Tool Review
Punch and Die Set
Punch and Die Set
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]

RP Toolz is a fairly new European company who are producing tools “for the modeller designed by the modeller”. RP Toolz came into being when the owner became disillusioned with the prices being charged for tools aimed at the modeller, and has gone all out to offer alternative tool solutions at more affordable prices. This review takes a look at one of their latest offerings for producing circular discs in 16 different sizes.

This product is supplied in an unmarked cardboard box, inside you will find:
• Die plate
• 16 punches
• A hammer

Packaged with the tool and its components is a small sheet of paper carrying instructions on its use and some warnings about what not to do with this tool.

Starting with the die (which is made up of 5 separate parts):
• Galvanised steel base plate
• A matt black metal shim
• A clear Plexiglas top plate
• 2 knurled knobs

The matt black metal shim could be removed from the base plate but should not be. You are warned not to over tighten the Plexiglas top plate as damage could be caused to it. The Plexiglas top plate carries the maker’s name and is also marked as “punch die”, along with these marks you have the 16 guide holes which are marked according to the punch size that should be used. As mentioned the sixteen holes increase by 0.1mm starting at 0.5mm up to 2mm, this provides the user with the ability to produce most sizes of circular discs that could be wanted for 1/35th scale models - and the ability to produce as many as you want.

My initial thoughts are that the die is well made and made of suitable materials for the task it is designed to manage. The most likely part to suffer damage is the Plexiglas top plate which could be damaged through misuse, the sort of damage that I am considering is fracturing caused by not removing the punches cleanly or striking a punch that is in the wrong sized hole or not located properly.

The 16 punches are galvanised steel tubes with a steel screw glued into the tube into which is inserted the metal pin that punches the discs out. On both sides of the screw are discs of black Plexiglas that provide a nice finish to the punches, and on the top is printed the relevant size of each punch. The pins that punch out the discs are 6mm long, allowing the pin to travel through the die base and the material inserted in it without damaging the surface that the tool is resting on. The black Plexiglas on the top and bottom of each punch is recessed with the metal tubes preventing impact damage occurring to that portion of the punch. The pins that make the discs I believe are steel and so if used as advised should be more than able to handle the task for which they are intended, but you will need to take care to prevent certainly the smaller pins from being bent when in use or during storage.

The hammer supplied with the tool set is a steel head on an aluminium shaft similar to a toffee hammer. The hammer is light and so ideally suited for hitting the punches with enough force to create the disc without causing damage to any element of the tool itself.

In use
I decided to see just how well this punch set worked when in the hands of a novice (ie – me!), and the results were as I expected. I used the 1mm – 2mm punch on 1mm plasticard sheet stock. Firstly I inserted the plasticard sheet beneath the clear Plexiglas on the die and above the black metal shim, the punches had to be struck a couple of times to punch through and once through I needed to rotate the punch to free it up from the plasticard. (1mm plasticard is the thickest I would ever go and I suspect thicker than most would need for 1/35th scale modelling.) The discs that were punched out can be seen in the pictures and I was happy with the result. A much thinner sheet of plasticard was used with the smaller punches (I can’t remember the exact sheet thickness and my vernier calliper needs a new battery) and they went through the material and cut out the discs with a single tap of the hammer, the results can again be seen in the pictures.

It has been suggested to me that the punches could be used to punch out details in a model itself such as the dials on a control panel, I agree that if you have a steady hand then these punches could be used for that purpose. [Bear in mind that plastic kit parts tend to be far more brittle than sheet styrene, and may fracture when “punched”, so always test first on some scrap – Ed.] It is also worth considering that due to the range of offered punch sizes it should also do away with the need to “make do”, as an exact size needed will most likely be in the set.

One question often asked after a review is written is “where can I buy it?”, and so in this review I have supplied the current list of retailers carrying RP Toolz products.
• Scale Supply (FIN)
• Sockel Shop (DE)
• Maxx Modelbau (DE)
• Martola (PL)
• Banzai modells (FIN)
• Hobby Easy (CHN)
• Scale Union (UKR)
• Black Army Modells (HU)

This punch and die set from RP Toolz is not for everyone, but if you do scratch build when making your models and discs are of use then this tool set is worth your consideration. The punches look to cut cleanly to my eye, with the discs appearing to be well formed. I was pleased to see the effort that has been put in by RP Toolz to make this tool not only work as it should but also into how it looks to the customer. The price of this tool could be a sticking point but it is I believe nearly half the price of its competitors and more or less equal to the cost of a DML model kit, the difference being once you have this you will never want for a disc on your model again. I have also spoken to the owner of RP Toolz who has said that in the event of damage to the punch and die set a replacement parts service will be offered, which is a nice touch I think.
Highs: This punch and die set as well as being functional also shows that RP Toolz is also now putting thought into making their tools look the part.
Lows: The price may deter some potential buyers.
Verdict: If you scratch parts for your models this is a worthy consideration for your tool set. Highly recommended.
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: RP-07
  Suggested Retail: €60 / $75
  PUBLISHED: May 03, 2013

