Photoetch brake tutorial

Ok, you’ve sorted how to get your paint all deep and shiny,

you’ve been able to assemble the kit without turning it into a “glue bomb”

and you’ve added some wiring and weathering but you want more.

You want to go to that next level of detail and you’ve seen other builders use Photoetch parts but the instructions aren’t always clear on what to do.

You may even have added a few parts that came with the kit but these were basic but want to go further.

I am writing this tutorial based around building Hobby Designs Photoetch brakes for the Tamiya Aston Martin DBS.

What I will be describing is my first ever attempt as building Photoetch brakes;

I’ve added the flat discs that fit over the kit plastic parts and have built windscreen wipers but I have never attempted to build the brakes.

First off, you’re going to need some tools.

 photo IMGP2205_zps7d813ee6.jpg

Tools you will need

What is shown here is a set of Tamiya mini pliers for bending photoetch, a set of fine cutters, glue,

a “hold & fold” and a flat cutting surface. In making the brakes I used CA glue to get a strong bind.

Here are some pictures of the 3 sprues that hold all the parts to make the brakes;

they are a direct replacement for the plastic kit parts. There are 11 pieces for each brake and some have to be bent to shape; there are two sizes,

one for the front set and one for the rear. Hobby Design also provide very nice resin calipers.

 photo IMGP2217_zps81fe247c.jpg

these make up part of the brakes

 photo IMGP2219_zps4decd0e6.jpg

Some more of the parts

 photo IMGP2208_zps658363dd.jpg

Resin calipers

Now let’s look at the instructions;

you will see that there are no words to help you but they do offer a clear guide.

 photo IMGP2210_zps1900196e.jpg


 photo IMGP2214_zpsf2281ba4.jpg


One of the nice features about the Hobby Design set is that they have covered them in a thin plastic to protect them. This can be seen in the following photo.

 photo IMGP2225_zps4d3c88e5.jpg

Sprue is covered in protective film to prevent damage

One thing you should do with photoetch parts is to give them a gentle clean to remove any residue to help paint adherence; I use Lacquer thinners.

Just be careful you don’t accidentally bend a part in the process!

 photo IMGP2226_zpsac947749.jpg

Cleaning the parts

Ok so now we have looked at the parts, cleaned them and studied the instructions,

it’s time to commence building.

To do this we have to remove the parts. With most manufacturers there is a little tab that has to be cut through to release the part.

Now since this is made of metal you either have to use a sharp knife or pair of snippers.

Please be careful if you use a knife as the blade can break off and hit you!!

When cutting the part out with a knife you should do this on a flat surface (not your best table top) and hold the part securely.

The following photos show the procedure.

 photo IMGP2233_zps1f163020.jpg

Cutting out the part with a sharp knife; be careful

Now you need to sand off the little bit of the tab that always seems to get left behind.

Hold the part carefully and use a sanding stick.

 photo IMGP2234_zps127ff979.jpg

Sanding off the tabs

In terms of building the discs, the first thing that needs to be done is to rotate the spines that make up the fins through 90%.

This is not as difficult as it looks and the spines are quite sturdy.

 photo IMGP2237_zpsb4b41039.jpg

Rotating the spines

Once you are happy with these they should be glued to the backing discs;

handily these have groves cut into them to help location and gluing.

 photo IMGP2238_zps6ad3731c.jpg

This photo shows the groves where the spines locate

 photo IMGP2241_zpsd8f264d9.jpg

This shows the spines fitted to the plate

 photo IMGP2243_zps79463514.jpg

Gluing the spines

 photo IMGP2247_zpsfa0c407a.jpg

Front and back plates in place

Once you are happy with this you can add the disc plates.

You get one for the front and one for the back.

These are drilled so glue does come through

but you can sand this off.

 photo IMGP2250_zps9d023611.jpg

The front and back discs

 photo IMGP2259_zps3377b3f1.jpg

After I had sanded off the excess

 Once you are happy with this you can add the back spacers.

These help you locate the disc to the model.

 photo IMGP2260_zpsbc4c3986.jpg

Back spacers

 photo IMGP2265_zps5dd116ce.jpg

This photo shows how the disc locates

 photo IMGP2271_zps1221e391.jpg

This shows the disc attached

 Now we can build the front hub assembly.

Again you have to bend some tabs so that it fits nicely

 photo IMGP2272_zps7db14f23.jpg

The parts that make up the hub

 photo IMGP2276_zps7b706ad9.jpg

Almost finished

 Now you have a finished disc which you can paint

 photo IMGP2279_zpsbe391570.jpg

The finished disc before painting

 Here is the disc with the caliper added.

There is even a small piece to add with the logo

 photo IMGP2295_zps489576cf.jpg

The finished discs; painted and ready to be fitted to the model

 In terms of building these took me 30 minutes or so each.

I went very carefully as I was afraid of making a mistake.

I am delighted with how these came out.

Don’t be scared to have a go at these,

They are easier than you think.