How Does Solarfilm's New Supershrink Shape Up?

Solarfilm Supershrink Polyester
By Jonathan Mead - South Wales Radio Control Society

Solarfilm launched their Supershrink Polyester covering film last year, (2000) and I have recently tried some out on my Sig Somethin' Extra, and I thought you might be interested in how it turned out. My preferred covering film is Profilm, but this costs over 8 per roll, so the idea of saving over 2 on a roll for the Solarfilm Polyester seemed attractive.

Solarfilm Polyester comes on a roll rather than folded flat around cardboard like regular Solarfilm, which means that it is easier to handle. It has a thin plastic backing, which I found just as difficult as ordinary Solarfilm to remove. Once removed from the backing, however, it feels much the same in thickness and stiffness as other films, and is quite easy to place onto the airframe. Playing around with a small piece showed that the material is made up of a polyester film, with a coloured heat sensitive adhesive coated onto the back. I would guess that this is the same adhesive film as is used on ordinary Solarfilm, and certainly the polyester version had the same low temperature adhesion qualities. This would make it a good choice for veneered foam wings, fibreglass mouldings and plastic parts.

In use, I found the polyester much the same to apply as regular Solarfilm; it will still bubble if you are overlapping onto another thickness of film, which is my main gripe. However, the new film will shrink much more, especially if you turn the heat up. This means that if you should be unlucky enough to get a few wrinkles, you have more of a chance of ironing them out. The adhesive layer will still come off on the sole of the iron, requiring frequent cleaning, and this can lead to smears on previously covered areas.

Overall, I got on reasonably well with Solarfilm Supershrink Polyester, but I feel it isn't worth the extra money over the standard polypropylene Solarfilm, which is about 3.50 for a (flat) roll. I believe it can't match Profilm either, which although expensive, has separate adhesive and pigment layers, so it won't smear, is good at low temperatures, shrinks beautifully, and is nice and easy to handle when laying onto the airframe. Profilm therefore is still my favourite!

E-Mail: Jonathan Mead
Web: South Wales Radio Control Society