Happy New Year! 2017 to many people wasn’t the best, and here to hoping 2018 is going to be better!
I spent the last couple of weeks of 2017 in Hong Kong and went model shopping for more a bit. Only this time I spent a lot more time finding armor models and tools. The hobby has gotten a lot more attention from Taiwan and Chinese manufacturers in recent years, and U-star I believe is a Taiwanese company specialized in tools. The nice thing about it is many of its tools appears to be original designs and quite affordable.
One of them that caught my eye this time, even though it had been available for a while now, is this sprue holder. The idea is very simple – if we assume sprues thickness are standardized, then a L-bracket with grooves of that size can hold the sprues in upright positions:
It’s such a great concept that I don’t know why it wasn’t more popular. You may say big deal, it holds the sprues vertically! The great thing about it is manifold:
- It reduces the table clutter by offering a more organized packing of sprues;
- As you know when sprues are piled up on one another they tend to lock up with each other, no so here;
- Even though manufacturers are now putting more legible letter labeling on sprues and organizaing them better, fliping through the piling to look for any particular one is still infuriating. This organizer allows you to sort the sprues by letters and much easier to remember which sprue is which;
- And finally delicate sprues, such as the gawd-awful “I” sprue from the Bandai Millenium Falcon kit with 1mm lines everywhere, can be safely tacked away here without the constant worry of getting damaged via handling.
So far I love it. The way I use it is, for small kits, you can definitely put everything on the holder as it has good size for holding approximately 10 sprues at any time without clutter (in the picture I have 7 of the Tamiya Archer kit). For larger kits, with modern kit manufacturing parts that are used together tends to be focused on the same sprues, so you only have a small working sprue set at any time so 10 is plenty at any given subassemblies. So how much does it cost? I got it for $70HKD, which is ~$9USD, from dlmxshop.com.
There aren’t that much downside, but there are sometimes sprue positions it can’t hold. As you can see the grooves assume the L-side of the sprue to be held has to be straight, and often this just isn’t the case, for example the B-sprue with the mantle on the far left of the picture cannot be held there because the sprue is not straight, or on the far right you see the wheel assemblies’ sprues are also jagged on top. My experience so far however suggests that in practice there often is a straight L side for most sprues so you just need to find the appropriate spot. The other issue is that the holder isn’t that big, so a sprue such as the big B sprue on the far left is a bit awkward to hold. That’s a simple case – just don’t put it there 🙂 There are few of these and with a few cuts the sprue is done, no need to pop it on and off unlike the ones with more detailed parts.