Either building or painting, having a way to hold a model without touching it has a number of advantages: avoiding inadvertently breaking tiny parts, stay away from fingertips or simply have both hands free to use them at the same time.
Sukērumoderā has recently released the Octopus, a scale model jig which comes with a solid base and three different heads for a variety of models to be hold.
The jig comes in a box perfectly packed. Every part comes in bubble wrap and although the product is quite robust, it avoids damage in the transport.
There is a page of assembly instructions, useful if you want to check it but it is a simple and straightforward process that you could do on your own anyway.
All parts are made of thick, translucent white Plexiglas, between 0,4mm and 0,6mm depending on the part. It seems quite easy to clean -yes, I admit from time to time I clean my workbench and tools...
There is a base plate, a rotating structure and three different heads. Most of the corners are rounded on all parts.
All is tightened using knobs, and no tools are required for assembling or using it. These knobs are large enough to allow easy use, even if you have big hands.
The parts feel heavy and solid, and all screws and nuts are metallic -which is definitively a plus for durability.
On the heads, all surfaces and parts contacting with the model are padded with soft foam to avoid damage to the parts.
All in all, the first impression is excellent, showing a carefully designed product and manufactured with quality materials.
Starting with the base, it measures 24x18cm with rounded corners, and has four anti-slip pads on the bottom.
On top of it, there is a structure attached with a screw in the middle. This screw allows 360º rotation. There also two side knobs for adjusting the tilt, and a hole on top for attaching one of the three provided heads.
With these two axis of movement plus the head on top of it, it is possible to work on almost any angle of the model.
All heads have anti-slip surface on the base for better grip.
The first head is a flat base of 24x20cm with two long padded grips moving on two grooves. The maximum opening size is 14cm, counting that the model could overhang on the sides, it can handle almost any kit even at 1/16 scale.
As the kit is hold from the sides, it can be used with tanks, open top vehicles, guns, railway wagons, wheeled vehicles...
Advantages are that it can be used with practically any model, but need to be careful not to press too much.
It is secured in place through four knobs on the bottom. They are easily accessible and operated.
The grips can be reversed, leaving the foam pointing outwards and securing the model from the inside of the wheels.
The second head is a small rectangular base with a screw. It requires drilling the bottom of the kit to pass through it and secure with a wing nut. The base is 10x4cm to fit under most tanks. It is good for any tank with a turret that can be removed to access the interior and screw the wing nut.
Advantages are that you can work on any part of the tank, including the running gear, and it will be perfectly secured to the base without pressure on any part.
The third head is a cross shaped base with rounded corners and four sliding parts, one on each arm.
Maximum opening is 6cm or 21cm, depending on the position of the jaws, which are padded on one whole side and the tip of the other.
This will be useful for figure bases, tank turrets or other hollow parts that can be hold from inside. Although I have not any aircraft kit to test, I would say it should work fine.
The use is pretty simple, as you can imagine. Put the most suitable head for the task, screw it and put the model in place.
The whole set is reasonably heavy, 1,2 Kg when the flat, bigger head is in place. This is a good thing to avoid accidental tipping, together with the large base. I have no doubt it will stay in place even with large kits.
As said, the knobs are large and easily accessible, both for locking the base or securing the model. When released, the movement is smooth and locking does not require much pressure to stay in place.
Playing with the different bases and all the knobs, it is possible to put the kit on almost any angle for easier work.
This is a very useful tool for modellers, as it can hold a wide variety of kit thanks to the three different heads provided. It is solid and heavy to stay on the workbench even if hit, while all surfaces in contact with the model are padded to avoid damage.
The material is hard, perfectly even and bright, and all screws and bolts are metallic. The movements are smooth, there are no click-stops or limits and it does not require much force to lock the parts, which will not move at all once secured.
In summary, the Octopus has been designed to hold your model while you paint or build, and it does it very well.