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Basically ...............................  Why ?

 

I try to avoid it like the plague.

I started on what I thought would be a great build, not too complicated, and a decent looking model, the Hobbyboss Merkava.

I open the box to be confronted with 3 sheets of photoetch, some of which is barely 3mm long, and has to be bent into a 'U' shape sorry, but I have better things to do !

Even worse, when the side skirts are put on, you can't even see it !

 

Is it me, or do other people out there find it pointless and a waste of time?

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23 minutes ago, Test Valley Models said:

Is it me, or do other people out there find it pointless and a waste of time?

 

Much like yourself i avoid using it. If i do use it then its only the larger bits that can be managed with my fat fingers, such as engine grills etc. Any that needs bending or sticking together is a big no no! I really do envy the chaps on here that can wrestle it into shape and make it look great - its witchcraft i tell ya! 

 

 

Regards,

 

Steve

Edited by fatfingers
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I use it a lot, even on 72nd aircraft. Try fitting control levers in a 72nd pit for small.

 

Each to their own of course. I have toned down how much i use, especially on 35th armour. There was a time i got every set i could, but after doing a couple of newer Dragoin kit, i realise i didn't always need complete sets. But i still use thing like tool clamps and a few other bits.

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I like how it looks, especially on other people's models, but I find it tricky to use. I don't have the dexterity for some of the smaller parts and some parts I find are completely unnecessary. But I will use it, especially the engine mesh, tool parts but I have a lot leftover after a build.

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I have etched sets for most if not all of the kits in my stash.  But for those I have built and those I am building I find that I use very little of them.  Some kits now come with small etched frets for more obvious pieces like mesh anyway.

 

Often I will look at the moulded detail and the brass parts and realise that by the time I have cleaned off the plastic detail, assembled the (often minute) brass parts and put them together it will look no better than what was there in the first place.  Etched brass hinges with separate bolt or rivet heads would be an example here.

 

Assembling brass parts together if you can't solder well is not easy.  Few adhesives these days since commercial retail cyanoacrylate was made less potent are remotely permanent of sufficiently quick setting.  Joins are often just made Corner gaps in folded parts are hard to fill.  Likewise assembling larger etched parts to plastic

 

Different brands have different challenges.  For example I find Voyager products to be exceptionally fussy and particularly full of tiny parts, although they frequently include resin parts, tow cables, springs and lengths of wire or plastic rod.  With Eduard you can look up their fret images and instructions online to see exactly what you get.  Aber I find to be over-priced compared to other brands for what you get.  ET and Part are very hard to find in the UK, and more difficult to source from overseas since we left the EU.  Microdesign is impossible to get in the UK.  I have no experience of Griffon.

 

Etched brass is also not always the most appropriate medium.  It doesn't work for handles or things like US periscope guards which were made from round bar or rod as it is just too flat.  The rise of 3D printed plastic and resin parts is beginning to replace some of the previous uses of etched brass.  I can try and assemble a tool clamp or strap from several tiny brass parts, some needing annealing first, or I can use a pre-assembled 3D printed one which simply slips over the tool and actually looks better than my ham-fisted attempts to make up straps and buckles from brass.  MJ Productions do some extremely good US and German tool fittings, for example.  The new FCM/MiG ones are not bad either.

 

Some of the parts provided in etched brass sets can be replicated and poorer kit parts replaced just as well with wire, lead foil, thin brass sheet, plastic card, microstrip etc etc wothout splashing out on an etcehd set from which only a few parts might be used.

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I'd bought quite a few Voyager sets before i even used one, that was back when i was just buying AM for the sack of it. I have found their sets to be the most wasteful, i always have loads of stuff left over, and even in sets that are meant for one certain kit, its clear there are parts of it for other kits. My go to sets have in the past been Aber followed by Eduard, but there is a lot more choice out there now.

 

When useing any PE sets, the main trick is knowing what not to use. As in armour PE you get flat handles, on aircraft PE you get flat brake lines and pipes. Sometimes they work if hinnden away, but other times its best replaced with wire.

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Some kits seem to include some just because it's the 'on trend' thing to do.

I'm not a fan myself, although it probably doesn't help that I use my standard tools for cutting, trimming and shaping it. Tools which are meant for plastic, not metal.

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It appeals to me but like many I struggle to use it.  Think I have spent as much on photo etch tools (bending jigs, pliers, CA applicators, positioning probes) than on all my other tools and comparatively they barely get used.

 

I really question some of the tinier parts (because of my lack of skill) and question whether the slightly mis-positioned detail they add is worth the CA scarring around them.

 

And some parts don’t look right because they are flat - a good example is that I do 1:35 armour and PE sets often include chains - that doesn’t look right.

