Model building tool kits
Last year, John and I brought ten new Gundam models into the world. From Universal Century to Future Century, from Master Grade to No Grade, our house is filled with them.
But the not-so-funny thing is, you can clearly tell which ones we built first. They’re a little wobbly on their feet, a little rough around the edges. That’s because, as we started to wise up to the world of Gunpla, we began to add tools to our Gundam building arsenal.
I don’t think you need to drop a lot of money in order to build a nice looking, polished, sturdy Gundam model. But I do think that a few tools can take you a long way.
Here are our picks for building the perfect Gundam model, at any level.
Gunpla modeling is certainly easier today than it’s ever been, and all you actually need to get started is a basic High Grade kit (here’s my recommendation for beginners) and wire side cutters, like the kind that’s used for jewelry, to cut out the pieces.
It’s not just that your Gunpla will look better if you use a hobby knife. It’s also that the pieces will fit together more smoothly without any extra friction.
I’ve found that when I try and apply stickers to Gunpla manually, the oil on my fingers makes the stickers less sticky, so now I apply them with tweezers.
Tweezers also allow me more precision than when I’m using my big, stubby fingers—I can more easily line up where I need the sticker to go.
As pictured in the top photo, you can buy Gundam-brand markers specifically for inking your Gunpla, most frequently during panel lining. The fine tip of the pen is perfect for getting in the ridges of Gunpla parts so you can add lifelike detail and contrast. Read our panel lining 101 tutorial for more on that.
Excepting markers, you can buy all of the tools I already listed in one kit, the Tamiya Basic Tool Set, for much less than it’d cost to buy them individually. This set also comes with some stuff you probably don’t need yet, like a metal file for polishing, that will be useful when you want to get more advanced.