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How old is photoetching (for model parts)?


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Was anyone doing it back in the 1960s? Maybe folks like Michele Conti? Was the metal grille in Tamiya’s old 1/24 Lotus Seven made of photetch, or made a different way? I remember being really impressed with that as a teenager back around 1984 or so. To be fair, information traveled a lot slower then. We didn’t have all the answers at our fingertips. 

Thanks. Lee

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Not sure, but the model railroad aftermarket was using it long before the car guys.  I had a couple of PE items done in the late Eighties, but Putty Thrower (Mark Gustavson) was doing model car PE first, as I got info from him and used his source for my stuff.

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Photoetching (actually "chemical milling") has been around for a long time.  Electronic printed circuit boards are made using very similar method, and those have been made like that since probably 1950s.

As far as model parts go, I'm not sure what were the early examples.  Since the process can be done at home (I etch my own parts), I suppose some modelers could have made their own parts before they were made commercially.  And as far as that Tamiya Lotus 7 goes, I don't have one handy, but I believe it is stamped-metal, not photoetched.

Edited by peteski
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I remember seeing it come on the seen in the late 80's, Monogram did two 1/43 scale models at that time with photo etch in them , they were a 63 convertable corvette and a cobra if I remember correctly they were called the ultimates line

 

 

Edited by Nick Notarangelo
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Yes, Monogram Ultimates were very nice models with a photoetched fret included in the kit.

If we branch out to model trains, the factory-assemble brass models  used many photoetched parts in them (since they were built out of those brass parts).  Those models predate any photoetched automotive model parts by decades.

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