Pantyhose Nylon Thread For Antenna, Wing Bracing, etc.

by Bill Bosworth

Don’t look now, but one of modelling’s beat kept secrets just went past your work area……right there on your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend. That’s right, gang, we’re talking pantyhose. O.k., let’s explain.

Whether you’re into planes, ships, cars, or leather, this just might be the answer to those “smaller than small” rigging problems. First: rip, beg, steal, or borrow a pair of clean pantyhose. Don’t play with the cotton panel; remember, your perversion is modeling. Close examination of the pantyhose will reveal a very tight knitted pattern resembling figure 1.


What we are after is the smallest possible strand. Each loop appears to be a single strand but is actually made up of as many as a half dozen smaller strands. Separate the strands until you get just one (see figure 2). This single strand is what you will work with. Don’t be put off by its apparent invisibility. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll never be at a loss for an in-scale aircraft antenna or a 1/1,000,000th scale ship railing.

The next step is getting it where you want it: from point “A” to point “B”. Remember all those horrible tubes of glue that you threw away from those Japanese kits? Too bad…go find one! Use it to tack down one end of your suddenly lost strand. Ah, there it is. Now use the end of your #11 X-acto blade and stick it into a small amount of that over-thick glue that you’ve placed on point “A”. Give it a couple of minutes to dry (about the length of time it takes to find the other end of the strand). Now, repeat the process for point “B”. You’ll notice that this line will stretch like a tiny rubber band. Stretch it until all the kinks are removed (it will probably be the only thing in the room that isn’t kinky). One of the main advantages of nylon besides its ultra-thin diameter is its elasticity. You can really lean hard on it, and it just stretches and springs back for more until point “A” or point “B” gives way. It is surprisingly strong. Anyone want to try small scale wire wheels?

That’s all there really is to it. I’ve been using this technique for years and it has never failed to provide scale rigging. It will take a little frustration getting used to working with it at the start. Here are some of the problems that you’ll face: 1) talking him/her out of their pants, 2) finding the right kind of nylon to work with (nylon pantyhose vary widely in terms of strand diameter), and 3) recovering your lost eyesight. But it DOES work. Example: a completely rigged Revell SE5-A in 1/72nd scale-rigging time: 1-1/2 hours, and…it is in scale.

Original text from “Techniques: Using Pantyhose Nylon Thread for Antenna, Wing Bracing, etc.” Plastic Novelty Items, V1,N3.