Masks vs. Decals – top differences
Painting decals is a much easier solution for the final touches of your scale model and the best way to do it is to use pre-cut masks. They have many other unsurpassed advantages, but the decals like we all know them make no exception too. The decals are colorful, very delicate and captivating, but with the masks – you actually paint the decal by yourself. Check out the other top differences between masks and decals.
The decals are by far the best solution for models in a very small scale, such as 1:144 or 1/72 models. The finest lettering of the tiny decals is contrasting and much more pronounced, than if you use masks as decals. Not to mention the technical difficulties when replacing the smallest decals with masks, so undoubtly it is recommended to use high quality decals for the smallest scale models of tanks, aircrafts, cars or other vehicles. Another great advantage of the decals is the big “open time” for adjusting the decal itself – first wet the surface and the decal, then place the decal onto its position by sliding it over the wet surface, and touch the decal with something dry to get rid of the moisture, and the decal is set. By contrast to the masks, which are sticky and can`t be adjusted once placed onto the surface. They have to be detached and attached again after the small correction. And the third main difference is that once dry, the decals usually have to be protected with a coat of lacquer to seal the surface and prepare it for a further treatment.
The masks – they require just a hint more attention during the application, because the exact location is essential for a good result. Although slightly transparent and the surface of the model is visible, the masks have an adhesive layer that restricts their free movement like with the decals. Second, this adhesive surface of the masks makes them much better for application over curved surfaces, than the typical decals. Third, by using masks, you actually take full advantage of a number of loopholes for finalizing your scale model. There is no need of chemical setting solutions like with the decals, nor need of decal setters, etc. There is no waiting time too, because the greatest difference in this method is in the use of paint instead of decals. A fast-drying paint like an acrylic paint provides a very quick drying time and the masks are ready for peeling off of the model almost immediately after painting. So, the next major difference is in the opportunity to adjust the color or the nuance of the paint – something that is impossible if using decals.