View Full Version : Masking materials and brands

18-04-2006, 06:38 AM
I have seen some beautiful paint jobs in this forum and there seems to be some real knowledgable people here. I am in desperate need of some help with masking materials such as tape choices and liquid mask techniques.

What do people use? I am in California and have been using ye old masking tape and find it to bleed horribly. I have also tried using liquid mask with better, but limited results. It seems to leave a nice line, but the effort in lifting it off the body seems to be too much. Maybe I have not applied it to the shell properly.

What do people prefer? :confused:

18-04-2006, 08:56 AM
I use tamiya masking tape, I have a few different widths.. I also have some really thin pactra tape which is good for doing fine lines.
Never used liquid mask myself but i think the tamiya masking take would be just as good for most stuff.

18-04-2006, 08:57 AM
Personaly I use a decent brand of masking tape, and sometimes the cheap ones work ot. Either pick up Automotive masking tape or stuff designed to be applied to fresh paint on walls. It is sometimes hit and miss, if the stuff isn't very tacky then I use it to fill areas and then use decent tape along where the masking lines go.

If you can get it, Scotch 3M Blua masking tape is excellent, only down side is it is harder to see through to cut your pattern.

Liquid Mask, Bob Divley is the best, nobody stocks it in the UK but from what I here you got to apply a good four to five coats, the thicker it is the easier it is to lift off the shell. But it will eat through the blades to.

If you need any help let either me or Jim know.


I also do a lot of freehand work in the designs to.

18-04-2006, 11:35 PM
Thanks very much for the input. I am going to search Ebay for some automotive tape or drive to one of the local shops. By the way, nice work on that dragon theme body. Amazing really and I see you also could not resist getting a Dark Ipact Tamiya!

One little thing I have discovered which I can share with you is a cost effective x-acto blade alternative. I have often used surgical blades. You can buy them online on ebay for about $8.00 USD for 100 blades. The handles are also cheap - usually they come in sets of 5 (all the same) for $10.00-$15.00. I find not only are the blades cheaper, but they are much sharper (careful round the kid) and last longer. I think the #11 is the blade most like an xacto blade and if you do buy the handle - make sure its the one that fits #11's.

I am going to start working on some designs and will mot likely be peppering you with more questions. :D

Thanks again!

18-04-2006, 11:41 PM
Not sure what DCM uses but Xacto isnt as popular over here maybe, I used Swann Morton surgical blades and handles, the handles aren't cheap for what they are, but its all nicely made and the blades arent too costly, about 1 pound for 5 i think.
I wouldnt use a blade for more than 1 shell, maybe even a couple for a shell if im doing a lot of cutting. It always scares me taking the blades off / putting them on with the swann mortons though, I'm always scared its going to ping off into my eye or slice my hand open!
I have a vivid imagination! help.


19-04-2006, 08:08 AM
I use a rounds blade handle that clamps blades in place. I also use craft scalple blades and get them for 15 for 100 which is pretty good price in the UK, and change them as soon as it starts needing to much pressure to get a clean cut.

One tip, if you use tape, try not to overlap tape to much where you are cutting, and if there is an overlap, trim the excess back.

19-04-2006, 05:13 PM
My personal preference is just pre cut mask's, yes im lazy :p :D I also just use masking tape if i do my own design and thinner types for the lines.

20-04-2006, 01:37 AM
3M Automotive fine line tapes are the only stiping tapes I use for edging. I use 3M blue or green masking tape for larger areas, but almost never for hard edges, unless you are looking for a rough or torn edge. If I do use it for a hard edge, I will cut pieces by hand from a glass plate with an Xacto knife and use pieces to edge, but I always burnish down before spraying anything. I never use rattle cans, either, because it will run and bleed through everything.

3M also now makes a smooth blue masking tape that doesn't have the typical masking tape crinkles in the surface. Pretty nice stuff.

Dively's Liquid Mask is the only stuff I'll use for freeform masking. It can be tougher to use if you aren't good with a knife. I don't recommend it for everyone. If you do use it, you need MANY coats applied with a foam wall painting brush, dried with a heat gun or hair drier. If you don't use plenty of coats (I have used up to 10 coats for detail work), you will have a nasty time removing it when you need to.

I also cut Avery low-tac masking vinyl from the plotter. You can do some interesting things with reverse masks. Doug Summers of RCbodz paint uses logo masks and paints them on. He does a lot of stuff for RCextreme Magazine. Great painter, BTW.

