How to create a Scale RC Plane Finish

Readers may remember me mentioning David Vaughan in last month’s article and my comments that he might be persuaded into doing an article on his techniques for obtaining a weathered finish. Well, I’m pleased to say that he agreed, so without any more ado, over to David . . .

Ageing and Weathering

Having, like me, followed all of Roy Yates’s advice, you have now achieved that flawless paint finish on your model and you now wish to `dirty it up’. I must say, right at the beginning, that a good finish is as essential for an ‘aged’ effect as for a brand new one; all the dirtying and ageing in the world will not disguise a poor finish. Roy has asked me to tell you how I use the oil pastel effect to reduce that beautiful surface to that of a war weary veteran. Well, the first thing you will need is information—lots of it. If you can go to see an example of the actual aircraft your job is much more simple, though air museums these days so often ‘bull’ their exhibits up until they gleam. Science museums, being hard up perhaps, tend to leave their exhibits in their original dirty state. I like to sketch as well as photograph, for much of the detail I can cover best with a pencil and lots of written notes. If you cannot see the actual rc aircraft, then you will have to get hold of your information the hard way, from books, magazines, postcards, etc. Real photographs are a must; I spend hours studying them through a lens. (Half-tone reproductions will merely drive you “dotty!”). I like to get right into my subject, really get the feel of it. I have been known to fall asleep at night with the book balanced on my nose. A trance-like state may eventually be reached as you pore over your pictures, but you do reach a stage where you can really ‘see’ the finished model. It is this excitement that gets me through the dull building bits. So there she is, satin smooth and ready to go.

scale rc aircraft

scale rc aircraft

Now you need two things: courage and restraint. The first time I did a dirtying up job I was horrified at what I was about to do. Restraint must be in your mind the whole time for there is a natural tendency to overdo each move. Remember it is the cumulative effect that you are after, so deliberately underplay each stage ; you can always add to it later. The oil pastels I use are not the children’s hard crayons, but a soft oil-pastel, almost as soft as lipstick. Two of the most well known names are ‘Cray-Pas’ made by a Japanese firm, Sakura, and ‘Filia’, imported by one of our own artists’ colour manufacturers, of which the most well known names are Reeves, Winsor and Newton, and Rowney. They all market these pastels and they are easily obtainable from any art shop and sometimes from W. H. Smith. You only need a few colours : black, yellows, blues, olives, earth colours. I was going to say you could give the rest to the children, but perhaps you had better keep the box after all.

A little colour is smeared onto a finger tip and you lightly drag your finger over the surface to be treated. Real infant school finger painting. Camouflage colours can be aged and faded and subtly tinted with the appropriate greens and browns, for these are never ‘flat’ colours on an old radio controlled aircraft. Red and blue on roundels fade and discolour, the white goes chalky and the under colour shades show through—use pale blues and yellows, stain and blotch, but only a little here and there. The till now almost in-visible rivets, panel lines and rib tapes leap into focus (assuming the rivets are bumps and the panel lines grooves). A touch of black now—the merest trace drawn down a line of rivets to give them a shadow of grime and you will not believe how realistic they will look. I find the finger-tip an ideal natural applicator. I am sure a spray will give a more perfect job—perhaps too perfect, too neat. How-ever I find myself more at home with the finger method. Also, a spray will not make those rivets live. All protruding surface details can now have a whisper of shadow where the slip-stream would cause it to be, but oh so little. If it does look too much a gentle wipe with a turps dampened rag will remove it, but be careful not to take the paint off with it. Sharp edges, leading edges of wings, cowls and cockpit frames, all gain an immediate three-dimensional appearance with just a touch of grime. Do not forget the areas that will have been handled by oily-fingered mechanics, but do not make black splodges, only the merest shadow. Oil stains can be made by dragging that turpy rag across a smear of black or dark brown pastel; runs can be made by rubbing the pastel into a tin lid with turps in it and dribbling the result down from panel edges or filler caps; remember slip-stream will have an effect on them. If you want the runs to look wet, use a little gloss varnish mixed in and apply after the matt fuel proof is put on. Exciting runs can be made by blowing the run down from the filler cap, either by huffing and puffing at it or by using a heat-shrink gun (turned on to cold of course), using the narrow nozzle. Whatever you do, do it with restraint; never too dark or too much, enough to show what happens, that’s all. I cannot recall ever really planning what to do first; the pro-cess grows on you and each successful area inspires the next move. It can be most exciting. If you are feeling very brave, try using a toothbrush (your wife’s) to “spatter” oil stains under the nose—only a little; it can look good. Use a very light stain. This oil pastel method does demand that you should spray the fuelproof on for, apart from there being no other way of applying a matt finish without leaving brush marks, the drag of the brush would play havoc with the pastel. A side benefit is that, if the matt varnish is thinned enough with white spirit, you do in fact cause to be formed a very fine texture that can be most pleasing on close inspection. Thinking of rivets, try this: put some PVA in a tin lid and stir in some silver paint. Continue to stir while playing a hair dryer over it until it has thickened. Now load up your syringe. If you have the con-consistency right you get a perfect little dome as the glue dries, and what is more you can see it, for instead of the PVA going trans-parent it is now silver, and if the camouflage does wear off with repeated cleaning, then it looks as though you had done it on purpose! Putting the rivets on is not such a tedious job as some would think. With the glue of the correct consistency—too thin, and you get a pan-cake: too thick, and you get a cake decoration—one press of the plunger and enough pressure builds up to last for quite a long time. At first the glue will come too fast; wipe off with a rag. Then when the pace slows down, away you go down the pencil line, “dotting” away merrily. When the flow falters, a touch of the plunger and off you go again. Any duff or out-of-line rivets are simply wiped off and re-applied. A word on inspection hatches and other removable panels. I used to make them from thin card or paper doped into position. Much much better, giving a sharp, crisp edge and looking as though they could be removed instead of having the appearance of being welded on, as does card, is litho plate. All you have to do is go and see your local printer; they throw them away!

