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Written by Jay Smith
About Us
As seen in the March 2018 issue of
Model Aviation.

I first met John Bristow, of Deluxe Materials, at the Toledo Show: R/C Model Expo in Toledo, Ohio. Since that time, I have had several conversations with him, and it is clear that he is passionate about chemistry and how his creations can help us enjoy our hobby.

If Bill Nye the Science Guy was into building and flying model aircraft, RC boats, and model trains, he would be much like John. John and his wife, Vivienne, started Deluxe Materials in 1973. It is located in the United Kingdom.

Some readers might not be familiar with John or his company. The company’s products, however, have been available in the US since the 1980s; Horizon Hobby has distributed them since 2010.

John, who attended the same school as Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, first utilized his experience as a chemist in our hobby by making his own fuel to keep costs low. Not satisfied with that, he began making rocket fuel, which led to his first job working on submarines.

Not ready to give up making useful hobby products, he began selling metal-filled silicon rubber in a partnership with Irvine Engines. That led to making glues and starting his business. The name Deluxe Materials was chosen because “the name didn’t seem limiting,” he told me.

His products first made their appearance in the US through Hobby Lobby (now Hobby Express) in Tennessee. The product the company offered was Super ’Phatic! adhesive. He described it as a thin, non-fuming cyanoacrylate alternative that dries fast and bonds wood, white and blue foam, and plastic. It is waterproof after it has set and allows for water cleanup.

Super ’Phatic! is only one of more than 100 products that John has developed throughout the years. On the Deluxe Materials website, you will currently find products for RC airplanes, cars, boats, doll houses, and model railroads under the heading of “Hobby.”

Deluxe Materials does practically everything in-house to support its business, with a staff of eight in a 2,200-square-foot facility. The company tests and develops products, designs the packaging and box art, and does all of the other things that are required to run a successful business. The staff also tries to attend several shows, with the Nuremberg International Toy Fair, held in Germany, being the largest. It is a great place to show the company’s latest products.

Amazingly, John has more than 40 ideas of ways to help modelers do things easier and safer. He waits until it is feasible to bring these ideas to market. This led my next question: What products, of the more than 100 he has developed, is he the most proud of?

He cited the water-based Eze Dope and Eze Kote products, because they made the task of adhering tissue covering to a model easier and safer.

Eze Dope is a specially formulated, water-soluble dope for shrinking, strengthening, and wind-proofing model tissue paper. Eze Kote is a laminating and finishing resin for balsa and foam models that can take the place of epoxy. Conversely, I had no idea that this would be John’s answer when I accepted an article from Bob Benjamin about how to use Eze Dope and Eze Kote that appears in this issue.

One product that John has wanted to develop for a while is Body Armour, a highly flexible polymer adhesive that is specially designed for reinforcing and repairing model car bodies. This product can also be used on model airplane cowls. It’s release was delayed until the chemistry required to make it became available.

When I inquired whether any Deluxe Materials products had been used for purposes outside of their original intent, Tacky Wax provided an amusing story. It has been used to attach micro cameras to beetles. Imagine what that footage must have looked like! The same product is also used on a popular British clay animation comedy series, Wallace and Gromit.

Looking back at the 45 years that Deluxe Materials has been in existence, I asked John what made him the proudest. His reply was, “The partnership with Vivienne and the team we have assembled, with the right skills for the development of the brand and being able to help people enjoy their hobby—to be able to realize and have fun developing the brand.” He also added, “A big thank you to our distributors in the UK and US.”

The passion for developing new hobby products that are safer to use came across throughout our conversation, and I ended our call with one final question: What are your goals for the future?

He replied that the company is on a journey, with many more years ahead. “We are a unique combination of modelers and chemists. We are in 39 countries today and we will continue to work on new, safe, and novel solutions to help people’s enjoyment of their hobbies,” he said.

Deluxe Materials has developed numerous products to aid us in our enjoyment of the hobby. Take a look at the company’s website. You might be amazed at all of the innovative products it has available, or visit Horizon Hobby’s website to see and purchase them as well.

—Jay Smith


Deluxe Materials

Horizon Hobby
(800) 338-4639


I have been using the Super ’Phatic! adhesive for years. Bought the first bottle from Hobby Lobby back in the 90's. I had nose bleeds every time I used the CA glues.

I have been very happy using Deluxe Material products. AeroModller magazine has had how to articles on how to use their products. Like EZ-dope, Fix 'n' Flex for foam repairs, Cover grip for Mylar covering usage in indoor flyers.

I could go on and on about their product line. I have uses maybe 1/3 of their products.

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