Etch Mate bending tool
by Andrew Dextras
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
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