scale rc aircraft design

scale rc aircraft design

A most useful material; I have just started to find out all its possibilities. Domed rivets on these hatches are marked by punching in from the back and then going over the dome on the right side with a tube of slightly larger diameter. Dzus fasteners can be simulated by using a piece of suitable diameter brass tube, pressed into position with a rolling motion of the wrist. The slot in the Dzus head can be pressed in with a jeweller’s screwdriver. It may help to anneal the plate first. Roy has mentioned the use of silver paint under a matt paint for scratching through effects. I first used this when making seats from thin card or stiff cartridge paper. To my delight I found that if I used cellulose silver with matt oil paint over, they separated beautifully when scraped or sanded, instead of frustratingly mingling and bonding as happens when two similar paints are used. I first gave the card seat a coat of clear cellulose or banana oil, then silver cellulose, followed by matt colour—I use Humbrol. Chip edges; sand with quite a “scratchy” sandpaper the larger areas where the pilot and his ‘chute would cause wear. Follow with a touch of grime and an oil stain or two and you have to all appearances a metal seat, weighing nothing. If the card seems too floppy, double up at the edges. I have carried this technique to its logical conclusion with the rest of the model, painting with cellulose silver at all the strategic points and then trying to find them when scratching through. Sometimes I miss! In fact, I have found that the old method of applying the silver paint over the finished top coat with a chopped-down brush (not your best sable) with dryish silver paint on it, gives an almost identical effect. You soon learn the nervous twitch necessary; you’ll get one anyway. That 00-size sable brush is just the job for touching the edge of a panel line here and there, wing tips and trailing edges and so on. I once used tin-plate to make a canopy frame. The matt paint peeled off most satisfyingly of course. When touching up the model a year or two later, I found myself trying to touch up the tin-plate, having quite forgotten that I had used actual metal here. It looked no more realistic than the rest that I had faked with paint. Still, the silver underpaint method is great fun. Give it a try. Silver finishes can also be treated with oil pastels very well indeed. When I painted my Mustang I wanted to get that differing tonal effect that is to be seen on the panels.

