Sunday, December 1

Review: 1/48th scale F-14D Airframe Mask for the AMK Kit from Galaxy Models.

Gary Wickham has the new set of 48th scale masks from Galaxy Models to suit the long-awaited F-14D Tomcat from AMK. See what the set includes (with some unexpected extras to boot) in his examination...

Review: F-14D Airframe Mask for the AMK Kit.
Kit no: #D48009
1:48th Scale
Price: US$15 with free shipping
Manufacturer: Galaxy Models (
Galaxy Models continue their steady release schedule of new masking sets designed to work with recent kits. This time they are quick off the mark with a masking set ready to coincide with the release of the long-awaited AMK F-14D Tomcat in 1:48.
In the package we are provided a set full color instructions, two sheets containing the actual masks, a sheet of clear uncut mask material (to use as needed for overspray etc), two tinted acetate parts for optional use on the Tomcat windscreen and finally (as a bonus) a set of nice brass pitot and AOA sensors.

All Galaxy masking sets are die-cut from the popular "Kabuki" (or Washi) paper tape which most modellers will recognize 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 set is designed to fit the new 1:48 AMK F-14D Tomcat kit (88007) and provides the following masks items:
- Canopy (inside and out)
- Wing inflatable cushion (opened or closed)
- Exhaust nozzles (open and closed)
- Intake lip and gun nozzle
- Non-slip walkway on upper intakes
- Airbrake upper and lower
- JDAM cradle and AIM missile fins
This set comprises no less than 100 separate masking pieces over two A5 sheets of high quality yellow kabuki tape.

The first thing that I noticed was that this set was much smaller than Galaxy's set for the Tamiya F-14A. Thinking about it a little further I realised that given this set is designed for the AMK F-14D boxing, it's probably assumed that you will be painting your Tomcat using a lo-viz TPS (Tactical Paint Scheme). As a result, the number of hard-edge masks needed will be much less than for say a hi-viz F-14A. Still, a set of masks for the wheel hubs would have been appreciated.
The non-slip walkway on the top of the intakes is not what I would call a hard thing to mask but having the convenience of a pre-cut precision mask, even for this plain old rectangular shape, is handy. Masks 86 & 87 are provided for the heat exchanger exhaust duct which is normally unpainted in natural metal.
Masking around the complex shape at the bottom of the vertical tails has been handled nicely by Galaxy with a single piece mask for each side.
Many of the smaller masking tasks on your Tomcat will be handled in this set. Canopy masks are a given these days and take note that whilst it is not obvious from the pictures that both interior and exterior masked are included. For masking the wing glove pneumatic seal (aka inflatable bag) Galaxy provides options for both inflated and deflated (ie wings swept and folded). Finally, the fairly tricky demarcation around the airbrake in the beaver-tail has been provided with both top and bottom cutouts. This is intentionally designed as a multi-part mask as trying to lay this down as a single piece would be troublesome.
The gun muzzle blast trough is always unpainted natural metal and single piece mask is provided by Galaxy to make this easier to deal with. Likewise, the lip of the air intake is normally natural metal on most Tomcats and Galaxy provide an internal and external mask for this section as well.
The remainder of the sheet is focused on weapons. I do not have the AMK Tomcat kit yet so I am not sure what weapons (if any) are actually provided in the box and which are part of the optional weapons set I have seen advertised. Regardless, while you may think masking weapons is not that hard let me tell you that trying to mask up the cradle on a JDAM in 1:48 is not fun. These masks are definite time (and sanity) savers and to me at least are a great idea by Galaxy.
As a nice bonus to the masking sheet, Galaxy also includes a nice set of turned brass pitot and AOA sensors... well as two shades of pre-cut tinted acetate sheeting for use on the centre windscreen panel.
The actual masking sheets are well labelled and logically laid out on two A5 sized sheets of yellow kabuki tape. 
I have found when using Galaxy's masks that the cuts are clean which means no issues when removing the masking parts from the sheet.
CONCLUSION - Galaxy Models 1:48 F-14D Airframe Mask for AMK (D48009)
As with all paint masking sets, these are designed for convenience and time savers for modellers who would rather spend time painting than cutting out masks. This set seems to be retailing on eBay for around US$15 with free shipping from China which I feel is very reasonable when you consider what is included.

Given the quality of the masking material and the accuracy of the size/shape of each mask I certainly have no hesitation recommending them.

Gary Wickham

Many thanks to Galaxy Model for the review sets.