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Model Builders FAQ

Model Builders FAQ

Is there any place on the internet I can "talk" to other Guillow modelers, ask questions, share pictures?
Yes, we have a model builders forum and you can access it from the Links on the left side of our webpage. Direct link to the website would be

It is free and easy to join this forum, then you can "talk" to other modelers about your Guillow build.

A great site to see some pictures of Guillow model kits is Virtual Aerodrome. Direct link to this website is
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What supplies are needed to build a Guillow's balsa airplane kit?
Model kit - Need to pick one of these first !! ;-)

Work Surface - needs to be "pinnable". Companies do sell balsa workboards that work very well (internet or check your hobby shop) but if you want something cheaper to get started you can get away with a ceiling tile sheet (like in basement drop ceilings), thick pc of corkboard or even piece of thick cardboard box glued down FLAT to a piece of plywood.

Wax paper / cellophane film - should have this right in your kitchen, it's used to lay over the plans as you build on them and it keeps the glue from seeping down and ruining your plans.

T-Pins - Really any kind of pin will work OK, just need some to hold parts down to your work surface while the glue is drying.

Razor blade / Exacto knife - will need some SHARP razor knifes to cut wood parts.

Sandpaper - Must have some small pieces around your house but if not just pick up some fine grade (180 grit or so) at your local hardware store

White Glue - Such as Elmers white glue, you CAN use this to adhere the whole model kit together but it takes a bit long to dry so I usually use a cement made for models (see below) But you will use a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water to dearer your tissue covering to your framework. Can also be purchased at your local store.

Cement - I'd recommend something like Elmers Fast Drying Model Cement for building your framework. You CAN also use the newer CA or instant glues, these work VERY well but you have to take care when using them, they glue FAST and STRONG, even your fingers. If you're using the CA glues, DEF have some CA debonder around.

Paints - You can find LOTS of different paints out there. I've used paints from Testors ModelMaster series and found them to work good but that's just one company .... your biggest task in paints is to find a Co / series with all the colors you need.

Paintbrush - Small one for detail work and one for painting larger surfaces of color.

Scissors - You may want to have some household scissors around to cut apart decals, etc..
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What is the most effective way to apply decals to a model?

1. The first thing to understand is that a decal works best when being applied to a fairly flat non porous surface. Decals do not stick well to “unprepared” tissue surfaces. The trick is to make your model fit into that description as much as possible.
2. Make the tissue covering less porous by using an acrylic spray paint, paint or dope. Giving the model 2 coats of clear acrylic spray works great without adding much weight to the model. Note: Clear acrylic spray or dope will also help eliminate the sagging in tissue covering.
3. When your model is completely dry, cut out the decals and map out where they go.
4. Submerge a decal in lukewarm water for 10 seconds. Make sure you only do one at a time.
5. Take out and lie it on a paper towel for 45 - 60 seconds
6. During that minute, use Testors Decal Setting Solution (can be found at under building supplies). With a small paint brush apply a thin coat in the space the decal will be placed.
7. Slide the decal off its backing and onto the model.
8. With a damp finger press down and smooth out air bubbles and excess water that lie between the model and decal.
9. Gently blot dry the decal with soft cloth to remove excess water on top and around decal.
10. Apply another light coat of Testers Decal Setting Solution with small paintbrush, spread evenly! Let dry.
11. If you are putting a decal in a difficult area use Testers Decal Solvent Solution (can be found at under building supplies) at this time instead of the Setting Solution. It will stretch the decal and help conform to extremely irregular surfaces. Note that it is designed to be put on only once and not touched until it is dry, for a strong smooth hold.
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Can Guillow's kits be converted over to RC?
Just about all of our kits are designed as flying models. They were designed to be built as either static display models, powered free flight or Rubber powered flight.

Now that RC equipment is small and light enought it is getting VERY popular for modelers to convert our kits over to gas or electric engines and RC flight !! Sorry to say that we can't provide you with a lot of specs of motors or RC equipment, those fields change so fast we really don't stay up with them ... we try and stick to what we know best and that's the balsa model aircraft kits.

Other than our own Model builders forum that can provide a lot of good help, a good place to go would be this link to Guillow's Conversions up on
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What glue should I use?
There are many different glues sold today that work well for construction model kits. For young builders I would recommend using Elmers white glue. Most modelers use a cement such as Testors Cement for Wood Models. For faster drying times experienced modelers may want to use CA (instant) glues, they work very well.
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I have heard you can use white glue instead of dope for covering models, is this true? If so, how do I mix it?
Yes! You can use a white glue (such as Elmers) mixture instead of dope to put the tissue covering on your model. Make up a mixture of ABOUT 50% white glue and 50% water and apply it using the same steps as you would dope. It works very well.
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How do I tissue cover a model?
To cover with tissue provided in kit ... I use a 50/50 % mixture of White Glue and water to adhere the tissue onto the framework !!!!

Sand framework VERY WELL !!!

Mix your "glue mixture" - 50% water and 50% White glue

Cut a piece of tissue a bit oversized for the piece you are covering (lets say the rudder in this case)

Paint some glue mixture down around the perimeter of the rudder structure

Lay your tissue down and smooth it out as much as you can by pulling a bit and smoothing with your fingers

Paint ANOTHER coat of glue mixture THRU the tissue (around the perimeter) to assure a good bond

Let glue dry and then trim off excess tissue with sharp razor blade.

repeat for other side of rudder . . . overlapping tissue slightly !

When the part is all done, dry and trimmed, you can mount it on your plane.

When mounted, a fine mist spray of water will help shrink the tissue a bit and take out any wrinkles . . .making it nice and taut for flying.
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Can I use anything other than dope to seal the tissue and get it ready for paint?
We have had good luck with using spray paint such as Krylon clear acrylic to seal the pores of the tissue, make it a bit stronger surface and get it ready for paint. Don't put down a heavy coating, a couple very fine mist coats will do a better job.
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Can iron on coverings such as Monokote be used on Guillow's kits?
Yes they can. As always, be very careful of warpage when heating it up and shrinking ... especially on our smaller model kits. On our larger models, iron on coverings work great.
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Do I have to hook up the rubber band motor to the rear motor mount (wood dowl) before covering the fuselage?
No, the rubber motor can be fed down thru the nose of the airplane until it reaches the rear motor mount. It might make it easier to use a piece of wire with a little hook/loop on the end to "wiggle" the wire down thru. Then you can push the dowl back through the fuselage to hold it in back and stretch & attach the front end of the rubber band to your propeller assembly.
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What's the easiest way to cut the plastic parts?
Using scissors cut out then cut away most of the excess surrounding a plastic part. Using a single edge razor blade or modelers knife score the part as close as possible at the trim line (score fairly deep but NOT all the way thru). Flex the excess material up and down along the score line until it breaks off. If it does not break off easily score again and repeat flexing procedure, do not try to cut all the way thru with razor. Finally sand any rough or uneven edges smooth using a sanding block.
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What is U-Control?
U-Control (also called Control line) is a simple and light way of controlling a flying model aircraft. The aircraft is connected to the operator by a pair of lines/stings, attached to a handle. This allows the model to be controlled in the pitch axis. It is constrained to fly on the surface of a hemisphere by the control lines.
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Any place I can see great modeler's construction pictures online?
YES, try visiting A lot of Guillow model kit builders post pictures up to this site showing their kit construction.
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Where can I read / talk more about stick and tissue models and free flight?
Take a look at the following websites for a lot of great hints / information / photos regarding building stick and tissue model airplanes and flying free flight. and
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