scale rc plane Rivets and screws

scale rc plane Rivets and screws

I bought all kinds of silver in spray cans—Humbrol, car engine silver, Silver Wheels polyurethane, even Christmas decoration silver. By masking out sections with thin, poor quality cartridge paper, cut to size, moistened and stuck to the model while damp, I did get a pleasing variety of silver finishes. I used the polyurethane around the nose section and under the centre section where its natural fuel-proof qualities would do most good—also because it contrasted well with the real aluminium panels I used to simulate the stainless steel panels around the exhaust stacks on the real plane. The tonal difference was similar to the stainless steel and aluminium of the original. The rest of the silver had a clear, two-mix polyurethane gloss varnish sprayed over. It looked good but it broke the piggy bank. So when I painted the Wirraway I used the oil pastel method. Using Christmas decoration silver, which is very bright indeed, I sprayed the whole of the bottom of the model. It looked like a new-minted bar of silver; I was almost afraid to touch it. Now this is where, if you like and have the courage born of fool-hardiness, you can really go to town. Have a look at the picture of the underside of the Boomerang in the Kookaburra Publication. No one would dare make such a mess as that—would he? Well . . . Using dry cartridge this time as a mask held along panel lines, I rubbed black, blues, greys and greens with my finger to shade the panels. Very little colour is used; remember it should only be enough to make a difference you can just see. Then the dirtying took place; long light smears towards the trailing edge from all protruding details, along rivet lines, round wing tips where they are handled, slip-stream smears from such things as navigation lights and from the rear end of the carb. etc. Not only was this method a lot cheaper than the other but infinitely more effective. I know I was thrilled when I finally stood back to see the overall appearance. After a year or two of use, the castor oil that has sprayed back under the centre section has yellowed, so now I have genuine built-in ageing! I must mention this point about silver finishes. I have found that masking out to fuel-proof can give problems- As the topside camouflage needs a matt fuel-proof and the silver is best with gloss, you have to mask one paint job off from the other to give them their different finishes. Now, if you paint the silver first and put masking tape over it to paint the camouflage next, you will pull the silver off when re-moving the masking tape. You must work each step out most carefully. I completed the topside camouflage and fuel-proofed that before tackling the silver. Then the masking tape had only to be applied to the matt finish which can take such treatment without harm. On one area of the Mustang I did it the wrong way round. The tape pulled the polyurethane varnish clean off the silver paint in one whole skin, even to the inspection panels and the rivets—a perfect mould! Back to the Wirraway. In order to protect the rest of the model from accidental silver splashes I taped the top sides up in a newspaper cocoon. This solved the problem. Incidentally, the “damp-paper masking method” is ideal here, for the thin paper only sticks while damp and cannot harm any finish. I use it for lettering also. Use a piece of paper with plenty of over-lap and draw your letters on it. Cut them out with a sharp knife and wet the whole sheet. Position it care-fully on the ‘plane and pat the sur-plus water off with a clean cloth. (I am always getting into trouble for using my handkerchiefs.) Dry round the letters most carefully and add the centres of O’s, P’s and A’s etc. Then either stipple the colour in with the chopped-off brush or spray with the control turned to minimum. You must beware of getting the spray too close to the model or the blast will lift the paper mask and all will be spoiled. You can peel the paper away almost immediately. Remember, lettering would almost certainly be faded and the edges would be chipped here and there, so do not build up too thick and neat a layer. If you have a matt letter on silver, you will have to add the matt fuel proof with that 00 sable. If you have had the courage to get this far and have used restraint, you will sit back and hardly be able to believe your eyes. You will now have a really atmospheric, dirty war weary veteran standing before you. You will either be almost delirious with joy—or want to shoot me. Pass the sandpaper! Many thanks Dave, I’m sure many readers were as engrossed as I was with your unique approach to the art of weathering and ageing a model.

scale rc plane weathering

scale rc plane weathering

The French connection Just received are the rules and entry forms for the “Challenge de Graouilly”, which is to be held in Metz, France on the 23rd and 24th. of June. The site for this inter-national semi-scale contest will be the home club’s own private flying site, the “Model Aerodrome le Fouillot”. This year all the paperwork has an English translation, which I must say makes life a lot easier, and an interesting ruling is the one that states that a model that has already been entered in an international scale competition is not eligible. This is a method of giving others a chance and avoiding repetition of models winning year after year. Maximum permissible weight for the models is a maximum 6Kg. (131b. 3oz.), with engine capacity limit of, and this year sees the introduction of an “84dB at 10 metres” noise limit. Limited accommodation and meals may be reserved at the Centre Acre de Jussy (C.A.J.) which is situated two kilometres from the flying site. B&B is 23 Francs a day, midday and evening meals 25Fr apiece, and the Sunday banquet

75Fr. These facilities are available from the evening meal time on Friday 22nd, and all day Saturday and Sunday. A total of ten trophies are to be awarded in the r c event, which is run on a very simple basis, with 100 marks being awarded on both flying and static, no complexity bonus being included. Interested modellers should write to Graouilly Organization, 16A Boulevard Saint-Symphorien, Metz, bearing in mind that the latest entry date is the 1st of June. Aerobatic biggies? The competition secretary of the Rolls Royce (Hucknall) MAC, Allan Walker, dropped me a line recently describing their forthcoming rc scale meeting. Scheduled for September 2nd this year’s event will have its usual informal format, with entrants flying when and as they like, frequencies permitting. No set judging sequence will be followed, so documentation will not be required. However, there will be a total of eight prizes (cash plus trophies) for the various categories. To help promote the Large Scale RC Model Association, 1,’4 and 1.’3 scale models are to be encouraged at this event and, if enough support is shown, it is planned to hold an event next year solely for these big models. In addition to the foregoing, and held at the same time, there will be a scale acrobatic event. Apparently a number of regular acrobatic com-petition flyers are building “Las Vegas” type models, so it will be interesting to see how many turn up. Allan’s own project is a scale Zlin 526A which will span 105in. with a length of 78in. and has a Webra 91 up front. There is no set schedule for this “ToC” type event, just a 5-minute slot for a free-style flight similar to the full-size performance, to start once the model is airborne. Take-off and landing will not be judged—only the presentation—which will be marked for positioning, originality, accuracy, variety, harmony and rhythm.