 

The other thing, particularly after market kits, is where there are plastic details on parts that you have to carefully remove before you can add the PE parts - a good example are clamps on spades and pick axes, the PE does look better but there is a good risk that you will break the plastic part or watch it ping off into the jaws of the carpet monster when you are trying to shave off the plastic clamps.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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I have to admit to not being a great fan of photoetch - in fact I come close to loathing it, for many of the reasons mentioned above. I am in awe of those who can work with it. I can count on the fingers of one hand (not stuck together with CA glue), the times I have used it successfully. I have a few kits in the stash that have photoetch as an essential ingredient and it is a significant energy barrier to me starting them.

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I reckon it's a case of use what works for you.  I use it when I think it's the best option for a given part, yes it's fiddly but you can say that about building models at all ! 

Some photo etch bits are great and can add detail or even larger panels / components that look far more in scale, on the other hand, as mentioned above by others, it's "flat" and doesn't replicate pipes or wires very well. This isn't an issue as there's lots of gauges of (real) wire in many different materials that looks the part far more. 

I'm certainly glad PE exists, but i'm not an addict ! :)

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On 4/7/2021 at 1:37 PM, Das Abteilung said:

I have etched sets for most if not all of the kits in my stash.  But for those I have built and those I am building I find that I use very little of them.  Some kits now come with small etched frets for more obvious pieces like mesh anyway.

 

Often I will look at the moulded detail and the brass parts and realise that by the time I have cleaned off the plastic detail, assembled the (often minute) brass parts and put them together it will look no better than what was there in the first place.  Etched brass hinges with separate bolt or rivet heads would be an example here.

 

Assembling brass parts together if you can't solder well is not easy.  Few adhesives these days since commercial retail cyanoacrylate was made less potent are remotely permanent of sufficiently quick setting.  Joins are often just made Corner gaps in folded parts are hard to fill.  Likewise assembling larger etched parts to plastic

 

Different brands have different challenges.  For example I find Voyager products to be exceptionally fussy and particularly full of tiny parts, although they frequently include resin parts, tow cables, springs and lengths of wire or plastic rod.  With Eduard you can look up their fret images and instructions online to see exactly what you get.  Aber I find to be over-priced compared to other brands for what you get.  ET and Part are very hard to find in the UK, and more difficult to source from overseas since we left the EU.  Microdesign is impossible to get in the UK.  I have no experience of Griffon.

 

Etched brass is also not always the most appropriate medium.  It doesn't work for handles or things like US periscope guards which were made from round bar or rod as it is just too flat.  The rise of 3D printed plastic and resin parts is beginning to replace some of the previous uses of etched brass.  I can try and assemble a tool clamp or strap from several tiny brass parts, some needing annealing first, or I can use a pre-assembled 3D printed one which simply slips over the tool and actually looks better than my ham-fisted attempts to make up straps and buckles from brass.  MJ Productions do some extremely good US and German tool fittings, for example.  The new FCM/MiG ones are not bad either.

 

Some of the parts provided in etched brass sets can be replicated and poorer kit parts replaced just as well with wire, lead foil, thin brass sheet, plastic card, microstrip etc etc wothout splashing out on an etcehd set from which only a few parts might be used.

What he just said 👆

Couldn't agree more.

 

Andrew

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I have had some very varying experience with PE. Some jumps in to the right position on its own..... other parts have an utter mind-of-their-own and need a sledge-hammer to apply properly. Let's just say that the tricky parts often end up in the bin. 

 

One thing I would say.... super-glue and PE are NOT good for each other. Buy some glue designed for PE use... it will make your life much easier. Super-glue is WAY too messy, IMHO.

 

Chris. 

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40 minutes ago, spruecutter96 said:

I have had some very varying experience with PE. Some jumps in to the right position on its own..... other parts have an utter mind-of-their-own and need a sledge-hammer to apply properly. Let's just say that the tricky parts often end up in the bin. 

 

One thing I would say.... super-glue and PE are NOT good for each other. Buy some glue designed for PE use... it will make your life much easier. Super-glue is WAY too messy, IMHO.

 

Chris. 

What is this mystical substance you speak of? Does it have a name and perchance a link? 

 

Andrew 

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By and large, it's rare I use any form of PE - with one exception- I am a fan of pre painted instrument panels. Sadly my hands aren't as steady as they used to be. The first time I used it was for a Trumpeter Wellington and the result was so pleasing I was hooked. However, I am tempted to give it a try on an M4 for the light guards.

 

 

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On 4/11/2021 at 9:34 AM, APA said:

Thanks for that. The VMS stuff gets good reviews and I was looking at getting a selection of thier CA glues including the flexible one. 

 

Andrew 


Have you used this, is it really any different to CA, would you recommend it.  I have Zap thin, medium and slow already, don’t mind spending the best part of a tenner for some of this but don’t want to find that it is just plain old CA with a fancy name.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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I’ve decided to educate myself with PE, like many it has scared me off starting some kits in my stash.  So I have picked a kit that I don’t made going bad - it’s a Tamiya Universal Carrier in 1:35 and I have the Eduard PE kit.

