Polishing clear plastic:

There comes a time in most modeling, when one comes to the clear plastic parts. Often times, these parts are scratched due to poor packaging or they are molded in such a way that there is a mold seam in them. The Hasegawa 1/48 F-16 is such a case. In order to mold the very complex canopy curves, it is necessary for there to be a mold seam.

Often, the new builder will ignore such things, but as one improves, there is a need to remove such things. Fortunately, it is very easy to do.

First one needs several grades of sandpaper. I use the Flexi-file Flex-pads. They come in a set from very rough to very fine and they are all that is needed to accomplish this task. Cost is around $11.00 retail for the set.

Starting with the 320 grit stick, gently sand away the seam. Once that is done, use the 600 grit stick. It is a good idea to wet sand with these as to lighten up on the pressure as one sands. Now you can go straight to the polishing stick (which you don't want to wet sand with), but I have a sheet of 1200 grit that I use.

When using the polishing stick, there are three grades. The coarsest is dark grey, which you can use instead of the 1200 grit. Next, go to the white and finally use the medium grey side. Always start off with some pressure and lighten up as it becomes clearer. Again, no water with the polishing stick.

Finally, you can buff it with an old shirt. or if you really want to, there are a number of plastic polishes that work well. If you have a piece of nylon stocking, that will help buff it even more. The canopy can then be dipped in Future should you wish, but I'd wait until after painting to do so as the Future may come off on your masking material.

Using the images, you can see how the canopy becomes more and more clear as we go through the extra steps of sanding and polishing. Total time; about 5 minutes.

See how easy that was?  This works just as well if you spill glue or paint on the part. Now you no longer have to put up with scratched  or marred canopies.

Scott Van Aken