Just what you'd expect, but the canopies--clear and smoked--have a mold line running right down the middle. I know, "it's a simple matter of sanding down and repolishing"--but what the hell's the point of that?
Hmmnnn...I'd look at the cross section on those. An F-16 canopy bulges over the sides of the frame, and to mold it properly and be able to get it free of the mold, you need to make at least a three part die - that's where the seam on the outside of the canopy comes from.
I'd expect that any of the ones without a seam probably aren't molded to true scale cross section and are cheated to give the part draft for molding.
Not sure I'd consider Hasegawa a "garage" outfit, but my Hasegawa 1/48 F-16 kit canopies certainly do have a prominent mold line down the center of both the canopy and the rear fixed part.
The center mold seam is a result of making the canopy the correct shape. The F-16, like a number of other aircraft, have a bubble canopy where the sides pinch in just above the frame. You can't properly make this with a two part mold (top and bottom) because you wouldn't be able to pull the two halves apart without breaking the part. You have to use a three part mold (bottom and two sides). The center seam is where the two side molds come together. Almost every manufacturer used three part molds for canopies when necessary including Tamiya, Hasegawa, Trumpeter, Revell, etc. If someone is making F-16 injection molded canopies without a seam, then the canopy is the wrong shape, and that would not be uncommon in an older kit. About the only way to prevent the seam is to make the canopy out of vacuform plastic or clear resin.
Okay, that makes sense--and my f-16s were the older ones. What's the best way to do it?
Tamiya produces what they call a "polishing compound", which is alleged to be quite good for such cases, but I have never tried it myself (although I do have a tube that must have turned to concrete by now)
Random link I found:
I think some people use polishing compounds designed for brass-silverware (brasso & silvo being two brands we have around), I can't comment on that either, but I'd expect them to be a tad aggressive.
What *I* do is to use the backside of an Xacto blade and scrape the seam off. Then work up in wet sanding till almost clear, than a plastic polish like NOVUS, or Microscale and after that a fine CLEAN cloth and gentle rubbing.
They do make sandpaper up 25,000 grit, check a local auto supply store that sells good automotive paint. They will have it and or similar materials.
I suppose I should have mentioned that the compound is to be used to restore the canopy's shine *after* one has scraped and sanded the seam flat. So, essentially, the method you suggest is what I had in mind, the only difference being that you use a plasic polish, whereas I have been told to use Tamiya's compound. I've also heard that denim makes a god rubbing cloth. And I've never used all that advice, ny Hasegawa F-16 is still in its box :-)
The Tamiya polishing compound is just fine, I have used that also. No problems.
The key (IMHO) is in the wet sanding. You want to sand as little as possible, which means really going up in grit gradually. I started at 350 grit, got the seam remains down and even, and made sure I didn't flat spot the canopy. Then it was a simple matter of working up to 1200 grit +, and than the plastic polish. Done in a methodical fashion, this should take between ten and twenty minutes to do.
The other key item is to make sure you have wiped the canopy down BETWEEN sanding grits so as not to rub in more scratches as you go up in grit. Wipe clean with a clean cloth and water before going up to the next higher grit sandpaper always.
One of the handiest things in the world is a #25lb box of rags from your local paint store. Get the highest grade they have. (lint free)
I no longer have the lawn dart that I built, but will post some pic's of it in the next week. (a.b.m.s.)