The Best Sprue Cutters for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Scale Models

Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by FauxHammer

Hobby Knippers are some of the lesser thought of hobby tools. But the right snips can save you some time and frustration when cleaning up your models ready for paint. To that end, we are taking a look at the Best Sprue Cutters for miniatures and models.

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Sprue cutters in their simplest form are just a pair of snips. if you are after the lowest budget options you can pick these up at most local discount stores for very little money. Alternately just search for hobby Cutters on Amazon or eBay, and if you’re happy with them. great. I’ve used the same pair for over 20 years and they still do the job.

The Best Tools For Miniatures? is dedicated to finding the best tools for your hobby. Start with our list of Essential Hobby Tools which will lead you to find the Top-10 tools for each category.

Essential Hobby Tools for Miniatures & Wargames Models

To see all of our guides to the Best Tools for Miniatures, click on the image above.

Choosing the Best Nippers for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Scale Models – Summary

For those just interested in the list not the reasoning. this grid below will outline The Best Sprue Cutters / Nippers for Miniatures & Models.

1DSPIAE ST-A Single Blade Nipper
2God Hand SPN-120
3Tamiya – Sharp Pointed Side Cutter for Plastic (74123)
4Redgrass Games Precision Nippers
5Mr Hobby – MT 103
6C.K Tools – Ecotronic ESD Side Cutters
7Xuron – 2175ET
8Army Painter Plastic Frame Cutter
9Citadel Fine Detail Cutters

Choosing the Best Knippers for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Scale Models

If you want to get the most out of your tools you need to take good care of them and pick the right tool for the job. Many of the tools on this list are quite precise and sharpened to allow a super smooth cut. The first recommendation I’d make is not to use your plastic cutters on metal parts or wire if you are using any of that in your hobbying. this is the fastest ways to blunt misshape your tool.

I’d go further still. this guide focuses on cutters which should be used to cut sports from your sprue. if you are cutting the frame of the sprue itself, I’d suggest some larger and probably cheaper cutters.

There are two main types of cutter on this list Flat Edge and Dual Cut. On flat-edge cutters, one side of the cutters is flat. instead of cutting the plastic this edge acts as a stop allowing the other side to cut from only 1 direction. dia-cut is where both sides have a cutting edge and cut the plastic to meet in the middle. In my experience, wither of these really offer a better cut as both leave a bit of residue on the model. However, the flat-edge cutters do seem to last longer as you aren’t having 2 blades cut into each other.

When selecting Knippers, the best ones have a thin low-profile cutting nose. which will allow you to get right into the part when you cut it off. However, for those which go to a point, the point itself is so fine that after some use can break off and snap.

We’ve ordered the list below based on what gives the best cut when compared with its precision and price.

9. Citadel Fine Detail Cutters

being at the back of this list does not make these bad cutters. The Citadel Cutters are absolutely fine. However, when compared to the other models on this list they are expensive and not as comfortable as any of the other options.

Best Sprue Cutters Snips Knippers for Miniatures and Models - Citadel Fine Detail Cutters

They are however the most stylish and if having an attractive toolkit is important then these look great on your worktop next to all the other Citadel tools.

The cut is nice and smooth which makes them better than cheap off teh shelf options. these use a flat edge on one side and the other side is used to cut.

8. Army Painter Plastic Frame Cutter

Army painter plastic frame cutter sits just above the citadel cutter. They are pretty much equivalent to a generic hobby cutter but becasue you can easily search them, you know what you are getting.

Best Sprue Cutters Snips Knippers for Miniatures and Models - Army Painter Plastic Frame Cutter

They are a decent cutting tool which is more comfortable to use than the citadel cutter.

7. Xuron – 2175ET

When I first started searching for the best cutters for myself, this brand was right up there (along with the top two options on this list). Based on my budget, I decided to go with these.

