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Built Review
135
Custom Miracle Masks
Custom mask for Scorpion CVRt
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by: Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction:

Let's face it, the decals are just not good enough to realistically simulate painted markings on a scale model. The markings on a real vehicle are usually painted using stencils or templates and I feel nothing can replicate the look of the painted markings in scale like... well, like the painted markings themselves. These kind of markings are painted using masks and are, unlike decals, very easy to weather uniformly with the rest of the model.

I started using paint masks for my models some time ago. The simpler masks I usually design myself using the masking tape, while the more complex ones were cut for me by the local company. For the recent project, however, I needed really tiny lettering which the company just could not handle. Reluctant to use decals, I stumbled upon Miracle Paint Masks website, run by our own Mal Mayfield, and asked if the lettering could be done... a short while later I received my masks.

Review:

High-quality paint masks are an essential tool in the process of painting markings on a model, which ultimately results in extremely realistic finish in scale. For this particular project I designed my own masks using Corel Draw software. If you not familiar with the program, contact Mal directly, supply him with some reference photos of a subject you are modeling, and he can design the masks for you. Mal also offers several pre-designed sets of paint masks, but those are mostly oriented to wingy thingies.

The paint mask sheet from Miracle Masks arrived inside a regular envelope. The masking material is only 80 microns thick and specifically designed for masking purposes. The material is also semi-transparent, which helps when positioning the masks on the model. Since painting markings is still not common in modeling, Miracle Masks always includes very comprehensive instructions with each set of masks. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, perfectly illustrating the masking procedure in detail. Number of spare masks are included as well, allowing a lot of practice before actually placing the masks on the model.

Application of the masks:

Iíll try to demonstrate the complete procedure of painting markings on the model using the masks I designed for my Scorpion CVRt project (1/35 scale). Although the entire marking is extremely small (1.5 x 5mm), the masks I received from Miracle Masks were cut perfectly.

First of all, the instructions suggest placing the masks on a gloss coated model. Gloss coat provides a barrier which ensures the paint underneath would not be damaged if the painted markings need to be removed. Also, the masking material adheres better to the gloss coated surface, making it easier to conform to the uneven areas of the model. Additionally, fine tuning the masks can be performed by wetting the surface and sliding the masks in position. Of course, the area has to be completely dry before painting. Here's the sequence I employed for the masks I have received:

Step 1: Weeding
In this step I'm removing ("weeding") the waste material from the mask sheet, revealing the individual masks.

Step 2: Weeding the lettering
I removed the lettering from the individual mask using precision tweezers. I found this easier to do while the mask is still attached to the sheet than after placing the complete mask on the model.

Step 3: Transfer
The transfer tape provided is actually the same material as the masks themselves. The transfer tape is laid over the mask and holds together all elements of the mask while they are being transferred to the model. After removing the mask together with the transfer tape from the backing paper, I carefully positioned the mask on the model. I removed the transfer tape and burnished the mask firmly using a cotton bud. Masking tape was applied around the edges of the mMiracle Mask to protect the model when painting.

Step 4: Painting
I airbrushed the marking, being careful to build up the color gradually.

Step 5: Removing the mask
I removed the mask. The low-tack nature of the masking medium did not lift or peel any paint and a perfectly painted marking is revealed.

This procedure can be very different for more complex masks (i.e. multi-colored roundels on the airplanes) but the instructions cover all sorts of masking examples using Miracle Masks.

Conclusion:

My experience with Miracle Masks is super positive. Mal is a great guy and runs a one-man-band business very professionally. I designed my own custom mask and Mal managed to cut it perfectly, although it featured extremely tiny lettering and was, according to other companies, impossible to cut. The instructions supplied are nicely illustrated and give detailed account on how to use the masks. Painting markings on scale models with Miracle Masks is very easy and gives extremely realistic results in scale.

After using Miracle Masks and realizing Mal can cut absolutely any mask design possible, I really hope I would never have to use decals and decal softening chemicals again. I love working with masks and I think they provide the perfect touch which is bound to bring your models to a whole new level of realism.
SUMMARY
Highs: Miracle Paint Masks sheet is supplied with comprehensive instructions and tons of spare masks for practice. Masks are extremely easy to use and give realistic results in scale.
Lows: No lows.
Verdict: Try Miracle Masks and I'm pretty sure you would want to use them again and again. Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Related Link: Miracle Masks website
  PUBLISHED: Nov 29, 2013
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 93.37%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 92.50%

About Mario Matijasic (Maki)
FROM: CROATIA HRVATSKA

You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...

