Category: Reviews

Review : ai69 Metal Work scriber, chisels and bevels

Rahmat from ai69 Metal Work got a hold of me after reading my review of the TMP Chisel. He offered to send me a couple of modeling tools he was working on in exchange for some honest opinions.

I received 6 tool bits along with 2 handles to play around with.

The tools are made of Tungsten Carbide and the workmanship looks good.

But people say the proof is in the pudding so after trying out for a bit of time, here are some quick thoughts of the tools he sent over.

Chisel Hook
This would be the chisel to go with if you’re after a straight line as it’s the easiest to use this way: line up against the guide and simply pull towards you.

The hook leaves behind a clean line with minimal clean-up required.

I’ve been using a needle + pinvise combo for quite some time as I haven’t found anything better. The ai69 scriber is heck of a lot sharper for scribing lines. It’s also heavier than a needle so it’s easier to use for making circular scribes. I like this one a lot and the tip looks like it will maintain its sharpness for quite a while.

The chisels work the same way as the TMP ones, with the difference being these need to be inserted into a handle. The TMP chisels are heavier so they are easier to use especially when pushing to make the lines. For freehand work though, I think the ai69 chisels will be easier to use since the handle is longer and holding a cylinder feels more natural than a cuboid.

Bevel (Chamfer)
Now we come to the most interesting item in the pack, a bevel to chamfer plastic. It is however hard to use and requires some practice to get right. I find that it works better when pulling towards me but it works by pushing away also. The challenge comes from getting an even chamfer across the whole width of the work. You will also note that part of the bit scrapes the top of the sample plate. I think more practice will prevent or minimize this from happening.

Bevel (Curve)
This bevel creates er… curves on the edges of your plastic part and is easier to use than the chamfer version. I find that it’s easier to control when pulled towards vs pushed away from me. Like the chamfer though, it takes some practice to get the curve to be consistent across the the whole length.

So what can I conclude from all this?

  1. They all perform as advertised, although some will require practice especially the bevels
  2. They are all very sharp and will handle any plastic you can throw at them (I used them on Tamiya and Bandai plastic for this article)
  3. The long handles that the bits will come with makes them easier to hold and store than the bar-like style of the TMP chisels.

The bits are made once he has enough orders and range in price from 75,000 IDR to 200,000 IDR per bit. He has packaged deals if you order multiples. Do drop Rahmat a message on his Facebook or ai69’s Facebook page or WhatsApp +6281279361389 if you have any inquiries. If you’re overseas I’m sure something can be arranged also.

Disclaimer: I was asked to give my honest opinion of the tools in exchange for getting them for free. Before publishing this article I offered to pay for the tools but Rahmat refused the payment.

~ Review courtesy of ai69 Metal Work

Review : TMP 0.2mm Chisel

There are various ways to scribe panel lines. One of the traditional methods is to use a sewing pin screwed into a pin vise. This is the combo I have used since I restarted the hobby in 1999. There are better methods and tools obviously, but the sewing needle has worked for my limited usage.

The BMC chisel is the so-called ‘Ferrari’ of scribers in the market right now. It’s available in various widths and each goes for a tidy sum of money. I have read that because of how fine a point they get, they are also quite fragile. Along comes the TMP chisel, which is produced by a local manufacturer. These are offered at a fraction of the price of the equivalent BMC chisel and are available in a lot of sizes (0.05mm, 0.1mm, 0.15mm, 0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.4mm, 0.5mm, 0.6mm, 0.7mm, 0.8mm, 0.9mm, 1.0mm, 1.2mm, 1.5mm, 1.7mm, 2.0mm, 2.5mm, 3.0mm). I decided to try one to see if it can replace my sewing needle (which incidentally is even cheaper).

I ordered a 0.2mm chisel figuring it’s a nice middle of the pack size. The chisel came unbagged with a clear plastic cover for the tip. It’s made of steel (?), is unpolished and has a nice heft to it. TMP is inscribed onto the shaft with a 0.2mm label stickered onto the end.

