Polar lights USS Enterprise NCC-1701
Star Trek The Motion Picture Refit
1/350th Scale

Page 31, MORE secodnary hull sodding about!
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You stick 'em on, you paint, you take em off.


Welcome one and all!
Ok then, on this here page I hope to give you a bit of a review,
mainly involving the aztec mask sets available for the painting
of one the beastie's i'm a building in this here WIP log.

Still with me?
Jolly good!

Now then, currently the choice is only out of two.
Those being the Aztek Dummy masks by Lou Dalmalso
and the newer to the market set by Orbital Drydock.

Now you saw some use of the Aztek Dummy masks on page 24 and 25
and a bit of the in's and outs of their use.
Now let's get a little bit closer to the nub of the matter.

To begin with...
So What's In The Packets Then?
Well the Orbital Drydock is as follows:

And the polythene bag contains:
13 cut sheets of self adhesive vynil masks.

An A4 sized 8 sheet stack of transfer tape.

A sheet of precut masking tapes of varying widths and window masks.

A handy mask application tool thingy.

And lastly,
a four sheet, double sided, A4 sized instruction waffle and picture stuff.

Now for the Aztek Dummy loot.
Now this is the version 2 and I believe that there have been
some changes since then and now on version 3.

So i'm just going with what I have here.

Now this comes in a single envelope and comprises
6 A4 sheets of precut vynil and a two page, double side set of destructions.

Apologies I didn't take more shots of the sheets but for some reason,
you my camera doesn't like photographing black vynil.

Yes, I know there are used/blank bits,
see pages 24 and 25 for the reason why there folks.

So what does some of the cutting look like?

Well the Aztek Dummy ones I have are old,
as in more than about 18 months so there appears to have been some shrinkage going on.

How indicative this is of the vynil quality I do not know, but it does account for the
ones I used in paint testing not fitting correctly.
As for the Orbital Drydock ones, well for the above stated reasons,
it's not really a fair comparison but here's a few sheets.

So then, to the nitty gritty.

Let's go straight for the financial jugular and mention cost.
As of 10/08/2013, not counting postage charges and giving the amounts in US dollars
because that's their country of origin,
the Aztek Dummy V3 set is between $49.95 at the SSM store down to $46.95 at the Culttvman store.
Other places may vary but that's just two to take in to account.

The Orbital Drydock set as far as i'm aware,
can only be got via his ebay selling and currently comes in at $57.00.

So now that's done, how do they stack up in the area of accuracy?

Well again it's not really a fair comparison as I don't have the Aztek Dummy v3 so can't say.
One thing I will say and to quote directly from the V2 instructions...

"These templates are meant to give you a two-tone pattern.
Should you want additional levels of detail to your aztec-ing,
they will provide a great base to add more variations, and:
These templates are only the beginning.
There will still be much left to be painted after you're done with these."

Also, later he does make not concerning the shapes for the engineering section, neck and pylons...

"By the way...these shapes have no basis in canon,
I simply like the way they look
Please feel free to alter them however you want."

So no claims to completeness/accuracy going on there which is all good.
Tells it like it is so again, all good and as a whole,
it's a pretty good stating point.

The Orbital Drydock text on the ebay page for their mask set says:

"This is the most complete detailed Aztec & paint mask set available."

I can say that after having a really long look through the sheets,
it is very comprehensive and contains much more than the Aztek Dummy set I have.

"Not just an Aztec set, but an entire masking solution."

There's certainly a heck of a lot more in terms of masking stuff and areas covered.

"Based on the Aztec decals from the popular 1/350 Enterprise Refit."

Never seen those with my own eyes so i'll take their word for it.

"These masks were created to replicate the Aztec & Interference patterns
that were on the original filming model.

Like with the Aztek Dummy ones,
it's a good place to start and in a way, a better one as there's more masking to it
but it is NOT a be all and end all with nothing else needed.

"They are comprehensive & complete,"

Certainly comprehensive and as complete a set as i've seen to form a basis on.

"giving the builder many options & the ability to create a detailed single color Aztec,
or the entire complex 5 color interference pattern."

Again, it's a starting point if you want the full on 5 colour deal
but there's still much to do.

"All of the masks are custom fitted & contoured to match every single panel on the model."

No arguments there from what I can see.

"You will not get a mask set that fits ok, you will get a mask set designed for this model specifically."

Assuming built straight from the box, agreed.

"No detail went unchecked, for an example,
the patterns in the above photos were created with this set."

A little more checking wouldn't have gone amiss,
particularly with the engineering hull patterns which are
and are not correct but i'll get to that in a bit.
To see the photos referred to, you'll have to look at the ebay page.
Just do a search for the seller orbital_drydock

"Great care was taken in choosing the material for the mask."

No argument there.
It's about 2/3rds to 1/2 the tack of the black material Aztek Dummy uses,
So it's easier to remove and I have tested a scrap piece.

"We do not use sign vinyl, or cheap frisket,
but instead professional high quality paint mask used
for airbrush auto detailing."

Never used this stuff meself so i'll happily take their word for it.

"It utilizes a medium tack adhesive to allow for repositioning of masks,
ease of removal, & will not damage paint when removed."

A bit of testing i've done with scrap stuff bears that out just nicely.

"These masks are meant to be applied with transfer tape in large sections,
in order to help save time & sanity during your build."

Now in this, they are way ahead of anyone else.
A brilliant idea and most certainly a time saver.
In this I happily doff my cap in their direction.

Here's a youtube vid showing one modeler demonstrating this technique.
Starts at about 3 mins 15 seconds in.

Nice eh?
Do love them sanity saving ideas!

Ok, more delving in to the Orbital Drydock masking set on the next page
so away with you to that one!

Page 31, MORE secodnary hull sodding about!
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