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Clear coating race car models. Should they be that shiny?!


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#1 IMSANUT

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 09:54 AM

Something that has been sort of bugging me for a while is the clear coating of racing models, especially older subjects. I've been to a ton of races, mostly road races, over the past 33 years, and to a car, I have never seen them shine like most of the models I have seen. Especially contest models. Curious as to what others think.

 



#2 martinfan5

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 10:03 AM

Race cars should not have a contest winning shine to them



#3 Chuck Most

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 10:09 AM

My take on it...

If I clear the paint, decals get cleared... IF  they are meant to represent graphics which are or would have been painted on the 1:1. If they are meant to be the adhesive-backed sponsor stickers, they go on after that, without clear. I never try to get my race cars too shiny, because practically no 1:1 race car ever is.

 

Sometimes I'll bend or break my own rule, but that's the gist.



#4 o-man

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 10:45 AM

Yes, I was wondering the same thing.  I've got an old 7-11 IMSA mustng I've started decalling the body of.  I did clear it with Future, mainly to keep old decals down.  Is there a semi-gloss or flat clear available that doesn't need an airbrush to use?  I've got a Mark Martin Valvoline T-bird I need to clear.



#5 Scale-Master

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 10:54 AM

There is no one correct answer.  Some real cars are better finished than others, and when in a timeline makes a difference too.  Pre-race versus post-race for example.  Plus often presentation and restored cars are detailed better than workhorse race cars.  I have seen some race cars that look shabby, others that look fantastic, at least before the race.

 

Then you have the issue of when you scale something down, the surface becomes finer, maybe definable as shinier.  And that is somewhat subjective too.

 

As far as “contest models”, what defines them from other models? I’m not sure why different approaches need to be taken if that was what you were getting at.

 

Build it the way you want it to look for yourself, and if you are building for someone else, find out what they want and try to match that.  If you are building to please some arbitrary judges, you’re on your own; I got nothing for that… B)

 

While it is true that many (most?) of the older cars were not clear coated, it doesn’t mean that by using clear it is automatically not going to give you the desired results.  Just as many real cars that are clear coated can be realistically replicated in scale using other paint methods, and no clear.  Factor in decals with different sheens than paints, and other inconsistencies… To me, each project needs to be assessed on its own merits.

 

 

 

 

 



#6 Harry P.

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 11:08 AM

The easy answer: Look at the real car you're modeling, and copy what you see.



#7 CadillacPat

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 11:09 AM

You might also consider how you will be displaying your cars, how they will be exposed to the elements, and what they will look like 10 or more years down the road if they are not Cleared.

 

CadillacPat



#8 Guest_G Holding_*

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 11:15 AM

The easy answer: Look at the real car you're modeling, and copy what you see.

 

 

You might also consider how you will be displaying your cars, how they will be exposed to the elements, and what they will look like 10 or more years down the road if they are not Cleared.

 

CadillacPat

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#9 Jantrix

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 11:50 AM

I'm with Pat. I want the decals to last forever. Not dry up and flake off over twenty years. So I will clear my race cars. But I will not polish.

#10 Tom Geiger

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 12:06 PM

IMG_3067-vi.jpg

 

OMG, that's what I forgot!  Clear coat and polish.

 

Harry is accurate, look at the car you are replicating and copy the reflection levels.  The IROC shops used to be in NJ and I got invited to their open house a couple of times. Man were those cars rough!  

 

iroc227s-vi.jpg

 

body damage, tears in fiberglass just rivited back together, over spray and damage repaired in different shine levels like old NYC taxis!  They only have to look good from the stands!


Edited by Tom Geiger, 15 April 2013 - 12:08 PM.


#11 Harry P.

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 12:11 PM

I'm with Pat. I want the decals to last forever. Not dry up and flake off over twenty years. So I will clear my race cars. But I will not polish.

