Hints and Tips

Cleaning Models

Have you tried baby wipes? If it gets a load of crap off a babies backside, then it will also work on your pride and joy.

Clevises or Quicklinks

Always ensure when you make up new push-rods for your latest creation, that you screw the clevis (or quicklink) onto the threaded rod to have at least 6mm of thread used. So, when you test fly your model and find that it needs a lot of UP trim to fly straight and level, and therefore you have to screw the clevis OUT, you have enough piggin’ thread left! Simple!

Cut 4mm strips of fuel tube and slide them over your quick-links – they will never, repeat never, come apart in flight!

Cutting Piano Wire

How many hacksaw blades have you ruined? The tip is to file a ‘V’ shape around the circumference of the wire at the length you need, with the EDGE of a file. Then put it in the vice and snap it off to provide a nice clean edge.


Do you work in a cold garage or shed? Can’t get that five minute epoxy out of the tubes because it is a tad cold? Then get a jug of hot water (don’t go scalding yourself now), put the tubes in the water, leave for a few minutes and that epoxy will flow like honey . . . !

Flight Box

ALWAYS disconnect the battery to your flight panel and only connect up in the pits. That is unless you want a car boot full of fuel when something drops on the “fill” button as you are driving along! It is also good practice anyway, to avoid any possible shorting out of the battery.

Fuel Tank

How do you ensure that your tank will not leak – pressure test it before installation in the fuselage, that’s how. Pinch all pipes with your fingers except the carburettor feed pipe, which you blow down, this pressurising the tank. If no air escapes, then no fuel will!

Hinges – all you ever wanted to know !

How do you stop hinges seizing up when you epoxy them in place (this only applies to hinges with metal pins – not mylar hinges)? Easy – smear a small amount of vaseline on the hinge pivot points, before attaching the hinges to the control surfaces with epoxy. Also, always wipe away any excess epoxy before it goes off!

Cut lengths of cocktail stick to suit the depth of the control surface hinge (+2mm). Peg ALL control surface hinges by drilling 1/16in hole through the balsa and hinge and tapping in the lengths of cocktails stick. If you do this on the under surfaces AND ensure you don’t drill all the way through, they are not so noticeable. Putting a small blob of white glue into the hole before hammering in the cocktail stick will ensure a permanent fix. Your hinges will NEVER become detached in flight if you use this method.

Masking Off

Painting your model? If you need to mask off areas do NOT use masking tape – the paint always bleeds underneath it! Use cellotape instead, but de-stick it beforehand by running it through your fingers. This gives a much sharper and well defined edge.

Push Rods

Got an old bike in the shed with a knackered wheel? Those bicycle spokes will supply you with enough threaded rods to make pushrods for the rest of your modelling career!

Smoking and Methanol

How many of you smoke in the pits? Do you know that methanol is highly flammable and burns with an almost invisible flame – you could be well alight in the pits and the member standing next to you would not even notice. DO NOT SMOKE IN THE PITS – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!


Have you ever wondered how some members get such a good finish? Well here’s the tip – get a rag and spray on lots of furniture polish (any old cheap stuff will – it does not have to be Mr. Sheen!). Each time, rub your sealing iron over the rag THEN apply to the solarfilm. The furniture polish acts as a lubricant so that the sealing iron slides over the solarfilm without scratching the surface. So remember, it is SPRAY, RUB and APPLY!! Give it a try!

Super Glue

Squeeze the bottle before tipping it up and applying to the joint to be glued, then when you have glued the parts together, let go with the finger pressure and all the excess glue gets sucked back into the bottle.

No more gummed up nozzles! Frank Tansley tells me you can keep it in the fridge to stop it going off so quickly. Note that the Club bears no responsibility if your partner sprinkles it on her chips and superglues her lips together.

Thrust Line

Do you need to incorporate side and/or downthrust and still get the spinner lined up with that shiny new cowl? Here’s how. Mark the centreline of the fuselage on the firewall, then mark the required horizontal line on the firewall to line up with the spinner position for the cowl. Offer up the engine (fitted to the mount) and using spacers under the engine mount to obtain the required amount of side + downthrust. Now line up the TIP OF THE PROP SHAFT where the vertical and horizontal lines drawn on the firewall cross. You now have the correct position for the engine mount, so mark and drill the firewall for the engine mount.

Wheel Collets

Want some cheap alternatives? Save those broken 13amp plugs – the brass prongs can be made into wheel collets by cutting off the excess to leave the bit with the hole and the grub screw, If necessary, drill them out to suit the size of piano wire used. If you want to be flash, you can even file the corners round! Another tip is to file a small flat on the piano wire undercarriage leg where the grub screw bites, which will give better grip to the piano wire. Another source for collets is the electrical screw connectors you can buy from most hardware stores (the heavy duty ones are best). Cut off the plastic casing and hacksaw into 2 collets.