Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gunpla 101: The basic tools

Hello everyone!
It has been over two weeks since I started posting my finished kits and a lot of readers became excited and wanted to build their own Gundam kits as well. For fellow readers who kept on asking me "what are the tools I'll need?", this post is for you.

In order to create great plastic models, it is very important to gather the tools that you will need. It allows you to prepare well in advance and will provide you an overview on how your kit would look like. "Begin with the end in mind." as they say.

The tools needed depends on how far you would want to take your hobby, skill level, availability of resources and your finances. Most of the time, these model kits can be completed even without using expensive stuff. For this article, I will be showing my basic equipments.

Tools necessary for the beginner:

1. Cutting Board - These cutting boards can be bought from your local School/office supplies store. You may use a big cutting board (left) or a small one (right) depending on your preference. Most of the test builds and assembly will be done here. (More importantly, you don't want to hear your Mom screaming after seeing cuts on her table.)

2. a pair of Side Cutters - This is my primary tool. I use it to cut away the Gundam parts from runners and sometimes used in cleaning as well. I would suggest that you buy a side cutter from Hobby shops. They will provide you excellent tools designed to be used in plastic modeling.

3. Hobby Knife and blades - My secondary weapon..I mean hobby tool. I use this primarily to clean Gundam parts from gate marks and seam lines (more of this in succeeding tutorials). As my general rule, I use a new blade for every new Gundam kit. Keep your blades sharp and you will be happy with your results.

Warning: Keep out of children's reach. Blades are extremely sharp...and deadly!

4. Sandpaper - For a more tidy finish, I use sandpapers next to my hobby knife. I use two types, No. 400 for cleaning gate marks and seam lines, and No. 1200 for a smooth finish.

That's all the tools you will need for a basic, clean assembly.
Next are the tools for basic finishing - Panel lines and Top Coat.

For Panel lining (adding a sense of depth to your models), I use 2 techniques. A Simple panel-lining can be done using Gundam markers and cotton buds for cleaning.
Washing or "panel wash" is also another technique. It involves paint and thinner.

More about panel lining on my next tutorials. :-)

Finishing touches
After applying all the necessary details to my Gundam (panel lines, decals, weathering) I always apply a good spray of Top coat for protection and a good looking kit.

More about Top Coats on my upcoming tutorials.

Now that you have all the tools you'll need, it's time to build your first Gundam.


I have nylon paint brushes of numbers 0, 1 and 2. Can I make use of them for panel lines? I asked because you mentioned about using thinner and paint. Thanks!

Yes, you may use them for panel lines., I would also recommend using a smaller brush for more control. (I use a brush numbered '0'). Thanks!

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Hey nice tips! Can you make a tutorial on how to apply waterslide decals correctly (with the tools necessary) because i just got some macross kits and they come with loads of waterslides, thanks!

Hi Winarendra, Thank you for viewing, and pls stay tuned bacause I will definitely post an article regarding Waterslides on a Macross kit.

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