April 7th, 2010 Privateer Press: Formula P3 Model Drilling and Pinning set
Not only is Privateer Press responsible for the ultra successful Warmachine, and Hordes games, but in recent years they've started to dive into the hobby supplies aspect of the genre as well with their own line of Formula P3 paints, and hobby tools.
I was in the market for a new pin vice, and bits about 3 months ago, and decided to give Privateer Press's Formula P3 Model Drilling and Pinning set a shot. At a local hobby shop here in South Western, PA it cost me about $12. Not a bad price I thought. After being used to being gouged by GamesWorkshop $10 for a crappy brush... $12 didn't seam that bad for a tool that I really needed to get the most out of assembling my Warmachine and Warhammer 40k figures.
The set is packaged with two drill bits, and a handful of very thin brass rod. What I liked most was the tool itself had a knob on the end to hold onto. My other pin vices were cutting into my fingers, or thumb as I twisted them, so this is a must have feature, unless you don't mind little circles cut into your finger tips from some of the other options on the market.
The bits that came with it lasted about a week. At first I was upset and thought "wow aren't those some cheap bits", but I purchased replacements which are some house brand at the hobby shop I frequent, and they too don't last much longer than 2-3 weeks at a time too. Size has a lot to do with the durability too, the more you generate heat from the friction, the weaker the tiny bits will become, thus they'll snap off or break easier when hot.
I suggest making a few cuts, then stop, then make a few more cuts, then wait a second or two, which will help keep from stressing the bits too much. It had been a few years since I used a Pin vice, because I used to have a Dremel, and used much larger bits that didn't break as easily. So I forgot how fragile the bits are.
After having been about 3 months now since I've bought this kit, I've assembled and drilled into a ton of Warmachine metal jacks, and some GamesWorkshop stuff too. The moving parts seam to be working well still, my only gripe is that I might need some WD40 for the end part with the knob on it, as it's getting a little worn feeling now.
Aside from that, the bits it came with weren't quite big enough to make using the size of the brass rod included optimal. If the bits were a hair bigger round, the rod of the size they include would be more useful, and less stressful to use right out of the package.
There is however an easy solution. Once I took the broken bits into my hobby shop, they measured them, and I went to the next size or two bigger, and I've had no problem since using the brass rod.
I have about three pin vices now, and actually I was just looking for some bits when I picked this up, but when I saw the knob on the end, and that it came with two bits, and some brass rod to boot, I couldn't resist this one. It's a nice product, and if all of their hobby supplies are this good, I may have to begin to consider looking into them now.
You can easily spend as much, or more on a standard run of the mill pin vice alone at a hobby shop too, but this one is made with miniatures assembly in mind, and works like a charm, with extras to boot. What's not to like?