I've been road testing a new 'painting tool' over the weekend, and its one that a few years ago I would never have considered. With the arrival of my latest batch of 6mm models in the post I decided that I needed to admit defeat and buy myself some magnification for painting. These models are so damned small that any real attempt at detail is beyond me and I need a little help. I hasten to add it's not my eyesight which is causing the problem just the scale I'm working in. Honest.
The visor comes with four different lenses that provide increasing levels of magnification starting with a modest 1.2x lens and stepping up through a 1.8x, 2.5x and a 3.5x lens. These come in a sealed box to protect them from scratches and are easily fitted into the visor where they can be flipped up when not required. There are two positions for the lenses so if you wear glasses the visor can still be used. This also means you can put two lenses in and flip them both down to get even more magnification. I have to say the quality of the optics, despite being plastic, is very good with no distortion to the image when using them. The only thing I'd suggest is a degree of paranoia over protecting the lenses from scratches.
The only downside from a miniature painters point of view is the rather poor LED light on the top. It is powered by two AAA batteries, so its not too heavy, and is directionally adjustable. But being such a small LED it's not very powerful and it doesn't have a very good colour balance (it has a distinct bluish hue) and is probably best left turned off. I already use a powerful Daylight Lamp for painting and have no need of the LED on this visor so I have removed the batteries to reduce the visors weight slightly.
I bought this magnifying visor set from Maplins and after giving it a workout over the weekend I'm pretty happy with my purchase. I won't be using it all the time, most of the work that goes into painting a miniature can be done at arms length, such as basing and undercoating etc. But when I start on detail work and pull out the 0000 brush I'll also reach for my shiny new magnification visor.