Parkzone Radian Sailplane Paint Modification


I started some of my Parkzone Radian mods. I decided to add paint for higher visibility at the higher altitudes. So the plan was adding under wing identifiers(stripes) and adding a fluorescent color to the top of the wings. I also removed the horizontal tail and added color to the top and bottom area. They’re several different options of doing this and some of them include adding Econokote which, like Monokote, is a film that is applied with a low heat iron. Another is using Krylon H2o paint, which is latex foam safe and comes in an aerosol spray can.

I decided on the Krylon H20 paint and added Red(red sea) altitude stripes on the under wing and added Yellow(yellow sea) on the top of the wings. Before adding any paint I lightly sanded with 300 grit and removed minor surface problems on the foam. Then sprayed down with a mix of water, alcohol, baby shampoo to clean off the oil, dust or other debris. Next, I covered the top wing with a light spackling mixture to attempt to obtain a smooth finish on the top of the wings. My concern with the spackling was that it would add to much additional weight and may not be worth the effort. I applied the spackle with a flexible credit card, dipping in water, and smoothing the surface of the wing. Once the spackling has had enough time to dry I sanded with 250 grit to eliminate high spots and to smooth some lines. I should’ve spent much more time on the sanding portion of the spackle, as after I painted some lines are still visible. In the future, I’ll probably avoid this step as it didn’t add a lot more to the finish, and the bottom wing, which wasn’t spackled looks fine. I repeated my cleaning method with spray bottle then wipe down. I then proceeded to tape the bottom of the wing adding 4″ for the spacing of the stripes. I added 2 coats, sometimes 3 depending on how it looked after 15 minutes worth of dry time. The upper wing painting and horizontal tail were very easy and also received at least 2 coats.

The final step was adding a couple light coats of Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish. This would add additional protection to slight dings and scratches as well as protect the paint. It is a water base polycrylic and application with a brush and sponge brush couldn’t have been easier. Clean-up and/or mistakes are easily cleaned and dry time was really fast. While I had the polycrylic out I reinforced the fuselage directly over the wings. I added a light layer of polycrylic, then laid out a small section of .5 oz fiberglass cloth and added another layer of poly on top. The cloth is extremely lightweight and almost could have done a few layers as there only a slight noticeable difference.

So that’s it thus far for my Radian mods. The entire process was done over a couple days and added approx 3 oz total weight to the Radian. I have additional ideas that I want to accomplish with the Radian and my other planes but for now I’m happy and looking forward to more flights.

Another step I am looking at is adding Holographic tape of other high visibility tape to the leading edge of the wings. I have some Reflectix silver metallic tape on the Radian now but haven’t seen it in the air yet.

Here are some tape links I located they may be of interest to you.

1. Holographic Metallic tapes – Tape Brothers
2. Reflective tape – Identi-tape
3. RC Groups topic on tape

4. Monokote Trim sheets

5. Sharpie Paint Markers

edit 08/24/2009 – I recently started using Monokote Trim sheets, they are basically stickers, adhesive backed and to help proper placement I used a couple drops of baby shampoo in water then lightly applied to sticker, after correct placement I put pressure on all areas with towel to help get the moisture out, go back after awhile and apply more pressure to ensure it sticks well and eliminate air bubbles etc. I am working on adding additional colors but so far the Yellow is great but the chrome on the Parkzone Corsair is just ok, it only flashes once in awhile at altitude on the leading edge on wing. I’ll add more info and pics of the project after I add more colors and flight time.


One thought on “Parkzone Radian Sailplane Paint Modification

  1. MICHEL BEAUDOIN

    very nice job
    you really know what you are talking about
    i will use krylon h2o and trim sheet
    i am flying and building since 20 years you will see a lot of picture and movie and building projets on the website
    by the way this is my first experience with foam
    can-you send me a picture of your krylon spray bottle just to make sure i buy the right thing

    my english is not perfect my first language is french

    waiting for your picture

    thank a lot

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