*edit* March 19, 2012 – Reshot tools with white background, white is better! 🙂
Tools tools tools! One cannot build an awesome Gunpla without tools!!
For starters, anyone who is interested in building Gunpla would just need their bare hands and some good quality cutters! I would not advise using scissors in cutting the parts out of the runners (runners are the frame like things the hold the parts) as it would leave ugly nib marks that a pair of scissors are unable to remove.
Some people use nippers, the one used in cutting nails, I’ve tried that one, but I don’t recommend it unless it is very sharp! Otherwise it would just crush and not cut cleanly the gate (gates are the thin plastic that holds the parts on the runners) leaving horrid nib marks!
The best tool for cutting parts would be Tamiya Craft Tools No. 35 : Cutter!
This is a very high quality piece of tool that is made for cutting plastic! Although it is a bit expensive, but the quality is worth he investment! I’ve been using this cutter over a dozen of Gunpla kits and it never fails to cut parts smoothly! I bought this at 850 PhP at Lil’s Hobby Shop, Great Toys Online (GTO) also sell them, but sadly at a higher price of more than 1,000 PhP. Lil’s hobby shop store locations that I know of are Trinoma Mall in Quezon City and Park Square in Makati City.
Of course, cutting the parts would not always be perfect and sometimes would leave some nib marks, I guess I’ll make a tutorial page on some techniques that I use to clean out Gunpla parts.
Here is a homemade tool that I use in cleaning out nib marks! :
They are basically popsicle sticks that has strips of sandpaper glued to it! A cheap alternative for sanding tools. I’ll also make a separate tutorial page on how I made this.
You might ask, “what are those numbers for?” Those numbers represent the GRIT level of the sandpaper, lower values mean higher abrasion and vice versa. The blank one is of grit 800, I use it for leveling the nib marks, then I use the larger values to smooth the surface of the plastic. Takes time to clean out nib marks, but if you want for Gunpla model to look clean, then it has to be done. 🙂
After cleaning out the nib marks, “plastic dust” would be all over the piece, so I use a simple cleaning cloth to clean out the “plastic dust” :
Clear stickers and decals are really a pain in the ass to apply especially in RG kits where there are dozens of small clear stickers apply, bare hands just isn’t enough! So this is where…
Tweezers come in! These pair of tweezers are actually for Surface Mount Devices (SMDs, a type of package for electronic components which are very tiny! So tiny that it looks like dirt!). Since I took up Computer Engineering in college, I had to use one of these to solder SMDs! Didn’t expect to use them for a different application which is applying clear stickers for Gunpla! 🙂
These can be bought at electronic shops for a cheap price! 🙂
Trouble holding the dry transfer decals in place while you scratch on them? (Dry transfer decals are usually found in MG kits), then use this! :
This is just an adhesive tape that is thin enough in width to hold dry transfer decals in place! I know there are more applications to this tool, but I’m yet to explore. 🙂
So now that you have finished building your kit, you noticed that you broke a part!! You might think : “Okay time for super glue!“, No!!! Don’t use super glue for Gunpla kits! As it would leave horrid white stains on your piece! What to use? Use this instead! :
Its Tamiya Cement, mainly used for cementing broken Gunpla pieces. Other applications would be to seal seam lines, but I haven’t tried it myself.
Your Gunpla is built! But there seems to be something missing? The model you built doesn’t look exactly the same as with the box’s illustrations! It is because you haven’t done panel lining!
Panel Lining is the process of inking/lining with a fine pen the lines/seams and corners of your Gunpla to make it more realistic (its like where the armor of the mobile suit are attached like a puzzle). It is actually hard to explain.. Anyway it just makes your gundam look better!!
So what do I use for marking lines? :
I use COPIC Multi Liner 0.03 mm tip, I like this pen better than the Gundam Marker Black, since this one is easier to clean, is pure black ink and has a finer tip. While the Gundam Marker is usually thicker and has a hint of dark blue to it such that if you smudge it across a surface, you would see hints of dark blue stains.
