Reviewed: Nov 2018
Galaxy Models from China have continued a steady release schedule of new masking sets designed to work with recent kits from Kittyhawk, Great Wall and Hasegawa. In this review I'll take a detailed look at three of their latest offerings:
All Galaxy masking sets are die-cut from the popular "Kabuki" tape which most modellers will recognise from their use of Tamiya masking tape. Unlike vinyl, the paper based Kabuki tape does not suffer from shrinkage and therefore has a very long shelf life. It's also reusable (if treated carefully).
This masking set is designed to fit the GWH Su-35S (L4820) kit, but I'd be very surprised if it didn't work just fine with the Kittyhawk kit as well.
The set provides pre-cut stencils which can be used when applying the three tone camouflage pattern of the Soviet Su-35S Super Flankers.
It's worth noting that Galaxy have now released two masking sheets designed for the GWH Su-35 kit.
It occurs to me that using a die-cut mask which has super sharp edges may not provide the most realistic finish for a paint scheme that has a noticably soft/feathered demarcation between the colours. No doubt the end result with the Galaxy mask will be clean, but perhaps not entirely accurate.
As there are three colours to be applied you need to consult the instructions to work out which masks to use for each layer of paint. Galaxy have included a fold out colour step-by-step photographic guide to help modellers understand the necessary sequence.
The masking sheets are well labelled and logically laid out on two A5 sized sheets of yellow kabuki tape. Having used the Galaxy masks previously I found the die cutting process left a very clean cut and I had no problem separating the masks from the sheet.
The tape itself felt and behaved exactly like Tamiya masking tape, allowing you to lift and reposition the mask when needed. When separating the masks from the sheet I often had to hold it up-to the light to see the edges and then gently peel the mask off using sharp tweezers.
This set is designed to fit the Kittyhawk Su-34 Fullback kit (KH80141) and provides the following masks items:
The set covers pretty much the whole airframe, focusing on areas of natural metal and dielectric material (such as antennae, sensors etc). Whilst I like that both exterior and interior canopy masks are provided it may be somewhat redundant in this case as the Su-34 canopy does not open (the crew entering the spacious cockpit from below via the nose wheel well). If you plan to load your Fullback up with R-27 AA missiles then Galaxy has you covered when it comes time to masking of all those fins (8 per missile).
Once again each sheet is well labelled and logically laid out on two A5 sized sheets of yellow kabuki tape.
This set is Galaxy's first in 1:72 scale and is designed to fit the Hasegawa F-35B Lightning II kit (KH80141).
The set unashamedly focuses on helping the modeller with one thing, RAM panel masking. This single task has turned many a brave modellers heart to stone as the enormity of the masking effort dawns on them.
As a testament to the size of the task, this set tops out at an impressive 310 separate masking pieces over two A5 sheets of yellow kabuki tape.
Whilst the bulk of the set does cater for the RAM panel masking, Galaxy have also kindly thrown in a few extras for the canopy, wheels and exhaust nozzle.
The Hasegawa F-35B kit comes with recessed panel detail to mark out the RAM panelling across the airframe. In the box, Hasegawa provide decals for the RAM panels, which I guess in 1:72 is not a bad solution.
If however you want to vary the colour or tone of the RAM paneling (as seen on different examples of the real aircraft in USMC service) then the limitations of the "one-color-fits-all" approach of Hasegawa's decals becomes obvious. Masking and then painting your own color is the obvious solution but without this mask set from Galaxy you would be need to be a very determined soul to take it on. Daunting enough in 1:48 let alone in 1:72 !!
Each sheet is well labelled and logically laid out across the now familiar pair of A5 sized sheets of yellow kabuki tape.
Put simply, these mask sets are great time savers for modellers who would rather spend time painting than cutting out masks. I happily used the Galaxy set on my Meng 1:48 F-35A build and it really was the difference between getting it finished and being consigned to the shelf of doom. Given the quality of the masking material and the accuracy of the size/shape of each mask I certainly have no heistation recommending them.
Many thanks to Galaxy Models for the review sets.