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Masking technique idea for canopies

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Hi Guys,

 

I'm only new to the forums, and returning after a long hiatus.  I'm currently working on a kit, and doing some canopy masking and came up with this idea.

 

Do you remember how you use to hold paper to a coin as a kid and run a pencil over it to get an imprint of the coin on the paper?  Well, the same thing applies to a plastic canopy imho.  I tested this tonight and got OK results (not totally perfect, but I'm working on a 1:48 kit and the canopy is a bit small for me!) and thought I'd share with you guys.  It was easier than trying to measure up the masking, or doing it freehand.  

 

I gently tape the paper to the canopy using 3M masking tape (minimal marking/gunk unlike sticky tape), run the pencil over the entire canopy area, then carefully remove the paper.  I then get more of the 3M tape and place it on my cutting board, and then carefully tape the paper to the masking tape, to use as an overlay.  I tape this again in place with some 3M tape so that the paper doesn't move.  I then carefully cut along the lines from the pencil outlay.  

 

YMMV.

 

I guess you could probably apply this technique to other areas of your kits.  

 

I hope this helps others.

 

Dave

 

PS if someone has already mentioned this technique on the forums previously, my apologies.

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You're on to a useful technique already, Dave! There is an easier way, though. Get yourself some Tamiya tape; it's designed for modelling purposes, so is thinner, and has more modest adhesive qualities, than those found in hardware stores. Instead of using paper, just apply the Tamiya tape directly to the canopy, and use the same pencil technique to highlight the frames. Then, remove the tape and cut out the shapes. No double-handling or double layers involved, as you're cutting out the final pattern directly.

 

And as you've alluded, this technique is great for defining other shapes on a model, such as hatches and panels you may want to open up.

 

Kev

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You're on to a useful technique already, Dave! There is an easier way, though. Get yourself some Tamiya tape; it's designed for modelling purposes, so is thinner, and has more modest adhesive qualities, than those found in hardware stores. Instead of using paper, just apply the Tamiya tape directly to the canopy, and use the same pencil technique to highlight the frames. Then, remove the tape and cut out the shapes. No double-handling or double layers involved, as you're cutting out the final pattern directly.

 

And as you've alluded, this technique is great for defining other shapes on a model, such as hatches and panels you may want to open up.

 

Kev

 

I have some Tamiya masking tape too!  I only used the 3M masking tape as it was at hand.  Your idea is a nice evolution of my idea and One I'll definitely be trying as it's even easier and better than my idea!  

 

I find it a bit hard to stick the mask onto the canopy accurately, it takes me a few goes, but I imagine it will get easier with practice.  

 

I guess at least you can say I'm thinking of solutions to problems that I'm experiencing with my modelling!  

 

Cheers!

 

Dave

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To me Tamiya tape is essential for one big reason, it seals paint out of the masked areas really well and it leaves no visible residue.  I can tape a canopy for months and remove the tape with no side effects.  I actually prefer to do this and commonly tape up these areas long term, this way I can do all of my painting and weathering and the canopy frames will not stand out or contrast in a way I don't intend.  You just have to plan ahead a little and make sure you understand what the canopy will cover then prepaint those areas.  Which the covered areas are going to be less faded as a rule anyway.  Sometimes I have a little primer spray blast under the frame if it is an overlapping sliding canopy but that is not hard to fix.  The over spray only ends up on the plane not the inside of the canopy around the sills etc.  It does not seem to ever work it's way between the canopy sections and get into the cockpit.

 

I had always just applied the tape to the canopy and then used a really sharp scalpel to cut the pattern directly on the canopy.  Outlining the frames in pencil would make cutting easier.  I had never thought of that but, I don't even remove the tape.  I just cut it and remove the excess from the areas that I want to paint.  You don't have to worry about alignment then when as you try and put the tape back on the panels to be masked.

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Personally I prefer either using pre-cut masks (laziness!) or the "many pieces of tape" method. The latter actually isn't that bad at all and the only real challenge is weird curves. Other than that, start with some tape squares (or L-shaped pieces) for the corners, then thin strips to connect them. Then infill with either more tape or with liquid frisket. It doesn't take much time at all, and frequently I find myself using both - especially when a pre-cut mask only mostly fits. 

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My experience with the "many pieces of tape" method has been the opposite of yours, Matt. I used to use this method pretty much exclusively, and it drove me crazy. It used to take me hours of fiddling to mask a large or complex canopy, and I hated it. I tried Scott's method of overlaying Tamiya tape and cutting out the frames, but as often as not I'd leave score marks in the plastic. Since switching to using this same method, but using BMF as the masking medium, I haven't looked back. It cuts more evenly, and with much less blade pressure, than Tamiya tape, and will conform to roughly the same kinds of compound curves. And being much thinner, it's much less likely to leave any unsightly ridges or tape pull marks. I now no longer fear any kind of canopy, and in some cases actually look forward to it!

 

But, each of us has to find the method we're most comfortable with, and having multiple ways to solve a problem is never a bad thing. Unless you're prone to option anxiety...

 

Kev

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The many pieces of tape method seems messy to my mind.  Pre-cut masks are nice, but I'm guessing that there's not a pre cut mask for every model out there on the market...so One has to learn how to do it themselves.  I too am worried about cutting directly onto the plastic canopy and leaving scratches etc.  I'd prefer to get it right with the mask in terms of size and dimensions to minimise contact with the canopy surface.  

 

I've looked at the BMF and like the idea but have some questions, which I will think about before posting.  

 

Cheers,

 

Dae

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Yeah, BMF is my default approach these days. I find it far easier to use than tape, and the process becomes not only quicker, but more enjoyable! I think the result is better too.

 

Kev

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I just slap some Tamiya tape over the panel on the canopy I want to mask, hold it up to a light or window and cut around the edge with a brand new xacto blade. Takes me less than 10 minutes to mask a canopy, although, I do have the benefit of good eyes and a steady hand.

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Paul Budzik suggests using bare metal foil to mask canopies, because it conforms to the shapes easily, and shows detail through it. I confess I have not tried it yet, but here is his video.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHJmxKKxsew

 

Tim

 

I actually had yesterday off work as a RDO and went to the local model store that has a good variety (but poor opening hours) and they had some BMF, so I purchased a pack.  Bloody expensive though - AUD $18.00!!!  Thank you very much for the video link - duly faved!

 

I just slap some Tamiya tape over the panel on the canopy I want to mask, hold it up to a light or window and cut around the edge with a brand new xacto blade. Takes me less than 10 minutes to mask a canopy, although, I do have the benefit of good eyes and a steady hand.

 

tempting.  Very tempting!

 

I re-visited the model store today and picked up some Humbrol maskol.  Plenty of food for thought and different techniques to try.  

 

Thanks to everyone for their kind suggestions and links!

 

Dave

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Where you applying maskol over a layer of future? The ammoniak in the maskol (and similar products) doesn't behave kindly to it i have found. Good thing it is so easy to remove Future and redo (rubbing alcohol works fine). Of course, this means applying future AFTER painting the canopy which bring other problems.

Edited by Hardcore

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I use PARAFILM "M" been using it for years it's takes practice to master it but when you do it's the best thing out there.

 

Paul

Good call Paul.. Parafilm has been my choice for decades...and not just for canopies,masking difficult painted areas...

    as well as no.1 pick for Alclad...never lifts finish or leaves a discernible paint ridge. :thumbsup:

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