 

The PE kit has around 100 parts, the Tamiya kit has around 80 parts to give an idea of scale.

 

I read that many are selective in what PE they use and rarely use all the parts in a PE kit.

 

I don’t have that expertise yet so I have decided to use all the PE to educate myself about what changes are worth the effort and what are not.

 

Spent some time yesterday afternoon and my first observations

 

Grills - they really do improve the appearance and pretty simple and quick to apply - well worth it

 

Unknown lumps - so there are quite a few where the the Tamiya kit has very small rectangular cuboid moulded onto a panel.  I have no idea what it is, just some generic detail as far as I am concerned.  These must be scraped off and replaced with a u-shaped rectangular cuboid.  The time and effort of removing the plastic detail, forming the PE and then trying to glue it neatly in the correct position doesn’t seem worth it.

 

Detailed parts - an example in the gear stick.  The Tamiya kit is a simple stick that glues into the floor.  It takes less than a minute to remove the part from the sprue, clean it up and glue it in place.  The PE replacement is made up of four parts.  You can’t quest the detail, the gearstick shows the operating handle and the control wire to it.  The gear tick box includes the gate.  But I spent an afternoon making this.  It sure looks great, but I wonder whether it will be that visible when finished and whether a couple of hours versus one minute was really worth it.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

 

 

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P.E. can definitely be a bit of a "double-edged sword". I have made one or two kits where the complexity of fitting the PE detracted from my enjoyment of the building. Maybe I just lack the patience needed for all this malarkey. Who knows?

 

Other users experience may vary. 

 

Chris.   

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So my experiment continues.  The first thing to note is that by no means am I a prolific or focussed builder, I get easily distracted so I’m not one to sit for hours at a time working on a model.

 

But this week I have been off work so I have put in three or four one hour long sessions working on the PE on my Tamiya Universal Carrier - first thing to note, I reckon that a determined person could assemble the OOB kit including part preparation but without any painting in under four hours.  By contrast I have managed to put the PE on the top deck that runs down the centre of the passenger area.  This has involved removing mouldings and fitting 18 parts, 16 PE and 2 plastic.  I haven’t been running a timer but I reckon it has taken between 3 and 4 hours.

 

I would say that I have found the experience more stressful than enjoyable. When handling the tiny parts to file off nubs, bend into shape or glue I’m constantly worried that I will break it or drop it onto the carpet.  In particular when you are trying to glue one tiny piece onto another tiny piece both of which really need to be held with tweezers and at the same time trying to ensure that the tweezers don’t stick to the PE.

 

The other irritations are the vague locations in the instructions - this part goes approximately here showing a shaded area that is much bigger than the part.  And another, when you have to glue a number of tiny parts on the plastic, they float around on the plastic and will move in the slightest breeze, but you have to get these multiple parts all correctly aligned and spaced.

 

And finally, when you look at a walk around of an actual museum piece trying to match up the PE with the real thing - honestly it does look more authentic than the OOB plastic, and many of the parts you can definitely identify but at the same time some bear no relation to what is on the real thing. 

 

So this is what took me at least 3 hours

 

 

 

F48z5Kg.jpg

 

As I said, I'm not a fast modeller and get easily distracted so I tend to do 30 minutes here and there.  Also I'm pretty new to PE so I may get faster with experience.

 

One thing that is quite depressing - after all that work I look at the two PE frets and it is hard to tell whether they have been started.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Being fed up to the back teeth with CA and bits of PE up to my elbows, I have taken to using canopy glue for fixing these tiny slivers of mayhem to the likes of i/ps, panels and anywhere that CA is not absolutely necessary.

 

The viscosity of the canopy glue enables perfect placement without all the faffing around to get the piece in the right place, ok, so it takes a bit longer to dry but I don't need instantaneous adhesion and life's too short to waste time with fighting with CA.

 

I've yet to have a piece of PE fall off a model, and that's more than I can say for CA !

 

Hope that helps..........

Rog

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I have just returned to modelling after a hiatus of 43 years - 1/32nd and 1/35th scale - mainly tanks, and mainly to war-game them; and I am still in a re-learning curve. The photo-etching was new to me, and I have tended to ignore them when there is a normal polystyrene part option, but I used the rear grill etching on the Tamiya T-72M kit to good effect.

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To be honest, I struggle with the really small pieces of PE, I either fit them and instantly knock them off whilst fitting

something else or more often than not, the superglue that I use is useless at holding them in place.  I do use 

them whenever I can but, agree that they can take the pleasure out of building a nice kit,  because I spend more

time under the work bench trying to find them on the carpet after dropping the damn things....!

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The PE grid on the T-72M looked good and didn't require superglue because it was entrapped by frames of polystyrene that cemented to the edge of the engine bay, but an Airfix M4A3(76)W that I build recently had PE for the light guards that looked clumsy and unrealistic compared to the optional plastic parts on the sprue - so I didn't bother.

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