Friday, November 27, 2020



IN COVID LOCKDOWN, many modellers do not have the excuse ‘I’ve nothing to do.’ Backing this up, model suppliers report that they’ve never been busier, and helpful gadgets have been hot sellers in 2020.

Mat Irvine: Living in Lockdown means there may well be plenty of time available for work on modelling projects. But none of us are getting any younger, and age often means that our eyes lose some of their ability to focus on small and fiddly model components. And here’s when you realise that a bit of help might come in useful.

I realised this recently, when dealing with some tiny photo-etch parts. I tried two sets of closeup glasses, one on top of the other, a solution which did work but was rather cumbersome in use. So I contacted colleague Paul Fitzmaurice of Modelling Tools, who said, “Try this”, ‘this’ being a Lightcraft Standard Headband Magnifier Kit. 

The kit consists of a headband with a visor, to which you can fit one of a set of four lenses, which provide a gradual increase of magnification. The headband works over an existing pair of glasses, and when you don’t need the the magnification, just an upward flip raises the lenses above your eyes. There is a built-in light included, though I didn’t find this very effective – good general lighting worked best for me.

The kit’s magnifying lenses are powerful, though I found I needed only the second set to bring those photo-etch parts into sharp focus. But if required, you can fit two sets at a time for extreme closeups – perhaps necessary if you ever feel the need to dissect a fly!

When you don’t need the extra magnification (below) you can just flip up the lenses. 

The headband (below) is easily adjustable

A light is included (below) but it’s not that effective – good general lighting is better

You can fit two lenses at once in the holder (below).

What you get (below) the four sets of lenses fit in their own box.

Modelling Tools sells the set for £20. Contact Paul at