Photo Etch Parts

Jack L

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#1
Hello all,
What is everyone's opinion on photo etch parts, and does anyone have any general tips surrounding them. I am building the 1/35 Tamiya Jagdtiger, and bought some pretty extensive PE parts to go with, but it seems hit and miss whether I can get them right, or just end up with everything superglued to my hands/tweezers, or it just not looking any good. It requires a fair bit of trimming and altering on the current parts, which is obviously no return if it then decides to go pear shaped!

Any advice would be greatly welcomed! Thank's in advance.
 

Mr Bowcat

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#2
Photoetch can really add to a model, but I tend to choose what I use rather than try and use every last bit on the sheet.

For applying superglue I use a home made applicator. Just take a needle and cut off about half of the eye. You should end up with a v shape at one end. Hold the needle in your pin vice and you can use it to apply very small and precise amounts of glue. I also tend to use the thicker gel type superglue which gives a few more seconds to get the part in the right position.

Having said that, most recently I have been using Contacta clear to glue PE with good results. Obviously no good where you need a fast bond, but if you have the time it works well.

Edited to add:

If you have a look at my SU-76m build (
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) you can see I used quite a lot of PE and I think it really added to the model.
 

rtfoe

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#3
Yup, I choose what I want to use but prefer it for ships 1/350 scale and below. For armour some surface detail and wing nuts or intricate buckles and clamps do look better with etch. Other than that they are just too flat and thin in scale to be replacements.

I have seen some kits embellished with full etch looking distorted and roughly attached with oozing glue marks that had it been left with original plastic and with delicate painting would have looked better. There are those that really look fantastic so I think it's up to mastering the technique of using it that matters.

If you enjoy the challenge with etch...just go ahead. Nothing is achieved if you don't try and try again.

Cheers,
Richard
 

Dave Ward

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#4
Jack,
I ask myself, is this PE part going to add anything to the model?, does it replace an incorrect part?, does a 2D piece of etch represent a 3D component?. In certain areas, PE is the only way - grilles, for example, but a lot of PE parts seem to appear on the fret, just to occupy the space!
I use a good brand of CA. If possible I roughen the surface of the PE ( I use a fibreglass pen ), and apply the CA with a cocktail stick ( toothpick ), a good pair of tweezers is essential. I cut the PE with a scalpel, on a porcelain bathroom tile - just when needed!
And................just because it's on the fret, doesn't mean you have to use it!
Dave
 

minitnkr

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#5
I agree with Bob & Richard. The smaller the scale, the more effective etch is. Always compare the kit part to assure the model will be improved with the alternate PE. Adhesive application is key. With CA, less is better, & an applicator for minute amounts is a must.
 
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#6
Jack,
I agree with the guys completely some etch parts add nothing as they are to flat and one dimensional for example grab handles these are better using the kit part or replaced with suitable gauge wire bent to shape. The advantage of this is you can drill a hole in the plastic and push the wire in making a strong joint. I also use the cut off eye of the needle. when this is all gummed up hold it over a flame to clear of all the old glue but only in a well ventilated place as the fumes are toxic. For larger item I try and solder them. If you look at my M2 build you will see a lot of etch and the details you can achieve.
Scottie
 

Steve Jones

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#7
Hi Jack

For me the golden rule is to make up the etch section first. Especially if it is small and fiddly eg jerry can holders. Once you are happy with the etch part THEN go ahead and remove the plastic part. If you do it the other way round and make a hash of the PE part then you run into all kinds of problems.

IMG_0022.JPG

I like to pour a small amount of CA glue on to a Pringles lid and then use a cocktail stick to apply to the etch part. To improve adhesion, where possible, sand the etch part at the point of contact with the plastic part. You may find it easier some times to clamp the etch part to the model first and then use thin CA glue to run along the bond lines so once dry the etch part is fixed solid

IMG_0270.JPG

As you become more experienced with etch parts you will find an etch bending tool extremely useful. There are several to chose from on the market. I had brought a small cheap one for £10 which kept me going for a year or so before I was able to upgrade to a larger one.

