Whether or not you've actually tried applying markings to a model using painting masks, few would deny the potential advantages they offer: the chance to choose precisely the colours you wish, and no worries about silvering problems. Set against this is the simple fact that they are more fiddly and time consuming to use, and there is often a practical limit to masking small and complicated items such as nose-art.
Montex's set K48226 recognises this by offering a joint approach, comprising:
1 x pale grey sheet of vinyl masks for exterior markings
1 x black sheet of canopy and wheel masks
1 x decal sheet
The set is designed specifically for Zvezda's impressive "Friedrich" and, although it can obviously be used with other maker's kits, it is unlikely that the canopy masks will fit them precisely.
I'm not sure of the significance of the two different types of masking material - Oramask 810 for the main markings, and Avery film for the canopies and wheels. Both seem equally flexible, and the die-cutting is spot-on, allowing the masks to separate easily on the sample sheet.
The masks are accompanied by a simple layout-out sheet showing what goes where, and a very nice set of 4-view colour profiles for the following schemes:
1. Bf 109F-2, Stab I./JG 52. Leutnant Johannes Weise, Katwijk, Holland, June 1941. This aircraft spots a very interesting disruptive pattern of RLM 76 over RLM 74/75 uppersurfaces and fuselage sides.
2. Bf 109F-2, 1./JG 54, Leutnant Walter Novotny, Russia, Summer 1942, with RLM 70/71 splinter camouflage topsides.
The small sheet of decals is excellent quality, printed in perfect register with thin, glossy, items and minimal carrier film.
The canopy masks follow Montex's usual style in offering both internal and external patterns. Obviously, this complicates their application, but it does allow frames to be painted on the inside is worth the effort if you're building the model with the canopy posed open.
Set K48226 doesn't provide any specific instructions or advice on how to use the masks. However, if you visit the Montex website you'll find a very useful series of tutorials for a range of different markings, so you should have little trouble formulating a best "plan of attack".
By including decals, Montex's set of markings for the Bf 109F-2 offers, for me, the best of both worlds: masks for the main markings, such as national insignia, and high-quality decals for personal markings and unit insignia. I really like this approach for, while masking offers a great sense of satisfaction and achievement (and true masking die-hards would no doubt see it as an admission of failure not to mask every last item), I'm quite prepared to admit there's a point beyond which for me "the pain outweighs the gain" and am happy to use decals. Modelling is supposed to be fun, after all...
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Highs: Precisely cut painting masks and high quality decals. Both interior and exterior canopy masks included. Very good full-colour artwork for the featured schemes.Lows: No instructions included (but excellent tutorials are available online).Verdict: Including decals for the smallest markings is a very good move from Montex, and will overcome the reluctance of many modellers to give masking a try.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...