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Paint Polishing vs. Clear-Coating

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  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Saskatchewan Canada
Paint Polishing vs. Clear-Coating
Posted by RichfromSask on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:28 PM

After a years long hiatus from model building,  I’ve caught the bug again as I finally have some free time.  When I built autos (modern sports cars are my thing) before,  I would always polish the finished paint with a sanding kit using 3200-12000 grit sheets.  I have never clear-coated (gloss) a model.  

While I was ‘generally’ satisfied with my finishes,  I was never exceptionally pleased.  I could‘nt quite achieve that mirror finish that everyone strives for. So now I’m thinking of clear-coating my finished paint.  What I’d like to know is:

1.  Is it necessary to polish out the final color coat BEFORE clear-coating? If not,  will the color coat still show imperfections under the clear coat?  

2. If the answer to question 1 is NO,  then is it necessary to polish out the clear? I would imagine the best finish would be achieved from polishing BOTH.  It just seems like that would be a huge amount of work.

3.  Do people generally experience yellowing of the clear in time?  Would this be noticeable in darker colors  as well as white?

Thanks in advance for any replies!

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: State of Mississippi. State motto: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Posted by mississippivol on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 10:01 PM

This is just my opinion, but it comes from a little experience :

1. More than likely, yes, but just enough to smooth out any orange peel or dust. You shouldn't need to go through every grit.

2. You'll probably want to here as well, unless you're satisfied with the finish already. 

3. I've only had issues with white, both clearcoated, and not.

Hope to see your builds soon!

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:29 AM

I think the subject may determine whether you want to clear coat or not.

If the model has to have a flat finish, and you applied gloss for decals to sit on, then you need to clearcoat, and often the finish of flat paint doesn't look too bad, so you may not need to polish.

For a final gloss finish, if you can put down a flawless gloss coat (a real challenge) you may not need to polish.  Then, too, with some of the super-fine sandpaper readily available (2000, 3000 grit), sanding becomes an option instead of polishing.  Clear gloss goes over a surface sanded with those grits fine.

If I do achieve a good gloss paint job, whether I clearcoat or not again depends on the subject.  A heavy clearcoat of gloss gives a really wet look that is out of place on some subjects.  Great for show rods, and new cars- out of place on civil aircraft (except maybe racing planes and airshow planes), and on older racing cars and new street machines made before eighties or so.  On the models that shouldn't have the wet look I try very hard to achieve a good gloss paint to start with.  That also usually gives a surface that the decals stick well to without sealing.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Saskatchewan Canada
Posted by RichfromSask on Friday, November 17, 2017 12:16 PM

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/C7lrcJZV1qB08jrY2

https://photos.app.goo.gl/vuxv7ZgnbPfMYdVJ2

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TS2KZQ0pEzsKegPq2

 

Thanks for the replies,  and the good advice!  As you can see,  I have some serious orange peel going on here.  I’ve started sanding with 2400 and it still doesn’t flatten the paint.  Really don’t want to go any coarser as I‘m sure I will sand throught the color coat at some point.  

I’m very tempted to try polishing it.  I use AutoGlym Super Resin polish on my vehicles,  but I’m wondering if I would have issues spraying clear over the polished body. 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, November 18, 2017 9:22 AM

The main problem you face is wax.  Some polishes use wax as a carrier.  Wax can bother adhesion of following coats.  So be sure the polish you use does not contain wax.  Do not use those polish/wax combinations sold for a quick clean and polish on full size cars.

 

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Saskatchewan Canada
Posted by RichfromSask on Monday, November 20, 2017 11:32 AM

Don Stauffer

The main problem you face is wax.  Some polishes use wax as a carrier.  Wax can bother adhesion of following coats.  So be sure the polish you use does not contain wax.  Do not use those polish/wax combinations sold for a quick clean and polish on full size cars.

Agreed.  I decided to play it safe and just poilsh out the color coat using 24-12000 grit sheets.  Followed this with coats of Testors High Gloss Clear.  I will need to polish out the clear as well.  I wonder if I can get away with just using say, 6-12000 grit sheets followed by the polishing resin, or would the resin be sufficient to take out slight orange peel and dust nibs?

 

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, November 20, 2017 11:43 AM

I've doubts that you'll get any kind of a polish by rubbing down the finish color coat. Smooth, yes. Gloss, no. Paint just isn't that hard.

I always figure that my smoothest prep goes before the finish coat.

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Saskatchewan Canada
Posted by RichfromSask on Monday, November 20, 2017 3:30 PM

GMorrison

I've doubts that you'll get any kind of a polish by rubbing down the finish color coat. Smooth, yes. Gloss, no. Paint just isn't that hard.

I always figure that my smoothest prep goes before the finish coat.

 

That makes sense. It's a good thing that I polished out the paint first then. 

 

 

Top two pics after clear coat

 

 

Bottom two pics after 12000 grit polishing

 

 

 

  

  • Member since
    November, 2006
Posted by Bearcat57 on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 1:51 AM

photosuckit grinch strikes again! 

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Saskatchewan Canada
Posted by RichfromSask on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 9:12 AM

Bearcat57

photosuckit grinch strikes again! 

 

 

Did it ever.  $33/month to host 3rd party images...no way Photobucket!

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Saskatchewan Canada
Posted by RichfromSask on Saturday, December 02, 2017 11:50 AM

I polished out the clearcoat right up to 12000 grit.  Then followed with Meguiar’s Swirl Remover.  Still had fine scratches,  so went more aggressive with their Compound Power Cleaner,  followed by the Cleaner/Polish,  then Swirl Remover again.  

While the results are pretty good,  I wasn’t able to completely restore the deep,  rich luster that existed before polishing out the clearcoat. At least the orange peel is gone.  It seems there’s the odd spot of hazing that I couldn’t remove.  Possibly the Meguiar’s is too hot for the model paints?

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