Pwn Your Ride!


Pwn Your Ride
By James Brown and Jeremy Painter

Adding transparent windows to trucks and other vehicles is probably more effort than it’s worth for most modellers. But for those with the time and inclination to go that extra step, it’s a fun and surprisingly easy way to add that extra something to your models. 

You will need:
Blister plastic
A sharp modelling knife
Cutting mat
A ruler
PVA or white glue
Fine sandpaper

Using Blister Plastic...

Measuring and cutting is probably the most challenging step. The simplest method is to carefully measure the dimensions of the window, then cut the plastic accordingly. Alternatively, you can cut one square corner, position it against the inside of the window hole, and mark the other edges with a small paintbrush.

Use a sharp blade and a ruler or straight edge to cut out your window section – scissors are not ideal, as they tend to leave a creased edge. Cutting leaves a visually prominent burred edge on the plastic, so it is a good idea to carefully smooth the edges with sandpaper. Be sure to test-fit each piece before gluing it in place. A reasonably tight fit is good, but slightly too small is fine, as the glue will hide any tiny gaps.

I recommend using PVA. Cyanoacrylate glues like Superglue give off a vapour when warm, which can leave frosty white marks on surrounding surfaces. This can be useful, if you want your glass to look dusty or shattered, but it is an uncontrolled and unpredictable effect.

Using a toothpick or other handy device, apply the glue carefully to the edges of the window gap – this is less likely to make a mess than applying it to the window piece. A thin line of glue around each edge is enough to hold the plastic firmly in place and fill small gaps. Position edges first, then carefully hinge the window into place.


PVA Glue ‘Webbing’

An alternative technique for small to medium-sized windows is to web PVA glue straight across the gap. This is quite easy to do, with a bit of practice. Use an old brush, load it with plenty of glue, and try to pull the glue across from one side to the other. Microscale Industries – – make a product called Kristal Klear, which is designed specifically for this purpose. But if you can’t get your hands on any, PVA works just fine.

This method is quicker and easier than cutting blister plastic, but it doesn’t look quite as realistic, as the glue will settle more thickly at the edges and can stay a little milky-looking. 


Finishing Touches

If you use a spray-on matt varnish, you will most likely want to apply it before adding your windows. Otherwise it will tend to give them a milky, translucent finish. This is a nice way of representing extremely dirty or icy windows – on destroyed or abandoned equipment, for example – but it will look a little strange on operational vehicles.


As a final step, you can paint dust on to your windows using a thin layer of very watered-down dust coloured paint such as Military Khaki (FWP327). Leaving wiper-shaped dust-free areas on front windscreens looks very effective.


Obviously not everyone will want to add glass to all of their vehicles. But if you have the time and patience, the uses are endless. Even vehicles with solid, recessed windows, like this Opel Blitz radio truck, can benefit from the addition of plastic, which gives a flatter, more convincing glassy surface than gloss varnish could ever achieve. 

Broken glass, such as in these destroyed vehicles, is particularly eye-catching.

Good luck and happy modelling!

—James and Jeremy
Windows! Windows!
Windows! Windows!