Montex have very kindly sent us a selection of their latest Mini-Mask canopy and wheel masking sets:
SM 48341 for Special Hobby's T-2 Buckeye - £3-00
SM 48345 for Roden's Beechcraft GB-2 - £3.00
SM 48348 for Mirage's PZL P-37 Łoś - £3.50
SM 34850 for GWH's Fw 189A-1 Nachtjäger - £4.00
(Prices are from Montex's UK distributor - A2ZeeModels.)
The sets are neatly packaged in a small zip-lock bag with a piece of card backing for protection and a printed guide to the layout of the masks. Montex presumably expect the user to have some experience in using painting masks, because no instructions per se
are included. However, if you visit the Montex website you will find a very useful series of tutorials
, which give a generic overview of how to use the masks, along with some specific examples, which should be more than enough to get you started. Oddly, the packaging makes no mention of these tutorials.
Montex masks are very precisely die-cut vinyl - black in the case of each of the sets featured here. The material separates easily from the backing sheet and is reasonably low-tack. Having used Kabuki paper masking tape for many years, which is famous for its flexibility and the ease with which it can follow quite sharp curves, I was keen to see how these vinyl masks compare. Of the samples here, those for the T-2 Buckeye looked good for a quick test, as they are divided on the centre-line with slits to help them sit over the large areas of the vacuformed canopy's compound curves. As you can see in the photo at the right, the masks line up well without any wrinkles. As you'd expect, the slits open up a little when they are in place. You could fill these with masking fluid, but there's actually ample spare vinyl on the sheet to cut patches.
The vinyl proved quite flexible, but still robust enough to withstand a fair amount of pushing and pulling into position without damage, and the masks proved easy to reposition and showed no sign of leaving any residue. Encouragingly, once removed from the canopy, the masks held their shape and had ample adhesive left to be reused a few more times. While you may not build that many T-2 Buckeyes, this could be very useful for more common subjects, making the masks very good value.
While most manufacturers only provide masks for the exterior of the canopy, Montex often go one step further and cut masks for the inside too. (Of the sets here, only that for the P.37 Łoś fails to include interior masks.) This is a very neat idea if you intend to build a model with the canopy open, as it never looks quite right when you simply paint the interior colour as a base-coat on the outside of the canopy. Of course, the down side is that it instantly doubles the number of masks you need to apply. For a subject with a multi-faceted canopy like the Fw 189, it's tempting to restrict the interior masks to the entry hatches and those areas easily visible through them - but for anyone with the patience to go the whole hog, Montex supply a full set for all the glazing... 80 pieces for the exterior, plus another 80 for the inside!
Finally, each of the sample sets include disks for painting the wheel hubs, and a surrounding ring is provided to allow you to mask either the hub or the tyre, depending on which you choose to paint first.
Montex's Mini Masks are very nicely produced and work extremely well on the evidence of my first brief test. They are keenly priced compared with some rival products, especially considering that they mostly include interior masks for the canopies too, and the way they seem likely to be usable on more than one occasion makes them great value for money. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE