What got me interested in this set are couple of comments about my article about Best Scale Modeling Nippers. I try to test everything I write about and I decided that it’s not a bad idea to invest in MENG Tool set, because a lot of people talk about it. MENG cutters wasn’t exactly in the list in the other article, so I thought I should give it a try. Curiosity mostly, then again, another set of cutters won’t hurt anybody.
What’s in it:
The set comes in a foldable pouch-like bag. It has a knife holder, similar to X-acto and OLFA, but not exactly the same. Just the basic idea. There is a file, which is pretty tough-looking and coarse, a set ot tweezers and the cutters of course.
The tweezers and the knife holder have plastic caps protecting them and alongside with that there is a plastic container, holding quite a few knife blades. Those seems to stick one to another, probably magnetized. They are dark in appearance and neatly protected.
So let’s start with the most important thing /for me/ in this set. Since this is the reason I bought it for, I explored this item the most. The first thing I noticed was that the logo was slightly distorted. Now, this is a brand new set MENG, come on! There was a worn area beneath the grip too. A slight one. Not that you won’t damage the nippers in the process of use, but still…
The grip is not bad, but it is not as Tamiya’s or God’s Hand either. Quality-wise they are close, but not enough for my taste. Maybe I was expecting more because of the reviews I’ve been reading through.
The business end of the cutters does work. However, in order to make it work as it should be, you cannot be sloppy. You need to position it correctly, cut slowly and be careful. Otherwise, well, it is visible that there are marks on the plastic parts. Those are done on purpose, I can give MENG that. I deliberately wasn’t paying much attention. But I need to point out, that the quality of the cutters helps here. If you are doing that with God’s Hand or Tamiya for example, this won’t happen. At least not to that extent.
The overall feel is that the cutters are somehow stiff. Not that they are not moving adequately or are hard to operate, but they create some cheapo feeling in the hand. They can cut well enough, but in order to do so, you gotta be more careful. With that said, I must add that most of the electrical cutters ranging from $1 to $5 are exactly like that. You can make them work. So, onto the next thing.
Not bad at all here. They are not with pointy edges, but they offer a good grip. I enjoyed working with those a lot. Although I know that many modelers are very into tweezers and their quality, those could take care of a decent amount of work if they are all you have.
With the file, situation is pretty much like with the tweezers. If this is all you have, yeah, it will do. It is a bit coarse, but it does provide you with nice grip and works well on plastic. That cannot be said for every metal file out there.
Besides, areas where troubles appeared while using the cutters, the file solved the problem. With that said, I have to add that you need to exercise caution, because the file can easily go through the plastic where you don’t want it to. Coarse is the keyword here. Maybe for initial sanding they can be labeled “almost perfect”, but for fine jobs you will need something else.
That is the item included in the set that I enjoyed the most of. Firstly, there are plenty of spare blades. They are easily exchangeable, and provide you with decent cutting edge surface for modeling. That last one is important, because too curvy or too large blades can often cause some unwanted results. Here blades are exactly what I like in a knife.
MENG really made it worth with this item. The blade holder is very comfy, it is long enough and most importantly it provides decent grip. I enjoyed all the small work on the plastic and the results surprised me pleasantly. The knife in my opinion is comparable with the best X-acto, OLFA or scalpels out there. Maybe even better.
Besides the knife, the set is so-so in my opinion. It corresponds to its price perfectly. You cannot expect to get something very good for 1/3rd or half of the price of most of the good cutters out there. And we are talking couple of items here. Packed nicely. Including cutters, which is the priciest item usually. Such price for a bundle, it should raise some eyebrows.
However, it is very good for beginners. Modelers who does not own their huge toolboxes with many various tools, overlapping each other in purpose and quality. For a starter kit as a birthday present for somebody young and just entering the hobby, MENG tools set with suffice. But with the quality of the cutters, which creates some doubts, that rugged file and only one pair of tweezers, this is not a set suitable for a professional modeler.
Not that is bad to have it, but why invest in something that will provide you with solutions that you already have the tools to deal with? I wouldn’t, although I already did.