Precision Scissors for Scale Model Construction

Xuron Model 9180ET Pro Modeler's Scissor cutting honeycomb sheet

Tom’s Corner

Tips, techniques and commentary from Master Model Railroader Tom Piccirillo

Model builders have never before enjoyed such a diverse assortment of materials for  duplicating full-size materials in miniature.

The scale modeler can now obtain corrugated metal, honeycomb sheet and etched materials in the precise sizes and contours needed for model construction, but using old-world tools to trim these materials to size just won’t “cut-it.” In this blog post, we’ll look at two versions of a precision scissor that will more easily provide you with the results you’re looking for.

For this work, I recommend using a precision scissor, the Xuron #9180ET Professional Photo Etch Scissors. Slim, finely honed blades slice through contoured surfaces without distortion. You will be amazed at the incredible amount of control you’ll have of the cut line. Waste is virtually eliminated, which maximizes the value of your purchased materials.

The Xuron® 9180ET cuts photo-etch.

The Xuron® 9180ET easily cuts lightweight corrugated metal used in model construction.

For trimming paper and sheet plastic, the Xuron® Model 440 High Precision Scissor is the tool of choice. Especially good for trimming decals, the razor-sharp cutting tips shear without fraying, leaving a sharp edge for proper placement on your model.

Cutting decals with a Xuron® Model 440 precision scissor.

Trimming a paper decal with the Xuron®440 precision scissor.

Please share your own tips for scale model construction in the comments below. I would love to hear about your favorite tools and techniques for making beautiful model railroad layouts. If you haven’t tried using a precision scissors yet, I highly recommend giving them a try. The 9180ET Professional Photo-Etch Scissors and 440 High Precision Scissors are two great options that will help you cut with accuracy and ease. Thanks for reading, and happy modeling!

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Tom Piccirillo

Tom Piccirillo started building scale models at age 12 after discovering a copy of the April 1964 issue of Model Railroader magazine for sale at a local corner store. After receiving his degree in mechanical engineering in 1974, he pursued a management career in well-known industries, such as Burroughs Corporation and Ohaus Scale, and holds patents on electronic connectors. His most-recent tenure was president of Micro-Mark where, for 24 years, he developed and marketed ingenious tools for builders of scale models. Tom is a prolific author and has written many how-to articles for the hobby press, including Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, The NG&SL Gazette, Fine Scale Modeler, Dollhouse Miniatures, and Great Model Railroads. In 2009, Tom earned his Master Model Railroader certification, and has been awarded the Paul Mallery Trophy for model building excellence. Currently a member of the Hobby Manufacturers Association, Tom consults for major USA and international producers of tool and hobby products, providing editorial and photographic services in addition to Marketing Analytics. He is perhaps best-known for the construction and operation of the O scale Somerset County Traction System, which he has described not only in magazines, but also on Public Television. Tom is also former-president of The New Jersey Live Steamers, where he operates his home-workshop-built 1/12th scale locomotives and cars. He is restoring an antique Mercedes-Benz automobile, and is an accomplished jazz rhythm guitarist.

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