Hello everyone and welcome to GunplaMTL!
Gunpla is a very fun and relaxing hobby and you should absolutely give it a try. However like any new projects we decide to undertake, if you are not properly equipped it can become somewhat tedious. If you are unfamiliar with what the hobby entails, what to expect, what to use, you might change your mind. Today’s article will cover the basic tools any modeller in my opinion should have.
Remember, those are suggestions. At the end of the day you have to use what works best for you. I merely want to point you in the right direction.
Those are the primary tool of any modeler. They are specifically made for plastic and most of them have small thin edges that allow you to cut the pieces off the sprue tree with relative ease. When I started this hobby I got a pair of electrical wire cutters at my local hardware store. Do yourself a favor and do not do that. They did not cut close enough to the pieces which resulted me in having to sand the remaining nubs for extended periods. You will still have to do that process with hobby nippers but since you are able to cut much closer to the pieces you are increasing your building by a lot. I am surprised at how fast I can build my kits now ever since I made the switch.
One last thing: The nippers you see on the picture are the Godhands. Some might argues that they are the best you can get for the hobby but I wanted to spoil myself. You can get fairly effective nippers for a much cheaper price.
To expand on the point above, when you cut a piece away from the tree, you might get plastic left over protruding outwards. We call those nubs. You get rid of those by either cutting them away with a hobby knife of sanding them away with sanding files. When I started this hobby I was using a nail sanding file. Although it is not bad, hobby sanding files are made of plastic and they will not overly damage your parts as long as you do not overdo it. At some point I had gotten a big sanding file for the hardware store and well it kept destroying my pieces. I spent more time making repairs then building. Once again, don’t do it.
You can get this at any hobby or arts & crafts store. Useful for cutting decals of those nubs I mentioned above. Personally I prefer sanding as I have more control and it is safer. Those knives are really sharp. Use them only when you are comfortable and absolutely sure of what you are doing.
As you build more kits you will familiarize yourself with your own style. From that point forward you will have a better understanding of your own needs and the tools required to satisfy them.