Clear Windows by Dave Hackett

I am going to show you how I created the clear windows to be lit in my AMT Bird of prey kit. There’s nothing overly fancy here, and I kept it really simple on purpose.

You’ll see I have the top half of the BOP upside down in an old butter dish. I cut out a notch in the side to lower the part in the dish so I wouldn’t waste so much RTV. I put a small piece of kleen clay around the back of the neck to seal it up so no leaks would occur. Kleen clay is a special kind of clay that won’t stick to things so bad. Any clay will work, super sculpey or whatever you have.

The RTV compound I use is from Micro Mark, and it’s easy as pie to use. You can order it online at micromark.com. It’s a simple 1/1 mixture, just follow the directions. I use a couple plastic dixie cups to hold the two separate components of the RTV.

When you pour the liquid RTV into the cup, do it from up high, and in a corner and let the compound flow from the corner out and find it’s own path. This keeps the air bubbles from getting too bad. You can see them pop as they flow out and over the edge of the cup.

You can see what it looks like all poured. Impressive how I hit the table and slopped it all over, huh? Only a genius could of done that. When it dries it comes right up.

The completed mold

Now take the part out of the mold, and drill out around one of the windows neatly. If you wanted to, you could take the whole section out for a neat clean sanding free finish. I’m doing one window at a time because the part is curved, and I want the epoxy to stay put and not run down the insides.

Put the part back in the mold, and make sure it’s flush and snug down

Use a 5 minute clear epoxy of your choice, and mix it up slowly and carefully to avoid bubbles. You will only need a very small amount. Put the epoxy in the corner like you did with the RTV, and let it find it’s own way to fill up the window. It needs to be the same thickness as the plastic of the kit.

After 15 minutes or so, you can take the part out, and you should have a nice clear window that you can wet sand lightly with 400 and have a flush window just like it was made that way. The epoxy may stay sticky for a while while it’s curing. Give it a day or so to get tack free.

Mask the window off with either liquid masking film, or liquid latex, and prime it up. There should be no indication you have spliced in a clear panel at all. If there is, just fill it or sand it as needed. This helps put lighting a ship on a totally easier level to deal with.

Dave Hackett

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