Certain tools are needed in building gunpla. It depends on how far you wanna go in painting, modifying or customizing your gundam kit. I'll enumerate and tackle these tools and their uses the best way I can. Below is a look of my current tools and materials in gunpla building. It may differ from others. Actually it depends on the modeler...on what he is more comfortable to use.
Basic gunpla building requires only few tools. Basic building means you will just straight build the kit by snapping the parts as indicated in the construction manual. No painting or any customization required. Here are the tools needed:
Pliers - used to cut the parts from the runners. Some use Tamiya pliers but as for me any brand will do as long as it is sharp enough for cutting. lol
Hobby Knife - used to remove sprues. Sprues are little excess plastics of the parts after cutting from the runners. It is needed to smoothen them to be able to fit to other parts. I do not have/use a hobby knife because I prefer this cutter blade instead.
Cutting board - used to avoid scratches on your table when cutting sprues. This on is free. I got it when I bought my Gundam Astry Green Frame.
Cutter Blades - for refilling in case your cutter/hobby knife runs out of "ammo" ^__^
However if you wish to modify your gundam kit like to repaint it...you need more tools and materials than that. And of course more tools required means more money that you need to spend (just a simple reminder ^__^) so you better be ready for that. So here are the things that I use when repainting my model kits.
Air Brush Set - used to produce even and fine paint on the kit, thus better outcome is achieved. You need a compressor along with it. However this Tamiya Spray Work that I bought from a friend has already an included mini compressor. This is advisable for beginners in air brushing.
Paints - they vary in brand and substance. Tamiya is the most common. They are usually in bottles and can be acrylic or enamel. Tamiya also has lacquer paints in spray cans. I also use industrial spray cans since they are cheaper. Sometimes I decant them and place in empty bottles so I can use through air brush. I will discuss on a another post the differences between lacquer, acrylic, and enamel paints.
Spray Booth - this is where all the painting is done. I can't afford to buy a real spray booth so I just improvised one. This is made from illustration boards glued together to form a box-like figure. The only thing that lacks my booth is the exhaust pipe that will suck the fumes from the paints.
Thinner - for diluting the paints. Different thinner is needed for different types of paints. Paint thinner is used for enamel paints. Acrylic thinner is for acrylic paints. However alcohol can be used as an alternative for it. Before I was using Tamiya thinners but again in order to save money I switch to industrial thinners. Last but no the least lacquer thinner is used for lacquer paints, as well as for cleaning the air brush and paint brushes.
Top Coat - is applied on the finished kit after painting. It gives the kit a different look and at the same time protects it from scratches. Top coat can be gloss, semi-gloss, and matte or flat. Matte is the most commonly used among the three.
Alligator Clips - used to hold the pieces/parts that were painted until they are dried. These clips are attached to barbeque sticks, and can be placed on a styrofoam or any cork board.
Sandpaper - used to smoothen the surface of the parts before painting. It is also used to remove the sprues left on the kit's parts. It may come in different textures...from course to fine to very fine. I also use a file as an alternative for it.
Gundam Markers - I used them for detailing/coloring some parts. Gundam markers come in different colors. They could be used for painting (flat tip) and also for panel lining (fine tip).
Other tools needed are cotton buds for cleaning the parts with excessive paints; different paint brushes for hand painting or dry brushing; and gloves to protect your handS from paints' stains.
There are other tools for customizing like face masks, masking tapes to prevent other parts from being painted, empty bottles for mixing paints, and a lot more. They won't cost that much so don't worry! These things may vary from other users but again the important thing to consider is the benefit of comfort and ease that will give it to you.
So now that you have the tools and materials needed...we are all set to build a gundam model kit. Let's go!!!