Eduard EX 245: A6M5c Zero 1/48 Canopy Mask
|$10.00 or so plus shipping
|Hasegawa 1/48 Zero kits
An extremely popular aftermarket item has been canopy masks. These have been produced by a number of manufacturers over the years, but the ones that seem to be the most popular are those by Eduard.
Masks have been made from a variety of products including thick and thin vinyl as well as from kabuki paper (basically the same stuff as Tamiya tape, but not quite a thick). Some masks only cover the outlines of the clear part. This is very much the case when it comes to bits with large compound curves such as you see on F-86s and MiG-29s as no material will properly stick to convoluted surfaces like that. In those cases, you fill in the rest with your favorite tape or with liquid masking solutions. Others, like the ones here for the A6M are 'solid' in that they fill the entire pane.
Hasegawa Zeros have been a bit of a chore for me to mask as I use Tamiya tape for most of my masking. However, the frame lines on these kits is quite fine and are practically invisible even when holding the clear part up to a strong light source. I could use clear tape, but those have their own issues in terms of stick and residue.
This set is designed for the A6M5c, but since Hasegawa Zero cockpit clear bits are all the same, they will work on all the other variants as well save for the trainer (for that you'd need two sets as it has two windscreens). As you can see, the individual pieces are unable to be clearly seen and even under magnification, finding the edges of each pane is not at all easy. However, some educated guess work and the tip of a sharp scalpel tip will get you going. These sections stick quite well and it is a good idea not to fully press them down until you are sure they are in the proper place. You can peel them up and reuse them, but the thinness can make that a bit hard to do.
For bubble canopies and such, things like this are really not needed by most modelers, but for multi-pane 'greenhouse' canopies, they can be very useful, especially if the frame lines are indistinct.
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