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Mark Aldrich

Chrome Plating ?????

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Being a TreadHead, I don't do cars very often. However, I have a question regarding Chrome plated parts. Has the chemical compound changed or are manufacturers using less or a combo of both? I have a new re-release Revell kit and went to de-chrome some parts and the plating actually disolved off the parts while I watched.....about 30 seconds. I went and got my old AMT ERTL Mack DM800 and sprayed the other tank (I de-chromed one about 4 months ago) to compare. I left the EASY OFF on for 15 minutes and it did not even phase it. After respraying and letting it sit at least two hours, I was able to brush about 80% off. Now, the AMT ERTL kit is VERY OLD (Me and my Dad build one back in the early 70s. That is why I was wondering.

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I'm no expert, but I'm betting there are significant differences in the "chrome" being plated on today's models as compared to those up through the 70s. Lead has pretty much been eliminated from paints, and I'm guessing it's been removed from the plating process too. I can remember when Testors and Pactra chrome enamel paints would actually plate out when you brushed them on. Now, they merely look silver, but don't plate out.

 

I replace all car kit chrome with Alclad chrome. Since you always end up with little nicks and marks from where you rermove the parts from the trees, and sanding mold marks removes even more, it's simpler to paint them gloss black and then mist on the Alclad chrome. It looks more to scale too!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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Thanks Gil! I ended up using a silver paint and while it looks nice...is definitely not chrome.

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Mark,

On those rare occasions when I need to remove "chrome" I use brake fluid. Usually, after just few minutes the chrome can be easily removed with a toothbrush or just a paper towel. Of course, the part must then be washed thoroughly. And to simulate a chrome surface I use Alclad Chrome....its stunningly realistic in appearance.

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Mark,

 

Some chrome parts may have a clear coating over top of the plating; that might take a little more time/solvent to strip. I've always had good luck using laundry bleach (Clorox) to remove chrome; usually the plating dissolves in seconds - just be careful to keep it out of your eyes and rinse the parts before handling, and be careful not to rinse small parts down the drain :( One of those little mesh kitchen strainers comes in handy here.

 

Under the chrome you'll probably find a layer of gloss clear laquer that is sprayed on as part of the plating process to give the part a shiny finish (sometimes you'll see runs in this coating). I you want to get to bare plastic (to get a perfectly smooth finish for some kinds of metalizer) you probably want to use oven cleaner or some other paint-stripper once the chrome is gone.

 

There is something called "Castrol Super Clean" (check auto parts store - I think its a part degreaser that contains lye) that is alleged to do a good job all in one step, but I've never used it.

 

I agree that Alclad gives the most believable (to scale) chrome finish, but if you want to recreate the super-bright chrome that comes in the kit, there are companies (chrometechusa.com) that can apply that finish (after you've stripped the original chrome and cleaned up mold-lines and such).

 

Don

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Hey Mark

I used brake fluid on an old 1960s Palmer kit and it took a couple days. Lately I used it again on a new car kit from MPC and it took about an hour. I also noticed the Palmer kit chrome seemed to be thicker than the MPC. Never thought about it much until you mentioned it.

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