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The Great LSP Twins Group Build Starts Jan 24, 2024 - End July 3, 2024 ×

Tamiya vs ZM masking tape


Tamiya vs ZM masking tape  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. Which tape do you prefer to use?

    • Tamiya
    • ZM
    • Either/both
    • Something else
    • Whatever is cheapest

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This review came about when I went to reorder a refill for my trusty (and very often used) Tamiya tape 6mm tape dispenser.  Somehow when I was on SprueBrother's website I also ran into the ZM brand of tape, which retailed for 1/3 the cost of the Tamiya tape.  A 5-pack of 6mm ZM tape sells for $4.80, a single 5mm spool is $1.00 while a single pack of the Tamiya tape retails for $3.00.  SprueBrothers does not have a multi-pack of the Tamiya tape for sale, and I have not found a multi-pack of the Tamiya tape anywhere.

Since this tape is something I tend to run through pretty quickly, I wanted to see what differences there are between the two tapes and if I might save a bit of money.   I use all three of the Tamiya sizes, but seem to run through the 6mm the fastest.

Here are the retail packages:


Looking at the tapes themselves, they look and feel (and smell!) the same.  They are the same size, to my eye anyway:


The Tamiya tape has a white center, while the ZM cardboard center is black.  In the picture below, the Tamiya tape has the green tab, while the ZM's tab is yellow.  The both seem to have the same opacity, and same/similar stickyness.




Applying the tape both act and feel the same way.  Both seem to have a sharp edge and are equally (in)elastic - they both stretch about the same, before tearing.  That is, they hardly stretch at all.  What I was not able to test for, in a short period of time, is how the adhesion ages over time - does the ZM lose its stickiness over time?  I don't know, but the longest I leave tape on a model is a few weeks and that is usually for masking a canopy.  I also use the tape to hold down masking materials, or for masking, but that is literally for minutes.

My takeaway at the moment is that both tapes are equally useful.  As I use the ZM tape on my current build, I'll update this review as appropriate.

If anyone would like to add their own experiences with both/either tapes, please do!


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If you need thinner rolls of tape, look for Aizu tape. It's the same material as Tamiya tape but comes in widths as narrow as 0.4mm. I've used that width to mask the stripes on ejection seat handles. 

Going the opposite direction, Dolphin tape is available in much larger widths and is relatively cheap. I picked up a 1" wide tool at my neighbourhood paint shop for $10 CAD. It's the same size as most tools of green painters masking tape. Again it's the same as Tamiya tape.

Lastly, be wary of the cheaper Chinese brands. I used some on my F-104 and the residue left behind was unbelievable. I've had to strip the the model where I'd applied it and it was only on for less than a day. 


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First of all, thnaks for the poll.

SEcond, I never tried ZM masking tape but I do like a lot Tamiya ones. I already tried Vallejo one, and its ok... but Tamiya is much better.


However I do use, for bigger covers to mask this one:




Its very similar with the tamiya one, much better than the Vallejo one, and much cheaper than both.


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I use Frog Tape brand from the local hardware.   A lot cheaper than Tamiya (or other hobby centric) and is slightly less adherent.  To get thinner strips I use a tape cutting template.  They have different colors...   if you can find it, you want the yellow. 

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