Building your kit can be an enjoyable process: the union of seemingly different parts melding together through a combination of precision engineering and delicate manufacturing can be strangely therapeutic. Some hobbyists enjoy the simplicity of Advance Grade (AG) or First Grade (FG) kits as they don't have any gimmicks, complex mechanisms and a huge pile of runners.
In the event that you find a missing runner, or rather realise that a runner is indeed missing, you can pack the runners back into the box and return it to the store it came from. However, each store has a different return policy, so if possible, do a runner check at the point of purchase - most hobby shops allow you to do so, but not departmental stores.
Tip #2: Plan your kit.
Behind every great kit is a plan to make it so. This can be as simple as writing down the enhancements or modifications you have for it down on a piece of paper, or even on the inside of the box itself. It doesn't have to be an expository piece on the state of the hobby, but rather a checklist you can refer to while building your kit.
The list should contain all the important and major changes you are making to your kit. These include spray painting of entire runners, heavy paneling, sticking of realistic decals and/or water decals, painting certain areas, etc. Once you have this in place, you will have a better idea of your construction flow, as some parts will need to be prepared before actual building, such as the spray painting of whole runners.
Planning can also be done for kits not on the priority assembly line. Look through the kit and think of the enhancements you wish to have, then write them down on a Post-It note and stick it onto the box. That way, when you eventually get around to building the kit, you won't have to rethink your modifications again, and adding more enhancements is way easier than thinking from scratch.
As an example, the list of enhancements I currently have for the MG 1/100 RX-93 Nu Gundam Ver. Ka [Ver. GFT] is as follows:
- Basic (head detailing, light paneling)
- Tamiya Gunmetal for black runners
- Tamiya Light Gunmetal for grey runners
- Water decals: complete set
- Silver rivets
- Gold details
- LED unit
- Full Funnel add-on
- Armed Armor DE
- Mr Super Clear UV Cut
An additional tip: it is good to have your Polycap Runner separate from the main runner pile: it will save you a lot of time fumbling through runners to get PCs necessary for the main components of your kit.
- You will get confused as you go along.
- Some components require others parts to be assembled before coming to that step.
- You will get bored and tired easier.
It is a CHORE to locate the needed parts in the required orientation, especially for direction-specific components like asymmetric arms and legs. The parts are numbered for a reason, it is to help you locate that particular part quickly and efficiently without resorting to violence against your plastic model kits.
Tip #7: Do not force it in.
As with all things, forcing will not help matters. If it doesn't go in, it will never go in. Bandai parts and engineered in such a way that parts only fit one way and one way alone, forcing parts to come together will only result in sorrow, despair and broken parts (and pride).
If you encounter trouble putting parts together, revisit the manual again. Oftentimes, human error or parallax error plays a role in clouding our vision, especially if you are building in the early morning or late at night. Try to position the parts in another way, move them around a little and gently nudge them together.
If you have problem closing parts together due to the size of the part or its nature (sharp, irregular shapes), use a pair of pliers to slowly and carefully close the halves. Put a towel over the parts before applying plier-pressure, pliers can and will leave indelible marks on your kits.
Polycaps can be troublesome sometimes. It can be a challenge to close polycap-filled halves together if you are not careful. A tip is to always fully insert the polycap before doing anything else: use a tweezer, rod or some other tool to aid you with this.
- Is the sticker required?
- Can that sticker colour be achieved with paint?
- Are you confident of applying the sticker successfully?
If you can achieve a colour with paint, go for it. Case in point: the V-Fin of the HGBF Build Gundam Mk-II. Essentially a one-piece yellow affair, it is beyond me as to why it is not molded as such, providing a needlessly complicated yellow sticker that struggles to cover the entirety of the blue V-Fin. If you have a Gundam Marker, just spam it yellow.
You can also use either a cotton bud doused with lighter fluid or thinner to remove the excess ink, but capillary action may occur and draw the removal fluid into the panels you have coloured.