by: Darren Baker [ ]
RP Toolz is a new company from Hungary producing tools for the model maker at affordable prices. In this review I will be looking at the three sizes of photo etched bending tools they currently sell at very reasonable prices.
The three bending tools are supplied ready assembled and are available as;
RP 01 8cm PE tool - 13 or $16
RP 02 13cm PE tool - 18 or $23
RP 03 18cm PE tool - 22 or $28
Each of the tools is supplied with a bending blade which is packaged in a card sleeve to prevent injury to the consumer when opening.
Each of the bending tools consists of a 5mm aluminium base which have between 1 and 3 tightening threads depending on which of the three tools you have, there are also two locaters and two silicon tube springs to lift and support the finger plate while you are slotting in the photo etched parts. The bottom of the base has a felt liner to help prevent the tool slipping or sliding around while in use, or perhaps most importantly so that you dont scratch the dining table for those that want to stay married.
The upper bending plate with its fingers are made from machined 3mm black galvanised steel which should give you a life times service without deterioration. The fingers have a very sharp edge to them which seems to ensure precise clean bends. The fingers on the three bending tools breakdown as;
And, of course, the bending plate on all models have the full length bending surface on the reverse side of the fingers.
In order to give this new tool a workout I went for the longest of the bending tools as I figured it would be the hardest to work with due to overall size. I then selected what I believe is the smallest components of photo etched parts that would be regularly utilised which was the three parts of a tool clamp, which I have always struggled with. I am pleased to say that the bending tool was a pleasure to use and easily managed to provide the needed bends. The only thing it could not do, of course, was provide the curve which I imparted over the round handle of a brush. I am sure however that given time RP Toolz will provide a tool system for this purpose as well and I look forward to watching this company advance into the hobby.
The thin screw nuts that tighten everything down was an area I was initially sceptical of, however it handled the job with ease placing the amount pressure required to hold the photo etched parts solidly in place while the bends are imparted and I also used the tool to hold a part while I cleaned up a cut edge by overhanging the piece on the side of the bending surface. I will say that the finish on one of the screw nuts was a little off as I found a burr that need to be removed, however I also accept that the burr could have occurred while in transit as it was packaged with several other tools. While each tool was wrapped in bubble wrap we all know that not all parcels arrive as we would like.
These bending tools are excellent and do what they are supposed to do without fuss and it brings this tool type into the price range of those on tight budgets. It holds parts easily and bends cleanly and I found the aluminium base plate a good surface for moving the photo etch around on while having control so that it did not fly off never to be seen again. I will say that if you are buying this for a younger modeller you may want to find an alternate bending blade as the included bender is like a razor blade and just as sharp with a guard on one side, my wife who works for the NHS said that it looks like a blade from a dermatome. So remember that if you are buying this product for a minor.