Airbrush frisket is also a great tool for hand-drawn stencil needs. It's low tack enough and cuts very easily. Plus, you can re-position it after you pull it off, to use in multiple forms or locations. Art stors carry it in sheets.

Hope this helps,


Spencer Mulcahy
21-04-2006, 07:52 AM
You have to use a number 3 blade handle for a 10 11 or 15 blade size. Work in an operating theatre so I can confidently answer a this yipeeee been able to answer a question on a forum.

21-04-2006, 09:01 AM
oooooooooooh... so how much for a box of blades... heehee (surgical blades have a sharper cutting edge than modelling ones, don't blunt so quickly)

21-04-2006, 09:32 PM
I bought mine off of eBay from a seller in New York. Of course, I hope you can find a local seller. Try searching for "scalpel blades".


The seller combined shipping with the handle and another box of 100 blades so the shipping did not seem so bad in the end.

Each blade also comes individually wrapped so you don't have to worry too much about rusting during storage of so many blades. Again, they are :o VERY:eek: sharp so take extra caution when having these around.

Also they are sterilized with gamma radiation - like the Incredible Hulk :D

Going to paint a shell this weekend. Wish me luck!

21-04-2006, 11:39 PM
Finished mine, all tape and cutting



22-04-2006, 09:39 PM
Beautiful work D,

What do you think of the cars performance? I am going to start assembling mine shortly. Are those the DF-02 shockc on it?

22-04-2006, 10:54 PM
DF02 shocks, use the short ends on the rear and the long ends on the front, the manual gets it back to front I think.

Goes well, just need to get some wheels and tyres for it now.

22-04-2006, 11:08 PM
Dont you have a load of academy wheels Steve ? wont they fit ?

23-04-2006, 09:22 AM
I got some rear ones I haven't had five mins to measure, but all my fronts went when I ditched the SB (kept the rears as the boy was racing the Griffin).

On the subject of Masking Tape, just bought some for filling in, opened the one packet, smelt like horse shit, so that never stayed... heehee

03-05-2006, 02:06 PM
I've been painting my r/c shells for the past 3 years now and I've almost exclusively gone to using liquid masking. I'd prefer using vinyl, but I don't have one of those plotter/cutter things. Sooooo, if I couldn't have a mask pre-cut on vinyl, that leaves either using liquid mask or masking tape. I evenutally went with liquid mask since I could see through it and it made it much easier to cut correctly. To each his own I guess. Masking tape works extremely well as you can see from the other paint jobs in this forum. I just wanted to make mention that liquid mask (only Bob Diveley's BTW) works extremely well, but you must be patient with it. First of all, it doesn't take multiple coats to work well. One coat is all you need. One THICK coat. Slobber the stuff on the body a good 3-4mm thick. It'll dry to about 1.5mm thick. Secondly, don't try to cut it until it is COMPLETELY DRY. Too many times I find people get super frustrated with it and it hasn't even dried yet. 48 hours is the minimum I'll wait for the masking to dry. The only way this time can be expidited is on a hot sunny day. Leaving a body with liquid mask out in the sun can cut off about 12 hours of drying time, but that's it. If it is very humid inside my house, I'll wait in upwards of a week for the masking to completely dry. Lastly, don't try to shorten the drying time by using a hair dryer. That'll cause the water in the masking to boil. Once the surface of the masking forms a 'skin', the water underneath will boil and form a lot of bubbles. Your lines won't be nearly as clean when you cut. Anyways, that's my technique. Here below you'll see a painting sample of mine for my gas truck. It was completely done with only liquid mask. I'm not the best by any means, but I'm usually pleased with the results. :)


03-05-2006, 02:39 PM
Unusual tips with the Liquid Mask, for sure, but I will reiterate that I have been using LM for about 15 years now and have always used a hairdrier or heat gun to speed drying time. If you are using enough heat to boil water, you are also melting Lexan, too. Be careful, regardless.

Also, very thick coats are extremely difficult to use on detailed body contours. I have found over time that thinner, multiple coats cut easier, and offer more detail ability when cutting fine masks. They also dry faster.

The point is, play with the goo, experiment on old bodies (and plastic soda bottles cut in half are great, too), and learn how the mask works best for you. It's good stuff.