Masking is an inseparable part of modeling – particularly when aircraft are involved. Canopy glass, wing stripes, camoflage…it seems like even on aircraft that are just one color, there’s always something that needs masking.
And one of the more frustrating masking jobs – at least for me – is fuselage bands. Wing stripes are a cinch…you have a big, flat surface to work with. But aircraft fuselages – especially on World War II fighters – are rarely perfectly cylindrical. They taper. They have various ridges and protrusions. All of these make masking a straight band of uniform width a nightmare.
Fortunately, there’s a way around the pain. Here’s how.
- Figure out how wide your band needs to be. On this Fiat G.55, the fuselage band needs to be approximately 16mm wide.
- Get the right tape. You need a tape that can handle weird curves. 3M makes a Fineline tape for automotive detailing that can work well, but I prefer this Artist Tape for Curves. You can pick it up at Hobby Lobby or most craft stores, or failing that, Amazon.
- Do math! Double the width of the artist tape (or whatever you’re using for perimeter tape) and subtract that from the total band width. In this case, the tape is 3mm wide, so 3×2=6. 16 – 6 = 10mm.
- Mask the middle first. Take a piece of tape the width you arrived at above, and place it vertically along the side of the fuselage.
- Use the middle tape as a guide and place the artist tape to either side. Carry it around the fuselage, taking care to make sure the two ends align where they meet.
- Burnish the tape down, especially over any strange surface contours. Mask the rest of the band. That’s it!