Centi Phase RC Plane Review


“a quality kit . . . flying characteristics pleasing—responsive yet forgiving”

Centi Phase rc plane

Centi Phase rc plane

THE CONCEPT of this design is for multi-purpose use as a 100in. span Standard Class r/c sail-plane for thermal, slope and cross-country soaring. It is a very pleasing and well balanced design featuring a flat-bottom 10 % aerofoil, the tail-surfaces being “all-moving” and the rudder balanced.

The kit

The contents were described fully in the February ’79 What’s New, so the following are personal observations. The pigmented fibreglass cloth fuselage weighed 121oz. and I consider the finish to be one of the best examples available; any attempts to look for work normally necessary to the joint proved negative. I liked the longitudinal strengthening rails to the canopy opening, which eventually support the servo rails. The veneered foam wings, weighing just under  5oz. each, incorporated a spruce spar under the veneer of the upper surface, to take compression loads. The pre-shaped balsa parts were cut accurately, as checked against the plan, and the material well selected for its particular purpose. Die-cut plywood parts merely required pushing out, and the hardware in the kit was very complete and of good quality.

Putting it together

The fuselage, being of fibreglass and polyester resin, required the use of resin for bonding components to the shell. The positions of the wing and tail plane joiner tubes were already marked—a boon if accurately done, which proved to be the case. I therefore went ahead with drilling, and glued the tubes and formers in position. The plan details the installation of an additional 8g wire joiner (not included) if it is intended to ballast heavily for slope, multi-task soaring or using a bungee launch. I decided to fit this, at the same time as the others. The wings did not require a lot of work. After gluing the leading and trailing edges and tips into place, there was only the fitting of the joiner tubes, and some sanding of the roots for a good fit. Not fancying the suggestion of bonding the retaining hooks with epoxy into the foam core, I glued a ¾ inch dowel in the hole and, after it set, screwed the hook into that. The fin material was somewhat on the hard side but of good quality—and with 50 % to be removed in shaping, I felt it would not be detrimental to balancing the model later. At this point, two evenings had been spent on the model; the third was a sanding session. I did the extreme shaping with a razor plane, taking care with the leading and trailing edges, not to cut into the veneer. Sanding followed, to bring about final shapes and contours.


I chose a plastic film for covering the flying surfaces, which was a very close match with the self-coloured orange fuselage. I found that, as the fin post of the fuselage was of untreated balsa, it needed a strip of film to match in. Applying the waterslide transfer supplied, concluded the fourth evening’s work.


Following the detail on the plan, fitting my radio gear was accomplished, achieving the correct e.g., without recourse to nose weight. The optional tow-hook release servo, I fitted—though it will have to be disconnected and release made by  “down elevator”  for  100’S competitions, where only two servos are allowed. I fitted the ‘outer’ of a control cable to the floor of the fuselage, running rearwards, and passed the receiver aerial down this to avoid having it deployed externally. With the equipment in place, I adjusted the movement of the all moving tailplane and balanced rudder to the throw recommended. This concluded the fifth evening’s work on the model. The bare airframe weighed 21b. 2oz. With 2oz. of film covering and the radio equipment fitted, the total weight was 31b. (within the specification) giving a useful 8.9oz./sq.ft. wing loading. The model is truly a “quick build”; I am not a fast builder because I insist on a pleasing finish, but nevertheless, in about 20 hours Centi Phase was ready to fly.

Flying – from the slope

Initial tests were carried out on the nearby southwest slope, with a 12-15mph wind blowing evenly. A medium strength hand launch eased

the Centi-Phase away from the slope and, penetrating well, it gained altitude steadily. Neither rudder nor elevator trim required adjustment. Turning to the left and to the right in full circles, co-ordinating rudder and up-elevator, I found the rudder effective and the entry and exit of the circle smooth. Tightening up in the turn did not result in tip stalling and, in fact, catching a weak thermal, Centi-Phase rose very rapidly. I then brought the model down to slope height in a steep glide which raised its speed considerably. At no time was it unstable—and the lack of noise from the flypast bespoke of a clean aerodynamic shape. Upstairs again, and headed into wind, I found that when I pulled full up elevator to check its stalling characteristics, it was inclined to “mush”, with its nose dropping at the extreme, but straight. Later flights on the slope were in

**. tft . winds of 25-30mph and turbulent. Some 8oz. of ballast maintained its earlier good penetration and stability. After quite a lot of flying, I have no quarrel at all with Centi-Phase’s handling characteristics, but would just like to make a small point in regard to setting of the rudder throw. Shown on the plan, this calls for a maximum of 1.1in. left and right. Whilst I found this ideal, I considered it was set up for the experienced flyer, and would be rather extreme for the novice. For the relatively uninitiated I would recommend the rudder throw be reduced to gin. each way initially, and the elevator movement slightly reduced also.

