by: Todd Michalak [ ]
Masterpiece Models, based in Vancouver, WA USA, are manufacturers of cast resin assembly kits and diorama accessories for the modelling community. Along with the ever growing list of creations being manufactured and sold, Masterpiece Models produces a large selection of Custom Dioramics’ line which they have acquired the rights to. All kits, tools and accessories are manufactured on site at their Vancouver Location.
Masterpiece Models not only fabricates a large selection of kits and accessories, they also produce tools for the model maker. One such tool is the Corr-U-Gator©. The Corr-U-Gator© is a multi-piece, cast resin tool used for the personal fabrication of corrugated metal panels used in many wall and roof constructions for modeler’s dioramas or vignettes.
The Corr-U-Gator©, Model No. MMTL002, is sold as a set consisting of the following:
• 1 – Sheet Template (Resin)
• 1 – Lower Sheet Press (Resin)
• 1 – Upper Sheet Press (Resin)
• 1 – 6 in. x 6 in. Lead Foil
The set is sold in a sturdy flip top cardboard box and while the Corr-U-Gator© is fairly resilient from being cast from resin, the tool is packed within bubble wrap to keep the tool protected during shipping.
Corrugated Aluminium and Sheet Metal
Dating back to about the early part of the 19th Century, corrugated panels have been used to keep the elements out of homes and places of work through use as roofing and wall panels. Originally the corrugated galvanized iron, or CGI, was created by passing galvanized iron through a manually operated roller press forming the corrugations. Toward the end of the century the industry shifted to using steel and later a whole host of different materials to create these widely used panels.
Widely used during WWI and WWII for the construction of many military installations, none more notable than the Nissan Hut and slightly improved upon later Quonset Hut, corrugated steel and aluminium panels were lightweight, easy to construct and a cost efficient way to protect troops, supplies and munitions from the elements.
The Corr-U-Gator© is designed to replicate, in similar fashion, the corrugated panels commonly used throughout the world in 1/35th scaling. The process consists of using the provided panel template to accurately and consistently cut out rectangular sections of the kit supplied lead foil.
The lead foil is then placed on smaller flat corrugated base press. The panel template allows for the piece of foil to fit perfectly with in the lower jig. The upper press is then used by pressing firmly down onto the foil in the lower section of the jig. The much larger upper casting and is cast as a mirror image of the bottom jig with the exception of the face being curved in nature. The curvature aids in the molding of the panels with a simple rocking back and forth motion of the upper section on top of the lower.
The process is extremely simple and highly effective and ultimately consistent means for replicating lap-seam metal corrugated panels. The lead foils provided is certainly a user friendly product to work with as it cuts easy and it is very malleable; however, there are other metals that will work in the Corr-U-Gator© that give similar end results. By using aluminium foil the finished product is a bit lighter and slightly more resistant to creasing and denting…if the intent is for a clean panel look. Like the led foil, aluminium foil can be easily bent into various shapes depending on the look you are going for including dented and creased panels as well as curved. To add a bit more realism to the panels, small holes can be drilled to simulate fastening patterns or the installation of rivets, or hex or round fattener heads can be added.
I feel the Corr-U-Gator© is one of the best new tools I have come across in a while. This highly effect tool used for the creation of 1/35th scale metal lap-seam panels for any diorama or vignette. The tool itself is cast durably from solid resin and the simplistic design allows for easy use by all. While the lead foil provided is an excellent product to use and replacements can be obtained through Masterpiece Models, a commercial grade aluminium foil seems to be ideal as well and even the use of kitchen grade foil wrap or even thin gauge brass shim stock could do the job just as nice.
So in the end, for me, my decision to recommend the Corr-U-Gator© comes down to the “almighty 3”…Quality, Value and Service. Masterpiece Models has definitely met all three of my criteria with the Corr-U-Gator©; the cast product should more or less last forever due to the solid, well-cast design, the product is decently priced at $24.99 US and shipping and the condition of the delivered product rounds it all off with an excellent from me. I Highly Recommend the Corr-U-Gator© to anyone looking to create corrugated metal panels for their project!!