have only limited experience using Flite-Metal.
But it was successful and perhaps my beginnerís
perspective might be a good place to start.
First, a very smooth and firm foundation is necessary,
good enough for paint. Glass and resin should be wet-sanded, finishing with 600 grit sandpaper. Rinse
the surface to get it very clean. The tiniest
imperfections and dust with show up, just like a painted
Apply Flite-Metal in rectangles, one panel section at a
time. Touch the center of the stuff down first and
burnish outwards so that no air bubbles are trapped
beneath. If they do, rip it off and start over.
Donít mess with pin pricks. Overlap carefully and
cut the edges with a razor blade and straight edge.
Many modelers stop there and the plane looks good from
30 feet away but up close it looks like kitchen tinfoil.
Now the work begins.
Mask off a panel and wet-sand the mico bumps out.
Sand away until all the shiny spots are gone. Use
400-grit in a circular motion. The circular motion
tends to move the debris outward. The debris acts
as a lubricant, preventing the sandpaper from cutting.
So wipe the surface clean and rinse the sandpaper
Very important - the last few strokes of the sandpaper
must all be in one direction, a direction different from
the adjacent panels. In sunlight, this will give the
panels a different sheen that varies with how the light
strikes it, just like full-size a/c aluminum panels.
That is the magic of Flite-Metal.
Apply flush rivets by pressing a sharpened brass tube to
the surface. Donít spray a clear coat - it will
ruin the effect and look like aluminum paint or worse -
Color paint tends to stick well without primer because
the surface has been sanded. My only experience with
paints over Flite-Metal has been Model Master and Klass
Kote. Both adhered very well.
Compound surfaces, like the nose of a jet or the
nosebowl of a radial cowl, are difficult I am told. Pick
color schemes that donít have bare metal over tight
compound curves until you are really good at this - like
Handle the plane carefully. Fingerprints show -
use gloves. The surface is soft, so dings will
appear more readily than a wood or f/g surface.
The results are well worth it.
Good building, David P. Andersen