Best Sprue Cutters Snips Knippers for Miniatures and Models - Xuron - 2175ET

They make a good cut and are nice and sharp. Another set which has one flat edge and one cutting edge. However had issues with them, the flat edge was offset meaning my cutting edge was never able to cut flush. This is only useful when the connection to a sprue is against a flat edge of a model component, but most of my models have this connection on a rounded edge. whilst the cut itself was smooth it often left a nub of sprue on the model surface which I needed to clean off with a hobby knife.

Oh, and the handle is absolutely huge.

More suited to vehicles than miniatures.

6. C.K Tools – Ecotronic ESD Side Cutters

This set made by C.K tools is made for electronics wire cutting. C.K is a 100-year-old brand which makes incredible products. Precision engineering at it’s finest.

Best Sprue Cutters Snips Knippers for Miniatures and Models - C.K Tools - Ecotronic ESD Side Cutters

These are dual cutters with blades on each side, they provide an incredibly smooth cut and whilst not made for miniatures the precision head is perfect for getting into tight places.

These Knippers (assuming you like them) can last you your entire hobby career.

5. Mr Hobby – MT 103

From this point out we are going fully Japanese with our cutting brands. Mr Hobby is the weaker of the 3 but still trumps any of the others.

Best Sprue Cutters Snips Knippers for Miniatures and Models – Mr Hobby – MT 103

Another single-edged Knipper with a precise and flush cutting surface (or send them back) these offer an incredible and smooth cut. The drawback for these is the pice. Not the biggest brand outside of Japan, these are subject to import fees meaning direct retail costs go up, or to import from japan you will need to pay a duty on them.

4. Redgrass Games Precision Nippers

You may Know Redgrass Games as the creators of the Everlasting Wet Palette – here’s another of their offerings – the RGG Precision Nippers.

Best Sprue Cutters Snips Knippers for Miniatures and Models - RGG Precision Nippers

Another set featuring a flat-edge and a bladed-edge but these have the benefit of the bladed-edge being super-fine. Like the options below this limits the stress on the plastic you are cutting For finely detailed parts, this can mean make-or-break.

Hands-on with these, they leave a really smooth and precise cut and are the best we have tried for most of the main tool manufacturers (bar the sharper options below) – not the cheapest on the list but certainly worth the little extra cost over any of the options above.

3. Tamiya – Sharp Pointed Side Cutter for Plastic

Tamiya does a range of cutters, to get your model off a sprue the 74123 set is the go-to. These are directly comparable to the cut on the Mr Hobby.

Best Sprue Cutters Snips Knippers for Miniatures and Models - Tamiya - Sharp Pointed Side Cutter for Plastic (74123)

Where this win is on price. Tamiya is a much more globally recognized brand with products shipping to everywhere. these are more heavily mass-produced which slightly brings down the cost. If you are looking for the best model cutters for miniatures, there will be ‘the’ choice for many.

2. God Hand SPN-120

God-hand a cut above the rest (no I won’t apologise for that). if you just wanted to know which are the best cutters, these are them.

These things are so sharp you can’t even feel resistance when removing parts from a sprue. Unlike all the other cutters on this list which gives that familiar ‘snikt’ sound as you pierce the final dregs of plastic. These make nothing more than an almost inaudible tap as the blade comes in contact with the flat edge.

Best Sprue Cutters Snips Knippers for Miniatures and Models - God Hand SPN-120

These come with advice on how to keep them sharp, essentially don’t cut hard plastic (the clear stuff) and don’t cut too quick. The idea with these is to cut with a steady fluid motion.

The drawback on these is the price. they are the most expensive cutters on the market, even in their native Japan. Consider also that they are not as mass-produced as Mr Hobby. It gives an idea as to why the import costs make these so pricey. God Hand are extending their reach globally, with no indication as to when or how fast this expansion is rolling out. For now, at least, these are gonna cost you.

From the second I got my hands on these I actually (for the first time ever) enjoyed cutting models from the sprue. They reduce (not remove) the amount of post clean up you need to do before painting.

1. DSPIAE ST-A Single Blade Nipper

Chances are you have never heard of Shanghai-based DSPIAE (Dream, Strive, Perfection, Innovation, Advance and Excellence). I admit when I first saw them on AliExpress of all places I caught a glimpse of these and thought, wow, someone trying to knock off the Godhand SPN-120. But for the price, why not pick a set up so I can slate them in a review.

