How to repair, clean and polish clear parts.

I have had a few requests on how I get my canopies so clear looking. Many times the clear parts in kits can get scuffed in shipping if they are not protected or come loose. Also some jet canopies or bubble top aircraft can have a seam from the injection molding process that runs down the center line of the canopy.

Some folks like to dip the canopies and clear parts in Pledge Future. I prefer to polish them and feel they look better and much clearer.  To start with, many vehicles today have a clear plastic cover over the headlights. Over time and driving in the elements the plastic gets foggy and starts to yellow. There are many products on the market to clean them up. These products also help us modelers as well. I have tried many products and found and that works very well on the clear styrene plastic used on the models we build. The product I use is made by Meguire’s, a company that makes many products to keep your vehicle clean, shiny and protected. The product they make is called PlastX. It is a cleaner and polish for plastic parts.

So the first part I have a clear nose for a 1/48 Monogram B-17G. The kit was bought at a goodwill store and has all the sprues loose in the box. This has caused some scuffs on the nose. The first step is to take a small dish and put a couple of drops of the PlastX on it. Then using a cotton swab I dip in the PlastX and in a circular motion I scrub and polish the affected areas then I polish the rest of the nose inside and out. After a few moments I let it dry a few minutes then use a microfiber cloth and polish and wipe clean the part.  Here are the photos of before and after.

For removing the seams on canopies the first step is sanding down the seam with 600 grit sandpaper. Only sand a small strip where the seam is. Once the seam is gone, the next step is to use 1000 grit sandpaper and sand in a slightly wider area than you did in the previous step. Then the next step is to wet sand with 2000 grit sandpaper in a wider section. The reason is this prevents any distortion where you removed the seam. Then as similar to removing scuffs, the PlastX is applied with a cotton swab.

The area that was sanded is cleaned and polished for a minute or two and then a quick polish of the inside and out of the canopy is done. Let dry a few minutes then polish with a microfiber cloth.

While it is difficult to see in the photos, the canopy looks clearer and has more shine to it. I typically run a quick polish over clear parts even if there is no visible scuffs as once polished they much are clearer and shine better.

Finally, once the canopy is masked and ready for paint you will need to take a cotton swap dipped in thinner or rubbing alcohol and go over the areas you will be painting. This will clean off and residue that may have built up on the frame details on the canopy. Otherwise the paint may not adhere very well.

Meguire’s PlastX Cleaner and Polish link:    Meguire’s PlastX

4 thoughts on “How to repair, clean and polish clear parts.

  1. I believe that I’m going to like this site

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  2. Anthony D'Agostino March 27, 2019 — 1:34 pm

    First, let me say thank you for the outstanding tips you have on IPMS. I have just beome a member and I am awaiting my package, although it will take time since I currently reside in the Philippines. As a disabled veteran, I have been looking into starting this hobby up again after a 30 year layoff. I finally moved into a house where the “boss” has given me my own room/workspace, so I can start building again. Anywho, the modelling art has changed drastically since I did my last kit back in the 80’s. With all the aftermarket details in PE and resin, conversions as well, it has never been a better time to get back into the hobby, but I have a lot of learning to do and little time to do it, age isn’t going backwards for me.
    Anyway, when I saw your tip for clear plastic, I giggled, thinking there is no way he can fix a scuff, much less remove those aweful seams in the canopy, this is a bait/switch topic. I was always told, and always experienced bad things with canopies that were damaged or had seams. The rule was, don’t touch it until you install it, then never touch it again, or you will be sorry. I never thought that there was any hope if damaged or had the seam, obviously that isn’t true, maybe it never was.
    While reading as much as I can, trying to absorb as much info as possible before I put styrene together, I kept hearing about future wax as the best way to smooth out paint for decals. Then as a way to conceal damaged clear parts. Some swear by it, other won’t give it a second look. I can’t seem to find it, so this is my only salvation, between this and the seeker head tip, I have become a follower for life, whats left of it anyway. Cheers, and thanks again, once I am officially a member, I hope we can talk, you have too much to teach, and I have even more to learn.

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    1. Thank you! If you ever have any questions or ideas you want to bounce off, feel free to contact me anytime. My email is davezz4@yahoo.com.

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