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Making a plane easier to see.


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EPO can be difficult to paint.  I've tested with Humbrol enamel, but that made the foam come up in 'goose bumps'.  The only successful one for me has been water-based acrylic.  A very light sanding of the foam helps, and the acrylic can then be sprayed lightly with varnish to waterproof it.  Whatever you use, test it on an unseen part of the foam first.

 

As for visibility, I've found a black model to be most visible, but contrasting dark colour stripes on the undersides of the wing are good.

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16 minutes ago, Allan Bennett said:

EPO can be difficult to paint.  I've tested with Humbrol enamel, but that made the foam come up in 'goose bumps'.  The only successful one for me has been water-based acrylic.  A very light sanding of the foam helps, and the acrylic can then be sprayed lightly with varnish to waterproof it.  Whatever you use, test it on an unseen part of the foam first.

 

As for visibility, I've found a black model to be most visible, but contrasting dark colour stripes on the undersides of the wing are good.

Agree, contrasting dark stripes help, on my gliders I fit I high intensity flashing led too

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There have been many in depth science based articles on this subject down the years. (Search the net and you should turn up a few).

As Allan says, what ever paint used should be tested first though water based acrylic will probably be the right choice.

As for colours:

Ask yourself why are many military aircraft camouflaged? So those colours and schemes are best avoided and ruled out straight away!

Large width alternating black & white stripes on the underside of wings, (see typical WW2 Invasion schemes), can work well.

Chequered squares, whilst perhaps looking good close up, do not work at any distance.

Fluorescent colours such as displayed on RAF training aircraft of the 70s, can help if applied in relatively small areas on wing & tail tips.

The only issue is these colours can be prone to fade with time.

Dark, solid colour leading edges are also suggested. 

The backdrop you fly and operate against should also be considered i.e. trees, hillsides especially when landing and the plane can 'disappear' as it goes below the blue/grey sky line!

High contrast, large areas of colour can work.

Use an artists colour wheel to find extreme contrasting colours or pick up a few paint charts from your local DIY store and play with the swatches to see ones that work and of course you like.

If you're a full-size plane spotter, look up at the high altitude trails and see which tail fin colours work (well) against the blue sky. The solid red fins of many really show up.

Just some ideas to consider.

 

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38 minutes ago, Martin Harris - Moderator said:

The RAF opted for black to give training aircraft maximum visibility

I found this by accident back in the 70's when I painted a model in the JPS Black/Gold colour scheme & found it was easier than my other models to see. It subsequently evolved into a black/yellow scheme on most of the sports models I have built since. It does have the disadvantage of becoming rather hot on sunny days though.

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Years ago, when I was importing the Telemaster kits, I sold a Senior Telemaster to a club colleague who was a keen builder but a novice r/c pilot. This model had an eight foot (2.4 metre) wingspan. Once he'd finished the basic construction, he asked me for advice on which colour scheme would make the model more visible. At the time the competition free flight boys were finishing their fuselages in black and the flying surfaces in white with day-glo orange tips. The STM was duly finished in a similar colour scheme but I had great difficulty with orientation when trying to land his model.

 

On the other hand I once had a Flair Hooligan with a green fuselage and the wing in orange,white, and yellow horizontal stripes. I found that I could see the white stripe easily against any background.

 

Just my two pennorth.

 

 

Hooligan and Radio Queen 1.JPG

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This is my well worn Phase 3 EF16 EDF foamie, which as you can see is painted black on the bottom. Despite being small and fast, it’s easy to see, and distinguish top from bottom, even at a distance.

 

It’s painted with Daler & Rowney acrylic, which is available in art & craft shops. I’ve used the same range of paints on a number of EPP and Depron models without any problems.

BB8235A6-1E71-4ECF-8481-8E86D0F360F2.thumb.jpeg.00e43900427d66b1c80cc00405c98986.jpeg1B61F773-E2AD-46D2-97DF-0A13496987BA.thumb.jpeg.ac278f4479f0adeb55551d47f94474c6.jpegF5700C7B-321A-417E-95C2-E99B3DE80BD5.thumb.jpeg.03d5b985bc0bba91123fb394c3d3b541.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

 Nice to see another EF16  still doing its stuff, Mine is well rough compared to yours [ chopped to bits by a nasty Habu but stuck back together ] but Muttley still enjoys a blast now and then.

SAM_0496.JPG

Edited by J D 8
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Posted (edited)

Just a slight warning.

Whilst black overall does indeed make it easy to see, particularly against the usual UK grey overcast, it does make it harder to detect the planes orientation. Yellow top and black underneath is good. At any distance if you can see any yellow it is banked towards you but if just black then it is banking away!   

Edited by Simon Chaddock
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55 minutes ago, Simon Chaddock said:

Just a slight warning.

