Handy tools for forming scenery and prototypes

The handheld Thermocut 12/E is great for working in situ when forming model railway scenery from expanded polystyrene, foam or styrofoam. The wire can be bent to shape and the temperature is controllable.

The latest issue of Model Rail (MR196) includes a review of some brilliant hot-cutting tools from Proxxon. Unfortunately, the production gremlins took it upon themselves to replace the contact details for the tool suppliers. Therefore, the review is reproduced below, with the correct address and phone number!

The use of expanded polystyrene or styrofoam for the construction of model landscapes and structures offers great benefits, not least in terms of economy and weight. Whether recycling unwanted packaging or employing off-the-shelf foam scenic products, cutting and shaping these materials accurately can be a messy and difficult business.

This pair of Proxxon Thermocut tools has been under test for the past few months and each has proved reliable and highly effective. Firstly, the 230/E is based around a 390x280mm table with a 140mm cutting capacity, allowing large pieces of foam to be handled easily. The locking fence helps to create accurate cuts at almost any angle and intricate shapes can be formed with ease. The wire ‘blade’ is fed from a long spool that is simple to set up and tension. There’s plenty of wire supplied, although if the tool is used carefully it will seldom break. Spare spools are also available separately.

Perfect for the construction of scenic or structural formers, the 230/E’s powerful transformer keeps the wire cutting safely and effectively. A dial temperature control is provided to tailor the heat to different sizes of material and an LED indicator is a welcome visual reminder that the tool is switched on. In use, the enhanced accuracy of this tool has been a great help when building layout prototypes and building formers with sheets of Styrofoam.

The handheld Thermocut 12/E is a highly portable device, requiring an additional 12V/2.0A mains adaptor such as the Proxxon NG2/S. This compact and tough adaptor can also power a number of other 12V tools in the Proxxon range, such as soldering irons and mini drills.

The 12/E has proven an invaluable aid for scenic construction, especially when working away from the workbench. Indeed, being able to shape foam in situ is a real boon, without the debris and mess of using a knife or saw. The large and adjustable ‘throat’ of the tool allows it to deal with a range of shapes, as does the ability to shape the wire ‘blade’ to the desired profile.

A trigger switches the heat on or off and a small dial adjusts the power output to cope with different materials (from 150-350oC), with the blade reaching working temperature in just one second. A handful of spare blades are provided and packs of replacements are also available separately.

Both of these high quality tools have proven highly effective and should offer many years of good service. 

Available from Brimarc Tools & Machinery stockists. 
For your local dealer, telephone 03332 406 967

The benchtop Thermocut 230/E is perfect for those who work with foam to create model buildings and scenery. It greatly speeds up the process, aiding accuracy at the same time, with complex shapes and angles easy to form. Anyone who has worked with styrofoam will tell you of the manifold benefits of this cheap, lightweight material and this tool certainly makes the task easier. Indeed, the basic form of a building can be cut in a couple of minutes. 


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