OK I am tempted to add a photo-etch kit to a 1/35th model, say the Tamiya
Merkava kit. The kit is £13 and the Eduard photo etch set is £14.
Deliberately chosen as the kit is cheap as chips so if I make a mistake
(bound to happen more than twice!) its not too dear to start again another
Thing is I have not been modelling long so I do not really have much
confidence to go messing around with the fine photo etchings. For those that
add etching kits - is it wise to invest in a bending machine such as the one
reviewed in Military In Scale magazine this month or do you do just as well
with a pair of pliers and a stanley knife? I am not even going to attempt
this level of modelling without knowing how to do things properly at the
Any other tips for using etchings would be very useful of course! Things
such as what adhesives to use and how to paint over them without disturbing
the quality of detail.
Thankyou for your time.
To start, it's OK with the old egg crate and knife to bend PE. But when you
get those complex curves and boxes, the PE folding sets are worth it.
Get the 4" Hold and Fold to start. IMHO, it better than the competition.
Some swear by them, some swear at them. I happen to be one of the
latter - I feel they are extremely overpriced for what they do. But in
the end, your tool choices are really all up to you, your skills, and
I've been cutting and bending etched parts for years, and I find my most
useful tools for working with etched parts to be needle files, two
single edged razor blades, a #17 X-Acto blade, an X-Acto hobby hammer,
and a scrap of 1/4" plexiglass sheet.
The plexiglass sheet is a good, flat, hard surface for bending and
striking against. The "striking" I referr to is where the hammer and
the #17 blade come in - a metalsmithing technique. You can squarely
align the chisel shaped blade at the very edge of the metal "sprue" and
give it a tap or two with the hammer - you can make very precise cuts
this way to seperate parts from the runner, and also trim parts after
they are free. The plexi is just hard enough to back the strike, but
flexible enough not to shatter under it.
As for bending, I use the "two razor blade method" for even the smallest
of parts. Once the part is free and trimmed, on that same flat plexi
surface - hold the part down along the desired fold line with one razor
blade. Then slip a second razor blade under the part to raise it to the
desired angle. Done...cheap. Another way is to look around your bench
until you find an object which will mak a good form for the bend - as an
example, the cap from the bottle of CA I use is the perfect raduis for
forming the backs of 1/48 Eduard etched WWII cockpit seats.
For adhesives, I use both thick CA glue and watch crystal cement. I
find that watch crystal cement works well for small parts there a
thinker glue with a bit more working time is required. It also works
well on larger flat joins. The black thick CA "tire cement" also works
well with etched parts - I presume because it has a flexing agent in
it...but I won't swear to that.
I paint my etched parts just like any plastic part - I use enamels
exclusively. One thing to note is that you will need to attach the
etched parts directly to the bare plastic for best result...if you
attach them over a painted surface they will merely peel off with the
paint. So you need to plan them into your assembly and then paint the
assemly in accordance. Some people also wash and/or prime thier etched
parts - I do niether and that works fine for me with enamels.
I bought one when I graduated to Aber PE. It comes in real handy and I like to
use it. It does cost a bit and if you only occasionally do PE or are a PE
novice (don't know if you're going to continue to use PE), then it might be
worthwhile to use the razor blade and 6" steel ruler method.
Visit my motor pool in the
Thankyou for the advice and article PPT Ranger and Rob Gronovius, very
Rufus, Thankyou so much for the description of technique and advice on what
tools you use. I think I can gather these items for hardly any money at all
so will give that a go first.
One other thing which is a more general question, how do you guys appply CA
to small kit parts? I mainly use liquid poly as I can brush it on neatly and
it does not glue my brush up. With CA the brush would be ruined. Is there a
neat way of applying CA?
With the thick CA, I use a needle in a pin vise to apply the glue to
smaller parts. I use the sharp end of the needle, but some folk use the
eye end - the eye will hold more CA. Some also prefer to break or grind
the tip off of the eye to make a forked type applicator...sounds like a
good idea to me, just haven't tried it myself. When the needle gets
loaded up with a crust of CA, I simply scrape it clean with the back of
my X-Acto. I've been using the same needle for some 15 years or so now.
A needle in a pin vise is also a good tool for prodding small parts into
place - etched or plastic. I find that using a prodding tool affords
more control and precision for lining things up than my fingers when the
parts are smaller.
Well slap me silly and call me susan! What a great, simple idea. I've used
cocktail sticks but found they don't spread the CA too well, probably
because the wood is poreous. I'll get myself a pin and stick it in the pin
in article nWXOb.100925$I06.451057@attbi_s01, Rufus at firstname.lastname@example.org
wrote on 1/19/04 3:24 PM:
This ground-off needle is the best CA applicator I've found. I don't use a
pin vise though--I just stick the pin in the eraser of a pencil. If it
doesn't scrape clean, just pass it through a flame.
in article 6OWOb.15729$ email@example.com, Tone at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 1/19/04 2:07 PM:
I rarely use CA now to attach small PE parts. I find that a good white glue
works better for me since it lets me position the parts more accurately and
remains slightly elastic when it gets dry, unlike the CA that gets just a
bit too brittle. I've had parts break off during transport due to the
vibrations in the car. Never had one attached with white glue do that. Also,
I can use a small brush to clean up any material that gets squeezed out
around the part. OK, so it takes longer to dry. But not much and I like the
I use CA for rigging and as a filler that I want to scribe over and for
gross attachment of things like nose weights and reinforcement.
My 2 cents.
I use .010, .015 and .020 music wire glued into a piece of sprue, if it
doesn't scrape clean pitch it and use a new piece.
Milt> This ground-off needle is the best CA applicator I've found. I don't use a
Give the black CA meant for tires a try - I tried it once because I was
out of my usual think CA and now I prefer it. I'm guessing, but I'd
think that since it's "formulated" for tires it's got a bit more
flexibility. Anyway, I've noticed that it seems to work better for me.
I have been developing my soldering technique down to a fine art. I no
longer us CA unless to attach parts to plastic and I sometimes use epoxy for
its longer work time. But otherwise all my brass work is accomplished by
soldering. Any one who saw my T34-85 at the last AMPS show can see what I am
talking about. All the Aber brass was soldered right down to the grill work,
hinges and hasps.
I've never mastered the art of using CA as a filler - so I don't know,
but being "rubberized" I wouldn't expect it to sand well.
I strictly us it as an adhesive for etched parts onto plastic. Any slop
which oozes out from under the part is fairly easy to trim with a razor
blade or X-Acto, though.
It's one of those XYZ generic CA's - I think there is a company which
makes the basic product and local shops are able to put thier labels on
the bottles. I'm out of it right now, so I can't look at a label...I
find mine in shops that carry R/C equipment.