I built my gamma-1 a few years ago. I used the 30 watt Radio Shack soldering iron, and it worked fine. I would encourage people not to let the lack of an expensive Hakko soldering station hang them up. I'm not saying more expensive soldering irons aren't better, of course they are, but it's not a must have. Just buy a new tip if the one you have is old.
For the fine pitch ICs, try out the "drag soldering" method, where you lay down a glob of solder across all the pins, then wick up the excess with desoldering braid.
Liquid flux really makes things easier, definitely worth using.
And finally, if you're entirely new to surface mount soldering, work out your jitters on a cheap SMD soldering practice kit from any number of online electronics vendors. Here is one: http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G3114. $8 and you can get all your practice in.