GREAT PLANES PLAN PROTECTOR
PRODUCT TEST REPORT

By Jerry Festa


Plan Protector photo

CHEERS - It works, and well!

JEERS - Why didn't I think of this first?

Just about when you think you have seen it all, along comes another product that at first glance you think, "What in the world do I, need that for?" Well friends, Great Planes has done it again! While looking through one of Tower's monthly temptation publications, I spotted a new product from the friendly folks, called "Great Planes' Plan Protector". I look, I see, I laugh. Me thinks they are selling waxed paper by the 25' roll, and expect unsuspecting modelers to fork over around $6.00 for this! How dumb do they think we are, anyway? (No responses necessary, folks!) So a couple of weeks later, while visiting the local hobby shop (for professional reasons only, mind you), my eagle eye spots something new in the MonoKote display, a roll not quite as long as regular MonoKote, and it looks 'clear'. I took a I closer look and saw the words "Plan Protector". In an instant (well, maybe a bit longer) I recall the advertisement referred to earlier.

Waxed paper, eh? Only $5.50, eh?

Look, my modeling "Rule #1" is, "Thou Shalt Not Leave a Hobby Shop Without a Purchase" has never been broken, and since this is strictly a professional visit (i.e., I really didn't need anything), I thereby resolved to purchase said roll of this "Waxed Paper". After all, rules are rules!

Anyway, I brought the roll home and unwrapped the protective covering, just like a roll of MonoKote, and discover they include instructions! Now I'm sure I've been duped! Next thing you know they'll include instructions on how to wear one of their hats ("The extended portion, called the 'bill', goes in front, or over the eyes, whichever applies ...")! But since I didn't want to get overly confused by the two illustrations, I actually read the instructions... all three steps, no less, and all on one side of an 8.5 x 6.5" sheet of paper (copyrighted in 1997, in case you're interested).

Step #1: A... "tape your plans down on a table or building board." Okay, I can handle that.

Step,#2:A... "cut a section of Plan Protector larger than the plans, and tape it over same." Uh oh. This. is actually making sense, and I've only read it once!

Step #3: A... "replace as needed." I might need a committee to help me decide on that, but I think I can handle it.

That's all. By golly, I can handle that!

It just so happens that I was finishing a wing panel that night, and when I removed the wing from the waxed paper, quite a bit of waxed paper stuck to the wing. My sheet of waxed paper also resembled a war zone after, the second wing panel was removed. Either they are making today's waxed paper cheaper, or the glues we are now using are sticking better, because at every glue joint, CA and epoxy, there was some paper sticking to the glues. More sanding would now be needed just to remove all the torn, ripped, waxed paper. Next in the construction sequence would be the fuselage, and since I need to cover the plans anyway, I decided to cut off a piece of Plan Protector (gee, I'm getting tired of typing that, so from now on, it's just PP), and assemble the fuselage over that . Each fuselage side of this particular model consisted of four individual pieces of lite ply that had to be epoxied together, so I figured I could test my PP with cured epoxy. I merely placed a piece of PP over the fuselage plans, noticing that it was crystal clear. It slid around awfully easily, though, so out came a can of 3M Spray Adhesive, and a light mist was applied to the plans, followed by the PP. I spread the PP (boy, I should have thought of using 'PP' sooner!) flat over the plans. if a wrinkle forms, just lift and reposition.

As mentioned, I was to E (epoxy) some F (fuselage) sides together. Perhaps they could be Z'd (Zap,'d) first, then E'd. Why not? There were more than enough J's (joints) to be J'd, and some with larger gaps than others. (Wait. Forget I mentioned "gaps", or Gordon will, be on my case- like a junkyard dog with a pizza lying 6" beyond his chain.)

Some of the Z always manages to seep between, over, under, or around the F J's, and makes a nice little puddle on the plans or WP (waxed paper). Just for kicks, I sprayed on some kicker just to watch the bubbles form. Great Planes may not have counted on a twisted mind like mine to do such dastardly things to one of their products. After all is said and done, the F sides were removed and the PP did not self-destruct! In fact, the side of the F facing the PP had a nice smooth coating of E in and around the J's. Same thing with the Z'd.

But being a bit worried about not using E on some of the J, I decided to add some CF (carbon fiber) to a couple of J's by first using some E around the J, and then placing the CF on the glue. Then I took a strip of PP and placed it over the CF and worked the E in and through the CF. When satisfied with that, I pressed the PP/CF/E with my latest hobby catalog(s) and waited 30 minutes for the E to cure. Did you know that 30 minute E that sits in the garage all day long when the temperature is over 90' will cure faster than you could run to the house and fix a sandwich? Well it does, and in less than a half hour, I removed the catalogs and peeled off the PP, leaving the smoothest CF this old boy has seen in quite a while, So I tried the same thing with thick Z and guess what? PP is not a good insulator of heat (it melts), but I think the final outcome looked every bit as good as the E/CF J's.

In conclusion (yeah, it's almost over now), I have to take my hat off (even without instructions) to Great Planes. They did it again. Will I return to using WP to cover My plans? No way, because PP is clear, and WP isn't, and other clear coverings are just too thin. PP doesn't tear like the two other products just mentioned, and it protects plans much better. I save my plans for some unknown reason, and a 25' roll of PP is going to take a long time to use up.

Would I recommend using PP? If you want to save your plans, then "Yes". Try it for yourself. I think you will be happily surprised.

And I really like using all these A's (abbreviations)!

Reprinted with permission.
March 1999 R/C Report
Editor: Gordon Banks