“Polishing Tutorial”

There are many methods you can use to get that “perfect” shine on your model.

Sometimes you’ll be lucky and the gloss/clear coat will go down smooth straight away without the need to polish it.

However, for most of us there is always a bit of texture, maybe the dreaded orange peel to deal with.
Maybe you want a much deeper shine?

This tutorial is one method of achieving a deep shine.

I cannot take the credit for this process that goes to Andy (M1CRO).

He showed me how to do this following conversations on how to get the best finish.

The basis for a deep shine starts with good preparation, cleaning the body, removing mould lines, sorting injector marks etc.

It is also important to have a very smooth primer finish.

You will need to have several layers of paint/clear as you will be sanding this back; I usually put 4 good layers of clear on my body shells.

Having used many types of paints over the years I now use Zero for the colour and clear; you have to use a clear coat with Zero paints because they dry Matt.

In this tutorial I will be using sanding sticks, polishing compounds and finally wax.

Yes, it is time consuming but if you want great results you have to put in the effort.

Here are the sanding sticks I use; the sequence is Grey, Green, White. The white stick is just a buffing stick and takes off virtually no material.


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sanding sticks

I find the sanding sticks easier to use than polishing cloths and they give a smoother finish.

However, you may still need polishing cloths if you need to get into a really tight area.

Please note, the sticks have a plastic middle which will damage your model; I try to cut this away to help eliminate this risk.

The secret to using these sanding sticks is very light pressure; too much and you will sand through to the colour coat or the primer.

Let the sanding sticks do the work!!

It can be very scary taking a sanding stick to your freshly painted/cleared model; I know I was very nervous!!

Go carefully and be very patient; stop and check your progress often. Be extra careful with edges as they are easy to sand through.

Tip: you should wipe away/wash any sanding residue regularly otherwise a piece of grit could create deeper scratches which are much harder to remove.

What you are trying to achieve is a smooth surface; you will know when you have achieved this as all the gloss will have been eliminated.

Ok, here’s the body shell after the clear coat has been allowed to cure for a week.

It is important that your paint/clear coat is hard before you start the polishing process otherwise you might affect the layers below.

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Before sanding

Now here is the body shell after many hours of careful sanding with the Grey stick; you’ll notice that the clear is very flat.

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After the Grey stick

Don’t be scared by this; once you get to the end the shine will be back and look so much smoother and deeper.

Ok, once you’re happy that you have removed any texture and the paint/clear is smooth you should wash and dry the body shell.

Now for the Green stick.

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After the Green stick

As you can see the Green stick has removed a lot of the scratches left by the Grey stick; again you should wash and dry the body shell.

Finally, we can use the White stick; this just buffs the surface.

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After the White stick

Still doesn’t look much does it? However, you can see the reflection beginning to come back.

Now its time for the polishing compounds; the ones I will be using are from Hiroboy.

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Zero polishing compounds from Hiroboy

With these compounds it is important to use a damp cloth; put a little compound on the cloth and work it gentle into the body shell.

You are seeking to remove the scratches left by the sanding sticks. It may take several goes; again stop and check your progress on a regular basis.

Don’t rub too hard; you have removed a lot of the paint/clear already.

Here’s how the body shell looked after the Course compound.

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After the course compound

Again, once you are satisfied with the finish, wash and dry the body shell; you need to remove any residue before moving on to the next compound.

Here is the body shell after the medium compound; you should work through the compounds as each successive one adds more shine.

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After the medium compound

Now we have arrived at the fine compound; there won’t be much change except you can now see how much of the shine has returned.

Also it won’t take as long to polish as for the previous compound because you are only removing tiny scratches.

You could eliminate this stage if your paint/clear is scratch free.

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After the fine compound

Finally, after you have washed the body shell one last time you can wax it. This is what I used.

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Zero wax from Hiroboy

And the result of all this effort:

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The shine looks much deeper and smoother

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After all the hard work!!

Worth all the effort? No texture and a deep shine!!

It took me a week to achieve this result; in all it was probably about 10 hours.

Did I sand through? Yes and here’s the proof

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Sanding through

What I did was to mask off the area and airbrush some paint.

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After repainting

Then I used the Green and White sticks to sand back to remove the ridge of paint that builds up where the masking tape is.

Then some clear before going back to the polishing.

Here’s the end result; you can’t see where I sanded through.

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After some clear coat and sanding

As I said right at the start, this is just one method of achieving a deep, smooth finish on your models.

There are plenty of others and you will have to experiment until you find the one that suits you.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful but please feel free to contact me with any questions/queries.

Best wishes