All best sellers
Photo Etched Model Parts

Photo Etched Model Parts

Active filters

What is photo-etched for scale models?

Photo etching, also known as photochemical etching or photochemical machining, is a manufacturing process used to produce precision metal parts and components for various applications, including scale models in the context of model making and miniature engineering. It is a technique that involves using chemicals and light-sensitive materials to selectively remove material from a metal sheet, leaving behind intricate and finely detailed patterns or designs.

Photo etching is favored in scale model-making for several reasons:

  • Precision: It allows for the creation of extremely detailed and precise components, including small and intricate parts that are difficult to produce using traditional machining methods.
  • Repeatability: It offers high repeatability, ensuring that multiple identical parts can be produced consistently.
  • Complex Geometries: It can produce parts with complex shapes, fine features, and tight tolerances.
  • Material Versatility: This technique can be used with various metals, including stainless steel, brass, and copper, making it suitable for a wide range of model-making applications.

Scale model enthusiasts often use photoengravings to enhance the realism and accuracy of their models, especially for replicating fine details like grilles, railings, and other intricate components found in vehicles, aircraft, ships, and architectural models.

How do you attach photo-etched parts to models?

Attaching photo-etched parts to scale models requires care and precision to ensure that the parts are securely affixed and appear realistic. Here are some common methods for attaching them to models:

  • Cyanoacrylate Glue: This is a popular choice for attaching photo-etched pieces to models. Apply a small amount of CA glue to the backside of the photo-etched part and then carefully position it on the model. Hold it in place for a few moments until the glue sets. Be cautious not to use too much glue, as excess adhesive can mark the appearance of the surrounding model surface.
  • White Glue or PVA Glue (Polyvinyl Acetate): White glue or PVA glue is a possible option for attaching larger photoengravings or parts that don't require an instant bond. Apply a small amount of white glue to the model surface or to its backside, then position and adjust the piece as needed. Allow the glue to dry completely, which may take longer than ciano glue.
  • Double-Sided Tape: Thin, double-sided tape can be used to attach flat photoetched parts to models. Cut a small piece of the tape to fit the backside of the part and then carefully press it onto the model surface. This method is less permanent and can be useful for pieces that may need to be repositioned.
  • Epoxy: Epoxy adhesives are strong and durable and can be used for attaching photoetched parts that require extra strength, such as structural components. Mix the epoxy according to the manufacturer's instructions, apply a small amount, and then secure them together in place.
  • UV glues: They provide a strong and transparent bond and are particularly suitable for delicate photo-etched parts because it doesn't require heat or pressure, reducing the risk of damaging the parts. Additionally, be cautious when handling UV light sources, and always wear protective eyewear when working with UV glue.
  • Modeling Green Putty or Filler: In some cases, you may need to fill gaps or create a base for attaching photo-etched parts. Modeling putty or filler can be used to achieve this. Apply the putty, shape it as needed, and let it dry. Once it's dry, you can attach the photoengravings using one of the methods mentioned above.

Regardless of the adhesive you choose, it's essential to work with clean and dry surfaces. Also, practice on scrap pieces or less visible areas of your model to become comfortable with the attachment method and ensure that it won't damage your model's finish. Patience and precision are key when working with photoengravings, as they are often delicate and require careful handling during attachment.

Why I should Rust a photo-etched piece in scale modeling?

Rusting a photo-etched piece in scale modeling serves several purposes and can significantly enhance realism and authenticity. You can do it in a similar way with acrylic paints or in a natural way with an oxidizing agent such as Oxidizer.

Here are some reasons why you might want to rust a photoetched piece:

  • Realism: In the real world, metal objects, especially those exposed to the elements or used in industrial settings, are prone to rust over time. By adding rust to a photoetched piece, you mimic the weathering and aging process, making it appear more realistic and believable.
  • Scale Authenticity: It adds a sense of scale. It helps establish that the model represents a smaller version of a larger object. In many cases, scale models aim to replicate real-world objects faithfully, and rust is a natural part of that replication, especially for subjects like military vehicles, industrial equipment, and weathered structures.
  • Narrative and Context: Rust can tell a story about the history and conditions of the object you're modeling. A rusty piece can suggest that it has been in use for a long time, exposed to harsh environments, or neglected, which can add depth to the narrative you're trying to convey through your figure.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Rust can provide visual interest and texture to your model. It can break up the monotony of a uniform, pristine surface and make your model more visually appealing by adding variation and character.
  • Weathering and Detailing: Rust is a part of the weathering and detailing process in scale modeling. Weathering involves simulating the effects of time, wear, and environmental factors on a model. Rust is one of the weathering techniques that help achieve a more authentic and lifelike appearance.

To rust a photoetched piece, you can use various modeling techniques and materials, such as weathering powders, rust-colored paints, washes, and dry brushing. The specific approach you take will depend on the type of rust effect you want to achieve and the scale and context of your figures.

Keep in mind that while rust can enhance realism, it's essential to apply it judiciously and in a manner that's consistent with the story and context you want to convey. Overdoing the rusting effect can make it look unrealistic or detract from its overall appearance, so practice and experimentation are key to achieving the desired results.