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Sharkmouth

Masterpiece Models' Bench Mate II

I contacted Masterpiece Models about their BenchMate II, an adjustable model holding jig which had an upgrade released for it. The jig is completely made in the USA and uses Optix acrylic from Plastolite. It's impact-resistant, up to three times greater than double strength window glass, and is backed by a 10-year limited non-yellowing warranty. Obviously high-quality clear acrylic is being used and covered in a paper mask, on both sides, which protects it during the machining process. The base and four holding shapes are made from clear acrylic.

Also in the bag are bolts, wingnuts, small rubber bands, a large rubber band, five self-adhesive feet, & four uprights. From some YouTube videos, it appears that the jig should come in a box.

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The first step is to remove the paper mask protecting the clear acrylic. This YouTube video explains several methods (I used the dowel one):


The result of the base plate once the paper mask is removed. Note the calibrations etched into the base plate:
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The rest of the acrylic parts after clean up. Note the calibrations etched in and the dog tooth at each end to serve as an anchoring hook for rubber bands to secure a model.
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These are cast resin. There was plenty of clean up with this one being the worst. However, at the price point offered (only slightly higher than the MDF board jig I trashed thanks to my clumsiness) I will take it! Having someone at Masterpiece Models clean them up will certainly drive the price up considerably.
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All of ten minutes work and it is passable, another ten if one wants perfect showcase finishes.
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All four done and ready for a rinse to get rid of the sanding dust.
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Assembly was quite easy but keep in mind that the bolthead has a square shape under it which corresponds in size to the slots of the base plate and uprights. This means the bolts are (obviously) added from below on the base plate to secure the resin uprights with the included wing nuts and the bolts are inserted from the resin upright side with the wingnuts securing the acrylic holding shapes.
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A nice touch are the polyvinyl feet included. Five are in the bag so one went under each base plate extension and the last dead center.

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The jig in theoretical use. There is a large rubber band to be cut and glued onto the contact surfaces of the holding shapes. I will probably use self-adhesive felt strips but everyone should use something as the surfaces are slick and the fuselage here kept on rotating due to the pressure on it from the smaller rubber bands securing it. Rubber or felt will also protect the finish of the model if using it for weathering or as transport.
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Part two covers the upgrade, MMTL023, which is included in this set and available separately for those with the original Bench Mate (either MMTL018 or MMTL019) for $19.99USD at the time of writing.

The contents of the upgrade bag include a long rubber band, short rubber bands, two lengths of bolts, wingnuts, pivoting black resin gussets, and clear acrylic sliding shapes which hold the kit and secure it with the dog teeth for rubber bands. Note that the black plastic parts have a side with a raised circle and the other doesn't. Depending on which side one uses, it can be dead vertical or rotating.
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I replaced two of the holding shapes with the upgraded parts here. The shorter bolts were enough but longer bolts are included:
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A check of my PayPal account shows I wasn't charged so I must give my appreciation to John Geigle and Masterpiece Models. After my PACV review, I wasn't expecting an opportunity to review more items from this excellent American company. Purchase from Masterpiece Models directly. The price, at the time of writing, was $34.99USD. Note that they are made to order.
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Sharkmouth
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