Shine On… The Many Uses of Johnson's Klear

by Howard Freeman

Klear is a water based acrylic floor polish coating that was developed by SC Johnson Wax Co. And we can get some serious use out of this household product too…

It goes by a number of different names in different countries, such as Future in the US, Super Shine in Australia, and Pronto Wax in the Netherlands. Whatever the name it's the same product and it has the same wonderful features too.

If you add a few drops of Tamiya flat base into Klear it can then be used as a matt varnish - in fact by varying the amount of Tamiya flat base anything from Satin to a dead matt finish can be created. A ratio of 7:1 Klear to Tamiya is a good basis to start experimenting with. If you have any transparencies, vehicle windows or cockpits say, dip them in neat Klear, they come out crystal clear and scratches can disappear too.

Klear can be coloured blue or green with food dye to make tinted sun visors for car windscreens. Tinted red it can be used to colour the lenses for Infra red searchlights. The UV lights and dazzlers on modern armour are also possible with good references.

However - Klear is not perfect, it does have a very few vices. When wet it's a dust magnet, so it does need to be left under a cover to dry - although it is pretty fast drying. I have a one gallon acrylic plastic fish tank that goes over the top of anything that's wet as soon as I've finished brushing

If you dip anything in Klear it may pool around the bottom edges, so you will need to sit it on a piece of kitchen towel or similar to wick away any surplus.

Klear dries so fast it can leave residue in the bristles of even the best brushes - this can be cleaned up with a little isopropyl alcohol, which can be bought quite cheaply from a lot of chemists - provided you are over eighteen of course. Be prepared to be asked why you want it, and also to be told you can't drink it!

But, that's the bad news over with. Back to the good news again! It can be either brushed or sprayed, straight from the bottle without any thinning needed, but as it dries so fast care needs to be taken with an airbrush. If it should gum up your airbrush an ammonia based liquid cleaner will shift it, but be careful of any neoprene or plastic washers in the nozzle. You can buy ammonia at chemists and it will do the job, but it will smell - you'll realise what it smells of after just one whiff believe me !

A typical session might go like this: Spray or brush a base coat on your built model. Add some oil stains on the engine deck with some well-thinned Tamiya black or panzer grey. And I mean well thinned - start off with 70% water! Then Brush or spray a coat of Klear on. Next get some more of your thinned Tamiya mix. Dripping this into the panel lines will pop out the detail, as the water will wick the paint into the crevices and evaporate - leaving a tint behind. If it's not enough try it again, the effect can be built up until you are happy with the result. Add decals now - they will sit on the glassy smooth surface with no trouble. Once dry another coat of Klear will seal them in and help to loose the decal film. Next drybrushing, and finally a mix of Tamiya flat and Klear will give the matt, satin or semi-gloss final coat you want to complete a superb model.