1/35 WW2 German Army Tool Clamps
Every so often a new product arrives which will prove to be a game-changer.
And so it is with these 3D printed tool clamps from MJ-Miniatures. These will, I feel sure, become a default for any modeler wanting to improve a kit or scratch-build their own vehicle.
German vehicles – whether armoured vehicles, soft skins, or even wagons, tend to use a standardised form of tool clamps to secure a whole range of items from spades to tow ropes, from track links to cleaning rods. For many years, kit manufacturers have been slowly improving the quality of moulded clamps in plastic kits, but the default has always been to make these up from tiny pieces of etched brass. Indeed, etched brass tool clamps have become infamous for their complexity and fiddly nature.
This new product from MJ-Miniatures has the potential to be a complete game-changer. The set consists of an array of 3D printed clamps of different types, produced in eye-watering detail and accuracy. There are 120 clamps of the type used on tools, 32 clamps for five cleaning rods. 32 clamps of the type used to retain tow cables, and 32 clamps used to retain tools such as ‘S’ hooks and the like. The detail is incredible, right down to the wing-nuts being at different positions, so that the clamps don’t all look the same.
Each clamp is slightly raised up from the base sheet, so that a sharp blade (I recommend a razor blade) can be slid under the clamp to separate it. The part can then be attached to the model using superglue or other adhesive. The end result is simply breath-taking, and of course the kit tools can simply be inserted into the clamps.
I can see so many uses for these items. A lot of kits - particularly older ones - have poor, crude representations of the clamps used on German vehicles. I have myself often made up brass versions in order to improve a kit or to add details that were missing. Quite often, the etched brass parts were too big for the tools, and looked plain silly. Other times, the brass parts were too delicate and were difficult to assemble and stick onto the model. Suddenly, we have an alternative, where the tool handle needs to be pushed into the 3D printed item, and then stuck onto the model. Simple!
There are enough parts to equip a dozen models, although the cleaning-rod clamps for five rods are, I'm told, only really suitable for Tiger II models. All of the other clamps are suitable for any German vehicle.
I have no words to recommend these higher. They are sensational, and to my mind they will become standard in the same way that Hornet Heads are used by figure modelers. I ordered my set by mail-order and they arrived in a very short time, and the producer is keen to help on email@example.com . I'm sure that there will be local stockists, but at the time of writing, it is easier to contact MJ directly. See their website www.mj-miniatures.co.kr
Very Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to MJ-Miniatures for this review kit.
Reviewed by Chris Lloyd-Staples, AMPS London, 2VP (International)
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