Punch and Die And Hexagonal Punch and Die
MSRP – $74.00US
RP TOOLZ is a Hungarian based company making specialized tools for the modelling community. The tools offered by RP TOOLZ range from Photo Etch (PE) Benders, Rollers, Punch and Die Sets and more.
Often in the world of modelling we come across time where certain enhancements that are needed to add a higher level of details to our models. When it comes to the “nuts and bolts” of the problem, there are a few options that are available to us; Aftermarket cast or molded nuts and bolts, Photo etch bolt heads, stretching sprue or buying the right size hex or round styrene rod and slicing your own bolt heads and finally there are a couple brands of punch and die sets to choose from. This is where RP TOOLZ has staked a claim in the market. RP TOOLZ has too tools being offered; the Punch and Die Set and Hexagonal Punch and Die Set.
I will give my best attempt with this review to break these two tools down and show what these have to offer the modeler today. You do not have to be a scratch modeler to understand the value of having a tool that can make nuts, bolts and washes at you finger tips when you need it. Many times when building models straight out of the box we all run into a lack of details; more often than not it’s the missing nuts and bolts that can take a boring model and turn it into a stunner. This does not only apply to armor, but structural buildings, cars, boats and even aircraft. It is time to give these tools a test drive and see how they work. Both the Punch and Die and the Hexagonal Punch and Die Sets are shipped in a sturdy flip top cardboard box. Both tools are constructed in similar fashion, whereas each tool is composed of 5 pieces; Laser cut steel bases, steel slip plate, acrylic top plate and two knobs.
RP TOOLZ Punch & Die Set
Taking a look at the round Punch and Die Set first, there is of course the base tool and there are 16 die punches and one hammer included with the set.
Each of the die punches are sequentially number from 0.5mm to 2mm in 0.1mm increments. The numbering is clearly marked on one end of the punches which correspond to the holes marked on the acrylic top plate. All of the punches are constructed from turned aluminum rod stock with the punch pins being made from steel.
The Punch and Die Tool set is designed to work with styrene sheet stock in various thicknesses; however, other materials such as thin brass shim stock, copper and aluminum foil work just as well in this tool.
With a quick testing, the tool proves its worth as I was able to punch out several plastic discs with little trouble. A couple of light whacks with the tiny hammer and out pops a perfectly round disc that can be used for rivets, bolt heads or washers. I did notice with multiple punches that the discs can get backed up in the holes most likely caused from static charge between the plastic and steel plates but this is remedied by leaving the punch inserted in the hole and the discs can be plucked out of the hole from beneath with a sharp pair of tweezers or #11 blade.
Working With The Tools
As always I like to show a little of what something I am reviewing can actually do and not swaying from convention here I jumped right in. I have been working on an FT-17 on the side and there are a few details that needed to be removed and new ones put in their place. The turret is where I would like to concentrate a bit on. Straddling the sides of the mantlet is a series of rivet heads that needed to be changed. I selected the size I thought was appropriate then using the Punch and Die Set, punched out a few discs and glued them on! Pretty simple as things go with adding details.
However, I wanted to try something out. I am not an aircraft builder per se, but have dabbled a bit from time to time. One thing I have noticed is there is always room for improvement within the cockpit especially on the control panel. So I set out to make up a quick scratch built control panel. I am not going to use any particular design or am I going to adhere to a particular scale even though this will be close to 1/32; I want to show some of the capabilities of these little tools and scratch building a control panel is what I felt would show this best.
I quickly cut out two pieces of styrene sheet stock in a basic shape of a pilot’s control panel. After making a few reference marks I slid one of the two pieces into the Punch and Die Set and began punching out the dials located on the control board. I bounced back and forth between different sizes to give some variation. The holes were punched out quickly and cleanly. I save the discs that were punched out and used them for some knobs and even cut one in half to make a switch cover. All of these were glued quickly into place using thin adhesive.
I wanted to add some switches to the panel next; so I chose the 0.5mm hole on the Punch and Die Set and punched out several tiny discs which once added brought the detail up even more. To add a layered effect to some of the knobs I switched to some 0.010 sheet stock and punched out not only a couple of round discs, I added a 2mm hexagonal disc for interest. A quick coat of black on the back panel and a select green color for the front and you can see how easy it would be to use this tool to make enhancements to controls on various objects in aircraft, armor or any genre of modelling.
All in all I feel the tool preformed rather well. In no time I was able to quite literally punch out the control panel with little effort in no time at all.
A Quick Tip
An easy way on placing the discs into position is to use a fine tip paint brush to apply a dab of thin poly cement where the disc is to be installed; you can pick up the disc with a sharp #11 tip and put into place. If additional glue is needed, take the fine tip brush; add some more adhesive and using a second dry brush to quickly remove the excess glue.
The Hexagonal Punch & Die Set
The Hexagonal Punch and Die Set is constructed in the same fashion as the round Punch and Die Set whereas the tool has a steel base and slip plates and a clear acrylic top plate and two fastening knobs. There are not as many punches included with this set but they are not actually needed as the selection of hexagonal punch-outs is more than enough to cover a wide range of bolt patterns.
This set encompasses six sizes hexagonal punches to choose from to use; 0.7mm, 0.85mm, 1mm, 1.25mm, 1.5mm, 2mm.
Each of these punches is labeled clearly on one end and is constructed from aluminum rod stock with the punch pins being made from steel as seen in the round Punch and Die Set; however, the three smaller sizes on the Hexagonal Set have a secondary guide pin worked into the design to help protect the smaller punch pins from breakage. The tool is simple to use; place any variety of styrene flat stock into the tool between the clear acrylic top plate and the black steel slip plate; select the correct punch for the job and with a couple of taps from the tiny hammer out pops a perfect hexagonal disc.
As discussed with the round discs from the Punch and Die set, the hexagonal discs will have a tendency to sometimes get hung up in the opening on the underside of the bottom plate, especially when making many discs in succession. Again, this is remedied by leaving the punch inserted in the hole and the discs can be plucked out of the hole from beneath with a sharp pair of tweezers or #11 blade.
After getting a chance to use both the Punch and Die Set and the Hexagonal Punch and Die Set from RP TOOLZ, I have to say that I am really pleased with all aspects of the tools themselves. Both are quality constructed precision tools designed to aid the modeler in adding finite detailing to their projects. These set are not just for the scratch builder, in fact they are a great addition to anyone’s bench; Novice to Master alike. The simple design and ease of use will allow anyone to create nuts, bolts and washers for any build. The punch tools supplied with both kits are specifically designed in accordance to the corresponding holes in either clear acrylic top plate and care should be taken to make sure that you have selected the correct size punch tool to be used in the corresponding hole on the plate to prevent any damage to the plate and/or the tool itself.
Each of these set I feel are well worth the effort in obtaining if you enjoy adding the finite details to you models as you build. The incredible 16 punches that come with the Punch and Die Set should cover just about every possibility you can think of when it comes to instrument panels, bolt heads or rivets while the Hexagonal Punch and Die Set is almost essential when it comes to making bolt patterns on armor, structures or whatever you desire. I also feel that the price that these tools is reasonable for the quality of the tool itself and certainly for its usefulness. Granted the cost of these tools is that of some kits on the market today and some may think this too high a price; however, you can’t really put a price on quality, the purchase is once and the pleasure of being able to use them will go on for years to come. Highly recommended to scratch modelers and everyone else alike!
I wish to thank RP TOOLZ for providing us with the review samples