Maketar has released a set of masks for the roundels, fin flashes, code and letters for most 1/48 scale Spitfire. The masks are made from flexible Kubaki tape and can be used several times.
Maketar produce Kubaki and vinyl masks in two series: Insignia Series provides masks to create national markings, codes and fin flashes. Quite a few air forces are included in this series including USAAF, RAF, Luftwaffe, RAAF, CFAF, Japan, etc. Fighter Series provides markings for specific aircraft or generic markings for aircraft.
Although Maketar produce masks in both Kabuki and Vinyl mediums, their preference is for the Kabuki tape. Maketar produce masks in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scales and also masks for canopies. Itís well worth having a look at the range of masks that they offer.
1/48 RAF Spitfires
This release contains masks for RAF roundels, fin flashes and codes that are applicable to the Spitfire. The masks are packed into a re sealable plastic bag. Inside is:
-2 x sheets of masks for the roundels.
-1 x sheet of masks for the fin flashes.
-2 x sheets of masks for the code letters
Sheet size is: 121mm [4 ĺ˝] x 100mm [4˝]
Roundel size included is:
-4 x A style 50˝.
-4 x A1 style 35˝.
-4 x B style 56˝.
-4 x C style 32˝.
-4 x C1 style 36˝.
There are 90 x 24˝ letters and numbers. There are two of each letter and numbers and some letters: F, G, W, M, J, and 2 come in two different styles.
Fin flashes are in the following dimensions:
There is five of each size.
There are a number of stripes for the wing walkways:
-20 x 1mm and 10 x 2mm.
Maketar offer the same masks in vinyl if you prefer.
The mask in this sample are made from Kubaki tape, which seems to be the most popular media for mask making these days. It is very difficult to make out the individual masks on each sheet and impossible to photograph. It would be an idea particularly with the numbers and letter to mark the corner of the masks in biro before you cut them out.
The mask maps on the front cover donít seem to resemble the sheets of masks at all. So donít try to find specific mask using the map. One thing to note is that the letters are not in alphabetical order. The instructions are printed on the back of the label and to be honest take a bit of figuring out at first, but once understood seem pretty logical. It is claimed that the masks can be used several times and if so really makes good economic sense to use them if you are building a few Spits. Lining the letters up presents interesting problems, but Maketar idea of placing a strip of Tamiya tape along the centre line of the letter seems a very good one. Perhaps a tutorial on the Maketar website might be an idea, although they do offer help via email.
This will be an interesting method of achieving sympathetic looking marking for your models particularly if you like to weather your aircraft. The bright coloured decals always look at odds with heavily weathered paintwork. Just think no more decal solutions, silvering, annoying specks of dust and air bubbles under the decals spoiling your pride and joy. It may not be quite so instant, but the little extra effort involved using these masks could create that award winning model you have been dreaming about.
Highs: Markings will be more sympathetic with the finish of the model.Lows: The instructions are not easy to follow.Verdict: These masks seem to be a worthwhile alternative to waterslide decals. They will take a bit more time and effort. Once you have mastered using them you will have some fine models to display.