To clean out excess panel line ink, I just use a rubber eraser! Fingers would work too but you’ll get your fingers full with black ink. Cotton buds /Q-tips can also be used to wipe off excess ink.
After using the rubber eraser, there would be eraser dust on your piece, I use an air blower to blow out the dust!
This is actually for blowing out dust off of camera lenses, but can also be used with the said application. Any need to blow out dust, an air blower would be perfect rather than blowing with your mouth as saliva might spatter across the surface where you want to blow off dust! 😀
Wait! Some of my Gunpla parts are of wrong color! This usually happens in High Grade kits, although this also happens in MG, but less parts would be of the wrong color. This is where Gundam Markers come in! :
There are different sets of Gundam Markers usually according to the series, for example this set is specifically for Gundam Seed Destiny series, but markers for different series often have the same colors so you can use some colors for other Gunpla kit series as well. Gundam Markers can also be used for hiding nib marks.
“What If I want my Gunpla model have a different color scheme? Or I want to have some parts of specific color.” You can also use gundam markers for that, the problem is that some marker tips are too large for some small parts and small corners of your kit.
Here are some paints that I use currently for custom painting and similar tasks :
I’ll also make a page dedicated about paints/custom painting in the future, I’m still new to custom painting and will still have to explore the realm of customization!
“No!!! I painted the wrong part!! So much paint bleed!! What do I do?”
Well for acrylic paints I use :
Tamiya Color Acrylic Paint X-20A Thinner! You can use this to clean out overflowing paint or bleeding paint. It can also be mixed in acrylic paints so that the paint would be smoother to apply.
I mainly use two paint brushes only, one fine tip for tight corners and small parts, and a larger brush for of course for larger parts. 🙂
After everything has been done, panel lining, painting and all. The last part would be topcoating! What the hell is topcoat? Basically it a clear lacquer paint that is used to protect your Gunpla kit from scratches and damage, other than that, it creates a finishing touch or finish depending on the type of topcoat you use, makes your Gunpla kit look less of a toy.
I prefer using MATTE or FLAT topcoat, all of my Gunpla kits are sprayed with MATTE/FLAT topcoat except for my RX-78 GP02A Type-MLRS which I tried to spray GLOSS instead. Hmm.. I think I’ll also make a separate page for tutorial on how to spray topcoat. 🙂
“I’ve done everything to make my Gunpla look cool! What next?”
Well if you want to share your built Gunpla model like I do, I take pictures with my trusty Nikon D3100 DSLR! It’s a great DLSR for beginners who wants to pursue photography. D3100 is also one of the cheapest models that Nikon offers, it is capable to shoot 1080p HD videos too! It’s a great investment for photography. 🙂
For light sources, I have a total of 4 light sources! Two florescent battens, and two florescent lamps. You can also see in the above image the green mat with grids, it a cutting mat, so that you won’t have to cut through and damage your table. 🙂
Last but not the least is my photobooth/lightbox/softbox setup! :
The cloths are used to diffuse the light source so that no hard shadows appear! First time I used a different colored background other than white.. hmm.. I think I still prefer white, but I will still be experimenting with different colored backgrounds.
Light sources are from the left, right and top. On the top rests one fluorescent batten as the light source from the top.
The right side light source is my black lamp with a flourescent bulb of 20 watts I think? I’m not sure but it is pretty damn bright! 🙂
There are two light sources for the left side, one florescent lamp and one florescent batten.
So that’s how I setup my photobooth! It works great! 🙂 I use cartolina for my background, basically its just a large piece of paper that is harder than the usual copy paper and comes in different colors! 🙂
So that’s it for my tools, and BTW! I also use a small drawer for storing my common tools, I like my tools organized, makes work faster and efficient. 🙂
Hope this page helps people who are just starting out with Gunpla building! 🙂