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What's the best way to add aircraft antennas?

5 replies
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  • Member since
    February 2003
What's the best way to add aircraft antennas?
Posted by chriscarl on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 5:43 PM
I build 1/32 models (like the Tamiya Zero and Hasagawa Hellcat) and want to know the best techniques for mounting antennas. What materials (fishline, thread, etc) and which glue to use? (The Hellcat has that extra wire spliced from the center of the main line to the fuselage.) Thanks for any help.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Lafayette, LA
Posted by Melgyver on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 7:27 PM

I have used "invisible" thread. It comes in clear and black. You can paint the thread silver or use a silver paste called Rub and Buff. I also use fine wire wrapped around a straight pin to make a spring "tensioner" usually found at the attach points. A drop of Elmers glue painted white makes a good insulator. You can tie in the second antenna using a drop of super glue. Since you are working in 1/32 scale, you may need to find some light weight momofiliment fishing line. Also the "masters" swear by stretched sprue, but I haven't been able to get it that thin and straight too! Good Luck!

Clear Left!


  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Washington State
Posted by leemitcheltree on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 9:30 PM
There's a number of sources for large scale antenna wire - try super thin fishing wire, or have a look at some of the wire and line that's used in fly-tying (you know, for fly fishing) cuz there's heaps of different types.
I've even used a hair off my daughters head - seemed to work ok. I've had indifferent results using stretched sprue - uneven thicknesses are easy to achieve - even thicknesses aren't as easy.
I always try to drill a tiny hole for the attactment point - get yerself one of the tiny drills (the smallest I have is under 0.2mm - that's itty bitty!) from your hobby store (or somewhere like MicroMark) and driil the hole in the tail - attach with superglue and LET IT DRY completely.
Then I drill a hole through the antenna post, run the antenna through it, and attach a clothespeg or some other weight and let it hang to apply tension to the antenna. Then apply a tiny drop of glue to the attachment point on the post. Cut off the other side when dry, and it's done.
Fishing stores also have lead thread - as thin as wire but made of lead - very bendable - great for cockpit wiring and hudraulic lines and brake lines.
Good luck

Cheers, LeeTree
Remember, Safety Fast!!!

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Pominville, NY
Posted by BlackWolf3945 on Thursday, May 29, 2003 12:10 AM
No matter the scale, I always use stretched sprue.

To attach it, I use miniscule amounts of CA (superglue). The technique depends upon how the antenna is to be mounted.

If it goes from a fin attachment point to a mast, I drill a hole in the fin and insert one end with a small bead of CA. I then gently stretch it over to the mast, put a tiny bit of CA on the tip of the mast (or wherever it's to be attached) and simply hold it for a second. Then I trim it with a sharp blade. Using this technique you can either draw it taut, or let it sag as appropriate.

If the antenna is attached to the fin and the fuselage or wing with no mast, I drill two holes, insert each end into these and wait a minute or so. I then light a match, blow it out and pass it under the antenna. The residual heat from the match is enough to draw the sprue taut, if so desired. If you're a smoker, you can do this with one of your death-sticks (Wink [;)]Tongue [:P]), only be careful because the heat isn't residual, it's constant.

I then dress and paint the antenna as appropriate.

Fade to Black...
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 29, 2003 7:35 AM
Agree with Blackwolf, stretched sprue has always worked for me.
  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Joisey
Posted by John P on Thursday, May 29, 2003 2:26 PM
The best method anybody ever showed me is what I use:

Use 1 or 2 pound test fishing line. Very thin.

Superglue each end to the respective proper location on the plane.

Let glue dry.

Light a match, let it burn for a bit, then blow it out.

Hold the hot, still-smoking match near the fishline, and move it along its length, allowing the smoke to envelope the fishline. Be careful not to touch it.

The heat from the match smoke shrinks the line and pulls it tight. Take the match away the instant you think the antenna is tight enough.

Paint the fishline whatever you think looks best. I use ModelMaster burnt metal.

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