How to clean a Model

Having a model on display could represent a Brand or a Corporate logo. It could also be on display as a personal memento that is dear to your heart.

Cleaning Maid
Oh – Really!

In either case, the models that are on display will eventually have to be cleaned due to environmental dirt’s.  I will attempt to give you some insight as to ‘ How to clean a Model ‘ and the products that are    recommended.

Some Ideas that will guide you in caring for your Models

Cover them up

If I have my model on display, I certainly don’t want to cover it up.  But, there are times when you want to store the model in a place where it is not on display.  The model needs to be protected and the best materials are plain linen muslin, or acid-free tissue paper.  The purpose is to remove the model from the harsh environment, limiting surface dust and exposure to light.

Using materials that are common for other storage items is not safe for Models.  Bubble wrap, foam or newspaper should not be used as these material decay and chemically breakdown.  When in contact with the surface of your model, these materials can damage the surface and paint.

Put them away

When storing your models, you will undoubtedly use boxes or a container.  Two containers that are good are seal-able plastic tubs or acid-free boxes with lids.  In both cases, you will wrap the model with plain linen muslin or acid-free tissue paper.

Frequent and rapid temperature and relative humidity changes

Organic-based materials (balsa and tissue) as well as some synthetic materials used in the construction of models are subject to ‘Thermal Creep’.  These materials are subject to expansion and contraction when the environment changes in temperatures. This constant temperature movement will cause the materials to break and tear over time.

Do not use solvents or adhesives on the model.

Solvents and adhesives leave chemical residue on an object that can continue to act on the model even after it has been wiped off.  If you are cleaning a model or object with a non-porous covering, try vacuuming the dirt off first and then cleaning with a compound called Orvus paste.  Orvus also works well for cleaning fabric items.

Don’t handle the models.

Holding a model Airplane
Holding a model Airplane

When handling your models, acids in human skin, along with any dirt or other material on a person’s hands is left behind on the models’ surface.  Over time, this acid, dirt and grime can etch into the painted surface causing damage.

Recommended cleaners

Buying acid-free materials may seem like an expensive extra step, but it pays off in the long run. There are two products that restoration companies use.  ‘Absorene Dirt Eraser‘.

If you are using a cleaning cloth, pay attention to the fine details of the model as the threads of the cloth can snag the models detail and damage the surface.

To mitigate the need to clean your models, displaying them in a display case will greatly reduce the environmental dusts and will prevent observers from handling your models.

I welcome any information from you that you may have regarding any techniques or practices that serve you in cleaning your models.  It would benefit the community and I certainly like to hear of new methods.

Please leave a comment below and tell us about what you have learned.

If you would like to learn more about Model Airplanes,
please look at the links below.

Best Gift Giving Ideas – Airplane Models
Executive Airplane Models – Large, Static, and Beautiful
Commercial Airplane Models
Large Scale Commercial Airplane Models
Large Scale Airplane Models
Large Scale Plastic Models
Model Airplane Display Cases

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