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"Painting/marking telescoping flight stands" Topic

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Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2014 5:40 p.m. PST

What's the best way to mark the sections of an antenna?

My goal is to subdivide my flight stand antennae to get more indicated altitude levels. Normal antenna come with 5-7 sections, and I'd like to double or triple that. That implies marking them somehow. I'm hoping a veteran dogfight-game crafter can lead me straight to a working answer, before I spend a lot of time and money experimenting….

The easiest solution to apply would be paint, because the antenna is basically self-masking – just crank each section part way down and spray with paint, and now each step of the antenna has a shiny chrome lower section and a painted upper section. I could even repeat this with 2 colors to split each section into 3. However, the metal surface is chrome, which has among the worst adhesive qualities in existence, and telescoping antennae have really tight tolerances, which I assume will tend to peel/scrape off any paint. Worse, if the paint is too thick, it might also jam the antenna, or increase friction enough to cause the antenna to bend during normal use. Has anyone tried painting an antenna? Did it work?

An ink or similar staining liquid has no real thickness, so might avoid the friction problem, but I know of no inks that will stain chromed metal. If the antenna tolerances are too tight, ink might also still be scraped off.

Are there any chemical blackening agents that would work? I still have a bottle of Blacken-It I could try. It always seemed marginally effective on steel.

Scribing might work, but only if done very carefully (don't want to weaken the antenna, it already has incredibly thin walls). I don't have any good ideas how to do that.

Simply roughing up the surface might work as well, either as a prep for ink/paint or (if it's obvious enough) as a final solution – assuming it doesn't increase friction as I mentioned above.

The only other solution I know is to disassemble the antennae and adhere something to the surface of each section, then reassemble it. If I have to do that much work, I'm going to give up. I'm not quite that committed. :-)

- Ix

Ryan T24 Sep 2014 9:22 p.m. PST

A permanent felt marker might work. The ink layer is thin enough that it shouldn't jam up the antenna. I just tried it on one of my antennas and it seemed reasonably resistant to wearing off. Roughing up the surface with very smooth sandpaper or steel wool should also help to give the ink some grip.

Microbiggie25 Sep 2014 6:50 a.m. PST

Do you really need to mark them?
I use telescoping flight stands-magnetic pickups- and just use them to designate relative height of the planes to each other. As long as players are communicating with each other and not purposely misleading others it works great.
I have no issue with pointing out players that are not playing in the spirit of the rules btw.

Mako1125 Sep 2014 2:23 p.m. PST

For two-level, intermediate spacing, just eye-ball it.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2014 9:35 p.m. PST

I really want to mark them. Eyeballing is slow and inaccurate for many people, and using dials or dice on the base is an error-inducing time sink that robs the game of the "feel" of 3D combat. I've done all those before, and I'm looking for something better.

I tried Sharpie on the test rod I bought, but even after fully dry, it rubs off. Not easily, but it makes a mess on the fingers when it does, and may ruin someone's clothing.

- Ix

BelgianRay27 Sep 2014 2:39 a.m. PST

I've come up with the same topic quite a while ago and the answer (or lack of it) was the same. Nobody seems to have an answer….

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2014 9:51 p.m. PST

Clearly I'm crazy for trying, then. :-)

- Ix

Finknottle29 Sep 2014 9:23 p.m. PST

Ix, surfing about the web, i came across some auto painting sites while searching "painting chrome". They recommend scuffing the surface to paint, either fine sandpaper or scouring pad. Then several very thin coats of self-etching primer (which you can apparently get at places like WalMart). Then your paint from there. Hope that helps.


Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2014 7:06 p.m. PST

Thanks! I saw some postings about that too, and self-etching primer is on my list of things to try.

I also discovered the existence of "black chrome" paint, which appears to progressively darken chrome with each coat. That might look really neat, but it doesn't get great reviews for longevity.

Meanwhile, I ordered some 7-segment telescoping rods with spherical magnets from CorSec Engineering. If I'm lucky, these might obviate the entire painting project, but I'm hesitant because the CorSec rod's 2 foot height will be a tall, tip-prone lever arm on a 2" wide stand base, and 1/300 planes are even harder to see when the sticks are too tall.

- Ix

Gulik2306 Oct 2014 12:11 p.m. PST

I use Sharpies on my slew of home-made telescoping flight stands. I very lightly score the stand at each flight level using a pipe cutter, so that the sharpie ink flows into the score line and won't rub off. The scored line also gives a nice indent for the telescoping action.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2014 7:52 a.m. PST


- Ix

Mako1127 Oct 2014 11:32 p.m. PST

Score lightly, since the sections are rather thin.

Gulik2328 Oct 2014 12:23 p.m. PST

The pictures don't really show the detail--it just looks like a line drawn with a sharpie (because it is!). The scoring also gives a "notch" to the flight levels, which, with my home-made stands, takes some buffing/filing to work right.

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