 

I have models well over 30 years old, no clear. I have never, ever had any decal dry up or flake off any model. Ever. Is this a real problem? Or are you assuming that if you don't clear, the decals will eventually fall off?

 

I have never seen that happen. If it's never happened to my models (all manufacturers, all different decal manufacturers), why is it happening to others?



#12 Jantrix

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 12:14 PM

 

 Or are you assuming that if you don't clear, the decals will eventually fall off?

 

 

I have bought older glue bombs that had decals flaking off. Granted they were 30 years old, very likely, and put on badly, but still. So yes, it is mostly assumption.



#13 CadillacPat

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 12:17 PM

Harry, I've seen a lot of old faded dried up decals with raised edges on a lot of faded discolored paintjobs, because people did not ClearCoat their Models that then sat on shelves for years and years.

 

CadillacPat



#14 Harry P.

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 12:18 PM

I have bought older glue bombs that had decals flaking off. Granted they were 30 years old, very likely, and put on badly, but still. So yes, it is mostly assumption.

 

I'd be willing to bet the decals were applied improperly. Soaked in water too long, all the glue soaked off. Like I said, I have models 30+ years old, I've never seen any sign of any decal coming off any model that I've ever built. IMO the practice of clearing to "protect" decals is completely unnecessary. Of course, it's harmless... and if someone sleeps better at night feeling their decals are "protected," more power to 'em. But from my experience, totally unnecessary if the decals were applied correctly in the first place.



#15 gtx6970

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 12:59 PM

I have a few pictures of old drag cars and it's pretty clear to see the lettering on the side of the car is just as shiny as the car itself. Was every race done this way ? no idea .

 

exibit A

DodgeBoys64interior.jpg

 

I started clearing over decals after I bought a few old builtups and on a few of them the decals are old and flakey . To each there own.

 

 

When I did this one, I wanted to seal the decals down and cleared the whole car. It's a not a mile deep shine like some I've seen , it even has a just ever so slight  bit of orange peel that I refuse to rub out because I think it more accurately represents the 1/1 the way it is . IMO only btw

catalina3.JPG


Edited by gtx6970, 15 April 2013 - 04:49 PM.


#16 kitbash1

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:37 PM

​As someone who has been involved in racing for almost thirty years as a track side official, I can say with confidence that the cars that I've seen and been close to ARE clear coated. They have a shine to their finishes, but not that mile deep shine that you will see on show cars. Some cars are painted and some cars are covered by wraps, but each has a shine to the finish. But by the end of race they all look the same, very dull, oily and dirty.



#17 Jon Cole

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:55 PM

My take on it... it's a model car first. Even if it's a replica of a 1:1 car, it's still a model. So do whatever you want. If you think it will make you happy to clearcoat, then clearcoat. The shiny model always gets the nod. Unless... it is supposed to be satin, such as a rat rod. Personally, I would not coat over the decals, but I may clear the paint before decal app. That's just me, though.



#18 IMSANUT

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 04:29 PM

Yes, I was wondering the same thing.  I've got an old 7-11 IMSA mustng I've started decalling the body of.  I did clear it with Future, mainly to keep old decals down.  Is there a semi-gloss or flat clear available that doesn't need an airbrush to use?  I've got a Mark Martin Valvoline T-bird I need to clear.

Testors used to offer both semi-gloss and flat IIRC.



#19 IMSANUT

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 04:35 PM

As far as “contest models”, what defines them from other models? I’m not sure why different approaches need to be taken if that was what you were getting at.

 

By contest models, I was mainly commenting on those that I have seen at contests, and those that are photographed for periodicals. I have always held the belief that race cars do not have show car finishes and most of the miniature replicas, like those in the photo's from the recent NNL, have an unnatural to my eye overly shiny look.

 

 

 

 



#20 NHRA715

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 04:46 PM

Two of my Drag Race cars did have clear coat and they really stood out in the staging lanes, looked great in photos etc. ( sponsor decals over clear as they were updated every year )