A Photo Etch modeling clamp
by Mission Models
reviewed by Steve Jantscher
Those who build plastic models over any length of time, will sooner or later enter the wold of metal photo etch detail pieces. These very thin pieces of metal can be shaped by the photo etch process into very small and detailed accessories that add in-scale realism to any number of models, aircraft, armor and especially ship modelers. These pieces often need to be folded and bent in such ways as to represent three dimensional articles from real life. this action often calls for a level of ambidextrousness beyond us mere two handed modelers. When one realizes this, the modeler searched out a clamp, that will provide that critical third hand.
The Etch Mate by Mission Models is the most recent iteration of this type of modeler's tool. I purchased a similar tool called the "Hold and Fold" manufactured by The Small Shop of Ridgefield, Washington. I found the pioneering Hold and Fold to be a real life saver for my scale ship PE needs. It measured 4x4 inches, with a two inch square clamp (with four different sized prongs). Both clamps are made from machined aluminum, but while the Hold and Fold is a bright silver color, the Etch Mate is anodized in a very deep olive drab color. This difference is especially important when working under bright lights, as the Etch Mate reflects much less light making it easier to see the part being worked.
The Etch Mate measures 3.5 x 6.5 inches, and has one spring loaded clamp that spans the full width of the long axis. There are six different sized working prongs on one side of the removable clamp. Six different sizes means the modeler is more likely to be able to match the right sized prong to the piece. Also, the clamp can be removed and rotated around to provide one long edge to work those oversized PE pieces.
I still like my Hold and Fold, but I believe
the state of the art has passed the Hold and Fold by, with the new "champ"
being the Etchmate. I expect to be picking one up soon. If you haven't tried
one of these photoetch benders, you should... they are real life savers!
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