I love scratchbuilding bits and pieces for my modeling projects. The feeling of manufacturing extra details and replacement parts from various materials is very rewarding, and adding these bits to the model results in additional realism which most of us hobbyists so desperately strive for.
The essential thing in the scratchbuilding process are specific tools. One of the companies providing high-quality tools for modelers is RP Toolz, with the company catalogue consisting of punch and die sets, PE benders and rollers, rivet makers, cutting tools, handle benders, etc. Many of these were reviewed for Armorama previously (link
), while this article covers the latest offering from the company: Mitre Cutter
, a tool used to make accurate crosscuts and miters at a selected angle.
Mitre cutter from RP Toolz comes in a hard cardboard box, which features an image of the product. The tool fits tightly in the box, with the insert securing the long cutting handle. The box also includes two sharp blades: a 0.3mm thick blade for general use already installed on the cutting handle and a 0.25mm blade for finer cuts, supplied separately in a zip-lock bag. The hex key used for changing the blade is included, as well as short instructions describing the usage (straight cutting, angle cutting and blade replacement) and RP Toolz sticker.
Taking the cutter from the box, I immediately noticed this thing is heavy. CNC-machined from heavy-duty aluminum
, the matte red anodized finish with engraved markings adds to the professional feel of the tool. The cutter features two adjustable 45o fences
, one on each side of the handle. The fences are engraved in 5o increments along the arc (together with the commonly used angle of 22,5o
), while the cutter base displays an engraved reference line for aligning the fences. Additionally, the fences are engraved in centimeters at their bottom edge, with the 0 defining the cutting point of the blade. Another feature of the miter cutter is an adjustable end stop
, which can be positioned along the bottom edge of the fence and fixed at the desired place to enable cutting the styrene sheet into equal lengths. The end stop can be fitted to the opposite fence or removed altogether if not needed. The fences and end stop are tightened using stainless steel thumbscrews
with knurled round plastic head. The thumbscrews can be tightened very firmly so there is no possibility of leeway to any of the cutting guides. The same goes for the cutting handle
, as the pivot arm is firm and allows no drift to the arm while cutting. Long handle provides high leverage, keeping the cuts even and controllable. The cutting blade is fixed to the handle using two screws and can be easily removed using the hex key provided. Replacement blades are available from RP Toolz webshop. Finally, the self-healing cutting mat
provides a smooth and long-lasting surface for cutting. The self-healing mat extends the lifespan of the blade and the calibrated grid lines ensure precise cutting reference.
Anyone working with sheet styrene knows how hard it is to perform a precise cut at a specific angle. Miter cutter is a tool used to make accurate crosscuts and miters at a selected angle by fixing the workpiece against a guiding fence, precisely defining the angle between the fence and the cutting blade, and pulling the handle with the blade down cutting the workpiece.
I performed several test cuts on styrene sheet and strips, rearranging the cutting guides to deliver different cutting angles and lengths. My first impression is that the cutter works really well. Handling all the thumbscrews and rearranging the position of fences and end stops is easy, the downward motion of the cutting handle smooth and precise resulting in even and accurate cuts. Unlike razor blades utilized by the competitor products, miter cutter from RP Toolz uses slightly thicker single-edge cutting blades which ensure there is no flexing or distortion to the blade when making a cut, resulting in a clean and precise cut.
I remember all the times a precise styrene cutting process ended up in frustration. Yes, building stuff from scratch is fun, but it can take a lot of time, nerves and energy without the right tools.
Mitre cutter from RP Toolz is an essential tool for all serious hobbyists. Tough and durable, machined from heavy-duty aluminum, the cutter is a professional high-quality tool. Along with the three cutting guides, easily fixed at any desired angle, the cutter includes two razor-sharp blades: one for general use and one for making finer cuts. Testing the cutter using styrene plastic sheet resulted in even and precise cuts, with the cutting handle action easy and controllable. Altogether, this is a fantastic tool and I can wholeheartedly recommend it.