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Heli Skins — Review 12Sep08

Posted by tanker in General Heli, Products, TRex.

Upgrade RC has an interesting new product to customize the look of your heli canopy, Heli Skins. These are large vinyl decals used to cover your heli canopy with a new design. They make them for various Align, Thunder Tiger, and E-Flite helis. This is a cheaper alternative to pre-painted canopies and certainly a lot easier than trying to custom paint your own. They also have a nice variety of designs from which to choose.

T-Rex 600 canopy with Heli Skins package

T-Rex 600 canopy with Heli Skins package

I got the Warbird Metal graphic for the T-Rex 600. The T-Rex comes with a very nicely done fiberglass canopy but it is just plain white. I never wanted to take the time and effort to paint it so I initially used some yellow striping tape and other stickers to give it a bit more interest. When I saw the Heli Skins I knew that was the way to go. Cleaning up the canopy was easy enough and I got back to the original plain white canopy.

T-Rex 600 canopy with yellow striping

T-Rex 600 canopy with yellow striping

The Heli Skins ship as a flat sheet with pre-cut decal sections. Applying them is fairly easy — The main trick is getting a flat decal to go smoothly around the various bumps and curves of the canopy. Using a heat gun to soften the decal and working slowly makes this process fairly straightforward, but try as I might I still had a couple small areas with folds/wrinkles where I just could not get the decal down perfectly. I used a sharp hobby knife to help trim some of these or make small cuts. Up close these are noticeable but once you take a step away you really can not see them. It took around 30 minutes to apply the decals.

Heli Skins do not cover the bottom and lower nose areas

Heli Skins do not cover the bottom and lower nose areas

The only real issues I had with the Skins was that the two sides did not meet perfectly at the nose. Thankfully, with the Warbird Metal design, this is a black area so a little black paint took care of the gap. Probably the most annoying issue is that the Skins do not cover the lower sections of the canopy. In my case the lower section of the nose is left uncovered with sort of an odd gap. This is not really visible unless the heli is above or upside down but is still an odd oversight. I can only assume it would be too difficult to get the decals around the tight curve of the nose but it seems like the area could be covered better.

Finished canopy

Finished canopy

Overall I am pleased with the results and it is certainly a big step up from the stock, plain-white canopy or even my original striped version. If you have some plain canopies that you want to quickly spice up check out Heli Skins.


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