Weathering plastic canopies

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red_leader
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Weathering plastic canopies

Post by red_leader » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:16 pm

Looking for some wisdom from the collective... I am finishing the weathering on the Moebius BSG Viper Mk VII and am stumped on the canopy. The Viper flew both in atmosphere and in space, and as the series went on, the ships became more and more worn due to their extensive service and lack of replacements. I've weathered the fuselage nicely, but the canopy is a beautiful, clear plastic that looks completely out of sync with the rest of the ship. I want the canopy to have the same look as a windshield that's streaked with weather & grime and pockmarked from near misses, but I'm not sure how to go about doing this. Plus, it can’t go overboard because the presumption is the ground crews would make sure that there was decent visibility for the pilot. The clear plastics are pretty unforgiving, so I want to get it right the first time. Has anybody done this? Any suggestions?? Thanks!
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Post by Go Flight » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:05 pm

Hey red_leader, sounds like a good project. I haven't done it myself, but something to try would be to *lightly* streak dark pastels in the direction of airflow. Remember scale, and a little will go a long way. HTH

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Post by Kekker » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:46 pm

Best bet - give it a dip in Future first! Then if you don't like the result, you can strip with windex and start over.

You then might want to streak with just a touch of enamel thinner that is barely tinted with gray - almost no color to it. wipe backwards and the streak should be almost, but not quite, invisible, with the streak also being faintly more matte than the rest of the canopy.

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Chas
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Post by Chas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:55 pm

perhaps try an acrylic smoke after the future? test it out on some sprue first perhaps?
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Post by red_leader » Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:46 pm

OK, getting some good thoughts - I appreciate the replies. On the Futura, I've never used this before. What does it look like/do to the canopy?
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Post by Go Flight » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:52 pm

Future is a watery clear acrylic. You can find it in the cleaning aisle of a supermarket. I think it's called Pledge Floor Care now. It's had a bunch of names over the years.
Model era still call it Future. It's the same stuff tho.
All you need to is pour the Future into a cup and take your canopy in tweezers and just give it a dip. Blot off the excess and let it dry. It's elongates and small scratches and even some hazy area in a clear plastic canopy. What it'll do is put a barrier between the plastic and your weathering process.

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Post by red_leader » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:59 pm

Go Flight wrote:Future is a watery clear acrylic. You can find it in the cleaning aisle of a supermarket. I think it's called Pledge Floor Care now. It's had a bunch of names over the years.
Model era still call it Future. It's the same stuff tho.
All you need to is pour the Future into a cup and take your canopy in tweezers and just give it a dip. Blot off the excess and let it dry. It's elongates and small scratches and even some hazy area in a clear plastic canopy. What it'll do is put a barrier between the plastic and your weathering process.
OK, cool - that sounds like a good way to go. How long does it take the Future to dry/be paintable?
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Post by Go Flight » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:20 pm

Time varies depending on how warm/humid your place is etc. One thing I do is take a cleaned deli container and put it over the Futured part. I have an old house and dust seems to show up everywhere. The container will keep the dust from landing on the part while drying.

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Post by red_leader » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:29 pm

Alright - I'll give it a try tonight! Thanks again!
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Post by dizzyfugu » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:18 am

That's a tricky one! IMHO, just adding a coat of tinted varnish won't create the desired look, it's tricky.
I had a similar problem when I wanted to build a "used" NASCAR race car, and getting that dirty windscreen look after 200 rounds in an oval with oil, dust, rubber etc. is NOT easy. I made several experiments, nothing looked like the real thing - and I eventually ended up with an improvised wind tunnel!

I built the kit, positioned a hair dryer maybe 3' away from it, let it run on minimum heat and sprayed acrylic matt varnish and olive drab, black an grey paint from the rattle can into the air stream, so that the spray would hit the body just like in real life, most of it from the front, partly streaming around the corners. The windscreen had been partly covered with tape, so that it would look as if it had been cleaned in the pit. The latter did not look sooo convincing (as the wind screens are normally thoroughly cleaned, not just partially), but the "spray effect" was good.

No pics to post, though.
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Post by red_leader » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:59 pm

Intriguing idea. I've already done the weathering on the fuselage so I don't want to mess it up with the wind tunnel approach, but I really like the idea as far as realism and do want to give that a go with just the canopy. I've got the Future coating on it now, which should cover me in the event it goes bad. Hope to post some pics of the final version here soon. After this one, I've got the Mk II to build, so looking forward to perfecting some of these techniques for that build.
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Post by TurkeyVolumeGuessingMan » Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:28 pm

I'm glad this subject came up, since this is something I have been wondering about myself.
Go Flight wrote:Hey red_leader, sounds like a good project. I haven't done it myself, but something to try would be to *lightly* streak dark pastels in the direction of airflow. Remember scale, and a little will go a long way. HTH
Do you have any problems getting the pastels to stick to a glossy surface such as a canopy dipped in Future?

Since I am fairly novice, I can't say that I have much experience with space ships with clear canopies, since the stuff I've built so far have had either opaque canopies or were capital ships.

However, two years ago when I built my Vic Viper from Gradius, I tried applying my Tamiya Weathering kit to its surface. I had a gloss surface to make panel lines, however I didn't know that I needed to have a matte surface for the Tamiya weathering applicator to work. It didn't turn out as I wanted.

However, what I did was use some Zippo lighter fluid with a paper towel and streaked the Tamiya stuff from front to back. It turned out fairly nice, IMHO. I know that the Zippo lighter fluid is safe with acrylics.
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