Mel Madness Mobility Monster Masking Machine

I was just trying to see how many M words I could get in the title.
Tuesday Morning: Looking at this picture from another modeler’s build for a "derelict Gustav" build really made me want to push the rust look further than I had managed thus far, so I did a little experimenting last night.

I didn’t take any pictures, but I basically applied a liquid mask to the ping pong ball, painted over it, painted NATO Green over that, and blended the green using my "dirty thinner". Then, I peeled back the mask (with some difficulty) to see how the results looked. While they weren’t quite as polished as my reference picture, I was pleased enough with the results to spend the rest of the evening applying it to the rusted portions of the Proto-Mel. Tonight should be the paint-n-peel, unless I get sidetracked.

Is there anything ping pong balls can’t do?!?

Wednesday Morning: The entire project almost went in the trash last night. In fact, it still might.

I applied the liquid mask, painted the NATO Green in the clear spots, and then took this picture:

After that, I used the "dirty thinner" to give the green splotches some depth, and then it was time to remove the liquid mask. And then I discovered that the liquid mask really doesn’t want to be removed. It wants to stay attached. And if it does leave, it wants to take paint with it, down to the bare resin. So… Over the next four hours, I removed most of the liquid mask off most of the parts.

I used four different pairs of tweezers, a wooden "tool", a scraper, and a hobby knife trying to get the liquid mask off the model. An unexpected side-benefit is that the process led to some nice semi-realistic looking scratches across the surface of the model. I also scraped off paint in several spots, with the mask pulling up paint in several other spots. And it’s not all off yet.

I’m not a great modeler. I’ve resigned myself to that. Comfortable with that knowledge, I would still like to place the blame squarely on the bottle of liquid mask. It’s just crap. Despite my best efforts, it just lays down too thin–straight from the bottle.  And after seeing the results on a test piece, I really was about ready to toss the whole project. I felt it would’ve been easier to start fresh with something else than try to "fix" what I was seeing here. And then I thought, "No… no… this is a learning project–an experiment…" So, I’m going to move forward. I’m going to remove the rest of the liquid mask (mostly from the legs–with other patches remaining throughout the model body), fix the paint damage, and move on. And the next time I’m at the hobby store, I’m buying a different brand of liquid mask–any suggestions?

And finally, here’s a list of things that have achieved greater success than my liquid mask:

  • Windows Millennium
  • The evolution of M. Night Shyamalan’s movie reviews and box office receipts (what a twist!)
  • Sending/receiving calls on AT&T’s cell network
  • "E.T." for the Atari 2600
  • Potted meat products as an entrée
  • Stimulus packages
  • Gun control policies in Texas
  • The D-pad on an Xbox controller
  • Tyra Banks as a serious author

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