|J'S WORK - King Tiger Henschel Camo Mask|
A look at two new sets of camouflage masks from J's Work!
King Tiger Henschel Camo Mask
Schemes 1 & 2
Manufacturer: J's Work
Material: Masking tape
Serial Number: PPA5007 & PPA5008
Price: £4.23 Each (LuckyModel.com & Free Shipping)
J's Works are a relatively new company hailing from China, and are only available from LuckyModel and their own website! They manufacture an ever expanding range of diorama accessories and modelling aids such as masks, in a variety of materials. These two sets of masking stencils are specifically for the 1/35th scale King Tiger Henschel turreted version, with no manufacturer specified.
The two sets of masks represent two three-tone camouflage schemes, consisting of green and brown disruptive stripes over a dunkelgelb or yellow base. The first of the two sets, PPA5007 in addition has a pattern of alternate colour spots superimposed over this scheme.
Each of the two sets is supplied in a large A4-sized plastic wallet with a cardboard backing on which basic use instructions are reproduced. Inside there are two sheets of yellowish masking film, one large and one small, and although there should be smaller sheet of masking film in the first set to mask the 'spots', this was missing from the review set.
The film used is pre-cut to the required shapes and just need to be peeled form it's backing film. Once it has been peeled away from this backing paper, it's very similar in feel and thickness to Tamiya masking tape, which most modellers will be familiar with. Almost identical in fact, which should give you some idea of its quality. About the only difference is that this film seems to be far more sticky on its reverse side which I took to be an advantage.
Each set has as mentioned one large sheet of film and one smaller sheet. The large one consists of pieces to mask the body of the vehicle, whilst the smaller one has the pieces necessary for the turret and gun. There are no instructions apart from the general ones offered on the cardboard backing, and of course the full colour diagram that offers four elevations of the camouflaged vehicle. As a result of that, it was a little difficult to know where to start. Each of the pieces is marked simply with 'G', 'Y', or 'B', representing the three main colours, green, yellow and brown. Once you have orientated yourself with respect to the artwork supplied on the packaging though it's fairly easy to work out where you start.
For the purposes of the review I had built the Henshel turret from a Dragon king Tiger but left off the lifting lugs which I felt would make things unnecessarily complicated, and felt that it would not be unreasonable to be expected to attach and touch these up afterwards. The only specific instruction is in the form of an annotation on the artwork to use the mask marked with an asterisk to be the first colour applied. In practice, this just confused me, since I had assumed that dunkelgelb would be the most obvious choice of base colour.
Trying to carefully match up the position of the mask with that of the artwork, proved difficult. What I had initially taken to be an advantage, i.e. the extreme 'stickiness' of the masks, quickly became troublesome, although it was never strong enough to remove any of the green base colour applied only minutes before. To aid in locating each piece precisely, there are small nicks in the masks where they are to be lined up on edges etc. The system falls down a little when you're not sure which particular edge a specific nick is supposed to line up on however. This became even more of a problem when you knew where a particular nick was supposed to go but wouldn't reach it, as a result of the mask having to be placed over a turret fixture.
I have to admit to giving up eventually. The next process was to place the masks marked for yellow so that I could spray brown....if that makes sense? The general instructions advise that gaps between masks can be easily guarded against by using liquid masking fluid. At that point little alarm bells should be just making themselves heard. I ignored them and pressed on. After struggling with one piece trying to get it to match up with artwork it suddenly dawned on me why I was having problems. If you compare the different elevations offered on the artwork, they don't actually match up?
I was trying to apply scheme 2. The plan elevation clearly shows the brown stripe running down the right hand side of the loaders escape hatch at the rear of the turret, with the green just coming onto the hatch on its upper left side. The rear elevation shows a markedly different pattern. It's not the only difference either. If this had been a model I had been trying to finish and make a good job of, the masking tape and scissors would have had to come out at this point. Since it was a review, I felt justified in feeling angry and putting it away.
With all sincerity I cannot recommend this product at it stands. There are far easier ways to mask a model. It is difficult enough to get pre-cut masks to conform around three dimensional shapes, without the additional problem of attempting to follow incorrect artwork. In addition, many of the pieces are over-large, making trouble free application a nightmare. Of course you could start cutting them into smaller parts...but that rather negates the idea in the first place.
My thanks to J's Work for the review sample.