This is all the hype in the modelling world at the moment – in fact such a hype that these nifty pair of cutters are very hard to get hold of regardless of where you are in the world!
I’m also an electronics hobbyist and have tinkered with making all sorts of electronic things since I was a young lad so I’ve always had more than a couple of electronics side cutters. These were also the tools I’ve been using until recently. My go to nipper for modelling has been a cheap nipper from Biltema in Sweden and they have served me very well after a quick modification. They were cheap but hardened and sharp but they sometimes left a jagged edge that required sanding, and sometimes even some putty. This is just part of the game and something we all do.
After reading about the ST-A nippers and seeing photos of how cleanly it cuts I just had to jump on the hype train to see if it was real or just clever marketing, and it proved to be a huge leap in custom tooling for the keen scale modeller – and after only a week of having my ST-A nippers I can’t see myself ever going back to the pile of electronics side cutters I’ve got!
The first thing that got me upon opening the box – apart from the terrible smell of the rubberised handles – were how small the nippers were?! I’ve got big hands so I was actually worried I was going to have a problem here, but I didn’t. I wouldn’t mind having the ST-A in a bigger size but it’s not something I think of after a while.
The second thing I noticed was how thin and small the blades were, or blade I should say because only one side is sharp and does the cutting.
I tried the ST-A on both soft Meng sprues and hard Revell sprues, and then on resin parts and I don’t think I closed my mouth at any point doing these first cuts?! It felt like a side cutter made with scalpel blades – that’s how easy and cleanly it cut the sprues! I even tried a really thick sprue that didn’t even fit all the way between the jaws, but it cut it like butter!
The cut is very exact and straight thanks to the thin blades and since only one blade is cutting it’s going to be straight and leave no tear or break in the middle. You can though adjust the blade with a set screw but I haven’t started playing with that yet because I’m just so impressed and happy with what came right out of the box!
I’m not endorsed in any way by DSPIAE, nor were I given my ST-A for free – I ordered and payed for them, so this is a 100% honest review and I can honestly say that this is the best nippers/side cutters I’ve ever used for scale modelling and my only regret right now is not ordering two of them because if this pair breaks I’m going to be stuck until I get my hands on a new pair!
To ensure you get the real deal when you purchase your set of ST-A nippers each pair has a serial code in the box so you can verify that you’ve got the real ones and not a pirate copy. The instructions how to do this are in the box.
The box is of a overkill type of box, almost over engineered, with a small tool for adjusting the jaws, a piece of cloth for cleaning, a leather sheath for safely storing your nippers, a plastic cover for alternate storage (like toolbox) and some documentation. This type of box tells me that someone is proud of their product and so shall they be!
Ok, I haven’t used them for long, nor have I abused them to see what it takes to break or dull them, but right now I can’t see how I did my modelling until a week ago and that’s a pretty fantastic feeling!
If you haven’t already bought your pair of ST-A nippers then stop reading and order yours! I got mine from Breveco Modelling in Holland/Netherlands and I will now order the circular cutter from DSPIAE just because of the amazing quality of the ST-A!
Breveco has as I’m writing this 14 ST-A nippers in store so get ’em while you can…