So, I kinda wish I had a better name for this last group. Because this makes it sound like it’s just a bunch of lesser-valued tools. But there are some good items in this group for sure! Now, not all of these are tools for everyone, and I didn’t end up using each and every one of them myself, because they weren’t all tools that would be a good fit for me. But I’ll give you my honest opinion on them and where and how they might be useful.
Once again, of course, I’m going to give the full disclosure bit. I was asked if I would be willing to use and review these tools by the operator of the 3DMetalTools store. I am not being paid to do it, though I am getting to keep some of the tools that he makes from scratch himself. When I was initially contacted, I made it abundantly clear that my loyalty is to you, the reader. So I would be bluntly honest, including my penchant for being fiscally conservative with my views on tool expenses. And Brian was just fine with that. An honest and open review was what he was looking for. So, anyways, this could technically be considered a “sponsored” post, but I feel that it’s useful information for my readers, not some unrelated mobile battle game that I’m pushing, regardless of what I thought of it. If I don’t think a tool is worth it, I’ll tell you as much. I have before (in the previous two posts about other tools available from this online store), and if needed, I will again.
Because I do this for you, not for me. I mean, I do enjoy doing this, and it definitely has cut down on the rate at which I go through models, thus cutting my hobby expenses a little (though blog-related costs went through the roof, cause I didn’t have a blog before this). If I lead you wrong, then shame on me. And I’ll own up to it and apologize. But I’m going to tell you what I think, honest and straight up. So I will own up to my own opinions, not the opinions that I feel I’m expected to deliver. And sorry if this is going too long and I sound like I’m overcompensating. I’m neuroatypical, and sometimes I drag things out too long just to make sure that I’m communicating them clearly. I don’t do it for deceptive purposes – partly because inaccuracy, lies, and misleading half-truths actually irritate the crap out of me. Anyways, on to the review!
Well, if you have been reading my blog for long, you know I’m a big fan on knolling. So you can imagine that I was kinda excited when I found out that one of the things that he would be sending me were some knolling boards. Unfortunately for me, the boards take up more room than I can spare at my build station, so I was not able to use them. However, if you do have a large desk to build at, these are a great option for organizing your parts. Just be careful if you have any pets that like to walk on your desk or knock things off, because these are not magnetic.
I may end up using these when I have to build a “gold” model, since arranging brass parts on a magnetic sheet is not so useful. Just have to figure out a way to keep my a–hole cat off the desk during the build, lol. I can tell you what I really like about these, though, even though I haven’t personally used them. I do wish that they had some sort of magnetic surface, though. I guess one could get some magnetic tape and run it across the bottom of each row.
They are wooden, laser-cut and laser etched, with 50 numbered squares to help you organize. I got three boards, 1-50, 51-100, and 101-150. Each “board” is cut into 6 pieces that sorta jigsaw together. From what Brian says, this is to make shipping easier, but I think it’s also a great solution for being able to store them easily when not in use. Though he did mention that you can get them in solid sheets. Anyways, the etching is very sharp and clear, but not distracting. And it’s nice quality, thick ply (I think it’s ply?) that’s got a really smooth finish to the surface – no need to worry about scratching your parts unless you get debris on the board.
Next up is this amazing thing that I never know what to call it when I’m trying to describe it. But on the website, it’s called a Magnifying Visor. And I will tell you, this thing was a lifesaver when I was working on that mod of the painted Millennium Falcon. It reduced the eye strain significantly while I was going through the meticulous process of scraping the paint out of all the etched grooves. I kept the 3.5x magnifiers in it the whole time, though it does come with three lower magnification sets of lenses.
I don’t know about you, but I tried using a fixed-on-a-stand magnifier before, and the fact that I couldn’t move my head around while using it made it practically useless. But this sort of thing completely solves that problem, because the lenses move with your head. In addition, there’s a lens for each eye, so you don’t have to close one eye to avoid parallax distortion. Another positive, for me, was the fact that I could wear this right over my glasses – an absolute must.
Of course, it is still limited by some of the basic rules of magnifiers. It has a fixed focal length, so you have to stay at a fairly fixed distance from what you are working on. And if you have a really big cranium like me (got a thick skull on me), it might be a little awkward to use. There’s an easy-adjustment nob, and padding, but if your head is too big, then you end up with it riding high, and have to tile the lens section down to a slightly awkward angle. And this thing would be about ten times as useful if it came with a built in LED light, but unfortunately it does not.
Having sung the praises of this useful tool, I feel that I have to tell you that I think it’s a little overpriced on 3DMetalTools. I kinda feel bad saying that, but I told you I would be honest, and I am going to be. I wondered if there was something similar that did have a light, so I went to check on Amazon, and ended up coming across this exact same item for around $25 dollars (as well as some with LEDs). Now, I know that Brian can’t directly compete with the wholesale pricing of Amazon or it’s like, but it’s a significant difference. That being said, if you prefer to support a local business, 3DMetalTools is your better, albeit more expensive, option.
And now to a set of tools that I never would have thought of using, but is brilliant in hindsight: Locking Forceps. I have a third-hand tool that I pull out sometimes, but it’s so big that it stays tucked away unless I absolutely need it. But these… so much smaller, serves a very similar function. Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to use either one them, but I am planning on buying the curved-tip pair. I also plan on adding a layer of electrical tape on the inside of the jaws, as are serrated. I like the grip of serrated, but not the scratches it has the potential to leave. I figure that a layer of electrical tape will make for a good compromise.
Of course, you couldn’t have a website focused on selling tools for metal models without some tweezers, right? Well, Brian sent me these tweezers with the finest, sharpest tips I’ve ever seen. So… you have to take care with them, lest they scratch the model. That being said, it’s a good tool for reaching tabs in hard places, and is pretty strong at the tip, despite being so narrow.
Okay, so… when Brian first reached out to me about reviewing his tools, I went to his website and perused the store. I wish I could have recorded a reaction video, cause I laughed out loud, very amused, because there was a hobby knife there. I don’t know if Brian found these to be useful on his own, or if he had seen my love letter to hobby knives, but I was just excited to see some love for them on a site dedicated to metal models. And this is a pretty darn nice hobby knife, let me tell you.
Unfortunately, I actually prefer the cheaper type of hobby knives, where the blade is not replaceable, when using them for building. I don’t need to replace the blade, in fact I intentionally dull my blades so they are less likely to cause injury. With the fancy hobby knives that have replaceable blades, the mechanism that allows for replacing the blade can get annoying. Because it’s usually a twisting action used to “unscrew” the tip, loosening the blade. Which ends up happening, for me, while I’m using them, because I’m putting some torque on them, rather than just pressing straight down. So I use the cheapo big-box store knockoff, where the blade is embedded in the injection plastic handle.
Hey, you made it to the end! As a reward, you get to know about the coupon code that Brian set up for readers of these posts. This is a limited-time offer, where you get 10% off storewide. And don’t worry, I’m not getting a kickback from this at all, I asked if Brian wanted to do something like this, and told him I’d rather my readers get any benefit from it, not me. So, this coupon code has been running since the first post in this series, and will expire two weeks after the publishing of this last post. If you’ve been thinking about it, but not sure, it’s coming on time to decide.
Brian is a good guy who runs his own business, and he trusted me with a lot of valuable tools to try out. Not only that, he was very patient with me as I took my time using the tools, and was completely fine with my stipulations that I would be bluntly honest in my reviews. Unfortunately, now that I’m done reviewing, I have to decide what to keep, pay for it, and return the rest. I can tell you right now, I’ll be missing quite a few of these tools.