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FROM THE October 2008 ISSUE

Cleaning paint marks off promo cars

RELATED TOPICS: PAINT
Q: I began collecting promo cars and building kit cars at about age 10. Over the course of time, my promos and built models were stored in a chest, and moved around the world a few times and across the US twice. In the process of these moves and storage, the paint (probably Testor's) from the built cars came in contact with the promos, and now I have marks on the promo cars.

I tried Windex and light rubbing with a paper towel, to no avail. Is there anything that can be used to clean the finishes of the promos that won't do further damage?

- Ed Boyd
Via E-mail


Ken: Congratulations on remaining true to the hobby for so many years, Ed. It takes a lot of dedication to move a crate of models to so many places.

Because your collection covers quite an extensive time period, during which paints and plastic used in both promos and kits have been subject to change, there are too many variables for us to provide a definitive solution.

However, we're going to assume (and hope) the kit car paint didn't melt, not the promo paint, and that the damage is only skin deep. If that's the case, glass cleaner isn't abrasive enough to clean the surface; try a mild automotive rubbing compound applied with a soft rag. Gently work it into the blemish and see if it starts to lift. Examine the rag frequently, and if you start to see the promo color show up on the rag, stop before you burn through the paint.

You might also try using paint thinner and a cotton swab, which may lift the Testor's (or whatever the brand) without harming the promo. Using anything stronger is risky business, but if you're feeling exceptionally brave, experiment with a touch of lacquer thinner if the other methods don't work.

Experiment on a less-than-obvious section of the car that's damaged, in case you compromise the promo paint. In a more-pessimistic vein, if the kit car paint has damaged the promo paint deeper than the surface, you may need a major stripping-and-painting restoration.

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