Does your camera have a MACRO-modus?
I should look into that, Herbert, because the zoom SUCKS! Let me check the documentation.
I still have this opinion on the wheelmasks, that, take a compass, measure the wheels diameter, scribe plastic sheet with the compass and you have a homemade mask. What is the real plus of the wheelmasks, besides being pre-cut, so to say? I mean $14 is in itself not much, but it's kit-specific.
They are not for everyone, but given that I currently have 8-9 kits in various stages of completion, I find it's just easier to purchase the masks. Much like using MIG pigments and filters: skilled modelers can make their own, but it's just easier (for me) to use his OOB.
And when you're spending upwards of $75-$100 on a kit including Friuls, AM PE & barrels, etc., another $14 for a very tricky paint job doesn't seem all that much. I don't know that I would purchase the masks for every vehicle-- the Pz. III, for example, has a clearly-defined "lip" at the edge of the rubber, whereas these "box chassis" (Schachtelfahrgestell) vehicles like halftracks, Tigers and Panthers, have something more akin to a rubber "coating" around the wheel. You can clearly see the demarcation on the real vehicels, and if you look closely, on my lousy photos.
So, while these are kit-specific as you rightly point out, they REALLY make painting these "box chassis" wheels a snap. And since I have these two Sd.Kfz.7s on the workbench and three more in the stash, well, I think you can see the advantages in those cases. But if you're only building one Sd.Kfz.7, then the advantage is lessened. Also, the masks are not interchangable, though the drive sprocket openings for the DML mask worked fine on the Trumpeter ones, which are missing on that set.
Are you going to paint the chassis before gluing it to the body?
Normally, I prefer to do all painting after the kit is totally assembled so as to avoid overpainting something. But the Sd.Kfz.7/1 has this gun platform that prevents painting beneath it easily, so I am feeling my way on the entire process. I have painted the interior of the chassis on both kits so far.