On the ground or in the air, Centi-Phose’s sleek !ines are really distinctive. Below: test-reporter John Warton checks out the controls.

Flying – from the line With a wind strength of only 3 or 4mph the Centi-Phase, like most sailplanes, required a pre-tensioned towline. From the launch, the path  was straight and required no rudder correction until almost at the top of the line. Once released, I found it necessary to feed in some up trim to achieve a flat glide path—to be expected, having previously been “sloped”. Pulling in up-elevator to just before the stall point, I found that the Centi-Phase still answered well to rudder. Several flight times of over minutes were recorded in zero temperature and non-thermal conditions, so in warmer weather obtaining 5-minute `maxes’ (100S comps) should be no problem. Landing approaches were made maintaining a normal flying speed, and touch-downs were easy and gentle.


The Centi-Phase nicely slots be-tween the designer-manufacturer’s Middle-Phase and Phase-Lift—and fills the bill for sport and competitive flyer alike. A quality kit, with plan and notes well detailed and leaving nothing to the imagination—construction being easy if they are followed. All parts are supplied for immediate commencement of building, except for the optional extra wing dowel (perhaps future kits could include this, as it is considered essential to the wide range of types of flying to which the model lends itself). The model’s flying characteristics are most pleasing—responsive, yet forgiving to the heavy-handed (my hands were frozen!), so I look forward to some rewarding 100S thermal flying and to cross country events with my Centi-Phase during this flying season. Manufacturer Distributor : Chris Foss Designs, 448 Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex.

A Beginner’s Guide to Tools and Materials for Radio Controlled Planes

Whether you are a dedicated Radio Control plane modeler or you just need some tools to help repair your RC planes, there is a wide range of tools and materials out there to help you along the way. Knowing which tools will be the most useful for each and every step of the way will lead you into the path of success in the RC plane hobby world. Because there are so many tools—some designed specifically with RC models in mind and some materials shaped for multi-purposes—it is okay to test out different brands and different tools to see what works best for each model type.

Because RC planes involve so many different aspects—aerodynamics, woodworking, composite materials, mechanics, electronics, small motors—it also encompasses many tool genres. In order to have the right tools for the job, below is a list of those most widely used. The most common tools include a modeling knife, modeling pins, a small razor plane, a fine razor saw, pliers and small screw drivers, a sealing iron to apply covering to the completed airframe, and perhaps a drill. A quick read-through of the variety of tools out there may make building your model work bench a little easier. It is important to keep in mind, however, that there is an abundance of other tools and materials on the market. This means that not every tool will be listed. Having said that, this guide gives a comprehensive look into the world of RC materials for beginners and experts alike.

Materials range from basic adhesives to colorful covering material. Some tools are very handy and quite necessary, such as always having an Epoxy on hand for quick repairs, whereas some tools are there to make the craft easier, such as a Double Clip Extra Hand or a hobby knife tool holder. After a solid base of tools and materials has been made, there is another world of accessories such as tool sets and pre-made kits to gather it all together.

Glues and Adhesives

Get your Radio Controlled modeling project done properly and efficiently with the right glues and adhesives.

* Epoxy



Comes in: Different types including 5-minute and 30-Minute Epoxy. Best uses: All-Purpose glue (wood, metal, ceramic, china, glass, metal, concrete).

* Thread Lock

Thread Lock

Thread Lock

Perfect for: Locking metal parts together. Best used for: Helicopters.

* Super ‘Phatic

Super ‘Phatic

Super ‘Phatic

Type: Fast-drying glue that bonds wood, foam, and plastic. Perfect for: Assembly of slot together models or reinforcing suspect joints.

* Insta-Cure Gap Filling

Insta-Cure Gap Filling

Insta-Cure Gap Filling

Comes in: Different consistencies ranging from ultra-thin to extra thick. Perfect for: Balsa because it can penetrate into the wood.

Tubing/Music Wire

Music Wire

Music Wire

Tubing is useful for bushings because they fit over music wire accurately; Music wire is useful for axles, landing gear, pushrods, etc.

* Tubing

brass tubes

brass tubes

Types: Round Brass Tubes normally ranging from 12” to 36”; Aluminum Tubes usually in a streamline or round shape; Solid brass rods which can be bent to desired shape and cut to desired length. Perfect for: Scratch builders, modelers, machine shops, crafts, and architectural applications.

* Music wire

Music wire can be cut and bent into desired shape. Best used for: Scratch building or to replace pushrods from purchased planes.

