2007 Scale & Non-Scale Events



Working with Flite-Metal

Flite-Metal Videos, Part 1 & 2




I 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 surface.

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 frequently.

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 - gray paint.

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 Joe Grice!

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


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