the alcohol on your finger after the fillet is formed to smooth the epoxy. If you are allergic to epoxies, use a rubber glove from the same pharmacy. Smoothing the Superfil with alcohol will almost eliminate the need for sanding.
COVERING SOLID SURFACES
The procedure is basically the same as a framed up structure. Attach the fabric around the edges with Poly-Tak cement, heat shrink and paint. Don't forget to leave a couple of inches around the edge until after it is heat shrunk. Brush Poly-Brush where you are going to trim the fabric, let dry for 15 minutes and trim. After trimming is complete, iron any sharp edges with an iron at 200 degrees F.
Thin the Poly-Tak with MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) by first putting the Poly-Tak in a smaller container to paint from. Dip the brush in the MEK then stir the brush in the Poly-Tak. A little goes a long way. Poly-Tak is a little thick in its normal consistency for this application and will leave lumps and bumps. Remember, glue only around the edges.
Heat shrink the fabric with a calibrated iron from 250 to 275 degrees F. You want all the big wrinkles out but not drum tight. Now brush on the first coat of Poly-Brush and work the Poly-Brush into the fabric. This will penetrate the fabric and give a secondary adhesive. Spray the second coat of Poly-Brush. The Poly-Spray can be skipped in this instance and go straight to the Poly-Tone paints.
For an extremely smooth surface apply one or two coats of FC-900 (Feather Coat), sand and paint.
Be careful when sanding. Do not sand through the primer into the fabric. If it gets the "Fuzzies" from sanding through to the fabric, apply Poly-Brush, then Feather Coat until the "uh-oh" is concealed. In other words…..cheat.
In summary, these are the recommended steps by the Poly-Fiber experts for full scale aircraft, modified for models. Feel free to experiment with the product, as it is very versatile. Do not Intermix the Poly-Fiber process with other chemicals. Additionally, do not use Poly-Tak, Poly-Brush, or Poly-Tone directly over foam. The solvents in the paints will dissolve the foam immediately.
We also have a video available from the Experimental Aircraft Association of Ray Stits covering a full scale aircraft and giving step by step instruction. It is very helpful for scale hints and tips.
In the near future we hope to have a video available of a model being covered with lots of hints and tips to give that competitive edge.
Our favored method of shipping is United Parcel Service for (3) or more cans. For (1) one or (2) two cans we ship U.S. Mail parcel post. Postal regulations require flammable materials be shipped by surface only no airmail. All our products are shipped ORM-D, saving YOU at least $10.00 per box. Please consider this if you are price shopping.
F&M Enterprises has an exclusive to develop this product for the modeling industry. Hence, some of the products are only available from F&M. We have done everything possible to make the system simple for the modeler while keeping the costs down. We work with the modeler to ship in the most cost effective method possible. We have also priced our paints competitively to give the modeler the most material for the dollar. Please give us the name of your club or organization when ordering.
If you have a picture of your model published in a model trade magazine and the caption says it's "covered with Scale Stits Covering", send us a copy of the magazine and we will send you a free gift for the mention!
This product is not compatible with Windows 95, Windows 3.1, Mac, Apple, any other fruits and vegetables, or DOS. It'll gum up your keyboard something fierce. Keep out of the hands of babies and children under 99. This product is not to be taken internally, externally, or applied to the body in any way shape or manner. If you remove the liquid from these cans it will be at your own risk. The contents have been known to cause euphoria, elation and a general sense of well being, not to mention an overinflated ego from such a superior paint job!