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Getting windshields to look like glass?

6 replies
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  • Member since
    July, 2017
Getting windshields to look like glass?
Posted by George123 on Monday, July 17, 2017 5:58 PM

Hi guys I'm new here but a 30 plus year modeler.  Just lately I have started to build cars as opposed to military subjects.

I'm very familiar with "Future" and have had mixed results.  Sometimes it's perfect sometimes I have to strip it with Windex three times to get it right.

Do any of you just polish or wax a new windshield to get it looking really shiny? I'm building the Tamiya Laferrari and I have to get this right.  I really don't want to dip it.

I have the Tamiya polishing compounds on hand, as well as normal Turtle wax.

Here is  a link as to what I would like to achieve.  I want my windshield to look like this example (this guy's).  Any ideas or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by dreamsinplastic on Monday, July 17, 2017 9:09 PM

Hey George....I am by NO means an "Expert"....That is one HUGE piece of "Glass" on that Laferrari !....I don't blame you for wanting it Perfect !!

If the "Glass" is free from any scratches/gouges....I think I would start with some GOOD wax,suitable for plastic,No abrasives & micro fiber cloth(?) & some elbow grease....Hand buff,then have a LOOK. I  concur with you feelings about Future....Some times GREAT,other times,a real PAIN....I am NOT gonna advise anything more AGGRESIVE....I'll let MORE experienced,Skillful Forum members  chime in...GOOD LUCK with that "Glass"....

"Taking a short hiatus from building models....... Projects/Work around the house.....It's riding weather.....Get in the Wind & down the Hwy....."






  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 11:46 AM

In my efforts over the last few years to improve the realism of my builds, the windscreen has been one item that I have focused on. Nothing makes a well built model look more toy-like than thick distorted glass. I worked with dipping in Future, usually in conjunction with other processes, but was never quite happy with the results. Sometimes improvements were made, but usually along with a host of new problems.

Many of the American kits, especially the old tool reissues have thick glass with wavy surfaces that cause optical distortion. These require a lot of work to get right, but I would imagine that the glass in the La Ferrari kit is of very high quality; thin and clear with smooth surfaces, which shouldn't require much work at all to look great.

I would suggest starting with Tamiya polishes. Inspect the glass carefully by sighting along it an a low angle to check for surface imperfections. If very few or none exist, start with the Finish compound. Otherwise start with the Fine compound. I expect the glass in this kit is very good so I doubt you will need the Coarse compound, which is quite agressive.

Be sure the glass is clean and give it a decent workout with the Tamiya polish. Use a good soft clean cloth. A micro fibre cloth as dreamsinplastic said above should be a good choice (think lens cleaning cloth), or my personal favorite, old well used cloth diapers. If you start with the Fine polish, thoroughly clean the glass before starting with the Finish polish. Do both the inside and outside of the glass with the finish polish. Clean it all really well then have another go with the Finish polish. Use a clean cloth for each round of polishing. Once you are finished with this, clean the glass very well then rub in a couple of coats of Tamiya wax on both sides. The wax will improve clarity and also make finger prints rub right off and in some cases will fend off fogging from CA glue. I think you will be pleased with the results.

A few cautionary words; The biggest problem with working with kit glass, especially thin glass such as likely comes in the La Ferrari kit, is inducing stress cracks or worse, breaking it in two. Work carefully and try to not flex the glass. Trying to polish the glass with slippery fingers can cause one to hold the glass too tightly and flex it unintentionally. Be cognisant of this as you work. Also, be aware that some adhesives will not stick to plastic that has been waxed. In some cases it may be best to do the waxing post installation, so plan accordingly or try a practice run with a piece of scrap glass and your adhesive of choice. I would also suggest trying this out on a smaller and sturdier piece of glass than the main windscreen to work out your process and get the feel ot it all.

When working with thick and distorted glass, much more agressive filing and coarse sanding will be required, but that's another story.


Que the Vikings: "Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam ..."

  • Member since
    July, 2017
Posted by George123 on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 2:33 PM

Thank You John , and Bainford Thanks for the detailed run out.  I appreciate your time. 

I know what you mean about slippery fingers when polishing.  Micro cracking can happen easily.  Thanks for reminding me.

Yes, Tamiya kits have very fine moldings and the glass is as good as it gets out of any box.  I find the finish compound to be a real gem.  It buffs out MM enamel to a glass like finish without a clear coat.

I have to order the Tamiya wax from the far east as I am in New England. I suspect the small bottle would last for a number of builds.

Is the Tamiya wax anything like pure Turtle wax for real cars.  I mean the original Turtle wax with nothing else in it but wax (in the flat can)?  I have an old can of this and it is killer on my silver metallic Ford.  The stuff goes on easy and comes off easy. I think these days they have added ingredients to it , by my can is 20 plus years old.

I'm still learning about gloss painting and getting better.  As much a dust free environment as possible is also key. 

Thanks again Guys.


  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 10:37 AM

My pleasure, George.

The Tamiya wax is a clear blue liquid in a small bottle. A little goes a very long way. A bottle would do many builds. The stuff is available on ebay for about 11-12 bucks a bottle. I'm sure there are suitable alternatives, and the pure turtle wax would probably work. It would be worth a trial on scrap glass.

The Tamiya polishes are good for getting rid of minor dust in the paint. Heavier dust particles can usually be sorted with micromesh pads and then polishes.

I agree the Tamiya finish compound is wonderful stuff. I find polishing the paint directly improves realism significantly over clear coating then polishing.

Que the Vikings: "Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam ..."

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by dreamsinplastic on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 9:13 PM

I will also "Thank You" Trevor,.......I learn from your info & experience with the Hobby !!!

"Taking a short hiatus from building models....... Projects/Work around the house.....It's riding weather.....Get in the Wind & down the Hwy....."






  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Portland Oregon: Tree Country. Most beautiful area on the West coast.
Posted by Treehugger Dave on Saturday, July 22, 2017 9:29 AM


I too like my glass clear and clean.

Any imperfections especially from  an old re-builder I'm restoring, I first sand out the imperfections, even glue smears and scratches, then sit back in fron of my flat screen in my model room and got to work polishing with NOVUS PLASTIC POLISH.

Been using it since the 80's and it has saved a lot of lost windshields. It's one of my main tools in my arsenal of "must haves" for completing a build.

It takes some patience and time, but is well worth it Thumbs Up.

Love Velocity channel, Mecum Auctions and Barrett/Jackson auctions 







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