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Thread: How to ; Mask

  1. #1

    Default How to ; Mask

    “How to”

    Mask

    Recently I was asked how I cut my masking tape and how I can achieve ultra clean lines on my 1/144 scale models. So here is the first in several “How to” articles I will write for the forums.

    Storage

    This is something that is often overlooked but when it comes to masking tape it is essential that you keep it nice and clean. I actually have a separate airtight container that I keep all my masks in as the tackiness of the tape attracts lint, dust and dog/cat hair like nobody’s business, especially on the edges which is exactly where we don’t want it!

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    Size is Everything

    The first tip is to see if they do a masking tape the size you want it, there is a whole array of sizes from 1mm all the way up to 10cm across. But if you can get the size you want and there is no need to cut it!

    This is just a small selection available!

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    Cutting

    This is the first step of the process and again very important, many of you I’m sure will just lay the masking tape on the cutting board and away you go, right?

    However If your cutting board is anything like mine then it’s probably covered in paint, dust, sanding and all manner of other things we don’t want sticking to our mask.

    So for cutting I use the read side of an old CD/DVD. Its ultra smooth and you can see if there is any micro debris on it which is easily cleaned off. The other reason is that it doesn’t reduce the tackiness of the masking tape and this is essential for clean, bold lines.

    • In order to do this the process is very easy, clean the CD.
    • Lay the tape on the CD and press down to remove any air bubbles.

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    • Using a metal ruler and a scalpel – I have a scalpels just for cutting papers, tapes and decal sheets and before I start any project I always change out the blade.

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    • Cut along the metal ruler the width or shape that you require for the mask.

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    • Remove the unwanted masking.

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    • Slowly peel off the mask and apply to the model.

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    The other great thing about the CD cutting board is that if you need to leave the job for a long period of time the Masking tape will happily sit for several days, allowing you to return and use it whenever you need it.

    Applying the Mask

    Applying the mask can sometimes be fiddly and I will often use my magnification glasses to be able to see better what I am doing and will I also use a set of high quality tweezers for ultra fiddly parts.

    Once you have positioned the mask where you want it, use an old paint brush to press the mask down fairly. Pay close attention to the edges as you do not want any bleed seeping under the tape.

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    Also don't forget to protect the rest of the model!

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    Now you are ready for paint.

    Painting

    I use an airbrush for pretty much all of my builds and If you are building a lot of models and don’t have one I would suggest getting one ASAP! As it speeds up the whole painting process as well as giving much better results on masks with less risk of bleeding.

    I tend to work very slowly at first laying down several thin even layers and then allowing it to dry. Once this base colour coat has dried I then go a little heavier with the paint. The reason for this is that it locks the mask down and reduces even further any potential bleed.

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    One point I would make is that I would not suggest speed drying, such as using hair driers and the likes as this can make the paint too hard and again cause damage to the painted area as you peel off the mask.

    Removing the Mask

    GO WASH YOUR HANDS!


    If you are anything like me you’ve probably been work on several models at the same time, and your hands are filthy. The last thing you want to be doing is touching a model that you’ve just spent a good few hours on painting, masking and painting again, only to ruin it by putting a dirty finger print on it.

    So now you’ve got clean hands you can remove the mask.

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    I always use a pair of tweezers for this and slowly peel the masking tape off work slowly and don’t be tempted to rip the mask off. You may have a thick laying of over spray/brush that as you rip away take off the area you just painted and it might result in not only starting that part over again but in worse case scenarios you might have to scrub the part/model down to bare plastic and start again.

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    Varnish

    It’s always a good idea to give the model a lick of gloss/matt varnish (Depending on the part/area) over the area you just painted. This will protect that fine piece of work you have just done and offer a layer of protect as you continue working on the project.

    I hope this was of help to you and let me know if you want any other “How To” articles.

    James
    Last edited by FarEast; 09-06-2014 at 01:57.

  2. #2

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    James that's a great " how to " wingman

  3. #3

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    Thanks James. That's a good tip about the CD. I shall be raiding SWMBO's Robbie Williams collection forthwith!
    Run for your life - there are stupid people everywhere!

  4. #4

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    You are welcome, I hope it's of some use to the members here and remember, always use the right tools for the right job!

