login   |    register

Tool Review
Deluxe Brass Assist
Photo-etch Rolling Station
  • Kit Contents

by: Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

  • Kit Contents

"This MSW Tool Review is of The Small Shop's Deluxe Brass Assist Photo-Etch Rolling Station."

Continuing in this series of tool reviews of The Small Shop's line of modeling tools, we now will take a closer look at The Brass Assist, which basically is a system of rollers and surfaces to aid in the forming of photo-etch to various cylindrical diameters.

the tool, a closer look...

Featuring an all metal construction, the tool measures in at 4" wide x 4" deep. The tool base is machined from an aluminum alloy, with a super hard clear anodizing; which gives the surface both a "slippery" texture for ease of rolling and forming, and also prevents damage to the base unit. The silver color of the unit has been designed this way for a reason, which is to hold a contrast between the tool and the material, to make it easier to handle small parts projects.

On the top surface of the unit are five separately sized diameter troughs that have been machined into the surface, 3/4", 1/2", 1/4", 3/16", and 1/8", respectively. These troughs are used in conjunction with the tool base’s corresponding sized all metal rollers, to form true cylinders in photo-etch and metal parts.

Also on the tools surface, are two pre-sized "bending beams", which will be quite useful to the AFV modeler for bending pre-formed tie downs. At the front of the tool, is a built in "bending comb", consisting of many pre-formed notches in the surface of the tool which can be used in forming multi-sized grab handles for your builds out of soft copper or brass wire. Three sizes of handle leg from 1mm to 3mm, combined with length sizes from 1mm to 6mm, will allow the modeler to fashion many different sized handles, all matching in size.

On the underside of the tool is the Soft Rolling Deck, which is a soft rubber rolling surface, which enables the true cylinder to be formed. This soft rubber deck can be replaced if necessary, after many years of PE rolling and service, that is!

Using the tool to form a true cylinder is quite simple, and involves the following steps:

1.) Pre-form the cylinder into a "U" shape by selecting the proper sized trough/rod combination. Set the unformed part over the top of the trough, set the roller on the top of the part, and press down on the rod, forcing the part into the trough, forming the desired "U" shape.

2.) Slowly roll the steel roller/part in the trough until the part has been formed around the diameter of the steel rod.

3.) Take the steel rod/part away from the base, and turn it over to expose the soft rubber rolling deck on the underside.

4.) Using a smaller sized rod, slip the part over the rod, and roll back and forth over the rubber surface to form your true cylinder.

Other uses of the Brass Assist include the bending beams for bending pre-formed tie downs, and the bending comb, for making your own grab handles in multiple sizes. The quality of this tool is apparent upon first examination, from the CNC machined aluminum alloy base, and to the individual precision bending rods...and the process of the actual bending of your PE is very simple and straight forward.

Included with the tool is a two sided instruction sheet, with working diagrams and supporting text, as well as tips and usage hints for success in tool usage. A very easy to use, dependable, and quality addition to your modelers toolbox, The Brass Assist will definitely help to make your PE forming experience much more enjoyable, and will also give you other feature options to help in your scratch building, PE, metal, and wire bending and forming projects.

Key Features of the tool include:

1.) Excellent for shaping radius, U-Shape or cylinder parts.
2.) Includes one each Aluminum rods 3/4", 1/2" & 1/4"
3.) Includes one each Stainless Steel rods 1/8" & 3/16"
4.) 4"x4" CNC Machined Rolling Base
5.) High grade aluminum hard anodized in a clear finish.

Highs: Quality manufacturing and precision machining, multi-feature design, made to last for years of service to the modeler.
Lows: None!
Verdict: Overall, this tool will make a valuable addition to the serious PE using modeler, who is looking for a forming tool that will last and work well...If this is you, you need this tool. Highly recommended from this modelers point of view!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: DBARS
  Suggested Retail: $65.00 USD
  Related Link: Official Company Website
  PUBLISHED: Apr 26, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to The Small Shop!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View This Item  |  View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...

Copyright ©2020 text by Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Between all the neat tools and great kits, I am going to need a second job. Thanks for the review on this one. Looks like a nice tool to have on the work bench.
APR 27, 2008 - 12:47 PM
Hear ya on that note, Jim... Nice, well made tool, great results, and very easy to use....all around, a good addition to your tool-box, IMHO, no matter what genre of the hobby that you model most in.
APR 27, 2008 - 09:25 PM
A great tool and seems like a great company. One of those headslappers -"wish I'd thought of it!" I will consider one for my next project, thanks Gunny!
APR 29, 2008 - 12:17 AM

What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • Soft Rolling Deck
    Soft Rolling Deck
  • The Tool, Complete
    The Tool, Complete
  • Aluminum Alloy Base
  • Alloy and Steel Rollers
    Alloy and Steel Rollers
  • Bending Comb Detail Close-up
    Bending Comb Detail Close-up
  • Bending Comb Detail
    Bending Comb Detail
  • Bending Beams
    Bending Beams
  • misc2_032
  • misc2_031
  • True Cylinder Formation Diagram
    True Cylinder Formation Diagram
  • Soft Rolling Deck Instruction Diagram
    Soft Rolling Deck Instruction Diagram
  • Bending Beam Instruction Diagram
    Bending Beam Instruction Diagram
  • Instruction Sheet, Pg. 1
    Instruction Sheet, Pg. 1
  • Instruction Sheet, Pg. 2
    Instruction Sheet, Pg. 2