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To P.E. or NOT to P.E.

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
To P.E. or NOT to P.E.
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, October 29, 2020 7:32 AM

 Okay, this is  my take on this.

       Have you ever worked with lots of very small P.E.? or any at all? You have a tutorial out there that will even surprise those of you that think installing P.E. is as easy as falling off a log!

       I am speaking about the line of "Metal Earth" kits that are heads and shoulders above the others in the thin Pack. they are the Train,The Peacock and the Oil Tanker/Offshore Oil Rig. If you are thinking about them. be warned, If you think simple P.E. on the 1/350 Buckley Class D.E. ( U.S.S.Butler) was hard, You'll be over your head in minutes!

      These will do one of two things for you. They will teach you to be unafraid handling and shaping and bending P.E. OR! They'll have you running from the workbench Pulling your hair( If you have any) and screaming 'Glutton for Punishment,That's me!  It doesn't have to be.

      Get one of the " Flatpack" kits and give it a try. They can be frustrating at times. Don't give up and don't try to build it in one sitting. Sometimes they have two parts fitting so closely one part's tabs go inside and the other part's tabs come up through the base just outside the other. These you bend out. Use a X-Acto knife here.

      Study the parts carefully. There are  tab slots in some weird places! Work carefully, and also remember if the tab slots are far enough away from another part, you can twist the tab for a tighter fit than the fold will give you!

      If you do this, These kits will help your application of P.E. Immensely! The fact is by the end of one you'll have done Circles, Tubes and Lots of Boxes and Triangles. as well as slightly other shapes. You will also begin to learn how to Curve a flat surface into a Facing for an orb or ball of some sort to try and remove those pesky sharp edges.

       I recommend these for everyone, Before you spend many Dollars on an exotic P.E. set, when You NEVER have used the stuff before. You definitely need to have some ideas ahead of time. Not all P.E. is created equal either. This includes thickness and type of material. Eduard's Stainless set fot the 1/350 U.S.S. North carolina. Stymied me at times. I had to order a new kit to finish the ship!

        In brass it would've been easier, but the Stainless put up another level of stiffnessI wasn't expecting til it up and bit me in the butt! Now after some Metal Earth kits I don't have that problem! Believe it or not. It's great practice for that very expensive set of P.E. you just plunked down your hard earned bucks for. This applies to All forms of modeling where P.E. can be used to bring up that Detail level!

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, October 29, 2020 9:06 AM

I think it is like modeling in general.  If you are a novice to Metal Earth kits, do not start with a very intricatic kit- start with something simple.  Do a couple of these.  Then move on to the complicated stuff.

I find the ME kits completely different than PE details for a plastic kit.  I also find that experienced modelers can do things to an ME kit to make it better than just an OOB build, but it takes different skills than you are used to, unless you have done some metal builds, like a Hubley car or 1:43 metal kits.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Denver
Posted by tankboy51 on Thursday, October 29, 2020 10:51 AM

I've been using PE since it started to get popular in the early 1980's.  I first used it for M-3 half track suspension from a article in FSM, I think it was by Steve Zaloga.  Later, a friend of mine started a PE company and I did several of his designs for extra details.  I got several of his defective sets at a discount.  Now, model kits include PE with the model, so now I can pick and choose the extra details.  Some times I use them, often I use the plastic parts, since I'm not that nuts on super deailing any more.  It's great for making a regular kit fancy.  Ive done a couplle of those all PE kits just for fun.  They are good gifts.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, October 29, 2020 11:00 AM

How do you get 100 views in a morning?

Those ME kits look interesting.





  • Member since
    July 2018
  • From: The Deep Woods
Posted by Tickmagnet on Thursday, October 29, 2020 11:07 AM

I'll have my first PE experience with the few PE parts in the Tamiya Hurricane and then I have the Tamiya Spit mk.1 which includes PE parts as well. Now I just have to watch some videos so I have a clue on what to do with it.



  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Jon_a_its on Friday, October 30, 2020 4:12 AM

As noted, ME is not the same as PE.

Does adding PE to your model add: interest, detail, skill, or fun?

If so, then add away & model on.

If it doesn't add detail, or fun, or adding flat PE that should be round, or wrong(!), then don't

East Mids Model Club 29th Annual Show 19th MAY 2019

Don't feed the CM!


  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Saturday, October 31, 2020 12:12 PM

I like challenging PE. This 1/72 scale Heller kit had a lot of molded on and missing detail as well as thick armor and the weapons station was akin to a blob. There's a US quarter coin for size comparison.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, October 31, 2020 12:27 PM


      Omygosh! That kind of reminds me of my Bandai Armor kits. Is that Molded in that color or have you added some paint already? I LIKE That!

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Saturday, October 31, 2020 8:40 PM

No paint yet in this picture. The wheels are ExtraTech resin replacement ones. The kit is molded in that flesh colored plastic tan. The gold is the unpainted photoetch. 

Here is a Monogram StuG IV in 1/72 scale. The machine gun on the penny is 3 or 4 parts of photoetch.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, November 1, 2020 7:46 AM

Hi Bill;

 I find them very much so. With my hand problems I use them for therapy when needed and I can afford it. What I like most of all is the variety of subjects. Not Accurate Models by a long shot in some cases. BUT, A lot of fun to complete without breaking out the C.A.


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