Tips on finding the elusive Johnsons Klear floor polish

Johnsons Klear acrylic floor polish has been popular with model makers of all disciplines for the past decade or so and many of us mourned the day that it was discontinued. It has resurfaced in a number of other guises since, however, the re-formulated versions have not been so user-friendly or as crystal clear. But, the latest incarnation, 'Pledge Multi Surface Wax with Klear', is very nearly as good as the original. It looks a bit milky in the jar, but it can be used in exactly the same way and it dries transparent.
The bottle on the left is the original stuff, now a highly prized asset for many (I know a few modellers who have a dozen or so bottles stashed away). I've had this one for about 8 years and am only about a third of the way through it. It makes an ideal, pre-thinned acrylic varnish that can be built up to anything from a subtle, satin sheen to a very deep gloss, depending on the number of coats applied. 

Spraying neat through an airbrush makes for a very convenient finishing medium and it's great for use with waterslide decals too. It's also superb for hand brushing with soft sable-haired brushes and dries in about 20 minutes. Brushes and tools can be cleaned in soapy water.
It can be used for countless other things too, like:
  • attaching etched nameplates 
  • repairing and enhancing clear plastic glazing 
  • fixing glazing into bodyshells 
  • sealing scenic scatter material 
  • mimicking puddles and fluid spillages 
  • and polishing tiled floors! 

Anyway, the point of this post is to settle a number of queries that I've had from Model Rail readers who have been asking how to get hold of the stuff. Well, there are some model outlets selling the original stuff in jars at inflated prices, but you can also toddle down to your local Morrisons and pick up a 750ml bottle for about a fiver, which should last about 20years.


  1. George, I am a keen modeller (ex-IMPS finalist many moons back before life got in the way) and I can say that the latest version is ok and can be used for a variety of modelling scenario's. However, having the original is still the best when you want to build competition entry models.

    May I ask you for your advice? How do you recover a modern diesel loco from a botched weathering (I'm assuming the previous owner used an acrylic black spray) job without wanting to remove the original manufacturer's paint work and how do I recover the windows?

    Many thanks and thank you for sharing your great modelling artwork and tips.

  2. Hi Marcus,
    Thanks for the comment and the opinion on the new Klear formula.
    As for your query: If you want to keep the original factory finish, try rubbing the surface with T-Cut (the original formula, not the coloured version), applied with cotton buds. It'll take a bit of rubbing, but it will usually shift enamel or acrylic paints. Only work on a small area at a time and don't use too much T-Cut or the factory paint will also be removed. However, it's likely that the printed-on logos and numbers will be softened, so you may have to replace them with transfers. The T-Cut will also be good on the glazing. WIpe off all traces of the T-Cut afterwards and buff with a soft cloth and a toothbrush.
    Otherwise, some fine abrasive sticks, like the Squadron pads or Micromesh sheets will abrade away the acrylics without damaging the factory finish - as long as you're careful.
    You could always try white spirit and cotton buds, in case the weathering paint is enamel, but keep this away from the glazing.
    I hate trying to get rid of old acrylic weathering - usually just bite the bullet and strip it back to bare plastic and start again!

    Hope this helps,

  3. Hi George.
    Sorry if this is a really stupid question, but i've never heard of this stuff and wanted to double check. Are you saying that I can use this product like a varnish, to seal a weathering job or new transfers?

    1. Hi Stuart,
      Yes, Klear can be used like a regular acrylic varnish - brushed or sprayed through an airbrush.
      It dries quickly and is very hardwearing (it has been designed for floors, after all!).

  4. George, Many thanks for getting back to me. I shall try them.

    Aside, I have a confession to make; it is through the intrepid adventures of the team at Model Rail and yourself who have got me hooked on this Model Rail malarkey, especially for realistic modelling (and Iain Rice's great one volume book Realistic Modelling). I have always been a keen military and wargaming modeller, but thanks to my father who got a small railway set for my two young boys, last Christmas, I forgotten how much fun it is to see a train formation go around a track.

    The itch started and I had to purchase some magazines to get back into the swing of things (last time I played with trains was when my green Airfix Commandos were trying to derail and / or blow up my fathers "Deutsch" Flying Scotsman with wagon loads of Airfix blue Germans), I picked up Model Rail - wow how things had progressed-state of the art modelling, clear, concise, instructional articles, hints and tips.

    Model Rail defined it for me, I knew what I had to do. I wanted to make my own track and super detail locos and wagons. There were two articles that sold it for me: MR153 making your own points and your superb article of the Class 37 MR160 - I am now a proud owner just this week of a C37LG Bachmann Class 37 and will be following step by step your article....to hopefully achieve the same effect.

    Being an ex-IT Director (started as a systems engineer) I am looking forward to working with DCC on my layouts. I have read the small booklet in Model Rail and Hornby Mag. on DCC, but would welcome a more advance booklet on DCC, as I am interested to learn how others have utilised DCC, track, trains and signals and I am interested in the reasons behind the use of DCC zones etc. Also should I really have a DC track on my layout as well as DCC? Every DCC loco needs running in on a...DC track...what would be the best approach to this etc.

    Talking about Blue things, now, that I am hooked, thanks to your article about your other article musing for BR Blue I recall I use to live on top of Skelton Junction and not far from Northenden/Sharston Junction and saw many, Blue Diesels of freight trains....

    Now I am aiming to create two layouts - somewhere based upon Oxenholme, Cumbria (not far from where I now live) based upon steam era 1914 to 1946 but making it modular to take it up to modern day, and the actual Blue Circle Cement works on the Northenden Junction with the line going back to Skelton....BR Blue to Modern Day. Many hours of enjoyment ahead, particularly on the modelling. Keep up with the blog (if you could use tags that would be most helpful for deep searches) and my warm regards to all at Model Rail for an excellent first class realistic railway modelling magazine. Keep it up.

