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 time :)
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 start.
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.
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 your wallet...
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. Rob Gronovius Visit my motor pool in the
Thankyou for the advice and article PPT Ranger and Rob Gronovius, very handy.
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 vice :)
in article 6OWOb.15729$ firstname.lastname@example.org, Tone at email@example.com 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 results better.
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.
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.
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.