Covering Tips

Part 1

MonoKote is the worldwide standard for model coverings. Wherever people enjoy the modeling hobby, they choose Top Flite MonoKote to achieve professional-quality easily. Anyone can learn the techniques needed for tight, durable and impressive covering jobs with Top Flite MonoKote!

MonoKote is applied using heat, which causes the covering to shrink and also activates an adhesive backing. These characteristics enable MonoKote to attach securely to your model's framework. You can use MonoKote over balsa, plywood, fiberglass and more with excellent results.

Step 1 photo

1 The only tools required to cover with MonoKote are: a Top Flite Heat Sealing Tool, a single-edge razor blade or hobby knife, a metal straight-edge, and a fine line marker. Optional items are: Top Flite MonoKote Heat Gun, Top Flite Trim Seal Tool, Top Flite Hot Sock, Top Flite Hot Glove, Top Flite Trim Solvent and Top Flite Smart Cut Trim Tool.

Step 2 photo

2 Unroll the MonoKote on a clean table. Lay your model part over it. Now cut a panel from the MonoKote, approximately 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the part's width and 4 inches (10 cm) or more than its length.

Step 3 photo

3 Separate the MonoKote from its clear backing using two pieces of cellophane tape. Place the MonoKote over the part to be covered, adhesive side down. This is the side from which you removed the backing, (you can also test which side of the MonoKote has the adhesive by touching the Heat Sealing Tool to a corner - it will stick only to the adhesive side). Allow at least 1 inch (25 mm) of overlap all around, except at the wing tip, where you'll need at least 3 inches (75 mm).

Step 4 photo

4 For a wrinkle-free finish, follow this six-step procedure on each wing panel: When covering wings, horizontal stabilizers and elevators, start with the bottoms. Set your Heat Sealing Tool at about 275 degrees F (135 degrees C) to begin (the best adhesive temperature may vary). (1) Tack the MonoKote at the center end of the panel, then continue tacking in the following order: (2) Pull the MonoKote tightly and tack at the trailing edge corner, (3) then at the leading edge corner. (4) Pull the MonoKote tightly at the center of the tip and tack. (5) Pull diagonally across the wing and tack at the trailing edge corner (6) and leading edge corner. The covering should now be relatively tight. If you see any severe wrinkles, you can still remove and reapply the covering. Small wrinkles will be shrunk out later.

Step 5 photo

5 Next, seal the MonoKote to the trailing edge. Start at the center and work out to one end and then the other, while pulling tightly with excess material. Repeat this process on the leading edge. Then seal along the tip and center. When covering over a solid surface, leave approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) unsealed at the center to allow air to escape when ironing or shrinking with the heat gun.

Step 6 photo

6 Finishing wing tips or compound curves:

A. Using the Heat Sealing Tool: Pull the excess material tight while applying heat with the Heat Sealing Tool. The heat makes the MonoKote pliable, allowing it to be stretched over the tip. Work out any wrinkles by heating and stretching the MonoKote every inch or so until the tip has been covered 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch (3-6 mm) beyond the center line.

B. Using the Heat Gun: The Top Flite MonoKote Heat Gun makes covering wing tips much easier. Follow the basic instructions in 6A, but use caution not to burn a hole in the MonoKote or to burn your fingers. Wearing a Cool Hand or leather glove is recommended to avoid burning your fingers.

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