Boy was I wrong.

You can see the similarities between this and the Godhand, in fact, even on close inspection, other than one being red and the other being blue, there is very little difference. Even the curves in the metal are pretty much identical with only some minor flourishes like the retaining screw and spring extension protector being in a slightly different place.

DSPIAE have now released the 3.0 version of these, but I have seen little difference between them and the 2.0, so if you can get the 2.0 still, grab them. they are just as good.

Most importantly with snips of this level (compared with the Godhand), the quality of the cut is indistinguishable between them.

DSPIAE ST-A Single Blade Nipper - Sprue Cutter Review for Miniature Painters - Stress Marks

The image above shows just how little stress is put on the plastic as these things carve through sprues like butter. Grab your current set oof cutters and try this yourself. see how much of the sprue is stressed (it will turn white). Notice how one side will be left in the shape of a V as the cutters have mangled it. and notice on the other edge as you can still see a pinch of plastic where the cutters weren’t flush. Because you are still going to need to deal with that on your models before you apply primer & paint.

These, like the Godhand, are however more fragile than any of the other cutters on this list. they’re a different beast. I’ve broken my first pair of Godhand because I did not heed the warnings. But now I know, it won’t happen again. It’s simple really. As you are cutting the plastic, don’t bend and flex them, the sharp blade is so fine (that’s what makes them cust so cleanly) is thin and it can snap if flexed. don’t flex it.

It’s a trade-off that I think is well worth it because they make the build process so much faster, easier and cleaner.

With these, I can get so close to the models when removing sprue gates that when I cut flat surfaces, there is only the finest amount of plastic remaining that a quick shave with a hobby knife will clean up. If I cut a part which is at a right-angle to the gate, there’s rarely any clean up to do.

Oh, and did I mention these are almost half the price of the GodHand models, about half over again on the Citadel Fien Detail cutters.

They come much better packaged, presented and protected than any other set, and you can even verify authenticity on their website!

The Best Spure Cutters for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Scale Models – Final Thoughts

AS we said at the top, your cutters are an often less considered choice but if you consider the time saved in a model’s clean up can be worth the expense to you. The citadel cutters are pricey but you can honestly get much better options at an equivalent price or equal options at a much lower price.

For the budget choice, assuming you want something better than generic side cutters, the C.K Tools cutter is a great piece of equipment that will last years.

If you really want to minimise the effort needed cut sprue from your models after snipping then the Tamiya is the defacto available cutter. if you have the money and want the best of the best, there is the GodHand, but why spend that much. The DSPIAE is in the perfect place as they are fair in price when compared to the top-level options on this list and the cut is just incredible.

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The Best Spure Cutters for Miniatures & Models
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The Best Spure Cutters for Miniatures & Models
Here, we are taking a look at the best Spue Cutters for miniatures and models.
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2 thoughts on “The Best Sprue Cutters for Miniatures, 3D Prints & Scale Models

  • February 16, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    I would recommend the Tamiya 74035 over the 74123 any day. Also, I know people swear up and down by the Godhands, but I was less than impressed with them (same model on here) that I got. I’ve been building kits of all kinds (mostly Gundam and other Bandai offerings, but a lot of cars and planes and now 40K) for well over 20 years, and anytime I start needing new nippers (unfortunately the spring on the Tamiya ones does tend to weaken and break after a while), I do end up picking up a new set of the 74035’s. I’ve probably got a half dozen or so kicking around by now (I keep the old ones to cut metal or other stuff with that I don’t care about damaging the old nippers).

    • February 16, 2022 at 5:04 pm

      Personally, I much prefer the DSPIAE now over any of the other brands. The Tamiya 74035 is a nice cutter. a very nice cutter. But it’s the slight difference that the DSPIAE, like the Godhands, have a flat profile when closed that I prefer. I know for certain I am cutting across the sprue gate as opposed to into the plastic component.

      But, when you get into that top-tier of cutter. it’s really down to personal preference.


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