Covering Materials

Covering Materials are great for your RC airplane and primarily include Iron-on heat-shrink covering film and fabric for scale, 3D, sport, aerobatic or giant scale aircraft.

* Monokote

Monokote is a shrinkable plastic covering for model aircraft that, once applied, has a special adhesive that grips remarkably. MonoKote is also one of the most puncture- and scratch-resistant films and comes in an array of colors.

* UltraCote

UltraCote is a high-tech polyester covering with multi temperature-controlled adhesive, so it’s easy to apply; it eliminates the possibilities of color-layer separation and allows the repositioning of the covering on your model. It’s water-proof and fuel-proof to glow fuel, gas and smoke oil. Best for: Tight curves and wingtips.

* 1000 Watt Heat Gun (Accessory)

A Heat Gun is a handy tool best used for a fast, drum-tight, mirror smooth finish. It’s ideal for MonoKote, EconoKote and other heat-shrinkable covering films to achieve a professional finish.

* Sealing Iron (Accessory)

A sealing iron is used to apply fabric or film onto model airplane kits. Look for: 165 Watts of power. Optional item: Sealing Iron Sock Cover.


* Velcro

Best for: Mounting battery packs, cameras, speed controls, etc.

* Screws, Bolts, Nuts, Washers

Used for: Multi-functional hardware to fasten anything to anything.


These tools are general, handy instruments to make RC modeling easier.

* Modeling Pins

Used for holding parts over your full-size planes.

* Tru-Spin Prop Balancer

Balances air props of all sizes and weights and carefully inspects cones on a calibrator. Perfect for: Boat props, spinners, car wheels, helicopter rotor heads, jet fans, fly wheels, etc.

* Ball Wrench

Comes in: Different sizes for different uses. Also is commonly found sold in sets.

* Clamps

A quick clamp is beneficial for delicate projects when a specific amount of tension applied is needed.

* Double Clip Extra Hand

Allows the freedom to use both hands; project is supported at the desired angle. Also available: A magnifying glass option to give optimal sight.

* Solder Station and Soldering Iron

Solder and repair electrical or mechanic parts of your RC. Ideal for: Advanced hobbyists.

* Modeling Knives

Steel blades with precise edges made for easy cutting during plane repairing or rafting.

* Airplane Modelers Tool Chest

Perfect for: Gift set for any craftsman or as a starter set/must-have. Comes with: Typically will come with #1 precision duty knife handle, 1 #5 heavy duty handle, a tube of assorted blades, a razor saw blade, a mitre box, large clamp, 2 screwdrivers, a pinpoint stylus and a curved hemostat.


* Pre-cut and sanded Balsa Wood is sold as sheets, trailing and leading edges, sticks and triangle stock. Hardwood comes in rails, dowels, sticks, and aircraft plywood in various lengths.


* Magnets

Used to secure hatches and canopies, hold tools, etc.

* Rubber bands

Used for holding down landing gear, holding wings in place, etc.


You can buy all your RC Plane tools and accessories from who are the main UK model shop distributing all major brands.

The Abcs of Operating Radio Control Planes

Many people enjoy the pleasure of flying RC planes. But the truth is that for every person who is actually capable of operating these planes, there are five other people who would love to do so. If the gap between wanting and making your dream come true is big, how do we bridge it?

According to several surveys, many hobbyists refuse to take up RC plane flying only because they fear not being able to operate the aircraft. Even when operating RC planes may take a while getting used to, learning to do so is much easier than most people think.

Getting to Know your Plane

getting to know your rc plane

getting to know your rc plane


The first step towards success is becoming acquainted with your plane and the concept of remote controls. Learning as much as you can about the mechanics and operational details of remote control planes is vital to begin. Only then will you be able to get a fuller picture of the pastime and its full potential.

A Matter of Control

rc plane transmitter

rc plane transmitter


The number of controls will determine the type of maneuverability and the extent of the operational qualities of a plane. Whereas most planes will have three or four controls, some simple models require only one where others will have as many as six. Since in the world of RC hobbyists, each control is known as a channel, it is useful to pick up the lingo and start addressing your plane as a 4 channel one (or 4 Ch), for instance.

These are the main controls and their location:

Throttle: Since the throttle controls the speed of the engine, it determines the speed of the propeller, as well. If the RC airplane runs on gas or if it is a glow plug type, the engine would work pretty much as any other internal combustion engine. This is, by replacing the amount of air and fuel that enters the combustion chamber of the engine. A single servo, working on an open-close mechanism and which is connected to the venture of the carburetor, operates the carburetor itself.

