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Removing Airfix chrome

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  • Member since
    January 2009
Removing Airfix chrome
Posted by tatonka on Monday, April 15, 2019 7:41 AM

I recently got an Airfix 1/12 scale Bentley Blower off of EBay ( to make a poorman's Pocher, which I never could afford ((justify)) ). The kit was made in 2011 and the Chrome has to go. I've soaked it in Clorox for a day, Super Clean degreaser for a day and Easy-Off for 2 days and nothing happens. Now it's soaking in Draino so far nothing. I haven't use Brake fluid yet because I've read it can effect the plastic somewhat. Does any one have suggestions, besides leaving the chrome as is. I will be reworking the pieces somewhat so that's kinda out of the question. Other people have removed it so something has to work.

Kurt

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Monday, April 15, 2019 7:54 AM

Try using ammonia.  Windex is a mild solution of ammonia-  submerge the parts in it and leave them sit until the chrome dissolves, it may take overnight.  You can also make a bit stronger solution using water and ammonia.  This has always worked for me, although I have never tried it on an Airfix chrome part.

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, April 15, 2019 8:32 AM

Rather than removing it, you can also prime and paint over it.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Monday, April 15, 2019 10:56 AM

Don, I'd really like to remove it if possible.

 

Chuck, I'll give the Draino 24 hours, if it doesn't work I'll get regular ammonia and give that a try. So far 4 hours hasn't done anything. Usually Easy-Off works, but not this time.

 

Kurt

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, April 15, 2019 11:51 AM

I looked on Britmodeler and another Airfix forum. Apparently the big Bentley is infamous for having tough to remove chrome.

The solution (pun intended) that most folks seem to settle on is anything containing sodium hydroxide (lye).

Both oven cleaner and drain cleaner are primarily that. I would try again with Easy Off and lett it sit an hour or so.

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Monday, April 15, 2019 12:50 PM

Please let us know what finally works for you.  I have never failed with ammonia, but it takes a long time soaking.  The strange thing is, that when the chrome is finally gone, there is no sign of anything dissolved in the solution.  It's just GONE!

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, April 15, 2019 12:58 PM

Italeri motorcycle kit- Easy Off spray. Took about 15 minutes.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Monday, April 15, 2019 1:18 PM

tatonka

I recently got an Airfix 1/12 scale Bentley Blower off of EBay ( to make a poorman's Pocher, which I never could afford ((justify)) ). The kit was made in 2011 and the Chrome has to go. I've soaked it in Clorox for a day, Super Clean degreaser for a day and Easy-Off for 2 days and nothing happens. Now it's soaking in Draino so far nothing. I haven't use Brake fluid yet because I've read it can effect the plastic somewhat. Does any one have suggestions, besides leaving the chrome as is. I will be reworking the pieces somewhat so that's kinda out of the question. Other people have removed it so something has to work.

Kurt

I don't know what process Airfix used to plate that sprue, but I used SuperClean to strip the chrome from the chrome frets in the Monogram Red Baron hot rod.  It took the chrome off in two minutes.  I could see the chrome dissolve into the solution.  From that point, I've used Super Clean to strip paint from styrene, resin, and metal.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Monday, April 15, 2019 3:12 PM

Easy-Off usually works in a few minitues I put the parts in ziplocks and sprayed Easy-Off several times and left it in it for 2 days and nothing at all happened. The Draino has done nothing, so I'll try ammonia. I'll let you know how that goes.

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 9:03 AM

Well soaking overnight in ammonia at least did something.  The sheen is gone and it has a very faint brownish tint to it now. Now I’ll try Easy-Off again and I’ll see if it has any effect this time.

I am going to beat this thing!

 

Kurt

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 11:10 AM

That sounds like a good sign.  I think a longer soaking in ammonia and perhaps in a stronger solution will finish the job.

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 9:10 AM

I tried a second several hour soak in East-Off with no change then a overnight soak in Bleche-White with again no change. Next is again another soak in ammonia. There are no strength listings on the bottle and I can’t find anything listed at Lowe’s or Home Depot that are any different. There used to be a supplier of janitorial supplies near me, but that closed. I don‘t if that type of ammonia is the same or stronger in strength. 

I guess I’ll look into lye, if that’s still available. By the way everything gets washed away with coupious amounts of water in between products to prevent any interactions. 

Kurt

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 9:14 AM

Just when I thought I had this removing chrome thing all figured out.

Hope you get this sorted out, and a big Yes for your patience and perserverence. I might have tossed the sprue to Kingdom Come by now.

