Masking tape is one of the essential tools used in modeling – but not just any cheap tape you pick up at the big box stores. Here’s a rundown of the types I’ve find most useful for paint masking.
Tamiya ‘Kabuki’ Masking Tape
Tamiya ‘Kabuki’ tape is pretty much my go-to tape for painting. It comes in the following widths – 6mm, 10mm, 18mm, and even 40mm. They come with dispensers or you can get a refill roll – which is cheaper of course. The stick well, gives clean edges, and lifts easily. They aren’t cheap, but at the same time a roll will last you a good while.
Tamiya Curved Masking Tape
This is a relatively new line – at least for me. The tape comes in 2mm, 3mm, and 5mm widths – no dispensers as far the texture wouldn’t work well there. These type are made with a ‘vinyl’ type texture – and the key to fame as you can see in the picture above is their ability to make curves. I don’t mean bend around curves, but actually be distorted so that you create curves on the same plane. The thinner the roll, the more curvy it can get. This is a fantastic tape for masking over compound curvers, like the nose cone of a jet or a tapering fuselage. Or that ww2 Luftwaffe spiral prop cone.
This tape you can get at your local hardware store and is forumlated specifically for acrylic paint – it claims to create a barrier to prevent bleed through. I’ve tested it and it works well, and it’s an economical alternative to Tamiya tape. However, its a thicker tape both in depth and in width, so it’s more limited in it’s application unless you are willing to cut it. For the small extra cost, I stick with Tamiya for most masking need, but for big broad surfaced, I will bring this one out.
3M Painters Tape
Finally we have good old dependible 3M Blue Painters Tape – the main advantage of this tape is the low tack so it is still fairly easy to lift. I just this to fill in the spaces after I have masked edges with Tamiya tape – as this tape is sigificantly cheaper and comes in very wide widths.