Preserving Modeling Equipment

Model engines and RC equipment are fun to collect. There are also all those old building and flying supplies you’re not sure what to do with. As sturdy as these might look, however, they need some specialized care to keep them at their best.

To start: 

  1. Store them in a dry place. Metal can corrode in an environment high in humidity. 
  2. Handle them with gloves. It is incredibly easy to leave visible fingerprints on metal (especially trophies). 
  3. Support items well when handling, especially trophiesDon’t pick them up by the handles or protruding parts. Instead, support them from underneath and always use both hands.
  4. Resist the urge to make it look like new again. In all cases, overcleaning can cause irreversible damage to metal.
  5. Only clean the worst of the grime from engines; often a layer of oil left on the engine will help prevent corrosion.
  6. Don’t use any chemical cleaning products on radio equipment or trophies. To clean these, dust carefully with a soft brush. It’s even better to use a vacuum and brush the dust into the nozzle.
  7.  Keep anything you are not showing off boxed or wrapped in clean, unbleached muslin. That will help keep the dust off and you’ll have to clean them less often.
  8. Remove any batteries. It is best to bring your batteries to your local hazardous material drop-off site, just in case. 
Dirt and oils on your hands can leave visible fingerprints on metal surfaces. Source: National Model Aviation Museum, Found in Collection, 2007.01.174.
Lightly brushing dust directly into the vacuum hose means the dust has less of a chance to recirculate into the air.
Improper cleaning can result in damage to metal surfaces, as well as the loss of valuable information. Source: National Model Aviation Museum, Found in Collection, 2009.01.01.


Go a bit further:
Purchase acid-free boxes from a museum products supplier such as Gaylord or Hollinger Metal Edge.

Properly supporting and boxing trophies is a great idea, especially for those that are in fragile condition. Source: National Model Aviation Museum, Found in Collection, 2012.01.11.

Placing activated carbon (available for fish tank filters) in the area where you have your objects stored works well. It absorbs impurities in the air that could cause corrosion however, do not let it directly contact your object.

Display your trophies and other memorabilia in vitrines or glass display cases. 

If you want more advice for preserving your modeling equipment, feel free to ask your questions to the museum’s blog, Facebook page, or by emailing staff directly at 


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