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I think that you'll be surprised at how well an Airwire receiver can work inside a metal model.  I put one in my USATrains Hudson tender.  The tender is all diecast metal and the coal load is glued into a shallow steel tray.  The Airwire uses quite a high frequency and even very small gaps can let the radio waves in.  I succesfully controlled the engine from more than 100 feet away.  I did ultimately decide to play it safe and used my end mill to cut away the bottom of the steel tray under the coal load and mounted the receiver just under the load but, based on early testing, this extra effort was not really necessary.

Unless you will be putting your receiver in a totally, perfectly sealed compartment, I think you will be pleased with the results.

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