I would like to start off by saying that I was indeed compensated in order to write this review of RB Model. The compensation was in the form of Quality, Price and Service. Any RB Model products that I do have in my stash were obtained by me from them after purchasing. The Quality, Pricing and Service that RB Model offers, prompted me to take the time to write this editorial review about them.
Aftermarket parts (AM) are certainly one of those items that can stir up many a conversation, both heated and otherwise, within the modelling community. Some folks live by the AM, while others might simple dabble when needed; but one thing is certain, there is an AM part for just about every need out there. One of the biggest AM used out there is the almighty replacement barrel. Whether you construct aircraft, armor or ships there are pretty much always going to be some sort of weapon on that or in that model somehow, someway. More often than not, the barrel is a featureless, molded piece of plastic either attached to the weapon or included as a separate piece to be glued on.
Enter RB Model!!
Based in Poland, RB Model is a manufacturer of machined barrels and parts for the modelling community for Armor and Aircraft to Ships, Rail and more. Since 1998, RB Model has created these precision parts and now offers more than1200 products in all scales from 1/6 all the way down to 1/700.
Like many modelers have done and continue to do, I am always looking to enhance the overall look to my creations; be it a plastic shop bought kit or a scratch-built conversion and end up purchasing some sort of aftermarket part to facilitate this need for enhancement. Aside from the countless lists of quite literally thousands photo etch offerings, there is an ever growing list of tooled and machined parts to get the job done.
I am talking about the obligatory barrel replacement along with ammunition, aerials, shackles and more. These items require very little work in the way preparation before adding to the model but can make all the difference in the world to the overall final results.
We often don’t think much about the supplier of these parts as long as we are first get the part for the right price and then followed closely by quality. I find both of these qualities in the products from RB Model.
In my opinion, the quality of the products offered by RB Model is some of the best being offered to the modelling community out there today. RB Model incorporates a small amount of highly skilled employees with an in house army of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines to manufacture the growing list of products sold from them. The beauty behind CNC manufacturing is the consistency of the product being produced.
Whether it is a set of Czech barrels for a Panzer 38(t) or ammunition for a Pz.Kpfw. IV the parts will be accurately reproduced to scale. RB Model is able to produce these fine scale replicas and sell them to the modeler at always a fair and reasonable cost; either direct from their own website, or from an extensive list of distributors. In either case, the price is reasonable and the shipping typically within reason. (Based on my experience of receiving products from RB Model in Poland shipped direct to me in the US)
The plastic kits sold today have become more detailed than they ever have been. Many are now including sheets of photo etched parts to eliminate the chunky plastic molded parts seen in the past. However, there is always some part still needing a little extra help. Not always a more realistic barrel replacement but it could be a set of shackles of a tank build. If anyone has ever gone through the eye-straining removal of these small parts from the sprue trees only to spend time attempting to sand off tiny mold lines and gate marks you would understand. RB offers a large selection of various size and scales of brass replacement shackles. The shackle pins are removable for easier placement as well as giving this part a more realistic look to them.
Aerials are right at the top of the list for possible replacement when it comes to modelling. The kit parts are nearly impossible to clean up completely and often snap off during removal prompting many modelers to outsource new aerials by raiding their guitar cases and cutting their strings. With many of the aerial replacements from RB Model not only does the replacement part have the correct taper to them, unlike a guitar string, the base mounts are included. There is relatively no clean up unless there is any included photo etching and the assembly is quick and dare I say, perfect!
Painting of any brass or aluminum parts have always been a bit of a challenge for some as the paint used does not always bite into the surface and will scrape or peel off. There are always some things to remember and options. Cleaning the surface prior to painting is always something to remember to do. By washing the parts thoroughly with soap and water, hand wipes, alcohol, acetone, denatured alcohol or even lacquer thinner removes the dirty and oils left on the metal from the manufacturing process as well as from your hands during construction. Please be safe and be sure use the proper personal protective gear when using any solvent based chemicals to clean any parts!
Second thing to remember is always start with a good primer. While lacquer and enamel based primers are very effective in priming metal surfaces acrylics, such as Vallejo Primers, can be used to prime the parts. When using true acrylics you will want to remember not to apply the primer too thick and to always allow the primer to cure,
typically 12 to 24 hours, before handling or adding subsequent top layers of paint. In some cases a clear coat of varnish or similar sealer can be applied to the metal suffices to help the primer bond to the surface of the metal.
When it comes to the brass parts, one of the better ways to finish them is to use a burnishing fluid like Uschi van der Rosten’s Burnishing Fluid for Brass and Photo Etch. Simply cut the solution 50/50 with water, dip the brass into the solution and out comes a perfectly burnished piece! In some cases, as with some machine gun barrels and other small parts, this burnishing is all that would be needed.
I have outsourced many items that I have used in my building projects for a while now and I have always enjoyed the high quality RB Model puts into their products. Although it is not a deciding factor for me, the pricing is more than reasonable. When it comes to shipping, I have always received my orders in a timely manner, often faster than expected. Similarly, the customer service is excellent. Recently I had an minor issue with my order; my email was answered right away and the concern was dealt with immediately. There are numerous companies making many aftermarket parts…will I buy these products from time to time? Yes, but in the end I feel it comes down to Quality, Value and Service…With these three assets, RB Model certainly sets the bar! And for this, RB Model will keep receiving my business!