Seamless Windshields
I've often walked through model rooms and have seen otherwise well-finished aircraft models with clear parts that looked like they were put on as afterthoughts, rather than as part of the whole aircraft!  Windshields are as much a part of the aircraft as the wings and tail--and in the small scales airliner builders work in, a tight, integrated appearance is essential.

Years ago, Bob Moore of Liqu-a-plate fame taught me the technique for fairing in clear parts.  My original posting on this was lost in the great vet-med server purge, but recently AMD subscriber Paul Stoner made an excellent posting on the subject, that expands on Bob Moore's technique and adds some innovations of his own:

              First I file and sand the kit windscreen to get the best fit possible
              with the fuselage. (A perfect fit at this point is not necessary). Next,
              I apply a thick coat of Future floor wax with a cotton swab to both sides
              of the windscreen and all the edges and allow it to dry (about 15 to 20
              minutes). Then I glue the windscreen in place. I can use either solvent
              type cements or super glue...the Future will protect the clear plastic
              from fogging or frosting. I do not use any super glue accelerators. They
              can cause bubbles or cracks in the glue or cause it to turn yellow. I
              want the glue to set perfectly clear. When the glue has set, I go back
              and fill all seams with thick (gap-filling) super glue. I also build up
              any low spots with super glue to just above the contour of the fuselage.
              Again, I don't use any accelerators. I allow the glue to set over night.
              (The glue will be harder to sand at this point but the result is worth
              it). Now I file and sand the windscreen until it matches the contour of
              the fuselage. I repeat these two steps if any seams or low spots remain.
              If I am going to use a decal, I stop at this point. I then paint the
              model as normal and get a clean, seamless windscreen area with the proper
              contour for the decal.

              For a clear windscreen, I polish it at this point. Typically, I use a
              triple-grit sanding stick (available from Squadron) and plastic polish.
              However, you can use any wet/dry sandpaper starting at 300-400 grit and
              working up to 6000- 8000 grit. (This technique was described in Fine Scale
              Modeler a couple of years ago). You can wet sand, if you want, without
              the fear of liquid getting behind the screen since you've sealed all the
              seams. Finally, I apply another coat of Future to the finished
              windscreen. I now have a perfectly clear windscreen without seems and
              with the proper contour. I then mask and paint as I normally would.

              Using this technique, anyone can use the kit windscreen and get good
              looking results.

              Paul Stoner

Webmaster's comments:  Excellent posting, Paul, and thank you!  I would add that you don't necessarily need to go up to 6000 grit paper on the windshield.  I have had good results with wet-sanding up to 2000, then following with a vigorous polish using either Flitz polish or Blue Magic silver polish.

It is more work, but it sure does result in a better looking finished model!

Back to Tips and Techniques