- Published on Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:01 Robin Jenkins
1/32 and 1/24 Paint Masks for P-51D and Bf 109G-6
Catalogue #'s A32042US and A24004GE
Available direct from Scale Precision for $10.50 and $15.00 respectively.
My first experience of paint masks in the modelling world was nearly 20 years ago, when, whilst visiting a modelling friend at the time, I watched him make his own masks for some RAF roundels in 1/48 scale using an Olfa-P circular cutter and some specialist medical film which could not be bought across the counter. I was stunned by his results, being so much more realistic than decals could be, even with all the decal solutions in creation.
Over the next few years, I tried to master the technique myself. The cutting of the mask is only half the battle; correct placing and the thickness of paint sprayed have equal impact on the final result. Slowly, my results improved as I tried different films and tapes and fellow modellers began to notice the markings. It is a strange modelling skill; many have admired the finished results but it is almost impossible to get anyone to try it for themselves.
The big breakthrough came in the world of armour modelling when a couple of companies in quick succession launched "stencils" of national markings and individual numbers in etched brass a few years ago. These caught on and from these beginnings, a few companies began to offer pre-cut masking film for the markings of particular aircraft. Sometimes these were sold as aftermarket accessories on their own, sometimes in conjunction with partial decal sets and sometimes, more recently, instead of decals.
Products of this nature have not had a high profile on our site, mainly because of the lack of samples from the appropriate manufacturers. One company whose products have appeared on a number of occasions is Montex, but apart from this there has been very little. However, we have received a pair of masks from a new supplier, the American company Scale Precision, which will now be examined. The company produce masking sets in the two standard larger scales, 1/32nd and 1/24th, for a variety of specific aircraft, national markings and letterings for German, British, Japanese and American subjects.
A32042US: P-51D "Old Crow" flown by Bud Anderson
This set of markings is designed for a 1/32 scale P-51D Mustang; the obvious choice of model is the Tamiya kit (below).
"Old Crow" is a well-known Mustang, coded B6-S. Within the masking set, there are 2 elements; the first is a simple sheet illustrating the masks and giving extra painting hints and tips pertinent to the subject (above). The second, obviously, are the masks themselves, in this case spread over 2 sheets (below). The masks are made of a vinyl type film and the cutting was clean, accurate and even on all sheets examined. Adhesion was very similar to the Montex products I have seen previously. I could see no problems at all in using the "Old Crow" set with the Tamiya kit.
A24004GE Bf 109G-6 / G-14 White 1 flown by Erich Hartmann
This set of markings is designed for a 1/24 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 or G-14, such as the late Bf 109G-6 from Trumpeter (above). The reason for the alternative kit suggestion is that aviation historians cannot agree whether "White 1" was a G-6 or a G-14 – or there may have been 2 separate aircraft similarly marked. Erich Hartmann, the highest scoring pilot of all time, flew "White 1" for some time and so it is a popular subject. As before, there is a simple explanatory sheet with pertinent information (below).
This time, there are 4 individual masking sheets, because of both the subject and the larger scale. The first 3 sheets (above) hold the national markings and swastikas and the fourth sheet (below) gives the modeller numbers, the spinner spiral, individual emblem and the "tulip" markings for the Messerschmitt's nose. It should be noted that some of these markings could be used in conjunction with decals to produce other aircraft flown by Hartmann.
The quality of cutting on these larger scale masks was equally as commendable as the smaller scale Mustang sheets.
Both sets come with some generic instructions on the use of masks and are priced pretty much in line with current market expectations.
So What Do We Think?
These are very well produced masks for two popular subjects. They will perform well in use, I am sure of that. One area does let these sets down slightly, however. You will have noted that I have not been able to show any profile or even line drawing/sketch of the actual subjects and their camouflage colours. These do not come with the sets and it is assumed the modeller has these already; this is not a good assumption to make since if it not true, then the company will lose possible sales. This lesson has been clearly learned by companies such as Montex and Yellowhammer, who now always provide a colour illustration of the subject. There is a balance of cost to consider with such a move but I cannot help but believe that it would help Scale Precision's sales of these products. They certainly deserve them in view of the quality.
An excellent product that lacks the finishing touch
Our sincere thanks to Scale Precision for the review samples.