Review - Xuron Professional Modelers Tool Set

Product Review: Xuron TK3200 Pro Modeler's Tool Kit; contains Model 9180ET
Professional Photo-Etch Scissor, Model 2175ET Professional Sprue Cutter, an
d Model 450 Tweezer Nose Plier; retail price US$74
Advantages: high-grade essential modeling tools all provided in one go
Disadvantages: nothing major noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all modelers using styrene and photo-etched parts
For many modelers, the first challenge we all faced was how to get the par
ts off the part trees (sprues) with as little damage as possible. As kids m
ost of us used knives, toenail clippers or wire cutters with varying degree
s of success. But as we matured we found out often they could either cause
as much damage as they prevented or even let the parts fly off to be eaten
by the carpet monster. So most of us bought special sprue cutters.
These were okay for big parts - they came as either wire-cutter style with
moving handles or tweezer style with a toenail-cutter shaped face - but wi
th smaller and smaller parts they found their limitations. They also did no
t do a great job on etched brass parts, as they tended to bend or deform th
e parts in the process of removal. Medical quality stainless steel shears w
orked well enough but were large and awkward for use on some parts.
I have used Xuron cutters for a number of years now, and the great advanta
ge they had over some other brands was the fact they were spring-loaded to
make them more precise and more comfortable in the hand. I had seen the "up
market" sets for a while but it was not until I got a good look at them at
the 2015 IPMS National Convention that I picked up this set.
The set comes in a nylon holster for protection and includes a sprue cutte
r, photo-etch shear, and a "Tweezer Nose" needle nose plier.
The sprue cutter comes with long thin bladed jaws and provides for a shear
ing action that removes the "bump" left by most cutters. The older ones I h
ave tend to leave such a bump so I will be happy to make the switch and sav
e the other one for jobs not recommended here such as brass wire and alumin
um parts.
The photo-etch shear has an even longer and thinner set of jaws that cut w
ith as little as 1 mm of space available - about par for most etched brass
frets - and is less likely to bend or damage the brass.
The plier has a smooth set of jaws that go down to a tip width of about 2m
m and can be used to both form and install etched brass parts. I have had p
roblems with regular tweezers with some parts so this looks to be the answe
r.
While these parts seem pricey they DO last nearly forever if not misused (
the handy guide indicates that the sprue cutters are for sprue and the shea
rs for etched brass; other specific shears are recommended for wire, model
railroad track and other purposes) and I for one tend to agree.
Overall this is a handy set and is worth the money due to the precision an
d endurance they offer.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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