Covering with 2" Colored Packing Tape

Gremlin flyers over the years have tried many ways to personalize their planes. When the Gremlin first came out we didn't cover them and they were decorated with water based markers right onto the white foam. Then some modelers started using monocoat and other coverings and making "pretty" Gremlins. While many resisted, it was found they had a slight speed advantage and so covering became the norm. People have also fiberglassed them and even painted them with latex paints. The latest thing has been colored packing tape. At a couple of dollars a roll, it is a very cheap alternative as you can cover several models with a couple rolls of complementary colors. It is even possible to seal and shrink the tape with a low temperature monocoat iron. Practice on the core beds or other scrap foam. I get asked how to do it at the field and so I decided to write it down and share it. Obviously this method can be used on any plane but I will cover a Gremlin in my example.

Click on the images to enlarge

As part of the building process, I seal the hinge gap with tape before installing the elevon hinges. I usually use the lighter colored tape but for color schemes with multiple light colors, clear tape could be used to not show through. Hinge Line
Figure out the overall pattern you want for the plane considering you want to be able to differentiate the top and bottom in flight at a distance. The 2" wide tape works well as the width can be seen at a good distance. Start working from the trailing edge of the bottom of the wing and layer the tape towards the leading edge. First Layer
Overlap the tape strips approximately 1/8" as you move forward one strip at a time. Carefully continue building up the pattern as you move towards the leading edge of the wing. Second Layer

Later Layers
Once complete, you can overlap any central seams with a single strip. If your pattern depends on not having a strip as show, you can use clear tape. Final Layer
Once complete, flip the wing over and proceed in a similar manner with the top of the wing. As you can see the darker tape covers over the lighter color used when sealing the hinge line. Continue with Top

Continue with Top
Advance the pattern from the rear to the front. Changing colors and building up the final pattern. Continue with Top

Continue with Top

Final Layer
Use the same technique with the fins. FinsFins
Have fun with it. Have Fun
The final result, ready to fly

Completed Plane
Tape suppliers: I have personally been very pleased with Fast Pack for my colored tapes. I have found tapes in office supply stores and even discount stores. ULine also has various types available.

Here are some creative examples our customers have brought to local contests

Creation date: Sunday March 28, 2010
Last updated: Sunday March 28, 2010