How to remove fake chrome from plastic models

Written by brenda priddy | 13/05/2017
How to remove fake chrome from plastic models
Removing model chrome paint consists of a two-part process. (belory4ka/iStock/Getty Images)

Fake chrome paint is a type of shiny plastic coating attached on top of plastic paint, often used with plastic models such as aeroplanes, helicopters and model cars. Removing the paint requires a two-part process: You must first remove the chrome coating and then remove the base paint. If you do not remove both parts of the coating, the plastic model will not take additional paint.

Wear rubber or latex gloves, safety glasses and a respirator mask when working with straight bleach. Bleach can damage the lungs, skin and eyes; take care when working with the chemical. Work in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.

Submerse the model in a container of bleach. Allow it to sit in the bleach solution for about 10 minutes, or until you start to see the chrome paint dissolve.

Rinse the plastic parts in clear water to remove the bleach from the surface of the model.

Place the model into an airtight container with the lid off. Spray the model with the oven cleaner, coating it as much as possible. Place the lid on the container, and allow the model to sit for two or three hours.

Remove the model from the container, and scrub the surface with an old toothbrush to remove any remaining paint from the surface. This removal method helps remove the base of the fake chrome paint to expose the bare plastic under the surface.

Repeat the process until you have completely stripped the paint away. Rinse the plastic model with water to remove the oven cleaner from its surface so new paint can adhere.


Test the oven cleaner on a scrap piece of plastic to ensure it will not damage the model. Some forms of plastic models may become damaged or warped with the application of oven cleaner.

Things you need

  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Respirator mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Small container
  • Airtight container
  • Oven cleaner
  • Old toothbrush

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