Modern Zoids 102: Tools for Building
For part two I’ll be going over the type of tools you’ll need to build a Zoid. You won’t need everything but if building plastic models is something you want to get into a hobby I highly recommend it. Only a few things you really need to buy expensive, high-quality things while others you can pick up at any store.
Note: You won’t need these for Zoids Wild kits since all the pieces are already cut from the runners. 90% of the time they’re cut really well but sometimes you might want to clean up a spot. Zoids doesn’t need anything unique or special so if you’d like to expand into Gundams, Pokemon, model cars etc it’ll be the same things.
Motors need a Philips (+) screwdriver to open, which the older Hasbro/Tomy kits and the modern Zoids Wild kits have. Anything will do, so if you have one on a multitool or laying around the house it’ll do
2: X-acto/craft knife
You’ll use these to cut parts from plastic frames (or to cut off the little nubbins/gates) so you’ll be using this a lot. It doesn’t have to be any specific brand but should be something that you can easily get replacement blades for. Be careful throwing them away! Most stores will have this.
This is the one thing that’s specific for modeling that you really want to get. Sprue cutters are used to cut parts from the plastic frames. You might have used scissors back in the day but these are designed for plastic models and won’t be dulled by the every day cutting scissors go through. Honestly, I need to buy a new pair since this one is pretty cheap but it’s served me for well over a year. Anywhere that sells Gundams or plastic models should have these.
Tiny pair that fits in the box I store this stuff in. Cuts open the bags the frames are in and not much else. Anything will do
5: Part separator
I bought a bundle kit that had a bunch of this stuff and this was in there. It’s a wedge thingy to pry parts off if I need to for some reason. If you’ve ever played with LEGOs you know the struggle. I honestly don’t know where you can buy this by itself, maybe the craft store has something similar. Or you can be really careful and not put parts together until you know you won’t need to seperate them.
This is an ear cleaner from Daiso (Japanese dollar store in California). My tweezers have sharp points and aren’t always the best tool for pushing a small part into a small place. It’s especially good if glue is involved and you don’t want to get any on your fingers. Anything dull and with a small point will work, like chopsticks.
I have a straight and pent pair. These are essential for placing the water slide decals that are included in Kotobukiya kits. They’re also good for regular stickers, too. I’m sure dollar store tweezers can work, too, just look for something that have really narrow tips.
8: Regular super glue
Zoids kits don’t require glue which is awesome but sometimes it’s good to have. Normal super glue has a couple downsides. The brand I have, Gorilla Glue, leaves this horrible white stuff on what’s glued and looks awful. But if the glue is internal and you’ll never see it then it works wonders. I’ve yet to glue my fingers together but I also use this very sparingly and only for specific situations. Your mileage may vary based on the brand you buy so test it on something like the empty parts frame to see how it reacts to the plastic and how it looks once it’s dry.
9: Modeling specific glue
Some parts have really shallow pegs/holes and can pop off easily so a dab of glue holds them in. It dries clear and is easy to wipe away any that oozes out. This kind also says it can be used for tiny windows on things like plane cockpits but I haven’t tried it. It’s also really easy to remove in case you mess up. The applicator tip is nice, too. Hobby stores will have this but craft stores might, too. If your area has a tabletop/wargaming store they should have it.
10: Cutting mat
If you buy an x-acto you absolutely need this. You won’t have to worry about gouging up the table and it can catch paint/glue drips, too. I’ve never used the rulers/guides on it but those are a nice bonus. Pick it up at your local craft store.
11: Bunch of sandpaper (not pictured)
The fancy thing is essentially Emory boards of different grit for models. Or you can go to the hardware store and just buy regular sandpaper and cut off pieces as needed. Glue it to a popsicle stick if oyu need to but a small piece folded up can get into smaller areas a lot more easy. One sheet of sandpaper is maybe a buck and if you shop in-store you can feel how fine it is. Have one that’s a little rough and one that’s a lot more smooth so you can make things nice and even.
12: Batteries (not pictured)
Zoids Wild kits use a single AA battery. You’re not SUPPOSED to leave batteries in toys if you’re not playing with them but it’s not a huge deal. If you have a big collection then each having a battery all the time might get expensive but whether it’s worth the hassle to move the batteries around is up to you.
Final two things: I have a plastic box this all fits in, which then goes into a basket from IKEA along with the mat. The bowl is from Daiso and I put parts in them as I’m working. Kotobukiya kits sometimes have you build a section and then you won’t end up using it for a few more hours so having them somewhere safe helps me keep my space more organized. This is something you absolutely need with the HMM kits since there’s so many frames and parts. I tend to take up the entire kitchen table when building such a kit while everything else I can build at my computer desk.
Organization/storage of parts, projects and tools is good to have. Projects in progress, especially in the painting/detailing stages, I have in big bags with zippers like Ziploc bags or the kind you get at dispensaries. Ziploc ones are good since they’re clear and you can stick the manual in, too, for easy identification. Organization is highly personal since everyone tackles things differently; I live in an apartment and don’t have room for a dedicated hobby space, so everything needs to be put away at the end of the day. If you want to buy a toolbox/tacklebox to hold everything, go ahead! As you get more into this hobby your paint collection especially will grow and you’ll have to find something that works for your space.
Next part will be the tools you need for painting and details. Those are 100% optional and what I have isn’t a definitive list. There’s a ton of techniques I’m not using: I don’t have anywhere I can use an airbrush! It should serve as a good starting point and give you ideas of things you’d like to try.