Copyright ©2019 text by Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Mario, This is very interesting. I only just learned about Miracle Masks a few days ago from a thread on another forum. Could you tell us what kind of art work you provided for your masks - what program you used to create it and did you provide it in electronic form (soft copy) or hard copy? Are there standard specifications that Miracle Mask wants, and what about artwork for multi-colored markings? Also, the pricing on you job - How are the dimensions and number of different markings of the job related to the total cost? Are jobs priced by the overall final size regardless of the number of individual markings, or is the job priced by the number of different markings with overall sheet dimensions not a big issue? I would assume that if the proprietor has to do the artwork that there's no way to tell the cost of that portion of the job since the variables are too great. However, is there a more-or-less standard pricing schedule for jobs with the artwork provided by the customer? I only ask because this is an intriguing option, and it's certainly something that I'd very seriously consider for future projects. I do believe that I could get the artwork done on my end if I knew some more about what was required. Thanks!
DEC 01, 2013 - 02:20 AM
Mike, you may want to ask Mal yourself. His call sign is 'Holdfast' and he can normally be found over on Aeroscale the wingy section of the Kitmaker network or failing that the Kitmaker British Bulldogs. Click my IPMS UK badge on my header and it takes you to the Bulldogs page.
DEC 01, 2013 - 03:28 AM
I used Corel Draw for the artwork and sent a file to Mal via email. I'm not sure about standard specifications or artwork for multi-colored markings... I pointed Mal to this thread, so I hope he'll respond to this ont. Regarding the pricing, as Luciano advised, that would be best to negotiate with Mal direcly. I'm in no way connected to the company, just a really happy customer. I definitely understand how intriguing the masking option is. I have to say, masking is something I would gladly accept over decals anytime, even if I had to spend some more $$$ on the masks. Mario
DEC 01, 2013 - 06:25 AM
I agree with you, Mal can be a miracle. I had Mal make me a custom set of masks a few months back for a project I have been wanting to do for decades. Here was my post LINK Cheers
DEC 01, 2013 - 06:52 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I'll see what develops, perhaps getting together with several other members of my AMPS chapter and putting together the art-work for several subjects on a single job. Cheers,
DEC 02, 2013 - 02:51 AM
Hi Guys I have done a few target related masks, the "Disc Camo" sold by AK interactive and Uschi van der Rosten was produced by me I have done a few other masks for armour related stuff but, as I model aircraft myself and therefor know more about them I have tended to be known for doing masks for them. However masks for armour related subjects are not a problem. I do have many orders in the pipeline, and more coming in all the time so I am looking at producing a line of masks for some, if not most of the modelling genre. As it says on my business card: I may not be able to produce masks for your project, but if you don't ask neither of us will know, I'm here to help My email address is miraclemasks@hotmail.co.uk
DEC 02, 2013 - 03:24 AM
Mal how do you feel your masks would cope with zimmerit? Zimmerit being a very rough surface makes decal application a pain the butt and would be an area your masks would opften be put to task.
DEC 02, 2013 - 03:36 AM
That's very interesting, Mal. I actually have a build blog and a feature here on Armorama that used the Uschi masks. I was quite pleased with the way they worked, and now have a very good idea of what your products look like and how they work. Armorama::Build Blog::DML #6370 Panther Ausf. G with AM-Works PE Armorama::Feature::PzKpfW V 'Panther' Ausf. G, by Mike Roof Good stuff! I'll be looking for an opportunity to work up an order. Happy modeling!
DEC 02, 2013 - 07:52 AM
This sheet was 5GBP, with me supplying my own artwork... if Mal had to design the complete marking himself, the price would have been higher. The price really depends on what is required, how complex the design is, etc. Also, I forgot to mention it in the review: Kitmaker members get a 10% discount. I designed three slightly different sizes of the same marking. I got 32 masks of each marking size. All together 96 masks... not bad for 5GBP, eh? Yes, because this was the only marking I needed to finish up this particular project. I didn't know about Miracle Masks at the time I started painting the vehicle so I did not include any of the other markings I already painted. Cutting all the masks for the model would not raise the price significantly, though. Mario[/quote] Thanks for the info Mario...the wheels are already turning in my head for some custom mask ideas.
DEC 02, 2013 - 08:07 AM
   

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