How to do masking

March 19, 2012 at 17:42 | Posted in How-to | 3 Comments
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You may have noticed some parts of your model kit are not molded in the correct color. This is particularly true for HG kits (well, the old ones at least). So you may want to paint only a certain part while leaving the surrounding area untouched. This is where masking comes in. It’s especially useful when painting using spray cans or airbrush because they cover a large area. Unless you have steady hands like a surgeon, it’s also recommended when hand-painting.

So, there’s 3 ways you can do masking: 1) masking tape; 2) masking solution; and 3) blu-tac

1) Masking tape

I would recommend using masking tapes specific for modelling, e.g by Tamiya. You can use normal masking tape but the risk is that its adhesiveness may potentially peel off your underlying paint job.

To use, just place the masking tape over the area where you DO NOT want the paint to land, like so:

Pros: The most versatile method; can cover large surfaces; easy to cut and shape

Cons: If not applied properly, paint may seep underneath the masking tape, resulting in a mess. Not the most practical for masking curvy patterns (e.g curvy camo).

2. Masking solution

Just imagine it as a masking tape in liquid form. The one pictured above is Mr Masking Sol by Mr. Hobby and it’s not that expensive.

To use, just apply the masking solution over the surface using the brush attached to the bottle cap. It’s a bit thick, and it  should look like this straight after application:

I would recommend you to leave it alone overnight before doing any painting. After it’s dry it should look like this:

After you are done painting, you can just peel off the dried up masking solution.

Pros: Easy to apply; good for uneven or curvy patterns

Cons: Not practical for fine areas because of the huge applicator brush

3. Blu-tac

Blu-tac and its other generic brand names is a sticky, playdoh-like material that you can find in most stationery shops. I find it extremely useful for masking nooks and crannies that are otherwise impossible to mask with the previously mentioned methods.

I mostly use it for masking the insides of verniers and nozzles, like so:


It’s also useful for masking simple camo patterns on small parts like weapons (see GM Wagtail):

Pros: Easy to mold and shape; easy to find. Good for masking tight and small spaces.

Cons: Not practical for covering large surfaces

Closing remark: For general purposes, masking tape alone is enough. It’s versatile for most needs and fairly easy to find and not that expensive.


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  1. Nice thanks for the info! :)

  2. Just stumbled on your blog. Really great stuff. Do you do anything in particular for circular shapes? For example, as you mentioned, HGUC kits don’t always have good color separation. How would you mask to airbrush the inside of a booster?

    • for those tight spaces and complex shapes, i tend to use blu-tac

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