Model Airplane Tips

Model Airplane Tips

There’s usually more than one way to do a job right, and that’s especially true in the RC airplane workshop. Check out these tips and you may find yourself wondering, “Now why didn’t I think of that?”


Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Model Airplane Tips

An easy way to avoid messy paint drips around the workshop is to take a rubber band and slip it over the paint can as shown. You can now dip in the brush and wipe the excess paint off the bristles by pulling them over the rubber band, which is stretched over the can’s opening. This tip is great for all brush-on paints, including dope and epoxy paints.


Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Model Airplane Tips

A simple way to stop losing screws and small hardware items is to use a handy cup or storage container to collect the little bits while you are working on your model airplane. This makes them easy to find after the job is done, prevents them from rolling off the workbench, and prevents hangar rash by keeping your bench clear of those hard bits that dent wing surfaces and other parts of the model. Get these inexpensive and disposable containers at the grocery store.


Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Model Airplane Tips

When you are custom mixing paints, such as when you are trying to match a camouflage color, think in small amounts. By mixing up small batches using glass jars and measuring cups, you can fine-tune your mixtures without wasting too much paint. If you get it wrong, you throw out an ounce at a time, not pints or quarts. When you do get the ratios correct, write them down and then you can multiply the ratios to mix larger quantities.


Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Model Airplane Tips

Here’s a quick way to make perfect control linkages every time. First, switch on your receiver and transmitter so that all of your servos are centered. Next, use a Popsicle stick and a couple of clothespins to hold your control surface straight in its neutral position. (For ailerons, clip the stick spanwise and attach the clothespins so that one clamps the aileron and the other clamps the wing’s trailing edge.) You can now install your pushrods and install the clevises and connectors. Adjust the clevises so that they connect to the control horns, and tighten in place. Remove the sticks and clamps and the job is done.


  1. As for the control surface set up; this process works fine for flat control surfaces. The challenges most people have is establishing the neutral point on symmetrical or semi-symmetrical control surfaces.

    1. You just clip where aileron meets trailing edge at the edge of the aileron, simple. The only time this is difficult is with full span ailerons. Even then you just use bigger clamps placed just in front of aileron a little bit, then clamp trailing edge of aileron. Do This in several places along the aileron. This will get you way close. Then you just adjust the linkage if your off. Is a very good method.

  2. For symmetrical or semi symmetrical wings all you have to do is line up the trailing edge of the aileron to the trailing edge of the wing and tape the aileron to the trailing edge of the wing. Works great and the control surface is perfectly lined up. Easy! Just remember to remove the tape before testing the movement with your radio system. I use scotch clear tape. Any tape will work.

  3. I use a second popsicle stick or better yet use two tongue depressers–one on top and one on the bottom of the surface held in place with closepins or small plastic clamps

  4. On my 50cc and up planes with wider surfaces I either use balsa strips or plastistruct tubes with rubber bands holding the end together.
    You do need to make sure you line op on a former to get good surface support

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