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  5. #5

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    It certainly was a help James.
    The CD idea, beats my laying it on the mat, and also seeing just how many widths of tape are available.
    I have only ever seen three. I will also abandon my steel safety rule for a flat steel one, as it obviously gives greater degree of finesse to the cutting process.
    Thanks.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  6. #6

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    You are more than welcome Rob, I actually wrote this up and took photos after you posted in the Fokker D.VII thread, even the Rumpler wasn't really supposed to get stripes but I needed something quick to hand to use as an example

    Also if you are making masks that aren't straight you can get draughtsman stencils in steel that are also very useful, I have a whole selection of these that help with curved lines, circles and such.

  7. #7

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    Excellent how to James. Thanks!

  8. #8

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    HAhahaha I noticed this:

    However If your cutting board is anything like mine then itís probably covered in paint, dust, sanding and all manner of other things we donít want sticking to our mask.
    Yet the photo is of an immaculately clean cutting board.... for the record this board is brand new and used only for cutting work and decal work......... here is the other one:

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  9. #9

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    That's my board!
    Run for your life - there are stupid people everywhere!

  10. #10

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    Great how to thanks . I use a glass from a welding helmet to cut my masks never thought of a cd

  11. #11

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    Great "How to". Thanks for posting it.

  12. #12

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    what do you use to prime your models?

  13. #13

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    Are you a mind reader? I was thinking about something like this for a few repaints I was to do. Thanks

  14. #14

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    Nice write up James. My favorite source for masking tapes is Jammy Dog. Silly name, but good tapes in 12 sizes from .05mm to 10mm.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by boomerpete53 View Post
    what do you use to prime your models?
    Peter, that would require another write up as there are many different ways to prime a model and different materials to use. Recently I came across a great primer for Shapeways WSF materials that fills up all the pores on the model and leaves you with a nice smooth finish.

    My Rumpler was primed with a single coat of it and you can see how effective it was at removing that grainy nasty finish they have, however it does require an airbrush to apply it as it needs to be an ultra fine coating and it is toxic so you need to take protective measures when using it (Spray booth and filter mask fully sealed!) I'm still having issues tracking down the English translation of its name but you can apply it to both metals and plastics so great for a variety of projects.

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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oberst Hajj View Post
    Nice write up James. My favorite source for masking tapes is Jammy Dog. Silly name, but good tapes in 12 sizes from .05mm to 10mm.
    And that answers my next question Keith.
    You must also be a mind reader.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  17. #17

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    Any shop that stocks Tamiya products will have them and cheaper too.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarEast View Post
    Any shop that stocks Tamiya products will have them and cheaper too.
    My local Hobbycraft stocks Tamiya, but I can only get the tape in one size there James, hence my asking you how you cut it.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    My local Hobbycraft stocks Tamiya, but I can only get the tape in one size there James, hence my asking you how you cut it.
    Rob.
    My local shops will only stock Tamiya in two sizes as well Rob. Jammy Dog ships their tapes in individual zip lock bags that are labeled with the size of the tape. That keeps them clean and easy to find. Pre-cut tapes also ensure you always have the same thickness tape when you need it (my measuring and cutting would not always be precise if doing it by hand).

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oberst Hajj View Post
    My local shops will only stock Tamiya in two sizes as well Rob. Jammy Dog ships their tapes in individual zip lock bags that are labeled with the size of the tape. That keeps them clean and easy to find. Pre-cut tapes also ensure you always have the same thickness tape when you need it (my measuring and cutting would not always be precise if doing it by hand).
    I have found that cutting precise parallels is difficult as well as maintaining widths, so as the firm has several outlets in the U.K. I will invest a litttle money in their firm.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarEast View Post
    You are welcome, I hope it's of some use to the members here and remember, always use the right tools for the right job!

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    James, That particular technique I didn't know

    Otherwise, nice "How to.." explanation. I haven't tried CD as a base yet, but seems good idea

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    My local Hobbycraft stocks Tamiya, but I can only get the tape in one size there James, hence my asking you how you cut it.
    Rob.

    You can usually pick up different sizes of Tamiya tape at model kit events such as the IPMS shows, but otherwise they are hard to come by. Just invested in the Jammydog tapes, these look ideal.
    Run for your life - there are stupid people everywhere!

  23. #23

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    Thanks for the info Steve I will do that then.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  24. #24

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    Excellent little advices. Using masking techique quite often these tricks (like CD) of chaps who are more advanced painters are priceless. Thanks, James.
    <img src=http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=2554&dateline=1409073309 border=0 alt= />
    "We do not stop playing when we get old, but we get old when we stop playing."

  25. #25

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    Great How To James. Thanks for the link to Jammydog Keith, order dispatched as we speak.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  26. #26

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    Great advise. Never thought about using an old CD as a cutting board.



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