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Camouflage Masking Technique

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  • Member since
    November 2005
Camouflage Masking Technique
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 7:04 AM
I am building a P-40 which requires a frequent but somewhat difficult camouflage pattern - 2 color, hard edged, 'wavy line' camo, very similar to Battle of Britain colors on a Spitfire or Hurricane.

My problem has been that since the edge between colors is hard, it needs to be created with a mask, and more particularly with a mask that is right on the plastic surface to prevent any softening or feathering. If the lines to be painted were straight, then tape would do nicely, but because they are wavy, (that is gracefully curved) I find that it is difficult to cut tape that way, even with a curved edged scissors.

After some thought, I came up with the following technique:
1. Make the masks. Since I had a computer, a printer and a scanner, as well as a diagram of the the intended pattern (on a 3rd party decal instructions) I took the easy way and scanned in the instructions (which had a top, port and starboard diagram of how to paint the plane), and then resized the diagrams and printed them at 1/48th scale on ordinary printer paper. The resizing was done by Mark One Eyeball, and required several trials (and errors) to get about right, but its only paper. If you don't have the equipment to scan, you will have to cut the masks by hand, but do them on ordinary paper, not too stiff.
2. Paint the base color (use the lightest color first).
3. Cut the masks. You want to cut the masks from that portion of the diagram representing the base color.
4. Attach the masks. This was the creative part, because the masks have to snuggle close to the plastic. To accomplish this, I coated only the back side of the masks with rubber cement, being careful not to put any on the model side. When done this way the cement is very easy to remove without stressing the paint underneath.
5. I carefully cleaned up any cement that had squeezed out around the edge of the masks. The cement is itself a mask, and where it squeezed out it would not be clean color division. To clean the cement, just gently rub with your finger and the excess becomes a little ball of rubber.
6. Remove the mask(s). This is done by gently peeling them off. The rubber cement is weak enough that it will not pull any paint of the model.
7. Clean of any cement that may be left using the finger rubbing technique.

This turns out to be a fast, effective way of masking for the particular problems of this camo scheme.

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by eaglecentral on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 11:04 AM
After trying several methods, I came up with the following solution to this same problem.

I apply my base coat and let it dry, then, using my references and sometimes templates, I draw the camouflage pattern directly on the model using a "B" lead mechanical pencil. I then apply a light colored masking tape (usually plain paper masking tape that you can see through when held up to the light) directly over the lines I've drawn and press it down gently. I then pull up the tape and find that my camouflage line has transferred to the back side of the tape. I place the tape down on a piece of clear plexiglass and use a sharp X-acto knife to trim it to my marked line. The plexiglass acts kind of like a light table so I can easily follow my mark. I put my cut tape back in place on the model, aligning my cut line to the marked line on the airplane. (If you leave the line marked on the airplane exposed, it will be covered by the paint and it goes away). Once you've got the entire line taped, fill in the rest and paint your second color.

I've used this method successfully with 2 and 3 color camouflage schemes. Its fast and easy and doesn't require a lot of technical equipment.

Tom

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