The chisel gently tapers to a bladed tip which is somewhat polished. All in all, it looks remarkably similar to the BMC chisel.

A size comparison to my Tamiya pin vise is below. Size is similar though the TMP is a lot more solid due to being made out of a solid hunk of steel.

So the way chisels like these work is you have to keep them flat and push or pull them against you. This is unlike the sewing needle which you keep perpendicular to scribe the line you need. You know it’s working right when you get a string of plastic scraped off the surface.

Now the main difference is the effect of the scribed line that you get between the two scribers. The TMP makes a notch that’s squared off at the bottom off while you get a V-shaped canal with the sewing needle. The ridges of the scraped line is also noticeably rougher with the needle.

The results also look more consistent with the TMP as you get a more solid looking line. With its weight, it’s also easy to push it across the surface and the tip is sharp enough to start working without much pressure.

However, The TMP chisel only works if used as intended. A problem arises when you try to scribe a circle with it. Because it has a bladed tip, you can’t use it like the needle which ends to a sharp point. Below you see the results of scribing circles. The TMP is on the left, and the circle is ragged because I couldn’t keep the tip perpendicular to the surface. The needle is easier to work with in this case and the result is neater. I think more practice is needed to do it properly.

One thing that needs to be said is I’m not sure how long the sharpness of the tip will last. For the price though, I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue.

It looks like the TMP won’t be replacing my sewing needle. For most scribing, the TMP chisel is hard to beat but I think the needle is easier for scribing circles so I plan to continue using both. I also think I’ll be looking into getting a finer chisel, perhaps the 0.15mm one.

~ Review courtesy to my wallet

Review : Vallejo Chipping Medium

There are various ways of doing paint chipping and one method is using store bought hairspray. Vallejo Chipping Medium claims to replicate the same effect without the mess and the smell that comes with using hairspray. It comes in the typical Vallejo drip bottle. The liquid is thick and has a slight yellowish tint.

As part of my D-Style Iron Kong build, I wanted to have a piece of metal plate in the rubble base so I decided to try this product on it. A piece of cut credit card will serve as the plate. First up I gave it a base color of black grey. Whatever color on this layer will show up after the chipping is done.

Out of the bottle the medium is very thick and I’m not sure if it will spray without thinning so I thinned it in a 1:3 ratio with water. It goes on clear and very glossy which stays that way after drying. I then gave it half a day to dry.

I wanted a checkered pattern for the plate and with bright colors so multiple passes and masking were needed. This will be a good test of the Chipping Medium to see if it’s affected by masking tape. I first sprayed white as a base, then yellow. I then masked the plate and sprayed red. The dried medium didn’t come off when I removed the masking tape. Nice.

Next the fun begins. I first wet the surface of the plate and then used various instruments to try to chip off the paint. I used a soft toothbrush, a piece of pot scrubbing sponge (the rough type), a paint brush, the tip of the handle of the paint brush and also a wet tissue. They resulted in different effects. I find the sponge easiest for edges and the end of a paint brush for beating up the flat surfaces. Once I had the effect I wanted, I dabbed the water away with a tissue to stop the paint from peeling off further.

For the beams below, I tried out handpainting Chipping Medium thinned 1:1 with water. It works fine but the top layer of paint didn’t go on smoothly due to how thick the Chipping Medium was. By swiping the sponge in one direction, I can achieve directional chipping.

Drying time for the Chipping Medium affects how easy it is to chip. The one that was dried for half a day needed some soaking and took more finessing before the paint started to peel whereas the handpainted one which I left to dry for only 15 minutes came off very quickly and easily as soon as some water is introduced.

While sponge and handpaint chipping is probably less time consuming and requires less pre-planning, I think Vallejo Chipping Medium will find a place in everyone’s tool box with its ease of us. I’m quite new at weathering and I find the effects nicer than doing chipping by other traditional methods.

