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Mike

Piranha Photo Etch Tool 13.5cm, 19.5cm & 30cm

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Piranha Photo Etch Tool 13.5cm, 19.5cm & 30cm

RP Toolz via Modelling Tools

 

boxtop.jpg

 

Photo-Etch (PE) at first appears to be a bit of a dark art to the novice modeller, but it can be a useful way of obtaining more realism in your work, but you need to have a few tools to hand if you're going to use it properly.  Modern PE sets have a degree of cut-out-and-fit parts that anyone can use without spending money on tools other than a sharp knife and some tweezers.  When you get more adept you're going to be folding PE, which requires a steady hand and at the very least some flat bladed pliers, which at best are a bit of a blunt instrument for many of the finer tasks, and lack length.

 

tool1.jpg

 

A PE Bending Tool is the ultimate in PE tools, and consists of a flat plate with a clamp that has a number of different shaped and sized "fingers" projecting from the top plate.  This one from RP Toolz has many, many fingers on the 195mm edition that I'm reviewing, but also has a few more on the longer 300mm monster, and a few less but more tightly spaced on the entry-level 135mm unit.  The top plate is secured by spring-loaded knurled knobs that screw down onto bolts set into the lower plate, with a brass insert ensuring long life.  The short plate has two knobs, the medium three, and the longest has four, all to obtain equal pressure along the entire jaw, and prevent PE slipping when being worked.  All lengths have two tight-fitting pegs projecting through the top plate for perfect alignment at all times, and to remove the top you have to pull it off perfectly squarely or it will jam due to the fine tolerances.

 

tool2.jpg

 

The base plate has a shiny surface and is made from hard metal, which I tried unsuccessfully to marr with a blade, although it does pick up fingerprints quite easily.  The underside is covered with a black flock material to reduce slippage and protect your desktop from damage.  The top plate is black, and has a PE Piranha logo attached in the centre, with the exception of the 195mm tool, which has it offset due to the central knob.  A one-sided razor blade is included in the box in a card sleeve, which is used to "pick up" the edge of the PE part to be bent, and allow you to start the bend.  You can pick up more blades cheaply on eBay or at any good hobby store if you dull or lose your original.

 

To keep your device safe and usable, don't use it to hold anything it wasn't designed for, keep the tension on the screws to an appropriate level, and do your best never to drop it, as all those things might result in distortion of the plates, which will reduce its effectiveness.

 

 

Conclusion

I've had a PE tool for years now, and it was starting to show its age due to its aluminium construction.  This one has none of the weakness of aluminium, and in use has both a wide variety of finger widths and shapes, as well as the option to spin the top plate 180o to use the straight rear edge for particularly long parts.  When you come up against a part with a long folded edge that's about 3mm wide, using anything other than one of these tools is likely to result in disaster.  I find the more even tension on the plate to be of great use, giving you confidence to work with all the fingers, not just the central ones.  Initially I thought that the lack of groove in the base plate that was present on my old tool would be an issue, but having used it now I find that it makes no difference to the process, and the additional weight of the thing is reassuring.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

135mm Tool

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195mm Tool

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300mm Tool

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Review sample supplied by

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I'm after a long bender for some etched chassis I've got in 1/24, this looks just the ticket

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I notice that it says £50 on the box, but the significantly longer one is available for £55 - only £5 difference, that seems odd.

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4 hours ago, Gorby said:

only £5 difference, that seems odd.

 

I guess the amount of work in making one is very similar irrespective of length, very much like sofas.  A 3-seater isn't massively more expensive than a 2-seater.  Just the extra materials, I suppose :shrug:

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Hi,  I've finally managed to get  the full RP Toolz range onto the website and double checked the prices.

 

Some tool prices have changed when I checked them this evening with the current exchange rate.

 

The 300mm Bending tool is one of those and has gone up by £5 to £60, but at least one tool has come down by more than that. 

 

RP Toolz available at modellingtools.co.uk

 

Thanks,

Paul

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6 hours ago, little-cars said:

Hi,  I've finally managed to get  the full RP Toolz range onto the website and double checked the prices.

 

Some tool prices have changed when I checked them this evening with the current exchange rate.

 

The 300mm Bending tool is one of those and has gone up by £5 to £60, but at least one tool has come down by more than that. 

 

RP Toolz available at modellingtools.co.uk

 

Thanks,

Paul

£40! That's more like it! Thanks Paul, I'll give that some serious thought.

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Direct links to each of the sizes now added :)

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