    Warmest regards


    *aka DadExtraordinaire (Twitter)

  5. THanks for the kind comments about Model Rail. We're hoping to get more of the kind of DCC stuff that should appeal to you in the mag this year - glad that the recent booklet was useful.
    The layout projects sound interesting. I know Skelton junction quite well (or how it used to be) - it would make a great layout.

  6. Hi George
    I've been using Klear for a couple of years now to give my locos a nice sheen on their boilers.
    Here is Gresley A1 '2548 'Galtee More' representing how she looked in the late 1930's. I used a colour rail photo as my basis. The Klear has a magic quality.

    As it happens I have an article in next weeks 'Model Rail' on my replacement O1 door.
    Keep up the great work, I always look forward to your 'how to' articles.

    Best Wishes

    Tom Foster

  7. Hi Tom,
    THanks for the comment and link - the A1 looks lovely. I enjoyed reading your feature in the latest Model Rail. The blue A1 in the background of one of the images (pg53) also has that nice sheen on the boiler.
    All the best,

  8. It will amuse you to know that there was a company in Ayr during the 1980's that used the Johnson's formula under licence (which they called ACP) to coat curtain sides for HGV's...it had the effect of curing the static build up which attracts dirt...they went on to claim all sorts of advantages and at one time coated almost the entire Western SMT bus fleet with the stuff!

  9. Crikey. I bet those buses looked shiny! I can vouch that Merseytravel didn't use it on their buses in the '80s...

  10. I should add an opposite view, I think. I searched everywhere for some of the original stuff and eventually my wife came home with a bottle from Aldis. It went on a slot car I'd sprayed with Halfords BRP light green and decalled with some nice silk screened waterslides (proper transfers). It looked great. Then, after a week, it wrinkled and softened everything. In disgust I threw it in a drawer. More than a year later I looked at it and it was just a gooey mess, so molten that I was able to rub it all off with a tissue.
    So be careful. It isn't always the answer to a maiden's prayer. I flogged the damned stuff on ebay for an obscene profit.
    Vallejo gloss varnish is excellent through an airbrush and so is Lechler Akrifan, which I have used over all manner of substrates for a glass like tough as old boots shine, including woodwork!

  11. Never heard of using this before. Just a pity whilst clearing out my late mums house last year I binned a bottle, pretty full one too.

  12. Hi George
    I have just brought your book Weathering for Railway Modellers and I love the scene in the photograph on the right hand side of page 8. Please can you tell me what the engine is and what scale the scene is in. My background is model houses, so I am not very familiar with trains. However, I have just taken out a subscription to Model Rail as the techniques presented in the magazine are brilliant for us larger scale 'dollshouse' people.
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Jenny,
      Hope you enjoy the weathering book and your Model Rail subscription. Do you mean the little red steam engine? If so, it was based on a cheap Hornby OO gauge 'Smokey Joe' model, but with a new bodyshell from a resin kit by ARC Models which, I believe, is no longer available.
      You can read a few of my blog posts on this kit, starting here:

      and here:


      Best wishes,

  13. Hi George, I guess that there is a limited market for this in the modelling world but you know I somethings think that Johnson's have missed a trick or two with this product, I was first made aware of this more than a few years ago via a model aircraft website, I got hold of a bottle and stored it with my modeling stuff only to find my late mother found it and used it on the floors, of the bungalow, as you might guess I was not a happy bunny, thanks for all the inspirational articles you guys do they have got the creative juices running again.

  14. Sorry, couldn't help but chuckle about your mum using up your Klear on the floors! I've just been trialling a new medium from a well-known source which promises to be as good as Johnsons Klear. Watch this space!

    1. Did your new medium turn out to be as good as Klear and if so hat is it please?

    2. Hi. To be honest, I can't remember what product I was referring to in that comment. It can't have been that good if it hasn't stuck in my memory!

  15. Hi George
    I've just bought a bottle of Johnson's new Klear and it does go on very nicely with the airbrush. One question though...does the perfume go away? At the moment I have a 1962 DB Rheingold compartment coach that smells like a tart's boudoir!

    1. Hi Alan, That sounds great to me - why do want the smell to go away?! Seriously though, yes, it usually goes away after a few days.
      Cheers, George.

    2. Hi George
      I've discovered that they have reintorduced the original transparent "Klear" of old and I managed to get a bottle. Can you tell me please how you get a "wet" coat on via the airbrush without it running?

    3. Hi Alan. Sorry for the delay in replying. Haven't had much time to work on this blog recently.
      When I spray Klear through an airbrush, I turn the pressure down as low as possible, to about 8psi, and spray the first few coats in an ultra-fine mist. Just a small amount is applied and each coat is allowed to dry for a few minutes. You have to build up the layers very slowly and in very light coats. It can take quite a while. Eventually, you'll find that you can get more on at a time, as the surface stays wet-looking for longer. It just takes practice to appreciate when to back off, before it starts to puddle/run.
      Hope this is helpful.

    4. Thanks for your advice George!

  16. Hi George
    I've just discovered they've reintroduced the original transparent formula "Klear". It's now called "Pledge Revive It Floor Gloss". I ordered a bottle of it from Amazon for about £14. Not at all cheap but a lot less than an equivalent volume of Humbrol Gloss Cote! I found the milky stuff did go on nicely with an airbrush but I found it had a tendency to run if I tried to put on a wet coat.


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