Are you one of those who have been using the same old sprue cutter for years? Maybe a starter set Citadel cutter, a cheap pair of The Army Painter nippers or a no-name product from the hardware store? I plead guilty. When I finally invested in a higher-quality sprue cutter the difference was like night and day. In this post, I share my best nippers & sprue cutters that I have tested over the past few years.
What makes a good sprue cutter for assembling your Citadel miniatures
- Sharp cutting blades: The cutter should have sharp and precise blades that can cleanly cut through the plastic sprues without leaving any burrs or damaging the parts.
- Flush cut: The blades should be designed in a way that they can cut flush against the surface of the part, leaving behind no excess plastic that needs to be trimmed or filed.
- Precision: The cutter should be able to make precise cuts even in tight spaces and hard-to-reach areas, allowing for accurate and clean assembly of the parts.
- High build quality: The cutter should be made of high-quality materials that can withstand frequent use and remain sharp over time. A comfortable, ergonomic grip allows for easy and controlled use, especially for extended periods of time.
Overall, a good sprue cutter for Warhammer, Gunpla or scale modelling, in general, should be a reliable and precise tool that makes the assembly process easier and more efficient while ensuring a high level of accuracy and quality in the finished model.
Dual-blade vs single blade nippers
Single blade and dual-blade nippers refer to the number of cutting blades that the nipper has.
Most budget cutters have dual-blade jaws. The scissor-style blades tend to be made of cheaper steel. They are often rather bulky and not very sharp, resulting in less precise cuts and more post-processing work. A dual-blade nipper has two cutting blades that work together to cut through the sprue on both sides of the part. This puts more stress on the plastic. On the plus side, dual-blade nippers are usually quite durable and can cut thicker pieces of plastic without sweat.
A single blade nipper has only one cutting blade that is typically positioned at an angle to the handle. The blade cuts through the plastic sprue on one side of the part, which puts less pressure on the plastic. They are usually more expensive as the blades are made of higher-grade forged steel, which means the blades can be finer and sharper. For this reason, they are generally deemed superior to dual-blade nippers. The disadvantage is that the finer blades are not as robust. If you cut thicker pieces of plastic or apply too much force, they can bend or misalign over time. If you drop them, they can break.
Stahly’s best nippers & sprue cutters
Most people start their Warhammer journey with Games Workshop products. The current Citadel Fine Detail Cutters are not that bad, but quite overpriced for what they are. A detailed review of the current Citadel tools can be found here, including better and cheaper alternatives.
Over the years, I have tested and reviewed many different sprue cutters and nippers paints, and here comes a list of my favourite products for every budget:
Best budget nippers (below 20 £/€/$)
Green Stuff World Ultra Flat Single Blade Nippers
The single blade nippers from Green Stuff World are the cheapest single blade nippers you can
get. They are a clear step forward over any cheap dual-blade nippers like entry-level The Army Painter, Vallejo or Gunpla cutters, and I’d say even the current Citadel Precision Cutter. Even if the blades could be sharper and the build quality is only average, the jaws are much thinner and smaller than any dual-blade nippers I know of. A very solid budget option. Note that Green Stuff World also has a dual-blade pair of nippers, so don’t confuse them.
Where to buy: Green Stuff World has their own website which ships to Europe, the UK, and worldwide, and often runs sales. You can also find their products on ebay:
Best higher-end sprue cutters (above 30 £/€/$)
Redgrass RGG Precision Nippers
These single blade nippers are as sharp and fine as it gets, which ensures super clean cutting edges (you can find a detailed review here). The small blades can even reach the smallest nooks and crannies. The build quality is very high, and they have a little screw for fine adjustment (didn’t need any for mine). They are not exactly cheap, but they are so pleasant to work with that I think the price is justified.
Where to buy: You can order Redgrass Creative products directly from their website. They are also available in many hobby stores, for example at Wayland Games and Element Games with a 10% discount, which makes them even more attractive.
DSPIAE ST-A 3.0 Single Blade Nipper
These nippers are one of the most popular in the Gunpla community. The sharpness and thinness of the blades are on the same level as the Redgrass Games Nippers, but the DSPIAE have more accessories like a fancy protective case and a screwdriver for fine adjustment. The ST-A 3.0 are a pleasure to work with, and I recommend getting either the Redgrass ones or these, depending on what you can find more easily in your region.
Where to buy: DSPIAE is a Chinese company, so you have to order them directly from China via Amazon or ebay. Be aware that this might mean a rather long delivery time and additional customs fees when importing.
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I have compiled this list of my personal best nippers & sprue cutters for Warhammer & scale modelling to share my experience from over 20 years of painting and hobbying. On Tale of Painters, I have reviewed a plethora of hobby products from minor to major brands. Only those products that I actually use myself regularly have made it to this list and receive my Seal of Hobby Excellence.
You can find more of my hobby reviews in our review section, and more of my curated best-of hobby products posts here. A more in-depth guide to sprue cutters can also be found on my Patreon, featuring reviews of eight popular modelling nippers.
So what I would recommend is this: If you are still using a pair of cheap and worn-out sprue cutters, I strongly suggest investing in a better pair of nippers. It makes clipping off components so much more pleasant, and keeps post-processing work to a minimum.
The Ultra Fine Single Blade Nippers from Green Stuff World are the best value for money overall. If you have a bit more budget for your hobby to spend, I recommend either the single blade Redgrass Games or DSPIAE nippers for their superior sharpness and build quality. Get the ones wich you can get more easily in your region. And then keep your cheap nippers as a backup for rougher work.
Let me know about your experiences with sprue cutters and nippers in the comment section below, or discuss over on our friendly hobby Discord channel. Leave a reaction if this post helped you, and happy hobbying!
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