There is a saying that the craftsman is only as good as his tools. That is 100% true for scale modeling too. Especially when it comes down to nippers. They can be a destroyer of dreams, especially when the curvy plastic is soft and attached to the sprues just where it shouldn’t be. Nippers can be of a lot of help, as well as cause a lot of trouble. They can be a deal breaker /and especially/ with delicate parts or round elements.
the delicacy of MiniArt small and intricate details. Rods, hoses, cables – made from plastic and what not. Now imagine there is just a tiny bit of more tension there. In between the two or more of their attachment points. If you use sharp and precise nippers, you will be fine. Most likely. But if you use something of low quality, with damaged cutting edges and with thick cutters – you will see the element break. Or, just like mentioned above. A beautiful, round fuselage parts that you see on some first or second generation jet fighters. Let’s say Eduard MiG-21 in 72nd scale. You can easily cut some of it, or, damage it beyond the point of decent repair. And there goes your perfect round shape.
All that is a work for your nippers.
When picking a pair, you should not be cheap, but you should know exactly what you are looking for. Because they can be expensive too. And for no obvious reason. On the market there are several options, some of which fantastic. Others – not so much. Here’s the top 5 nippers you can get nowadays, according to what I’ve learned in my modeling journey. Believe it or not, either of those should do just fine, but a pair of them /preferably combined but different/ will be the perfect combo.
Tamiya Craft Tools #74035
Tamiya are a leading brand when it comes down to modeling. Scale Plastic or RC. They produce tools and some of them are the best. This set of nippers are called Sharp pointed Side cutters. Side means that they are meant to cut flat on one of their sides, which is the end towards the plastic part. They guarantee clean cut, and of course can be combined with something cheaper, just in case you want to save them from the extra tension.
Trumpeter Sprue Cutter Tool
Your eyes do not lie to you. Yes, Trumpeter comes at number 4 here. A step closer to number 1 and ahead of Tamiya. They are not better, but they seem to be a bit tougher. And the reason why they are at number 4 is their availability. Trumpeter are available almost everywhere around the Globe now, while Tamiya are a brand that is hard to be found at some places. Trumpeter took the same road tools-wise as Tamiya, however they still keep their prices a bit lower. That is not exactly accurate for their cutters though. Still, they worth it!
GSI Creos Mr. Nipper Side Cutter
These are cheaper, yet very nice side nippers. GSI Creos are a solid brand from Japan, arguably second only to Tamiya. In my opinion they are pretty competitive. The price of those is right, they are comfy and can last you long. There are other, not-so-precise options from the same brand, but the set here is the one that I would recommend if you are serious about your hobby.
GSI Creos Mr. Nipper A – MT103
In my opinion – the wisest option you can get on the market today. They are number two fro two reasons. First is because of the flawlessness of Number 1 in this list. Second reason is the price. Compared to the best listed further down there is a significant difference on the tag. Number one are not that better, so to cost twice as these nippers here. MT103 is an improved model, stainless steel and they come from Japan. Guarantee for quality. GSI Creos is mentioned twice in this list here, so that must mean something too.
God Hand Ultimate Nipper 5.0 SPN-120
Hands down, God Hand Ultimate Nippers /SPN-120 5.0/ is the best set of nippers available. Expensive, but perfect. They are more precise than any of the sets mentioned above, thus the price. Made in Japan, they are very popular with modelers that are interested in various subjects. From Gundam to small 48th and 72nd armor. And those nippers deliver best performance that you can ever get. If you are not sure what to get, but you have the money, this is the set for you. Preferably combined with one of the not-so-precise options available.
Before we conclude, the runner up. A set that probably deserves to be in Top 5.
MENG Model Tool set
I cannot comment much on the set, because I haven’t used the nippers from it and it would be inappropriate if I label it in this list. However, people that used this swear by it. On the other side they are fans of MENG Models and that might be slightly misleading. The truth is, that the set is very affordable and probably comparable with Trumpeter’s nippers mentioned above. MENG are releasing airbrushes, thin glues and what not nowadays, so one can tell they are aiming high. Probably they won’t embarrass themselves with lousy product, so I am inclined to trust this set. Nippers seems precise enough and with that price, it won’t hurt to give them a chance.
All things considered, I must admit that you can hardly live with only one set of nippers. Many modelers have several. What I would suggest is to get at least a couple. Which ones is up to you. But if you ask me, go with something very nice, like Number 2 or Number 1 and combine it with one or two of the cheapest options. Number 5 is way up there just because some people could not get it that easily. Other than that it is in TOP 3.
these are not just nippers. Tools mentioned above are not only one of the best available, but they are also a way to keep the plastic of the parts you cut intact. They are the way to a better and easier modeling. They are also reliable products and well worth the money. Either one of those won’t hurt a modeler’s budget, especially with recent kit’s prices. But at some point the investment will return. Sometimes, just one little defect can ruin the whole model. And all the modeling starts with cutting the plastic from the sprue.