Also known as the motor power, the throttle is vital to RC planes. One of the main reasons the throttle is relevant in the overall aircraft operation is that it not only controls the forward seed, but also controls the climb and

descent rates accordingly. This knowledge will determine the correct way of flying an RC plane since many fans use the elevator to increase height, instead of operating their RCs by using the throttle. It must be noted that smaller, toy RCs do not have motor power and must thus, be operated by means of the on/off switch.

Elevators: If you take a look at the rear-most end of the plane, you will spot a hinged section that has been designed to stabilize the aircraft horizontally. This part of your RC plane is probably the most important control surface as it controls what is known as “pitch attitude”, that is, what direction the nose of the lane points.

When elevators are pointing upwards, the nose of the plane points the same way, too. Similarly, when the elevators are pointing downwards, the nose is forced in that direction. Even so, elevators have a direct impact on the plane’s airspeed more than on its upward or descending motion. Together with the rudders, elevators also play an important role in turning.

Ailerons: Even when not all RC planes include ailerons, they will be present in all 4Ch planes. 3 Ch RC planes on the other hand, use rudders. Those models that use ailerons are benefitted by their presence mainly thanks to their contribution regarding their alternate motion. Ailerons work in pairs by working opposite to each other. In other words, when one aileron moves up, the other one moves down.

When the elevator is operated simultaneously with the ailerons, the plane is forced to make a turn. This is done because the ailerons will contribute to the plane’s rolling movement, whereas the up elevator makes the nose to pitch up in the same direction.

Rudders: Resembling a fin, the rudder is the hinged section located at the very rear end of the plane and is used for directional control towards the same way the rudder is pointed. This means that if you move the rudder to the left, the plane will move in that direction.

Final Words

Getting to know your RC plane is an essential first step towards many hours of fun and entertainment. With the help of this practical guide, you are much closer now.

Remote Control Aircraft: Worth Repairing?

Once again the answer to this question is not a simple one. For one thing, many different accidents can happen to your RC plane. After all, the laws of physics will not let your little beauty get away with unharmed if something goes wrong and the aircraft should hit against the ground or any other surface. Other types of issues involve the natural wear and tear that takes place with the passing of time. Whatever the case, your remote control plane is bound to get damaged at one time or another.

Most experts will tell you that all damage can be repaired; the question is whether it is worth the time, the money or the trouble. Here are some questions you should go over in your head before making the right decision:

* Did I really like this model?

* Will the airframe remain intact? This is one of the most important issues to deal with. If the airframe cannot be restored, then the model will no longer be operational.

* Will the plane looked to patched-up after the repair?

* How much is a new model worth as opposed to the costs of the repairs?

This initial questionnaire can help you make up your mind about what steps to follow.

Most Common Types of Repairs

Some repairs are purely physical and success will depend on the repairperson’s ability to tackle the issue. Here are the most common accidents:

* Broken Wing: this is one of the easiest repairs you can come across and is a definite DIY project. You should be careful with certain aspects though: gathering all the broken pieces and aligning the wings. In order to repair this part, you only need to clamp together the pieces with epoxy and wait for about 24 hours for the pieces to harden. After the repair has taken place, you can secure the repaired area with transparent tape.

broken rc plane wing

broken rc plane wing


* Warping: This is a typical issue to deal with in foam RC models and it usually happens on windy days. Even when the damage may seem minor, if the issue is left unattended, the warped wing may bend while the aircraft is flying and end in an instant nosedive. Repair can be done with epoxy spread over the surface to seal any possible gutter. 24 hours later, the area should be secured with transparent tape.

rc plane wing warping

rc plane wing warping

* Broken Nose or Fuselage: The repair will depend on the type of material. For plastic, you can use superglue and avoid clamping. If on the other hand, the plane is made of Styrofoam, you should not use superglue, but epoxy. In this case, clamping will be necessary, followed by a 24-hour drying period.

broken rc plane

broken rc plane


* Missing Parts or Sections: This is also frequent. Nonetheless, finding spare parts or replacements are now really easy, although some hobbyists would rather build the pieces themselves.

If you have a glow-plug igniter in your RC plane, you surely know that repairing it may prove to be a challenge. To begin with, some igniters are really easy to repair, whereas others are not repairable, at all. You should assess the cost and the effort before making the right decision.

Radio Controlled or Remote Control Planes?

Many hobbyists go ballistic when they come across people having this argument. To the expert eye, this dichotomy has been clearly solved long ago. But what about the rest of us mortals who have no clue about what these two concepts mean? As follows, we present you with a clear simple guide on how to address different types of RC planes appropriately, without running the risk of messing up terms.

Redefining Concepts

By definition, remote control-operated would refer to any type of device that is controlled at a distance. Some simple examples of such items include your TV set or the air conditioning! This means that any type of gadget that is being operated by an operator who is situated in a different location, would be considered operated by a remote control. However, you should know that not all devices are operated the same way.

