As shown recently in Aeroscale's News section, Rad Brinzan has somehow found time, while continuing to produce his exceptionally detailed conversion sets and master-patterns for kits such as MDC's imminent 1/32 scale Arado Ar 234, to develop a rather unique PE Bending tool - the Flip R-10... now, here's a look at its "baby brother", the Flip R-5.
The Flip R-5 arrives in a neat little flat-pack pouch and it's immediately apparent that it is very different from a conventional PE Bending tool; this tool is photo-etched itself! It's produced on a single fret of heavy-duty steel and requires just a few minutes' clean-up and assembly before it's ready for use. The Flip R-5 comprises three parts:
A base with fold-up ears, which double as hinges and angle guides.
A bending attachment, which clips into the hinges and is used to make the fold.
A bending guide, which holds the part to be folded in place and has a straight edge one side and a series of tongues on the other.
Assembly is very straightforward - something made even easier by Radu's excellent set of instructions which are illustrated with clear photos. The only point to be careful of is folding the ears/hinges - you must follow the instructions precisely, because if you try to re-fold them, you risk weakening the metal sufficiently to break it. So don't rush it - read the instructions - and you'll have the Flip R-5 ready for use in 5 minutes after opening the packet.
But it's so small...
With the Flip R-5 assembled, it's a surprise to see just how compact it is compared with my existing PE Bending tool! Detractors will no doubt point this out as a limitation - which it obviously is for the occasional really large job - but, with a maximum fold of 5cm, the Flip R-5 can easily handle 95% of the folds I need to make as an aircraft modeller. In fact, its small size is also a major advantage in making the Flip R-5 ideal as part of a travelling tool kit.
In use, apart from its compactness, the Flip R-5 has a couple of other worthwhile advantages over it's heavyweight counterpart:
The bench-press style folding plate and side angle guides make it really easy to make accurate folds at any angle up to 90º.
The photo-etched bending guide has 10, 7.5, 5, 3, 2 and 1mm tongues - the 1mm tongue is about 4x finer than the smallest guide on my existing PE Bending tool, so it's almost heaven-sent for tackling some of the miniscule parts appearing in the latest PE upgrade sets.
The obvious test for the Flip R-5 was to fold a box, so grabbed a couple from Eduard's recently reviewed Follow Me Jeep set. The Flip R-5 couldn't have been simpler to use - with the part to be folded lined up under the bending guide - fingertip pressure was enough to hold it securely - it was simply a question of raising the hinged bending attachment to the vertical position. Hey presto! - one fold done, turn the part, make the next fold and so on... Very quick, very easy and very precise.
For heavier folds, Radu suggests clamping the part under the folding guide with a standard office-supplies "bulldog clip", but I have to say I think this is going to be the exception rather than the rule - for virtually any pre-marked PE set, fingertip pressure will suffice.
Radu has produced his own video to illustrate how simple it is to use a Flip folding tool - in this case the larger R-10. Obviously, he's probably the most skilled person on the planet at using a Flipl LOL! - but the video really does give a valid impression of just how quick and easy the Flip R-5 proves to be in practice: Video
The Flip R-5 is an excellent tool that deserves to be part of the kit for any modeller who delves into the "black art" of Photo-Etched parts. If you already have a PE Bending tool, you'll find the Flip R-5 or its larger brother, the Flip R-10, has a couple of significant "twists" that make it a very worthwhile addition to the arsenal, while newcomers to PE will find it a very cost-effective first tool (and you may never need look beyond it for the majority of tasks). For the modeller on the move, the Flip R-5 scores hands down over many bulkier and heavier tools - the old "Do I pack it or not?" question is a thing of the past. Highly recommended.
The Flip PE Folding Tools are available directly from Radu Brinzan via his E-Bay shop
Alternatively, they are also distributed by the following on-line stores:
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE