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Saturday, March 7, 2015

God Hand Ultimate Nippers


Intro:

How many nubs must a builder cut before they're considered a pro? Bob Dylan asked a similar but less interesting question about life, peace and growing up in the 1960s. Regardless of the answer you can make that path a lot easier with set of good nippers.

Right now it seems like many builders in the gunpla community consider Mineshima's GodHand Ultimate Nippers to be the best cutters on the market. And unsurprisingly they seem to be in high demand. Until recently I had been on a backlog waiting list on HLJ. I placed my backlog order in July of 2014. But, I had the opportunity to purchase a set at a fair markup from fellow redditor Rougey. In total I paid $50 including the cost of shipping for these cutters, and while yes I did pay a $5-10 mark up on these nippers (they sell for about $35-37 before shipping). I felt that it was more than an acceptable trade off considering I was still waiting for HLJ to procure more nippers.

If you are in the market for a set of Ultimate Nippers be aware some unscrupulous sellers on Amazon and eBay have marked these nippers in excess of $80!

This is going to less of an objective review and more of a personal impression post. The comments within this article are my opinion as a builder that has used a wide variety of nippers from various companies. 

Hit the bump for the full article



Unboxing:

The Ultimate Nippers come packed in a cardboard packed clamshell. Include in the package are the nippers, a protective sleeve and a sent of tips/directions printed on the cardboard backing. 



The protective sleeve was a nice feature I did not anticipate receiving, I think most of us can agree it's important to protect our tools.

Physical Comparison:

One of the most striking physical characteristics of the Ultimate Nippers is the pincers that make up the cutting surfaces. They're incredibly thin, even compared to the Tamiya sharp pointed nippers. 



Next to a set of Xurons the difference is even more telling. 



The pincers of the Ultimate nippers are also noticeably shorter than other nippers. 




I find that the thinness of the material is slightly troubling, and I am concerned that the pincers of the Ultimate Nipper may eventually break off. However, only time will tell if my concerns are founded or not.

Cutting:



All cuts will be performed on the P-Bandai 1/35 scale Black Tri Star Zaku head. The dark blue color of this kit will be an excellent subject to test the cutting prowess of these nippers.

Unlike the more direct comparison I did betweenTamiya's sharp pointed nippers and Xuron's professional nippers I won't be performing a direct cut for cut comparison between specific nippers. Instead I will compare the cuts of the Ultimate Nipper next to cuts from a variety of standard nippers without distinguishing which nipper produced which cut. The Ultimate Nippers are brand new out of the package; all of the other testing nippers have been used and worn down to various degrees.

Standard Cutting




I chose to cut up a few of these power pipe sections. The nubs used to connect these pieces are a fairly average size, shape and thickness for most kits made in the last few years. 



Before performing the actual comparison I cut out two sections while leaving about 2-3 mm of nub material on each part. 



The piece on the left was cut using the Ultimate Nippers, and the piece on the right was cut using the standard nippers. If you look at the full size image you can see that the Standard Nippers have stressed the plastic more than the Ultimate Nippers.


Once I was satisfied with taking photos of the comparison I was able to clean up the cut from the standard nippers with the Ultimate Nippers 


Thicker Nubs

We don't always have the luxury of having kits with nice thin nubs like the power pipes. sometimes we have to deal with thicker cuts like these. 




In this first image I made a cut using the standard nippers. As you can see in the image these standard nippers appear to have crushed more than cut and the plastic is a bit stressed.
 

The Ultimate Nippers were able to cut the remainder of the nub off much more cleanly. If you look closely you can also see where the Ultimate Nippers also managed to cut so closely to the surface that they shaved a portion of the flashing off of the part. 



Abuse Test




I don't recommend cutting the tree material with nippers, the material is slightly too thick and may chip or damage your nippers. But for the sake of testing I would like to show you a comparison of cutting quality.

Standard Nippers



If you look at the full size image you're going to notice that the cut isn't quite flat. Rather it forms a very slight peak in the center of the cut. The edges are also a little rough. 

Ultimate Nippers



A stress mark is still visible on the tree material, but the cut is completely flat; additionally the edges are much smoother.

Final thoughts:

My overall impression after using these nippers is similar to the impression I got after using Tamiya's sharp pointed side cutters. They're a good tool, definitely better than the nippers I owned previously, but I also feel that they don't quite live up to the hype.

I think the main draw of these nippers over other manufactures is the sharpness and precision that they offer builders. They definitely lend a feeling of confidence when cutting right up against the parts. Additionally due to the very small amount of material left on the parts you can often skip using your hobby knife altogether and just move onto sanding. 

I think the question on most of your minds is: "are they worth the money?". At the $50 price point my answer is going to be pretty conditional.

I don't think beginners should sink the money into a set of Ultimate Nippers, a pair of Xurons 410 flush cutters will do an acceptable job and that money would likely be better spent on acquiring more kits to improve a beginners skills. 

With Intermediate builders things get a bit murkier. I would still recommend a pair of Tamiya's sharp pointed side cutters over the Ultimate Nippers, but if you have the extra disposable income then the Ultimate Nippers should be a consideration.

Advanced builders that have built and continue to build large quantities of kits should consider picking up a pair. At this point in their building career most advanced builders should have handled enough pairs of side cutters to mitigate the concerns I have about breaking the pincers due to mishandling or sloppy cuts.

The Future:

Like all cutting tools the Ultimate Nippers will eventually dull and need to be replaced. When these cutters finally become dull I'll make another post giving my impression of the tool in terms of it's entire life cycle.