This is a close-up of a typical mask setup. The tape holds the foil only to the shelf paper mask, not to the model.

To show chipped markings on the Hansa-Brandenburg W.12, I used table salt as part of the mask.

A finished prewar SBD Dauntless.

in the past. Many modelers have used this media on some great aircraft, but I don’t have much experience with it, and nothing sticks like epoxy. Masking could be a book

in itself, but the golden rule is to never put more masks on a model than are absolutely necessary. Rule number two is that if you feel you must apply more masks than are necessary, rule number one applies. If you shoot paint at relatively low pressure, you won’t have to mask much. Rule number three is to use a mask that is the least invasive (or tacky), but will still lie down flat. Keep in mind that gloss surfaces will grip a mask much more aggressively than will a matte surface. For masking, I like to use frisket, Tamiya tape

(, clear matte shelf paper, aluminum foil, and automotive (green) tape. Frisket comes in different tacks and thicknesses. Get to know what you like. Avoid plain masking tape at all costs, but if you have to use it, make sure that the least amount of it is touching the model. When I use masking tape, I attach it only to my other “approved” masks. Rule number four is to never leave a mask on a model longer than you must. Masks will tend to bond to a surface if left on overnight. Don’t do it. Masks will generally be inclined to pull the base coat off of a covered surface more readily than a solid one.

Covered areas should be primed with nitrate dope. Wood or fiberglassed areas

Everything but the emblem under the canopy was painted on this Focke-Wulfe Fw 190 D-9 Red 13.

should be primed with an auto body primer such as Dupli-Color (duplicolor. com). Are you spraying red or yellow? Never use a gray primer or have any showing. Do you want a perfect finish? Spray the model with silver first, which is the most unforgiving finish of all.

I have a couple of tricks. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, a mask will not lie down flat or will sometimes fail to adhere in certain areas. The former can be helped by laying on a piece of masking tape, and the latter by dialing down the spray pressure. If you shoot at 90° and at ultralow pressure, the force of the air will hold the mask down and give you a clean edge. Don’t be afraid to hold the mask down with

your hand as you go by with the airbrush.

Mix (reduce) your paint so that it will just go through the sprayer and no more. You will avoid a lot of bleed beneath masks by doing this, and the paint will melt better into the next pass. Do you want to do some weathering, but you’re afraid of messing up your great base coat? Tint some clear paint with the weathering color instead of the other way around. An errant pass will never be noticed, and the weathering effect will be built up more realistically. Practice first on a white card. My last tip is that if you can smell solvent on a painted surface, the paint is still wet. I hope this answers a few questions. Feel free to email me with more!


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