Montex have released a useful set of painting masks designed for Hasegawa's exellent 1:32 Raiden
The pack includes four sheets of vinyl masks on two different colours of material. I don't know if there is any significance to the colours, but the canopy masks are black, while those for exterior markings are greenish-grey. The breakdown is as follows
1 x sheet of hinomarus
1 x sheet of unit markings
1 x sheet for the outside of the canopy
1 x sheet for the inside of the canopy
The cutting looks very crisp and precise. The exterior markings include sufficient surrounding material to allow you to work with the masks as either "positive" or "negatives" - i.e. either painting the colour of the marking first, before masking it and painting the surrounding camouflage, or alternatively applying it over the background colour.
Lifting a corner of either colour sheet reveals the vinyl to be thin and flexible - and quite "low-tack", so there should no danger of lifting underlying paint if you've taken care to apply it to a clean surface and allowed it to cure correctly.
Providing both inner and outer masks for the canopy frames is very neat, especially if you intend to pose the canopy open. While it's all very well simply masking the outside and painting the interior colour first so it appears on the inside, if you open the canopy it's very obvious that the paint is on the other side of the "glass". Naturally, applying inner frame masks too will double the time it takes to prepare the canopy, but the results are much more realistic.
The exterior markings are a straight replacement for the main items in kit #ST32's colour schemes:
1. "352-20", flown by Lt. J. G. Yoshihiro Aoki, 352nd Naval Flying Group, March 1945
2. "3D-152", flown by Lt. Susumu Ito, 302nd Naval Flying Group, March 1945
Apart from the obvious benefits in realism of truly painted-on markings, the masks score a big plus over using the kit decals for the famous lightning bolt symbols for scheme #1 which were applied by hand on the real aircraft and had quite roughly feathered ends - something very hard to achieve with a decal. (Note: you will still need the kit decals for smaller items such as kill markings and stencils.)
Montex don't provide any instructions with the masks, but have posted a series of detailed generic tutorials
on their website. That's fine - but it would be a good idea to have a link to the tutorials on the packaging, because they will be a real help to anyone using masks for the first time. As it is, newcomers may feel a bit lost.
Montex's masks look to be excellent quality and offer the prospect of a truly spectacular Hasegawa Raiden. Clearly they will be a bit more involved to use than the kit's decals, but the benefits will more than outweigh this. Recommended for modellers with a bit of airbrushing experience.
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