Modelling-ABC by Wilfried Eck

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Fabric covering

Faller models



Fabric covering:

click photo


From the Wright "Flyer" to early days of WW II fabric covering of airplanes was common. The fabric was pulled tight, sewed together and covered with filler and several layers of paint. When not painted with a matt camouflage fabric covering was of high gloss and as taut as a drumskin. What indicated fabric covering most were thin strips of fabric over the stringers. Never was there any hanging through like ocean waves.

Sadly enough kit manufacturers and detail freaks tend to exaggerate fabric covering. Especially "textile structure" is pure blunder when considering the scale and viewing distance. But also these waves commonly seen are a far cry of the real thing (ever saw a drumskin hang?). If fabric sags it's loose, and as lift is generated by vacuum effect above the wings such a loose fabric covering would have been sucked upwards in flight. Ever saw such an airplane with a row of hills above the wings...?

Correcting such exaggerations is not too difficult. Simply fill up with putty till all ribs are just covered. After this  has  thorougly dried slightly sand it with fine sandpaper. As plastic usually is harder than putty, the ribs will protude again, just slightly as in the original (maybe an overcoat of paint will be necessary to get an smooth surface, mostly not).

Page how to make fabric covering (rudders and wings alike).


Faller models:

Today the Faller company is entirely known for it's wide range of railroad model accessories, but in the sixties of the 20th century there were Faller aircraft kits too. Scale was 1/100, and by today's standard they were crude and not very accurate. But this was usual in those days, Airfix kits being not better in any way. So this section is purely nostalgic, to show plastic how much plastic modelling has changed since.

Bf-/Me 109 with motor; photo by Rudolf Sommerer


Link to German page

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