Now that you know what a Gundam is and have chosen a grade/scale to work on, time to get some basic tools (and optional ones that can make the building process much easier). A lot of these tools can be bought locally at either a craft store such as Micheal's or Hobby Lobby; or at super market places such as Walmart and Target. You may also be able to get some of these at Walgreens or some other drug store, but not always. Just check the office supply isle at any store you go to.
These tools are for snap together kits!
These are also known as "wire cutters".
Price Range: $3-$10
I've seen people build kits without these. Side cutters are used mainly to get the kit pieces off of the runners (also known as trays) without splitting a piece in half or breaking it into pieces. I really recommend getting a pair of these if you're building a kit with thin or really long pieces. I made the mistake of building the following kit without using clippers... let's just say I got a few cuts and one of the four pieces used to make the main part of the kits board split.
I would say this tool and the X-acto knife are the two most important tools you'll need even though you could in all technicality build many Gundam kits without them; but not very well. I've built kits with and without these tools. The one's I built without tend to have pieces fall off and stubs left over after pulling a piece off the runners.
Price Range: $5-$10
(for a good starter handle/blade)
(for a pack of 5)
Most people know this type of knife as an X-acto knife because that brand is really popular. Walmart has a brand of their own (even though some carry X-acto), and various other hobby stores don't always carry X-acto brand. Any hobby knife will due as long as it isn't old and rusted. You will need to replace the blades every so often, but blades are only about $3 for a pack of 5. There are different shapes of blades. I've only ever really used the classic #11 shape which most of the standard handles come with. Seems to work for any grade of kit.
This type of cutting mat is also known as "self healing cutting mat" because the material is hard to cut through and can heal itself... really hard to explain the science behind it.
Price Range: $10-$40
(magazine's vary in price)
I haven't had the money to get a new cutting mat (the one I had warped from leaving in my car too long); instead I've been using a magazine and sometimes a plastic place mat (the kind that kids usually use when eating). All work, but I do recommend getting a self healing mat if you plan to build a lot of kits. This allows you to build kits almost any where without ruining tables, counters and other furniture. It also helps keep little pieces you'll shave off with the hobby knife from escaping.