Anyone have any advice for masking canopies with very little relief on the frame and curved corners?
I am working on a couple hasegawa Japanese aircraft. Typically I’ll lay down tamiya tape and carefully cut with a knife using the frame to guide, but these things have almost no relief between the canopy glass and frame. I considered cutting really thin strips to track the edge but the curved corners throw a wrench
Hasegawa Ki-84 and B6N. The KI-84 shouldn’t be too bad but the B6N has 24 windows on the canopy alone not including the rear cockpit window or windscreen. It’s gonna be a royal PITA to mask. I’ll look into tamiya curve tape
Any ideas for how to measure the windows? I tried calipers but got really concerned about scratching the nicely polished canopies. I did cut some with my cricut and they turned out nice but they were all undersized. If I could get the size right I think it is the way to go
Only thing I can think of is vinyl tape in thin strips and then a lot of persistence.
Can you apply household kitchen aluminum foil over the canopy and carefully burnish the frame with a cotton swab or your finger? Then transfer those shapes to vinyl masking tape to create your own masks?
I’ve used multiple brands and they’ve been about the same. Yes, if you let it dry completely then use a sharp blade you can get pretty sharp lines though tape is still probably better there. Get a small bottle and try it!
Another option is to use a punch and die with the correct diameter for the rounded corners of the canopy frame. Punch out some discs from your masking tape of choice and the use straight, thin pieces to connect the discs.
If I can get ready-cut masks, it is always worth buying them I think, especially for “greenhouses”. If there aren’t masks available, I still prefer Bare Metal Foil. It IS a high-risk operation but they seal tightly against the plastic and give very sharp edges.
Burnish it tightly with a Q-tip, cut it very carefully with a new scalpel blade, using patience and a steady hand. Do it piece-by-piece, section-by-section. For larger clear surfaces, you can use strips around the edges that are cut in place along the lines, filling in with liquid mask in the middle.
Glue residue can be removed using canopy polish but be sure to use a sturdy paint that bites a bit into the plastic, it is all too easy to polish away the paint from the frames as well.
Punch and die sets are fairly expensive (unless you already have a set); circle gauges, either plastic or metal, are cheaper, and usually contain a greater number of diameters. Just trace them out on the masking tape , then cut them out.
I have used the method of the punch and die and it does work. Then thing is that for really small curves, the placement of the straight sections tangent to the small circle may be challenging, so the use of eye magnifiers is strongly advisable.
As an alternative to punch and die, I have been using lately a set of hole punchers (you can get these cheap in Amazon). The smaller hole puncher diameter is 0.5 mm, which will cover 99.9% of your needs if you work in 1/48 scale or bigger. These tools are a way cheaper alternative to the punch and die sets.
Instead of masking, you can remove the detail from the canopy completely and polish it. Then paint clear decal film the same color as you would have painted the framework. Carefully cut strips with a new no.11 blade and apply. I’ve suggested this before as in most cases it works very well.
The “no relief” look is actually the most realistic.