~ Review courtesy of my wallet

Review : The Masters’ Brush Cleaner

Content: 1/4 oz
Price: IDR 75,000

What is it?
The name says it all doesn’t it? It cleans your brushes. Sure you clean with thinner and water after every painting session, but if you’ve used them long enough you know that doesn’t get rid of everything. I’m also quite abusive of my brushes so they deteriorate quite badly.

The Masters’ Brush Cleaner claims to work for brushes that have been used for oil, acrylic and water paints. One thing to note is that mine doesn’t say ‘Brush Preserver’ on its label but if you google, the label usually says ‘Brush Cleaner and Brush Preserver’. I’m not sure if mine is different. This is also supposed to work for both nylon and sable brushes.

How does it work?
It works just like how you would use soap on yourself: just lather and rinse. I found the following instructions online:

For Cleaning

  1. Wipe brush to remove excess paint.
  2. Wet brush and/or The Masters with water.
  3. Swirl brush in The Masters and work into a lather.
  4. Rinse with clean water.
  5. Repeat if necessary until brush is clean (lather will be white). You can clean one color after another without removing the previous colors from The Masters first.
For Preserving
  1. Clean brushes as above
  2. Leave clear lather on bristles, shape and allow to dry.
  3. Shake powder off bristles when ready to use again.
For Restoring
  1. Clean brush as above, but use hot water.
  2. Allow lather to remain on bristles for a few minutes.
  3. If necessary, tap bristles on hard surface to work paint out.
  4. To clean paint from ferrule, allow lather to remain on the bristles for several hours, and repeat cleaning process.
  5. Leave clear lather on bristles, shape, and allow to dry.

Easy enough isn’t it? The cleaner itself looks like soap and has a very slight lemony smell. When I lather the brushes there isn’t any suds but take a look at the before and after below. This was just a quick session of 3 lathers and rinses.

The effect is quite drastic, especially on the older nylon brush. This also proves that it works on both nylon and sable brushes. The nylon brush has gone through a ton of different paints including acrylic and oil types. I’ve also dipped the brush in PVA glue, Future and lacquer thinner. This is also the brush I use to clean my airbrushes. The sable meanwhile spent a few years between uses.

The Masters’ Brush Cleaner is definitely more price effective for the more expensive sable brushes as nylon ones can be bought for such a low price nowadays. The bottle is very small for the price you pay but I think it’ll last for a lot of cleaning sessions.

Highly recommended if only to extend the life of your brushes.

~ Review courtesy of my wallet

Review: Tamiya Model Cleaning Brush (Anti-Static)

Series: Tamiya Craft Tools
Released: 2007
Price: 14.99 USD at Luckymodel in 2013

What is it?
Unless you hermetically seal your model kits, dust will tend to cling onto your model kits. With a normal brush, the act of brushing off the dust will tend to generate static electricity which further makes the dust cling to your model. It’s such a PITA. Tamiya has come up with a solution. The description at the back of the backing board says:

This brush can be used to wipe off dust from scale models and for removing shavings during construction. Anti-static brush prevents static buildup which attracts dust. Mini brush effectively removes dust from fine grooves such as panel lines. Brush is also recommended for use with electric appliances in the home and office.

The brush has long bristles so it’s easier to reach into the nooks and crannies. The bristles are also made of 2 different types of fibers: its mainly ‘organic conductive fibers’ and the tips are ‘fine PBT resin hair’. The conductive fibers prevents static buildup while the PBT resin hair cleans without scratching.

On the other end of the brush, under a cap, is the mini brush made of PBT resin for panel line cleaning.

So how does it work?
The following is a quick test. The parts are painted with flat colors from one of my long ignored projects. Yep. Dust galore.

One stroke across and we get this. Not bad.

After a bit of work they are all done.

I have to say that it’s easier to use than the Chinese paintbrush I normally use, which requires multiple passes to get rid of any dust. It’s also easy to hold with the thick handle.

I actually got this brush for cleaning my photography equipment besides model kits. It’s not cheap, but it does seem to work quite well. Besides, hermetically sealing model kits won’t be cheaper.

~ Review courtesy of my wallet

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