Our Thanks to RP Toolz!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


Replacement parts are available when required.
MAY 03, 2013 - 05:08 AM
Thanks Darren very nice review. You beat me to it. I got mine a few weeks ago, and hadn't had the time to review it. I like it better than my two Waldron sets, the pins are much shorter, and heads much larger than Waldrons, and not as likely to bend.
MAY 03, 2013 - 07:15 AM
Dave I didn't mention the large cantact surface on the head of the punches but your right in that it is easier to hit while missing your knuckles. For the scratch builder and/or super detailers this tool is I believe ideal.
MAY 03, 2013 - 08:47 AM
I have this set for about two weeks and I must say it is a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT! If you have ever used high quality punch & die set (I also have a Historex set), you're probably going to be as dissapointed as I am if you get it... The holes in the transparent plexi top plate are slightly larger diameter than corresponding holes in the steel plate!!! The plexi sheet is also a bit too thin. This makes punches wobbly in ther sockets during punching and usually means that they are not perfectly perpendicular to the surface when you hit them... This means that very often the punch pin hits the edge of the hole in the steel plate, so it wears off very quickly (note small pieces of steel cut off from the steel plate visible in the review pictures!). And as this is the actual cutting edge, this means that the tool won't last very long... In a few cases one size larger pin perfectly (tightly) fits in a plexi plate hole desired for the smaller size pin! Of couse it is not usable that way, as the holes in the steel plate are correct diameter. Even new, this tool does not work very well, as the loose fit of punches means that cut discs have quite rough edges You can clearly see it in the review pictures! My 8 years old Historex punch works like that now after several years of heavy use - I never expected brand new tool to work that bad out of the box The punch pins by the way are just drill bits of appropriate size cut to a desired length- one of the smaller ones have fallen off from it's "handle" in my set after a few uses, so I was able to examine it... I personally plan to buy a sheet of 3mm this plexi (the original is 2mm) and drill new holes in it - exactly the right size (luckilly I have all required drill sizes). I will first drill larger holes to be able to replace the original plexi plate in it's mount and then drill "working" holes using holes in the steel plate as guides for perfect alignment. Hopefully this will save the tool...
MAY 03, 2013 - 07:18 PM
Please let us know if this makes the tool more reliable having all those sizes would be nice (not to have to make do as mentioned in the review)
MAY 03, 2013 - 11:38 PM
Good review. Some of the holes punched out definitely do not look circular though. Also thanks to Vodnik for the counterpoint.
MAY 04, 2013 - 02:22 AM
Dear Friends! Finnaly I have a little time to read this article and your coments. I always pleased the critics, be it negativ or positiv, becouse it can be learned. Pawel! I'm very sorry you're disappointed. I continuously improve our tools and I'm trying to create better tools for you. In the instruction manual (which I attached to each box) I wrote: may at the first few punch will couse a little poke comming out from the die tool. I used this tool a lot of times and My circles very smooth and nice. The upper plexi part task only the guiding. Guiding for the punch tools. Little bigger the upper part holes? I can't put the 0,6mm punch tool to the 0,5 mm hole. It may a little bigger the upper part holes, but how much? I think only a 0,02-0,03 mm. In the near of the future I would like to make a "How can?" video abot all of my tools and I would like to share to the internet. Thank you! Peter from RP toolz
MAY 06, 2013 - 05:15 AM
I'm reviving this old topic to add some comments to my post from May 2013 above! A couple of weeks ago I finally got in touch with Peter from RP Toolz (better later than never I guess But it wasn't Peter's fault). It turned out that the tool I described back then was indeed an early less-than-pefect version and that the tool has since been modified. Peter was so kind to send me a latest version of the small circle punch & die tool to compare and test. And WOW! What a difference! Previously I complained about too thin plexi plate - now it is 4mm. Just perfect! Also the fit of punches in the plexi was very loose in my original tool - but now it is excellent! Quite tight - actually even a bit too tight in first use, but it is a GOOD thing, as punches are now guided very precisely as they should! I tested the tool thoroughly today I must say that I'm impressed with results - clean and precisely cut circles (much cleaner than what you can see in the Darren's review of the original version)! Now this is the tool I wanted! My old Historex punch&die will finally be retired So now I can wholeheartedly recommend the RP Toolz tool! Thanks a lot Peter!
JAN 31, 2016 - 12:39 AM
Pawel: Peter is a good guy and unlike some producers does not just produce a tool and call it done. As you have seen he continues to refine his products based on feedback and each advance improves the tool either in result or ease of use, sometimes both.
JAN 31, 2016 - 12:58 AM

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