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Etch Mate bending tool

by Andrew Dextras


Etch Mate image

As the photo etched juggernaut has begun to pick up speed in the last 5 years with sets of greater complexity being released on a monthly basis, AFV modellers attempting to tackle these brass monstrosities may find that they need a “helping hand”. Mission Models comes to the rescue with this slick new tool. Although not the first bending tool on the market, this new device incorporates some neat tricks of it’s own. The first thing you’ll notice is the very smooth surface. The EM is CNC machined so the tolerances will be finer and more consistent than conventional machining methods. Second, each EM is comprised of a matched pair consisting of a of base and a folding head. These parts are then hand leveled to ensure a flatter clamping surface. The folding head is reversible, in other words you can use the EM to fold long parts (e.g. a T34 fender) and then switch it around to fold smaller, more complicated parts. Sturdiness and alingment are further aided by no less than 5 guide pins.

Other unique features include a very nice “stepped” edge which allows for some complex multiple folds to be formed and a very convenient “twist” knob which provides plenty of grip when clamping down etched parts. Also included are 4 rubber feet to prevent the tool from moving around the workbench. The EM also includes a small razor blade which is used to wedge under etched parts when you want to begin a bend. Optional are much longer 6-inch razor blades for longer parts. Finally the EM is finished in a nice, khaki coloured non-reflective surface rather than a shiny metallic surface, this contrast should make working on small parts a lot easier (think of Eduard silver coloured etch for example). A nice one-page instruction sheet is included which is a good touch as it gives some helpful tips on using and caring for your investment. Speaking of which - anyone attempting any of the recent maniacal Aber releases should look into the Etch Mate, at $65.00 US retail it will save you hours of frustration. Nonetheless, those who refuse to spend money on proper modelling tools and wonder why they can't get good results need not apply and can continue using high tech photo etch bending devices like door hinges or gardening implements.

In summary, this tool is state of the art and worth every penny.

Etch Mate website: www.etchmate.com