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Mission Models


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: Mission Models Grabhandler
Contents and Media: One 92mm x 39mm steel tool
Price: USD$55.00 plus local tax and shipping from Mission Models
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Solid construction; easy and precise operation; marked in increments of inches and millimetres; appropriate tool to work with either flat or three dimensional materials; no assembly required; solidly packed.
Disadvantages: Forward alignment pin may interfere with the removal of larger "handles"
Recommendation: Recommended for armour and ship modellers; and scratch builders.


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We are continuously presented with modelling masterpieces in print and online featuring photo-etched and resin accessories.

However, there are still some jobs that are best achieved using basic materials such as copper wire, brass profiles or steel rod. I frequently use these materials for adding detail to interior areas of aircraft and to specific parts of military models.

One of the most common tasks for armour modellers is the fabrication of handrails, guard rails, tie-downs and grab handles. Photo-etched parts are generally too flat for these items, and plastic kit parts are often overscale, delicate and/or festooned with difficult to remove seams. This is where metal wire, rod and profiles come in very handy.

Typically, it is necessary to replicate between a few and a whole pile of identical rails, tie-downs or handles for any given armour modelling project. I have always used a pair of needle-nose pliers for this job, but it is often a challenge to create these parts exactly the same size.

Enter the Grabhandler.

Mission Models' Grabhandler is a new tool specifically for forming grab handles, as the name implies. The tool is made from two small triangles of CNC steel aligned by three steel pins. A plastic handle controls a steel thread which opens and closes the steel jaws. A spring is installed to provide tension, permitting the tool to remain open when required. The tool feels very robust and high quality.



The triangular tool is serrated with 21 notches on each side. The notches are marked in US (from 1/10" to 1.05") and metric (2.5mm to 26.7mm) increments.

The operation of the tool could hardly be simpler:

  • Wind the handle counter-clockwise to release the jaws

  • Insert material to be bent into a handle according to the size required.

  • Turn handle clockwise to close the jaws

  • Bend material on both sides of the Grabhandler's serrations

  • Release the handle, remove the newly formed "handle", and repeat as many times as necessary



This will be a very quick, precise, reliable, measurable and repeatable method for forming handles and other similar shapes. The only problem I can anticipate is that the forward locating pin might interfere with the removal of newly-formed handles from the tool. Even so, some planning will permit the largest handles to be threaded back through the tool without actually separating the jaws.

I tested my Granhandler review sample out on some steel wire - piano wire I think - which has proven difficult to bend with other tools. The Grabhandler held the hard steel securely and permitted quick and easy bending into a handle profile. It will be even easier to work with more pliable materials such as brass and copper.

At USD$55.00, this is not a low-priced tool. However, "expensive" is in the eye (or perhaps the pocket) of the purchaser.



If you are a modeller who is looking for a precise and repeatable way to create handles or similar shapes, the Grabhandler is the most specific tool I have seen to date for the task.

Recommended for armour and ship modellers; and scratch builders.

Thanks to Jon Tamkin from Mission Models  the preview image and information

Etch Mate is available from Mission Models Website

Rreview Text and all Images Copyright 2004 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 23 May, 2004
Last updated 24 May, 2004

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