Friday, 7 June 2013

Krystal Klear - fun with canopies

1/100 Tamiya IL-28 Beagle - Part 6
Any newcomer to model making who delves into the many and various modelling forum will soon read about Pledge Klear floor wax. It's one of those 'miracle' products that kit-making veterans swear by, but it took me a while to get my head around what it is and what it does...

Quick explaination: Plain old Johnson's Klear floor wax was a liquid acrylic varnish. In recent years it was re-branded as Pledge Klear, but is exactly the same stuff - except that it's now a cloudy liquid and is slightly scented (which has absolutely no bearing on it's effectiveness). Some bright spark found that it was a terrific and cheap substitute for specialist modelling acrylic gloss products. That's it.

Anyway, in this context it does a very good job in protecting model canopies when you dip the model parts in a bath of the substance...It's a very easy process and will - I am assured - make the clear plastic parts shine and provide a barrier that prevents scratching prior to affixing or frame painting.

A quick dip in a bath of Klear is all that is required. Immerse the parts
completely for a minute or so, then remove and drip off any excess.
Additionally, I am told that if you do have tiny scratches on your clear plastic parts Klear will (allegedly) sort these out...I have yet to investigate this claim though.

The process for canopies is very simple indeed, just dunk your canopies in a little bath of the solution. Despite the liquid looking milky it does dry absolutely clear...

After a couple of minutes in the bath and dripping off the excess liquid you plonk the parts down on a clean base and leave to dry. A tip I picked up is to cover the parts with a lid or something like that to prevent dust particles or stray hairs settling on your still drying parts - just leave a gap at the bottom for the air to circulate...

Give the parts a good 3-5 hours to dry, or even better over-night if you can. Now they won't look that different - don't expect them to go 'ting!' with a TV advert type of sparkle - but the protective layer is there and it is, as it says on the bottle, perfectly Klear!

Personally I wanted this protection as I will be masking and over-spraying the canopy frames onto the parts, but the idea that my parts will retain this clear look despite moderate handling is appealing too (as I find clear parts pick up scratches and blemishes very easily).

Again, there are specialist products out there that do the same thing, but they are comparatively expensive. Klear is reasonably easy to pick up - I got mine for a fiver for a huge 750ml bottle from Amazon - and best of all you can reuse the liquid again and again by pouring it back in the bottle!

One last thing - Klear is also highly recommended as a model varnish, it can be diluted and sprayed on and works very well helping to seat decals. I have tried this and was very impressed...

So there you go. Pledge Klear, cheap and cheerful acrylic varnish.

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