SNew airfix model for the first time

I just got a airfix airplane for the first time. But i don't gt how to safely cut the peices of the spruce. I already broke 3


1218 posts

There are a numbr of tools that might be used, depending on the kit and part(s).

Personally I'd use side cutters, or a craft knife, or a scalpel with support under the part. We can only write generalities without knowing which specific model it is though.

Though I fly through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am at 65_000 feet and climbing.

Patrick Camilleri

509 posts

Community Moderator

From your post I reckon you're a youngster. If that is indeed the case then the best thing to use would be a side cutter:  If an adult is with you then you might use a craft knife.  Images of both are reproduced below.  If you use a craft knife you have to do as Paws suggests and make sure you have something underneath the area where you are actually cutting to support it.  That way when you press down you don't break it.



Use sprue cutters on the main (thick) part of the sprue then use a scalple on the mouting point. Sand off any exess sprue on the part.

Why is my undercarriage stuck to my thumb?

John Symmons

978 posts

Hi Mr Turtle.

Captain Triggers made a good point in that it's often better to cut the main sprue to isolate the part in question then carefully cut the part from the seperated sprue piece using a "sharp" blade or fine saw, although some parts are moulded so fine and with so many sprue gates that no-matter how careful you are the part is impossible to remove without breaking it. The aerial mast for the Airfix Bf 109E springs to mind in this instance.


I've just completed a trio of Roden kits the Focker F.1, D.VI, & E.V / D.VIII, and many of the parts are so fine that it's impossible to seperate them from the main sprue tree without first cutting the sprue, even so I still managed to break two of the struts, luckily easily repaired or replaced with stretched sprue.


If using a scalpel just be careful cutting a thick-ish sprue gates as the blade can easily break if too much pressure is applied, and flying scalpel blades is something to be avoided. better to use an Ex-Acto type knife as these are much thicker and stronger. Side cutters should be available at any electonics parts store if your local model shop doesn't have any. Hope this helps.


Remember we do this for fun                      John the Pom



225 posts

Another good tool for cutting parts off the sprue is a razor saw. In particular, the photoetched type produced by such brands as Airwaves and Trytool (Hasegawa). I find these particularly useful for cutting clear parts off their sprue without generating any stress cracks, which can propagate into regions of the part where they become visible.

Arte et Labore

Peter s

40 posts

I second John Symmons advice: high carbon steel blades used in scalpels etc is extremely brittle when you press too hard. if you twist the blade you'll get a BANG and razor sharp shards of metal flying at your face. Stanley knives are stronger but can still shatter.

a small sprue cutter (if you eBay from the far East and wait a few weeks) will cost £2-3 and that's the best thing you can use. There are some good value modelling tool kits with sanding sticks and forceps plus cutter etc easily available. Save the scalpels for very small parts. "Modelling" as a tag often slaps a premium on tools too. If you buy surgical grade swan-morton blades (i like 22 and 10a blades) plus appropriate handles you can get 50 blades for the price of a few model knives.

I've built hundreds of models but still found a few parts to be almost impossible to remove. The tail supports on the bf109e kits are a nightmare to remove!




Aussie Jeff

54 posts

Hey Turtle,

I'm pretty new to this modelling game to, starting up late last year.  This forum is of great help, the people are always willing to give helpful advice and you can find so much info searching through previous threads.  I'm sure you are not the first person to ask these questions.

I made similar enquiries but in a different way and got heaps of advice, but ne of the best thing I have bought for your issue is these tiny side-cutters.

They cut nice and clean only requiring a small bit of filing/scraping once the part is removed and really safe.  You still need to be very careful with the really delicate parts though.

As my nearest 'proper' model shop is 400km away I have found other retailers to source items like this.  One of the best is Jaycar (an electronics parts etc company) - not sure if you have them where you are  They have lots of items that you'll find useful like pin vices and micro drill bits, scalpels etc.  Also the prices 'appear' to be a little cheaper than at specialist hobby shops on-line.

Good luck with the modelling.

After 45 years let's have another crack at this caper!

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