Tuesday, February 23

Mask Review: 1/72nd scale F-35A / F-35B Paint Masking Sets from Galaxy Models

Having already made his own F-35 in a heavily masked pattern there is no one more qualified than Gary Wickham to comment on the usefulness of Galaxy Models new trio of masks for the 72nd scale Lightning II's. See what is in these sets and what he thinks in his review...

Mask Review: F-35A / F-35B Paint Masking Sets
Kit Nos# D72003 / D72004 / D72005
1:72nd scale
Manufacturer: Galaxy Models (www.galaxy-models.com)

Galaxy Models are back with several new masking sets aimed squarely at the range of F-35A/B Lightning kits in 1/72nd scale. In this review, I'll take a detailed look at three of their latest offerings:

F-35A Mask for Hasegawa (D72003)
F-35B Mask for Italeri (D72004)
F-35B Mask for Academy (D72005)
Each of these sets focuses on helping the modeller with that most daunting of tasks when building an F-35, the dreaded RAM panel masking. This single task has turned many a brave modellers heart to stone once the enormity of the masking effort dawns on them.

As a testament to the size of the task, each of these sets has an impressive 300+ separate masking pieces spread over two A5 sheets of high quality yellow kabuki tape.
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).

Galaxy Models 1:72 F-35A Mask for Hasegawa (D72003)
This masking set is designed to specifically fit the Hasegawa F-35A kit, of which so far they have released no less than 12 re-boxings! In their kit, Hasegawa themselves deal with the RAM panelling by providing decals, which I suppose could work fairly well in 1/72nd scale.

Whilst the bulk of the set does cater for the RAM panel masking, Galaxy has also kindly thrown in a few extra masks to cover the canopy and exhaust nozzle petals. 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 feels and behaves exactly like Tamiya masking tape, allowing you to lift and reposition the mask as 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. Each Galaxy mask set includes a sheet of transparent "transfer tape" to assist you in removing the masks from the backing sheet and then positioning them on the model surface.

Galaxy Models 1:72 F-35B Mask for Italeri (D72004)
The second set is sized to fit the new Italeri F-35B tooling. The STVOL B airframe differs quite considerably from the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A variant so a specific masking set is needed.

Galaxy have previously released a masking set for the Hasegawa F-35B and now they have followed this up with a set for Italeri and Academy B airframes.
I have only just recently completed the Italeri F-35B kit and unfortunately did not have this Galaxy mask on hand at the time. As a result, I learnt firsthand how much time and effort it takes to manually mask an F-35B in 1/72nd scale, it's a LOT. Pre-cut masking sheets are designed with one goal in mind, timesaving and when I used the Galaxy set on my 1/48 Meng F-35A build they did just that.
Like all Galaxy masking sets, each sheet is well labelled and logically laid out on two A5 sized sheets of yellow kabuki tape.

Galaxy Models 1:72 F-35B Mask for Academy (D72005)
The third and final set in this round of releases from Galaxy is designed to fit the Academy 1/72 F-35B. I guess as they had done the hard work to design the set for the Hasegawa and Italeri kits it was sensible to round out the trio for the Academy kit as well. As with the other sets, canopy and exhaust masks are supplied as well.
Just like Hasegawa, the Academy solution out of the box is to handle the RAM panelling with decals. That's great if you think the grey they chose for the RAM panelling is accurate to your build but painting gives you complete control and allows for some variations that you won't get with decals.
Again, each sheet is well labelled and logically laid out across the now familiar pair of A5 sized sheets of yellow kabuki tape.

CONCLUSION - Galaxy Models Mask Sets D72003 / D72004 & D72005
As with all the previous Galaxy Models sets, 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 hesitation in recommending them.

Many thanks to Galaxy Models for the review sets.

Gary Wickham

Many thanks to Galaxy Model for the review sets.
Galaxy Model products can be readily purchased on eBay or foreign (non-Chinese) customers can also buy Galaxy products directly using PayPal. For more details contact Galaxy via email at galaxymodel@outlook.com
To see more of Gary's work then please do go to his website www.Scalespot.com for a whole lot more of that...