SAirfix 1/48 Curtiss P-40B Warhawk AVG. All markings painted on

I am currently aiming to finish this model for the Scale Modelworld show, held in the Telford International centre every year in November. This year it is on the 10th/11th November and this show is probably the largest model show in the world.

I'm actually getting 5 1/48 models ready for the show, 4 Airfix P-40B, Spitfire, Hurricane and BP Defiant and 1 Tamiya Bf109E. The markings on all of them are painted on.

The P-40B AVG has the "Flying Tiger" and "Hell's Angel" motifs and I figured that I could paint these, along with the code number, kill markings, shark mouth and Chinese National markings. The Tiger was going to be the hardest, because of the multi coloured aspect of it. Paint masks such as these have to be aproached differently to say, RAF Roundels, or Luftwaffe Balkencruez. But I have a method that works really well. I also use a high end plotter and precision ground drag knives (the blades in the plotter cutting head). This set up along with a vinyl masking material, which is a closely gaurded secret, enable me to cut these very intricate masks. They are drawn using Corel Draw and, with good references are not difficult to do. The difficult part is designing the masks so that they will work. The shark mouth was by far the most difficult has it has to conform to the complicated compound curves of the nose, just in front of the intakes!
So a few pictures of the masking and painting process. each mask is transferred to the model using "transfer tape" which is just blanks cut in the same material, this keeps the design together while it is positioned. The first mask is transferred along with a "positioning box" which is then left in situe, to locate subsequent masks.The same method was used for the kill markings, the "Hell's Angel" and the Chinese national insignia, although these markings ar just 2 colours. The number is a simple one piece masks and the shark mouth is a 3 part conventional negative mask.

A word about the Chinese national markings on the decal sheet. They only have 11 pointed stars when they should be 12. The 1/72 scale kit has the correct amount of points but the colour of them is wrong. 

I also created maks for the camouflage.

The model is currently having weathering applied after a gloss coat over everything, after the minor decals were applied.

I'll try and remember to post some pictures of the finished model, soon.


Mal (Miracle Paint Masks)

Errr...  WOW. 

I'm not worthy!  Seriously very impressive job.

@Pretty mediocre modeller

Errr...  WOW. 

I'm not worthy!  Seriously very impressive job.

Thanks but it isn't that difficult, once the basic techniques are known. I have spent a number of years perfecting this process. Just like you learn to apply decals using paint masks is just the ability to understand how masks work. If you can use an airbrush you can use paint masksSmile

As impressive as the Tiger might seem this Swastika on my Tamiya 1/48 Bf109E might be even more impressive. It is a scale 250mm which makes the thin black outline stupidly small! The process is similar to the tiger but there are only 2 masks, black is painted first which seems to be the most unusual part for some modellers Wink

Mal (Miracle Paint Masks)

Just had to comment on this. Beautiful work! ...and thanks for taking the time to show it.


Just had to comment on this. Beautiful work! ...and thanks for taking the time to show it.

Thank you, I'll post the completed model sometime in the very near future, I hope Laughing

Mal (Miracle Paint Masks)

Patrick Camilleri

513 posts

Community Moderator

Wonderful work.  So precise.  Can't wait to see photos of the finihed model.

Heather Kay

260 posts

Like the others have said... Wow! Fabulous stuff.

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Fantastic work Mal, Ill look out for your models at Telford. 

Best Regards Mark


Fantastic work Mal, Ill look out for your models at Telford. 


My club is IPMS Kitmaker We are in hall 2 but I forget the exact location. Pop over and say hi :)  I will have the other 4 models with painted markings in 1/48 scale a one in 1/32.


I have entererd this in the competition though. I'm not sure about that, I don't enter competitions as I don't really need any recognition for what I produce. But something happened last year over a model with markings painted on using my paint masks, with even RAF heraldry painted on which lost out to a model with rubbish decals and one of the points against the model with painted markings was "the decals weren't as good as the one with the rubbish decals! That told me that judges can't recognise painted markings or don't know what can be achieved so don't believe the write up on the model. This is my response to that, to see if judges actually get it!

Mal (Miracle Paint Masks)

I entered this model in the 1/48 OOB class but it didn't do anything.  Predictably the one model that had all possible panels off won gold! I wasn't surprised, at all, and that is the bug bare, because I predicted it. The model that won was very good just that I always get the feeling that if panels are off or open then there is always more chance of winning in a competition. This is why this was the first competition that I have ever entered and it really just reinforced that belief.

Mal (Miracle Paint Masks)

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