Remote Technologies

These days and thanks to the speedy technological advance of out age, there are many different ways of operating a device-on-remote. Here are some of the most popular ways:

Radio-controlled by Radio Frequency: Radio frequency transmission is used to operate audio, video and many different types of technological appliances from a remote location. The signal is sent without having the device in sight or aiming at the equipment. It is particularly useful to operate moving devices, such as RC planes, for instance.

Infrared Remote Controls: IR remotes used to be very common in previous decades, but are now being replaced by newer types of technology. For one thing, line of sight is required in order to operate a device, plus aiming at the target is also necessary. This is why IR remotes are not a practical way to operate RC planes.

ir controller

ir controller


Cable or Wire-controlled: This is perhaps the most primitive type of remote control. For decades, hobbyists had to maneuver toy trains or cars that were connected to a main control by means of a wire or cable. The wire sends the signals to the device, thus making it move.

line control rc plane

line control rc plane


Electromagnetic: This type of communication is less frequent and includes light, magnetic and electric fields and the use of sound. One of the most widely-used forms of electromagnetic communication is done by means of Optical Fiber: information is transmitted from one place to

another by pulses of light which are sent through this type of fiber. The light creates an electromagnetic carrier wave modulated to carry information.

Wireless: This term has been coined as of late and does not necessarily represent any specific type of technology. The term applies to any type of connectivity that does not use wires, including radio waves (like TV remotes or radio broadcasting). Many portable applications are referred to as being wireless: radios, mobile phones, wireless internet, GPS units, wireless computer accessories, garage door openers and personal digital assistants, among many others.

So, what’s the Difference, then?

None, or many; this would depend on the speaker’s perspective. What you should know regarding these concepts is that all Radio-controlled planes are remote-control planes, but not the other way round. Does this make any sense to you? It should. If you go over the previous definitions carefully, you will be able to understand that remote control planes are all operated from a remote location, but not all RC planes are operated with the same technology; the ones that are radio-controlled, used radio frequency, for instance, whereas others may use cables, fiber optics or other types of means.

Final Conclusion

All in all, remote-control planes may use different types of technology in order to operate them. Radio frequency is one of the possible ways of operating remote aircraft and this name has led to the widespread use of the term Radio-controlled planes.

Hobby Grade Remote-Control Plane Types

Many people find pleasure in either, buying, building, flying or fixing RC planes. In fact, many RC fans not only group together and instruct each other on the fine art of Remote Control planes, but also spend time together watching their little birds go up in the air.

RC plane hobbyists-to-be often wonder where to begin. It is useful to know that there are many different types of RC planes on the market and that not all planes are fit to be used by anyone at any time. This means that you should do some research in order to find the most suitable RC aircraft for you.

Plane Types: What you should know

As we mentioned earlier, there are many different types of radio-controlled planes and categories range from the simplest to handle to the ones that require a higher level of expertise to handle. We will classify types into three categories:

Beginning Hobbyist

Park Flyers: Within this class are several types of small, mostly electrically-powered, radio-controlled planes. They have been given this name because they are so small that they can be easily operated in a large public park and do not require large surfaces. Beginners will find this type of aircraft really easy to maneuver as they come ready to fly and operate.

park flyer rc plane

park flyer rc plane


Experienced Hobbyist

Glow plug Engine: RC planes that have this type of internal combustion engine work very much like many other types of combustion vehicles: by a combination of heating from a glow-plug, compression and the effect of the platinum on the methanol contained in the fuel used to power the engine. They are strong, sturdy and practical, but since they can leave an oily mess behind and are much noisier than other types, are sometimes restricted to certain areas.

Electric-powered: Some years ago, RC plane fans used to stay away from these types of aircraft. These days however, electric RC planes can do just about anything other types of planes can do. One of the reasons of their rise in popularity is that they are much safer and cleaner to fly. This is why many people are converting their glow-powered planes into electric model ones. The fact that you don’t need to carry around a gallon of fuel may have contributed somewhat. Another advantage is that they are less noisy, thus can be flown in places where other types of RC planes are not allowed.

Sailplane Aircraft: These gliders have rigid wings and undercarriage. Some types are known as motor gliders and can also be used for both, gliding and soaring.

ic rc plane

ic rc plane


Expert Hobbyist

Jets: By far one of the most rewarding types of RC planes, these devices can use a micro turbine or ducted fan to be powered. The fact that they are generally made of fiber glass and carbon fiber makes them much more expensive than other types of RC planes. They are normally electrically operated and have inner wooden spars used to reinforce the body of the plane.

More seasoned fliers have the advantage of being able to choose the type of aircraft that they wish. Apart from jets, these days many hobbyists are turning to pylon racers, 3D aircraft or helicopters.

rc jet

rc jet