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Spitfire canopy - mask then fit, or fit then mask?


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I'm building the new Tamiya MkI 1/48 Spitfire at the mo.

 

I've ordered an Eduard canopy mask, rather than try to hand-cut the box-issue Tamiya one. I've used masks before, but with this one i was wondering if its better to mask and paint the canopy first, then fit to the model at the last minute, or if it's better to fit them to the model first, mask it up, then paint all in one go before removing the mask as the last step?

 

TIA.

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FWIW, I’ve been using Eduard masks for the last couple of years and normally, if the kit canopy is used,  mask and paint the canopy on the aircraft. If the canopy is to be removed for whatever reason, I’ll just attach it with white glue for the painting step so it can easily be popped off later - example the pilot’s section of an Eduard Bf 110 canopy that will be open when finished

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1 hour ago, robstopper said:

Canopy will be closed, so fit then mask seems to be the general consensus.

 

Cheers for the advice.

I would opt for putting on the masks before the parts are installed because it's less cumbersome to do the small placement adjustments without having to heft around the entire model. Otherwise, I can't see any difference in the result either way.

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I would think it's more useful to take into account the effect you want to accomplish - i.e. a clean, gradual transfer from windshield/canopy to fuselage.

 

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I have done 2 models recently using pre cut masks. A 1/72 Fokker DXXI with the canopy fitted and last week a 1/72 Fairly Fulmar before fitting the canopy. Doing the Fokker was an utter ball ache and I cracked the left hand undercarriage wheel fairing.

 

The Fulmar was a 30 minute job easy to flip the canopy round, get your finger tips inside to press the mask down and no risk breaking off delicate parts. 

 

I know which way I will be doing it in future fit masking, glue on canopy and then get the hairy sticks or airbrush out

Edited by AltcarBoB
Speeling
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I always mask before attaching the canopy regardless of whether open or closed. I use Parafilm so have to cut to make the mask and trust me it is far, far, far easier to do this on a separate canopy stuck to the working surface with a little Blutack because you have to move the piece around to cut it.

 

With premade masks I still do this, much easier control working on the canopy by itself.

Edited by Smithy
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As @Smithy has stated, I also mask my canopies and paint them before attaching to a model. I also pour some plaster of Paris, or better yet, dental stone into the bottom of the inverted canopy to fill it. (I get a small tub free from my dentist/dental lab, and it will provide enough material for many canopies in 1/72.)This will protect the canopy from flexing and getting stress cracks from the repeated handling and finger pressure. A blob of the same on the bottom gives you a handle if you need it. Masking and painting a canopy already attached increases the possibility of cracking any filler or paint already applied to the model, or knocking something else loose. Those transparencies that have a significant portion designed to to painted to match the surrounding area would be exceptions.

Mike

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As its on a spifire, theres not a lot of protruberances to worry about, the undercart on this tamiya kit is an all-in-one single piece (genius idea that, i always struggle to get the legs aligned and secured properly!), so the risk of damage when masking and painting with the canopy insitu is a lot less than on a biplane for example. But, I think i'll probably mask then fit, but will see how i feel when i get to that stage.

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2 hours ago, robstopper said:

As its on a spifire, theres not a lot of protruberances to worry about, the undercart on this tamiya kit is an all-in-one single piece (genius idea that, i always struggle to get the legs aligned and secured properly!), so the risk of damage when masking and painting with the canopy insitu is a lot less than on a biplane for example. But, I think i'll probably mask then fit, but will see how i feel when i get to that stage.

I never fit the undercart until painting is completed, including the final clear coat. That entails having the undercart doors painted and coated on the runners and only removed when I install the undercart, antenna and pitot.

 

That strategy leaves me with a relatively clean model that can be filled, sanded, primed, painted, masked and painted repeatedly. Of course the first thing to mask and paint is the canopy as this has to have interior color visible through the glass.

 

That said, to avoid paint seeping under the canopy mask, I apply a coat of gloss clear as the first coat on the canopy, before the interior color.

 

HTH

Finn

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20 hours ago, 72modeler said:

As @Smithy has stated, I also mask my canopies and paint them before attaching to a model. I also pour some plaster of Paris, or better yet, dental stone into the bottom of the inverted canopy to fill it. (I get a small tub free from my dentist/dental lab, and it will provide enough material for many canopies in 1/72.)This will protect the canopy from flexing and getting stress cracks from the repeated handling and finger pressure. A blob of the same on the bottom gives you a handle if you need it. Masking and painting a canopy already attached increases the possibility of cracking any filler or paint already applied to the model, or knocking something else loose. Those transparencies that have a significant portion designed to to painted to match the surrounding area would be exceptions.

Mike

My strategy for Spitfires is to mask the windscreen, attach it to the fuselage, apply further masks to keep paint from getting inside the windscreen and/or the cockpit, then apply interior color to the windscreen followed by external camouflage. I do the same thing with the small clear piece at the rear of the cockpit. I mask and paint the sliding canopy separately before attaching it to the model.

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