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Window tint

RELATED TOPICS: WINDOW | TINT
Q: I'm building a PT Cruiser model and was wondering how I can tint the windows slightly. Not totally black, just a mild tint.

- Todd Keyes
via E-mail

I like the word "mild" in your question, Todd. Sometimes a subtle change can be more visually appealing than a radical custom modification, and a slight tint should give your Cruiser some serious eye appeal. In the case of tinted windows, "mild" is synonymous with "transparent" and there are several ways to achieve the desired effect.

If you'll be using an airbrush, mix a small amount of color with some clear enamel. For this process, stay away from acrylic model paint, which is softer and less durable than enamel. Thin the mixture with a compatible thinner, then airbrush it onto the inside of the Cruiser's glass. Use low air pressure and several thin layers of color until you achieve the desired effect. With practice, you should even be able to fade from a darker shade at the top of the windshield to a lighter shade at the bottom. Clear sheet styrene can also be tinted using this technique.

You don't necessarily need an airbrush to tint windows. Frequent contributor and renowned modeler Juha Airio, shared his techniques for brush-painting tinted windows in the October 2001 issue of Scale Auto Enthusiast. Juha uses Humbrol metallic enamel paint (which can be difficult to locate in this country, but other metallics should work as well). His technique calls for pouring off the tinted liquid at the top of the paint jar after the metallic particles have settled to the bottom. The tinted liquid is then mixed with clear enamel, thinned to a brushable consistency, and painted on the glass with a soft, wide artist's brush.

Colored acetate photo filters could also be used to duplicate the car's glass, particularly for the flat door glass panels. A while ago, I picked up a pack of square (approximately 3" x 3") tinted acetate filters used by professional photographers in a darkroom. The pack contained dozens of different tints that I've been using for years. In spite of the popularity of digital imaging, acetate filters are still available at photo supply stores.


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