Doculam is a thin plastic adhesive backed material used in laminating documents to protect them. As a model covering it is extrememly light and crystal clear after it is applied. When painted with common acrylic latex paint, it can be the lightest opaque covering method available for scale models.Doculam is available from online suppliers and some office supply stores in large rolls that are fairly expensive but will cover many small models.It is also available in small quantities from Modelairtech.com. Doculam can be applied to a balsa frame/sheet balsa model using standard iron-on covering techniques, requires a hot iron setting to fully activate the adhesive. Acrylic house paint thinned with water or windshield washer fluid to milk consistency can be applied with an airbrush or small spray gun. Do not use any primer, it will not stick to Doculam and will pull up with any kind of masking tape despite attempts to de-sticky the tape. Some modelers like to scuff the covering with Scotchbrite to increase paint adhesion, some wipe with alcohol and vinegar, some simply spray on final acrylic enamel, let dry for some 3 days then mask and spray on trim colors. Some are using damp newspaper for masking.It is a good idea to practice application and painting on a mockup ladder frame work.
There is a lengthy thread on E-Zone under the scale electric forum.
Actually the reason they use it is its a surface tension relief to let latex flow and lay down on the surface evenly. Acts like a drop of dish wash detergent when laying down decals...reduces the float of the h2o.
I would think using latex straight out of the can will permit enough bridging to cover Styrene beading. Lightly sanded when dried with hair dryer. That would seem to be the fastest method of filling the bead gap.
"Flite-Metal For The Look Of The Real Thing"
I just got 25 foot rolls of Clearfilm (1.5 mil) and Clearfilm "ES" (3.0 mil) ( Extra Strength) from New Creations, Kurt Massey . The thinner stuff is $5.00 and thicker stuff is $7.50 per roll. You can also get it from Tom Hunt, Modelairtech. Other than that, you can get it from a number of internet supplier's websites but must buy it in such large quantities that it would be expensive and last you two or three lifetimes. The thicker material is about the same thickness as typical mylar coverings. The advantage is that it can be wiped with alcohol and painted with acrylic water based paints for a more opaque finish than other coverings. The thinner material is for small models where you aren't relying on material for much structural strength. The thicker material can be used on larger models with open structures needing support from the covering.
If anyone has trouble getting acrylic paint to stick, try using Krylon Matt Clear spray as a primer. Use a light/medium coat and let dry over night to allow vapours to vent. Then spray or brush on the acrylic paint. It should work for enamels too but I haven't used enamels.
Want a real scale doped look? Apply a lite finish coat of Krylon Satin Clear spray.
The reason windshield washer fluid is used is because it has alcohol, water, and detergent in it. And yes, in some cases the dye will affect the final color. You can make your own clear version. Ed is right, the detergent is to lower surface tension and allow the paint to flow on the surface better. The alcohol decreases the drying time. Water by itself will work too.
I prep with a wash with vinegar (acetic acid, etches the plastic a bit) and clean with alcohol (I use rubbing alcohol, but, denatured might work better). I have also skipped the vinegar part before and it works fine too.
Paint with house paint. NO primer of any sort. I have used interior latex acrylic and enamel acrylic (HOUSE paint, not hobby paint). They both act like they become part of the doculam. You can stretch it, scrape it, tape it, etc and you won't get the paint to separate from the plastic.
The key is, and I can't emphasize this enough, is it has to completely cure. Notice I don't say dry, because when it feels dry it really isn't. House paint is made to withstand a rainstorm scant hours after painting, so, it develops a "shell" on the outside while the inside continues to cure. On plastic this means it takes a while, days, not hours. I like to wait at least 48 hours (2 days) and prefer 72-96 hours (3-4 days) before using tape or applying vinyl graphics.
I have used gloss and semigloss and have good luck with both. The other benefit is you can have the paint custom matched at your paint store. For $10 you get a quart. Expensive if you have a three or four color paint scheme. I got red, blue, and yellow to mix my own (and black and white for tone control).
The best part is it's cheap when you can find it. I bought in bulk to include in my full kits.
Up here, you can get Doculam for a buck ninety eight a roll at Staples. Whats more, it's made up here so you know it's the good stuff About 200 degrees F with an iron will stick it down better although this is the stickyback stuff. Another five mile long roll a friend gave me is about half the thickness but is not stickyback. A lifetime supply.:p Testors enamel works very well. Pranged an outdoor shocky the other day due to a bum servo, About 4 yrs old and the paint still looked good.
Yaaaaaaahhhhh!!!! I'm going nuts trying to deal with the local Staples!!! "Oh, no, sir, we never heard of the stuff, but we have these lovely business card pockets, will they do?" I always burn off another 3 weeks of my life trying to get Doculam in there!!! What they want is a Product Number, otherwise, thinking, reading, catalogues, are instantly written in Klingon...
Help if you can, Gord, or my sanity will indeed suffer irreparable damage...
I know what your saying :p . The name brand is Opmark adhesive film. For books, documents, maps. Distributed by NFD Inc. mississauga Ont. Can. Made in Canada, Barcode with a number 23122 00352. Give em ell.
Still covering in tissue and nitrate dope. Gave up on Staples. Tried the links given by qban and Nitro Blast, but Staples won't let me into their site without a US postal code, the Canadian site doesn't list it. What a $&$$^$#%&* outfit!
Oh well, I've only been looking for the stuff for 3 or 4 years now...
Why would a person use windshield washer solvent with the dye it has in it to thin paint? Why not just use distilled water or the recommended acrylic solvent?
In my experience the dye is so dissolute (1%) as to not affect the color of the paint, even whites. Just like many thinners (distilled water included), it can and does affect the final sheen of high-gloss paints. And as was said before, the solvent content (isopropanol and ethylene glycol) along with the surfactant keep the latex from wadding up (prematuely drying) in the airstream spray which can result in an orange-peel or stippling effect.
Ask around and it quickly becomes obvious that its a personal choice. I know that denatured alcohol clots some acrylic latex paints on contact - And my acrylic enamels (Tamiya) use an isopropanol and glycerol thinner) but in my experience with Windex, it does the job better than distilled water with Createx and Apple Barrel /Folk Art latex. And it comes in enormous bottles.