The author started repairs to
his Jet-Teng EDF XXX Jet, which
was damaged during a rough
runway landing. At this stage,
all fiberglass parts are glued in
position with Zap Thin CA.
How modeling has changed
by Jim Hiller
The two projects I currently am working on are examples of how much modeling has changed. For
the first project, I am in the middle of
repairing and repainting my Jet-Teng
Models EDF XXX Jet, a prepainted
composite ARF model. I simply had to
drop in the equipment and it was ready
to fly. As I started this project, I realized
that the jets that I am actively flying are
all prepainted composite ARFs.
I have always enjoyed building my
own airplanes, which is my motivation
for my other project. I have begun
constructing an original-design jet.
Nothing beats the feeling of flying a
model that you made. The skills to
create, repair, and maintain models are
only part of the complete experience for
me, and are skills that many modelers
who begin the sport with ARF aircraft
have not learned.
In my early aeromodeling days, my
local model club meetings included
time for show and tell. Many models
were incomplete and under construction
for learning and sharing new building
techniques. I remember presentations
such as how to cover a model with
It appears that this tradition has gone
away (at least in my area), but don’t
despair. It has been replaced by build
threads on the Internet. These skills are
still practiced by many modelers and
still shared. Check out these threads
for learning experiences. We learn from
each other, and we never seem to quit
developing our building skills, so the fun
Now back to the XXX Jet’s nose
section repairs. I began working on it
at Jets Over Kentucky last year as a
community project. The nose section
comes off for shipping with four bolts,
At Jets Over Kentucky, we used CA
glue to position all of the broken pieces
of the fiberglass back into place. When
doing this, take your time and get them
as close to perfect as possible. Uneven
or out-of-alignment areas require more
filler in the later stages to restore the
correct shape. I was fortunate to have
the help of master builders during this
stage. The repairs were so well done that
I was able to fly the XXX Jet for the
rest of the season. It was straight and
structurally sound for flying.
To finish the repairs, all of the cracks
must be reinforced so they won’t crack
again and show through the paint. This
can be done with some fiberglass cloth
and laminating or finishing epoxy, which
is thinner and flows better than regular
epoxy. Why did I choose epoxy? The
XXX Jet is an epoxy-molded fuselage.
If it was a polyester-molded fuselage,
such as the old Byron models’ fuselages,
a polyester finishing resin could be used.
Don’t mix resin types.
The plan is to reinforce the damaged
seams with fiberglass cloth, preferably
only placed on the inside. Fiberglass
reinforcements on the outside are more
difficult to finish because they build
height to the outer surface. Getting the
shape back is also difficult.
How is the fiberglass cloth positioned?
Access to the forward nose section of
the XXX Jet is blocked, so I will have
to reach through the nose gear former.
My hands are not that small, so I must
use sticks to extend my reach. I plan to
cut some fiberglass cloth into convenient
sizes to place behind the damaged areas.
The cloth weight can range from 3-6
ounces per yard. (The fiberglass cloth
available at auto supply stores is typically
6 ounces per yard, which is fine for these
After I have decided which pieces
to place where, I will need carriers to
support the fiberglass cloth. Carrier
material, in this case, will be aluminum
foil. Its advantage in this application is
that it can be bent into a curve, allowing
it to pass through the tight openings of
the nose gear former.
Wear nitrile gloves when working
with laminating epoxies to protect
119 Model Aviation MAY 2014