IMG_0019.JPG

You will notice on several etch parts little dimples where rivets should go. Again as you gain experience with etch you can add rivets to the etch by either making your own or using the few AM ones on the market.

IMG_5618.JPG

You may also want to start considering replacing grab handles with metal wire ones.

IMG_0023.JPG

Some etch kits come with flat replica chains. These can be improved by buying 40 or 50 link per inch chain from the tinternet.

IMG_5463.JPG

You will never use all the etch items on the sprue so do not feel pressurised to keep adding the etch. If you feel the plastic part is adequate or difficult to replace then dont use the etch. However never throw them away as they build up into a very useful spares bundle for other builds.

When you become an expert at etch then you can also look at using solder instead of glue to bond the parts together. This is very useful when doing sheet etch parts.

IMG_0009.JPG

Once your model is completed remember to prime the etch parts with a protective layer of metal primer before applying further paint.

Etch enhances a model wonderfully well when added correctly. It just takes a bit of time and practice to get it right. Especially with those tool clasps:smiling5:

IMG_5584.JPG
 

Jakko

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Jakko
#8
What is everyone's opinion on photo etch parts
If used for the right things, they really add to a model. If used for their own sake, they probably don’t. That is:—

I ask myself, is this PE part going to add anything to the model?, does it replace an incorrect part?, does a 2D piece of etch represent a 3D component?. In certain areas, PE is the only way - grilles, for example, but a lot of PE parts seem to appear on the fret, just to occupy the space!
QFT. I remember buying both of Eduard’s etched sets for the
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, and having probably more than half the parts left over because I couldn’t see what they would add to the model except work and flat-looking parts when the real thing wasn’t flat — and the plastic parts had that right already.


and does anyone have any general tips surrounding them. I am building the 1/35 Tamiya Jagdtiger, and bought some pretty extensive PE parts to go with, but it seems hit and miss whether I can get them right, or just end up with everything superglued to my hands/tweezers, or it just not looking any good.
Like Steve said, make up the etching first and only then remove the plastic detail it’s supposed to replace. Other than that, get a few simple tools to help you fold it, and to make those folds straight and the parts flat (when they need to be). I mostly use a steel ruler, a sturdy hobby knife, long-nosed flat pliers, and a glazed kitchen or bathroom tile. Oh, and Tamiya PE scissors and some modelling files.

Before removing anything, I sand the side(s) of the parts that will be glued with fairly coarse sandpaper, in random or circular directions. This will give the glue more surface to adhere to, and so make it easier to stick them to the model.

I remove parts from the fret either with the hobby knife, by pressing down (not cutting) on the attachment points, with the back side of the glazed tile underneath. If you do this on a soft surface, you’ll bend things, but on a hard surface you’ll be able to press through the attachment points and leave just a little bit on the part. Alternatively, I cut the part out of the fret with the Tamiya scissors, if I think nothing will get bent when I do that.

Cleaning up the parts, I do by holding them in the long-nosed pliers to that only the remains of the attachment points stick out, and I then file those down. The sides of the pliers work nicely as a guide for the file, and you shouldn’t bend the material (much) because the pliers support it on both sides.

Next, look and plan before you fold. Work out how it goes together and in what order you need to fold it — especially try to visualise what bits may be difficult to reach when other sides have already been folded, and how you could do it differently to avoid that.

Small or narrow parts can be folded by holding them in the pliers so that the fold line sits just outside them, and then just pushing with your fingers. Larger parts I bend by putting them on the glazed tile, placing the steel ruler along the fold line, and while pressing down firmly on that, using the hobby knife to lever the free side of the part up. Again, this produces a nice, straight fold with no kinks or bends if you do it right.
 

Jack L

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#9
Thank you all for the advice. Will have a good read and let you know my results!

Jack
 
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