Premium 3-bar Rails

Published: January 16th, 2014     
Product Package
Product Package
Reviewed by: Rob Benson - IPMS# 44038
Scale: 1/350
Price: $21.00
Product / Stock #: 3583
Product provided by: Tom's Modelworks

Many, many thanks to Mr. Richard Harden of Tom's Modelworks for providing this beautiful ship model enhancement set for review. I am also deeply appreciative of the IPMS Reviewer staff who tirelessly support a very large group of reviewers. I am delighted to report on my experience with this neat product.

Description and Use

The set consists of a single 7.8 x 2.8 inch photo-etched and polished brass fret with more than 1000 scale feet of railing and about 300 feet of ladders. The railings are mostly the 3-bar variety with several stanchion spacings represented. Canvas dodgers or screens are represented well on a row of 2-bar rails. The ladders have densely-spaced tabs that are designed to be bent for standoffs, holding the ladder off its attachment surface. The brass has a nice balance of strength and malleability. The parts are strong enough; the brass did not break too easily with repeated folding. I was able to form shapes and bends easily without too much over-bending. This is important to me, with the 100 scale-ton fingers I have.

The most striking part of this set is the variable relief. The railings are thinner than the stanchions, which makes for a very pleasing and realistic visual effect. The really nice thing about the relief is that it is mirrored front and back. The process to make this two-sided relief is not trivial, consisting of varying photoresist and carefully timed etching. I did not try a black wash on the rails, but I believe this treatment might really make the relief stand out.

This is a very well-done set for generic applications. Having this set laid out dockside in your shipyard will provide you with a ready set of materials to replace lesser or absent kit parts. The rails are all straight, so adapting them to upward sweeping deck lines might be a little tricky, but the character of the metal should give you one or two second chances to reform the parts. Putting these parts in a conspicuous area of a ship should really set off the overall appearance.

Conclusion

The MSRP cost of this fret seems a little high, but I do not think that cost reduces the value of the set. Considering how many ships are "commissioned" in my collection that are wanting for a small stunning detail or two, I cannot help but wish this set was available years ago. I recommend it for your "warehouse."

Again, my sincerest gratitude to both Tom's Modelworks and IPMS/USA for providing me this product for review. It is a great privilege, thank you!

  • This is a closeup of the unprimed rails showing the stanchions standing out the rails.  The same relief is mirrored on the opposite side.
    This is a closeup of the unprimed rails showing the stanchions standing out the rails. The same relief is mirrored on the opposite side.
  • This is a close-up view of the primed 3-bar rails with different stanchion spacing and some 2-bar rails with and without canvas dodgers.  The ladders in the upper part of the picture have small tabs that are meant to be bent 90º for standoffs.
    This is a close-up view of the primed 3-bar rails with different stanchion spacing and some 2-bar rails with and without canvas dodgers. The ladders in the upper part of the picture have small tabs that are meant to be bent 90º for standoffs.
  • This is a larger view of the primed 3-bar rails with different stanchion spacing and some 2-bar rails with and without canvas dodgers.  The different stanchion spacings are very evident.  The narrow solid band through the middle of the picture is part of the supporting fret and is not part of the set.   The ladders in the upper part of the picture have small tabs that are meant to be bent 90º for standoffs.
    This is a larger view of the primed 3-bar rails with different stanchion spacing and some 2-bar rails with and without canvas dodgers. The different stanchion spacings are very evident. The narrow solid band through the middle of the picture is part of the supporting fret and is not part of the set. The ladders in the upper part of the picture have small tabs that are meant to be bent 90º for standoffs.
  • This is a close-up view of the unprimed 3-bar rails with different stanchion spacing and some 2-bar rails with and without canvas dodgers.  The ladders in the upper part of the picture have small tabs that are meant to be bent 90º for standoffs.
    This is a close-up view of the unprimed 3-bar rails with different stanchion spacing and some 2-bar rails with and without canvas dodgers. The ladders in the upper part of the picture have small tabs that are meant to be bent 90º for standoffs.

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