How to add brass etch to a model

brass etch lettering

I've put brass etch on a model once before. This time, I was trying to put some incredibly tiny letters onto the front of a dreadnought sarcophagus. Having been given a link to a video that shows you how to put the tiny stuff onto a model without going crazy trying to get it into position correctly, I figured it was time to give it a go to see if I could do it.

My one previous brass etch experience was with a drop pod and I was setting Inquisitorial symbols into the crew area to cover up some holes in the model. The things is, they were larger in size and easy enough to handle. That and I didn't have to work directly on the model. The brass etch was set on top of a piece of plasticard and that was in turn glued into the model. What's the point? I had plenty of room to work and the brass etch was big enough to handle.

Tiny letters glued directly onto a model have neither of these benefits.

brass etch on a model

When it came time to do it again with the letters, I wasn't sure where to start.
Enter the video.

Seriously... this has got to be the most helpful thing on the planet to watch before trying to add tiny brass etch lettering to a model. The only thing I did different was to use clear tape for everything since I had no blue tape to work with.
I'm not sure how I would have done it without seeing this first. It seems so simple after watching the video.

placing brass etch on a model

Some things I learned when it comes to applying brass etch
1. Adding it to curved surfaces is going to be a bit tricky. I'm sticking to flat surfaces for now.
2. Cutting the smaller pieces out can be harder to do than you think. Even though it's paper thin, it's still made of brass. Having tape behind them (the super tiny bits) is essential so they don't fly away.
3. Cut close to the edge of your etch piece so you have very little to no clean up. Trying to clean up the edges on something that small is a huge pain.
5. You don't need much glue to hold them in place. Too much and it makes a mess.

Brass etch is not the end all be all though
This stuff is great for adding some super fine detail to a model. Knowing how to do it so you don't go nuts or ruin half of your pieces trying to get one letter in place helps. But... brass etch is not for everything. There are times when you'd be better off leaving the space empty or maybe going with some freehand. That's a decision you'll have to make based on your model and how you want it to look.

Like weathering and battle damage, you just need a little bit to really help a model come to life. And knowing how to add this stuff to your model makes the whole process that much easier.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
Knowing when and how to add freehand to a model

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!