Whilst black overall does indeed make it easy to see, particularly against the usual UK grey overcast, it does make it harder to detect the planes orientation. Yellow top and black underneath is good. At any distance if you can see any yellow it is banked towards you but if just black then it is banking away!   

Yep, that’s the theory I work on with my EF16. Mainly white on top, and black underneath.

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Posted (edited)

IMO the underside almost always appears dark/silhouette if a reasonable distance away + I don't fly banked away with the underside visible so would not bother (just a dark colour).

Upper wing surface either two block colours (tip dark, inner wing light and fuselage dark) or very wide rising sun type stripes. The latter is meant to work well as it show orientation and direction although I can normally work that out it seems to help some!

 

Might be worth thinking about the fuselage and especially the tail as some tail colour schemes work really well (normally quite block like contrasting colours).

 

Don't pick

  • Translucent yellow  n a symmetrical model (Extra Slim Twin) loss of orientation about 4 times per flight on a sunny day!
  • The German WW2 leopard pattern TN ta154 and a winter sky...drop below the tree line and it playing hide and seek!
  • Models with tall fuselages as they tend to hide the wings at low bank angles

Take a look at the fun fighter or pylon racing guys models, fast and sometimes lots of them in the sky at the same time so they need something easy to see

 

Oddly the Focke Stick is quite easy to see considering how fast it flies (1Kg and 1Kw, but that's because I can't afford to take my eye off it) - but it appears as a silhouette at distance.

 

https://youtu.be/78Yuq7AL3Cc

 

image.thumb.png.3b36c19d6e2017726d3c744fcece1a0b.png

PS, the pilot does have a canopy now

Edited by Chris Walby
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, J D 8 said:

 Nice to see another EF16  still doing its stuff, Mine is well rough compared to yours [ chopped to bits by a nasty Habu but stuck back together ] but Muttley still enjoys a blast now and then.

SAM_0496.JPG

It’s a shame the EF16 is not still available. It made an ideal first EDF, relatively fast when you want it to be, but comes in to land quite slowly because it’s so light. I’m on my second one, which is one of my regular all weather hacks. I don’t keep count, but it must have had hundreds of flights by now.

 

Several people in our club still have them, and sometimes we’ve managed to get 4 or 5 of them all whizzing around together ?.

Edited by EvilC57
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Pop in to Specsavers and ask about their little-known Acrylic Paint Section.  . They can mix high visibility paint to match the prescription of your glasses so that the colours all stands out in sharp clarity. 

 

Oh, hang on......... it isn't April 1st yet is it. ?

 

Here's one which was done earlier....... 

 

882709315_SeagullSpitfire.jpg.edca939d62596dae70bd411f6412ba11.jpg

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The other thing to consider is your eyes.  I've just changed back from varifocals to distance lenses with a bifocal segment to read the tranny telemetry.  Also ditched the grey or green sunglasses and gone to brown tint polaroids and I swear I can see the model 50% further away (gliders and a long way up and distance downwind).  They are pin sharp now and I do not have the "tunnel vision" aspect of the varifocals of a small "sweet spot in focus " and everywhere else in peripheral vision is blurred.  Worth an eye test for.

John M

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I've found optometrists curiously uninformed about lens colours, surprising considering how many of us, with our lamentably senior profile, must fly in glasses.   Amber seems to be the default colour but to me it works poorly in bright light, high thin cloud and on 16th August.   Blue sky day here.   For real contrast, Pilla shooting lenses offer dozens of options and claybusters swear by them but they are expensive.   The lenses are Zeiss.   The vermillion shades do seem to work in bright light and they can be worn as over-glasses, or be made with prescription lenses.

 

No fun getting old, is it?

 

BTC

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If you get the opportunity to attend a game fair  look at what the clay pigeon shooters use, I got a pair of yellow tinted specs for this purpose and it definitely made a difference.

 

I think ,against some opinion, that high vis should be on the UPPER surface as when struggling at a  distance the plane is banked towards you displaying the top. Most put it on the bottom ! Red is good  .

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I have untinted varifocals  for daily use, when flying I use polarised clip on sunglasses in good daylight, i.e sunny, if the conditions are fully overcast I find that yellow tinted clip on sunglasses enhance contrast

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Orange/yellow glasses are supposed to increase visual acuity by filtering blue light. 
 

Re. Light colours on top surfaces, you’ll get no argument from me John.  I found invasion stripes a real boon on little 12th scale combat models which were flown in close proximity to 6 others at high speed in a variety of conditions and I always use a light colour on top surfaces of aerobatic models. 

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I have a HM Crossfire that is florescent green on the upper surfaces and florescent pink on the lower, I can instantly see exactly which way up it is unlike some of my other models. It works well at distance too.

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