Aeroclub Stretchy Thread
a new kit accessory
review by Steve Jantscher
When John Roll asked me to review some new thread that was causing a buzz on the internet, I said OK. But I thought, "Why do we need another thin thread that stretches when lightly heated. Didn't Roll Models already offer what I thought was as good as anything I've ever tried in Dai-Riki rigging line? I like that stuff, and couldn't understand what the big "thing" about this new stuff could be. It wasn't until I got around to writing this review, that I went about digging the thread out from its bag that i realized that the "stretchy" part of it's name did not apply to the item after heating, but rather to the item in it's natural state. this stuff is like a very very fine rubber band. That is more a description of how it acts than how it looks. it looks to be a thin as the Dai-Riki line, but is easily stretchable to over twice its "at rest" length.
Why is this stuff better than normal clear monofilament type threads? How is it's application different? I believe this rigging material is better than normal rigging material because it is less susceptible to vagaries of tautness due to atmospheric temperature variations. What that means is that when you transport or build your rigged kit in one temperature environment, and display it in another place or temperature, the line won't sag (or over tighten) like normal stretched spru or nylon thread might. Since it is always taught, any bit of temperature change will be compensated for by it's natural stretchiness. Also, slight snags with misplaced fingers will have less of an opportunity to dislodge the rigging from the model because it always has some extra give (unless the line was attached at "full stretch"). Transportation accidents will be fewer and happen less often when rigged with this material.
On the down side, since it does have a resident pull above and beyond a single application of heat (as happens when applied to stretched spru or Dai-Riki type thread) it might act like gravity, and slowly bend the antenna mast or other attachment point if that material is sufficiently thin or soft, over time. The amount of residual pull is based on how much was "put into" the thread during its attachment. This also brings up the slightly greater difficulty when using this thread. Unlike a neutral stretch thread prior to heating, this material must be held in place under some tension during the glue setting period.
All in all, I see good things made with this material. given the different capabilities of this material, it offers definite advantages over simple monofilament nylon thread. I especially see this material as antenna line on a blown canopy Fw-190. Given the way it is at rest, it more realistically approximates the scale antenna wire when the canopy is open, and the wire hangs loose. That is something that Dai-Riki type thread can't do. Don't like it white, take a Sharpie pen to it, and it can be any color that you like.
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