-Greg

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 9:30 AM

I know what you mean! Okay, Lowe’s has a professional strength drain cleaner Crystal which is 100% sodium hydroxide (lye or caustic soda), the Drano I used does not list a strength. So maybe that’s next.

 

Kurt

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 9:33 AM

I'd definitely do some testing on the chrome sprues. You will hit a point I am sure, where all of this caustic material will start to dissolve the plastic.

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:03 AM

That was my plan.

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 2:15 PM

I mixed the lye solution to 2x what was called for to clean drains. 30ml lye to 500ml water. I used 60ml to 500ml and in 2 hours, nothing happened to my sample. So maybe soaking in ammonia for a couple of days, will make a difference.

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 2:17 PM

There are many super-nasty chemicals mentioned in this discussion.  I don't think it's necessary to use something strong enough to eat a hole in a battleship.  I would be afraid to mess with that stuff.  The key is knowing the chemistry of the plating and what is needed to dissolve it.  And we don't.  I wonder if there is a chemist in the group who could shed some light on this.

As I have mentioned, just plain ol' Windex off the supermarket shelf has always worked for me.

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 3:25 PM

You're correct about that. I've been very respectful of them and as careful as I can be, gloves, ventilation, making especially sure one doesn't meet the other. Something works. Most of the builds online of this kit were done soon after it was re-released in 2011, and I've only found one person in a different forum that seems to be actively online. So I'm hoping he'll respond with how he succeded.

Airfix is now owned by Hornby, I should give them a query.

A chemist would definitly help.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Friday, April 19, 2019 5:28 PM

Maybe those sprues are solid chrome...

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Friday, April 19, 2019 5:41 PM

I'm checking in here periodically just to make sure you are still ok, what with all the nasty stuff you are experimenting with (as Steve mentioned before me).

Y'all be careful, hear?

This got me to thinking of once back in the 70's, my dad was figuring out how to set up a passivation process in our shop. Don knows what this is, in essence it means dipping stainless steel airplane parts in acid to remove surface impurities. I think it might have been muriatic acid, not sure.

Anyway, he was experimenting over the weekend. We all came in at 5:30AM to open the place for our 6-4:30 day shift, every bit of metal within 30 ft of where Dad had been working was rusted, as I remember it. Poor Dad, we called him Mr Wizard for quite a while after that, bless his heart and soul.

So don't do that.

-Greg

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, April 19, 2019 6:00 PM

I am not a chemist, my understanding is that "chrome" plastic model parts are obiously not electroplated, or chrome, but it's some type of vacuum process using aluminum.

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Saturday, April 20, 2019 7:25 AM

Okay. I’ve been soaking the parts in ammonia in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for the past several days. I’ve been changing out the ammonia for fresh stuff every other day. 80 percent of the chrome is gone !!!! The plastic is brownish, but seems okay. The rest of their plastic is light gray, so I’m guessing tthe brown is the undercoat. Once the chrome is gone I’ll try using bleach. And there will be no way the ammonia and bleach are getting near each other.

Kurt

 

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Saturday, April 20, 2019 7:41 AM

Progress. Good.

You mention changing out the ammonia every day. I kept meaning to mention that whatever I use to strip, it seems it takes very little to contaminate it. Whether it be Purple Power, brake fluid, Easy Off, it seems if it gets a couple drops of water it in, or something worse, it's all done. Change it out and I have clean parts in minutes. It's baffled me.

-Greg

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Saturday, April 20, 2019 8:20 AM

I've never tried to get chrome off a kit like yours but on standard Revell and Monogram kits etc Drano Gel is what I've used and it has come off fast, with a little light brushing it has come off in minutes. It basically just dissolves.  Maybe your chrome is tougher though, I have no idea. Just putting Drano Gel out there is all.

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Saturday, April 20, 2019 8:37 AM

Drano gel was one of the first things I tried.

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:15 AM

I can't figure out how to properly insert an image to show my progress. The parts have been soaking continually for the past several days in ammonia. The chrome is about 95% gone. The ammonia turned blue! Made sure that didn't touch me. I put the pieces back in with the little ammonia I have left as I'm in no hurry. Then I'll see if the traditional ways work on any undercoat. The plastic seems to be fine.

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 12:47 PM

Glad to hear this!  Plain ol' Windex or ammonia has always worked for me, but it has never taken as long as this.  Maybe this is due to variations in the plating material or process.

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by tatonka on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 3:30 PM

Did the ammonia turn dark blue?

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 7:24 PM

No, it did not turn blue.  It remained colorless, and I could not see anything looking like dissolved material in it.  The part was clear of chrome, and the ammonia showed no sign of discoloration, or any thing dissolved in it.  Very Strange!

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

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