For Tamiya 1/48th F-84E/G Thunderjet

Retail price: $4.75

Black Magic is a product recently new to the market (late 1999) by Cutting Edge, and consists of a black flexible adhesive-backed vinyl-like material that is pre-cut for masking canopies and wheels. Cutting Edge has released a number of these sets, and this one is for the Tamiya 1/48th F-84E/G.


Precut masks are provided for the Tamiya Thunderjet canopy, windscreen, and wheels. The instruction sheet which accompanies the masks is fairly comprehensive about the best method to use -- and those not to use -- to apply the masking sheets to the kit parts in preparation for painting. I won't reitereate here as it would be redundant. Application is straight forward with only normal care required to be sure the masks are alligned correctly, and reasonable care not to stretch the flexible material. The one flaw in this set is "good news, bad news." The good news is, the masking set matches the incorrect Tamiya canopy in that it has allowance for the too-long center longitudinal brace tape. The bad news is, there is no correct mask provided for the modeler who corrects the error by removing the incorrect brace tape from the canopy.

In summary, I am in the habit of using a liquid latex rubber called Mold Builder to do my masking. I found the time to apply these precut masks to be not much less than the time I take to apply the Mold Builder. These work, and they work well, but considering the cost of each vs. the time to apply each, in the future, I'll stick with the Mold Builder for those times when masking is appropriate. But masking is not the only consideration when modeling the Thunderjet canopy bracing tapes, as paint does not correctly represent the way the tapes appear on real aircraft. I use white or light grey decal strips applied in the order shown to correctly represent the canopy bracing tapes. Cutting and applying the decals requires patience and care, but, in my opinion, does not require more modeling skill than any masking method. Therefore, I recommend the "decal" method as detailed on the Canopy Page of the Tamiya Kit Review.

Cutting Edge Black Magic pre-cut mask for Tamiya F-84E/G.

Cutting Edge Black Magic pre-cut mask for Tamiya F-84E/G.

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The Black Magic masking sets work great; on the other hand, so do other less expensive masking methods, but I still consider the "decal" method to be the best representation of the canopy bracing tapes.

Contents Copyright 1997-1999 Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved