I felt a bit better about the damage to the paint job after calming down and looking it all over. The alligator skin was not all over the model. It appeared to be mostly in areas where I had laid down a heavier layer of clear coat. So now I feel a bit better about being able to remedy this situation.
I finally received my bottle of Tamiya Lacquer thinner that I had order last week. Others had advised that the lacquer thinner would be able to remove the crinkled finish so I ordered some. I got out some cotton buds and started removing the damaged finish. I started with the back end of the engine cover since it had some of the worst crinkling and it had an area with a smooth surface without much detail. I dipped a cotton bud in some of the lacquer thinner and started rubbing the surface. With very little effort the rough surface came off, but so did all the paint and primer. It took it down to the bare plastic.
The problem was that in the process of removing the paint it created clumps of paint that could get lodged in some of the fine details. If I used this process on the whole model, it would take a lot of clean up to get all the clumps out of the details. It got me to thinking about some alternatives. I had some 90% isopropyl alcohol. I used it to clean brushes after painting, and I wondered if it might work here. The main concern was whether it would do any good against the lacquer clear coat. I gave it a shot anyway. It worked! I was able to remove the alligator skin and keep much of the paint/primer in place. The new surface was smooth and looked like it would be able to be re-sprayed and still look good. In the photo above, you can see in the areas above and to the right of the bare plastic where I used the alcohol and was able to preserve the primer but also smooth the paint. It also didn’t create balls of paint that could gunk up the fine details.
After going over the whole model and removing the alligator skin, I let it dry for a couple of days to let the paint firm back up before re-spraying the white-gray base coat again.
It now looks good again and I’ll let the paint cure for a few days. This will give me a chance to get some Vallejo clear coat and matt coat. I’ll use those since they should be more compatible with the Vallejo paint that was used for the base coat. I’ll still test it on a test part first to be sure there isn’t some other problem that could crop up.
That’s it for now. Thanks for looking.