Gunpla is a hobby that involves pointy objects. That means protecting yourself is especially important. NuclearHotSauce shows us how to keep the building process safe with one easily-learned technique.
If you’re reading this article, chances are you may know first hand how quickly a routine Gunpla-building session can turn into a visit to the emergency room.
I’ve seen too many of my friends end up with nasty cuts from this hobby but it doesn’t have to be that way. Cutting yourself can be avoided if you use your hobby knife correctly and without applying too much force. In this article, I’m sharing a safer solution.
Before I begin, I want to say that this is my technique and it will not apply to everyone. If you have another strategy for cutting Gunpla safely, be sure to share in the comments.
Too many times, I see my friends holding their hobby knives like I’m doing in the photo above. This is dangerous for two reasons.
First, when you’re holding the knife with your entire hand, there’s no other way for you to cut except by exerting force from your wrist or arm. It’s hard applying that much force on such a small object. In too many scenarios, it will most likely result in you losing control of the knife immediately after you cut through the runner.
Second, it’s difficult to know and control the direction of your cut. In this position, it’s hard to know how the knife will move as you apply more force to it. This can result in you cutting yourself, or you cutting into the piece of Gunpla you’re holding.
As you can see in the photo, if the knife blade goes too far, it’s just going to cut right into your hand. So I’m going to suggest a better way.
Start by holding your hobby knife like this:
Holding onto the entire body of the knife with every finger except your thumb gives you a solid grip on the knife. With it, you will have 100% control over its movement. When you’re ready to cut, simply clench the four fingers into the shape of a fist like this:
I marked the motion of my fingers with red arrows, moving from a claw-grip gesture to a fist.
In this position, the thumb’s purpose is to push the Gunpla piece into the blade, resulting in a scissor-like movement between the blade and your thumb.
Now the knife is moving slowly because you’re not applying any more external forces from your arm or even your wrist. It’s just the slow movement of your grip fingers towards your palm. You have more control, so you know how the blade will move, avoiding scratches or unpleasant marks on your Gunpla. Because the motion of clenching into a fist is fixed, the knife will always move at a fixed distance. That means there’s no worry of an accidental slip.
Final important note, do not use an old, rusty, or chipped blade. Rust can make it hard to cut through a Gunpla as it doesn’t go through the runners cleanly. You might end up applying more force to the knife and that increases the chance of you hurting yourself. If you own a blade in that condition, replace it immediately! Spending a little extra on new blades is worth not bleeding all over your Gunpla and supplies.
This gripping method may be simple, but it eliminates 99.9% of the danger. I’ve been using this method for years and I’ve never once been cut. Happy Gunpla building, and always remember to keep it safe!
NuclearHotSauce (or NHS for short) is a long time Gunpla builder. Though he’s yet to try anything other than out-of-box straight builds, he hopes to advance to painting kits someday. When he’s not building Gunpla, he enjoys video games, movies, some TV, the seasonal freezing cold up in Canada, and a good plate of food if he can get one. You can follow him on Instagram here.