Maketar Paint Masks - Insignia Series
By Brian Medina
Insignia on all WWII aircraft were painted on. What can be more realistic than applying national insignia in the same manner when building scale models? Maketar High Quality Paint Masks seem to agree and provide today's scale modeler with the option to paint on insignia with precision cut Kabuki tape masks (similar to Tamiya tape) instead of using decals.
Maketar's Insignia series paint masks are available for a variety of countries and scales. Each set comes neatly packaged in a re-sealable plastic bag sandwiched by a color title page/ instruction sheet. Each title page lists type and quantity of masks that are in each package. Mask sizes are labeled on each sheet by what the actual 1:1 size would be (30" or 35" and so on).
All sheets have both positive and negative masks to accomodate whichever painting process works for your particular situation. For instance, you can paint the whole aircraft then use the masks to paint the insignia. Or you can go the other way and spray the insignia colors first and apply masks over those colors to protect them, then spray the rest of the aircraft.
The first set of masks cover United States aircraft through most of WWII. This set contains a total of 44 individual masks - 4 masks of each size: 14", 15", 20", 25", 30", 35", 40", 45", 50", 55", and 60". Also included are approximately 12- 1mm x 4" strips of tape to use for anything you may need (example: masking bands on spinners). The masks are contained on 7 seperate sheets. Extra care must be taken with these particular masks as there are some fragile points that are thin in composition because of the Star and Bars layout (mainly where the upper star arms almost touch the inside edge of the bars). This is a great set which can be applied to a very broad range of aircraft.
The next set of masks covers British RAF roundels. The cover page states "Spitfires" specifically, but unless this style of roundel was used only on the Spitfire I don't see why you couldn't use them for any WWII RAF aircraft. Certainly the fin flashes and code letters could be used throughout the WWII RAF aircraft lineup.
Set has 4 masks of each roundel type/size (total of 40 masks): A 50", A1 35", B 56", C 32", C1 36"
4 each Fin Flash sizes: 21"x22", 24"x24", 24"x27" (total of 24 masks)
2 masks of each code letter (total of 90)
20 1mm and 10 2mm strips
This mask set contains 6 of each roundel size for a total of 60 masks with the Operation Torch yellow surround star. Sizes included are 25", 30", 32", 35", 36", 40", 45", 50", 55", and 60."
This particular US Insignia was used exclusively during Operation Torch which took place August 8th to 16th 1942 in Northwest Africa.
Typically, I prefer to paint on my insignia and markings as I think it looks more realistic and allows better color options since you control the color output (which can't be done with decals).
I intend to use a few of these masks and write a follow up "in use" review for them at that time. I'm excited to see what else Maketar comes up with for future mask releases as it seems there are endless possibilities ranging from WWI to modern day aircraft of any country you can imagine. And on that note, Maketar's website indicates that they offer custom orders in which they can take your design and create masks from it. You can also custom order a sheet of masks to include a variety of countries' insignia and sizes all on one sheet, so you don't necessarily have to buy one set for each country you plan to use. Visit their website on THIS page for more information regarding custom orders.
And who says only aircraft need markings painted on?
- Ability to paint on insignia and other markings (usually done with decals)
- Super precision-cut Kabuki tape masks
- Large number of sizes within each package
- Each mask should be reusable at least a few times if handled carefully
- Option to create custom orders from your design or custom order sheets from in-stock designs to best suit your needs
- Transfer of mask to model may be a bit a tricky to maintain form due to difficulty in seeing mask placement. This is because you have to lay a strip of tape over the top of the entire mask to maintain form
- Solid yellow color (positive and negative masks) makes it difficult to see where the masks are, however I've been informed that Maketar is already working on a solution to this issue and will soon be releasing a new and improved, more visible mask set.
I'd like to thank Maketar High Quality Paint Masks for the opportunity to review these products. Products are available directly from Maketar. Hightly recommended!