SMD soldering can be a daunting undertaking, it definitely is one of the things that made me weary of venturing into modern electronics. While it is definitely not a necessary maker skill it is a good one to have –and master. Not to mention that it obviously is almost as epic as the fly wrangling done by Mr Miyagi.
Getting the goods
Luckily you can get cheap training boards from the likes of Banggood and Aliexpress. For the cost of a cup of coffee you can order the equivalent of SMD soldering training wheels. The result: Being able to work an SMD board and in the process leave you with a funky little light show.
While a microscope is useful it is definitely not a requirement. By the way, you can get a really decent USB microscope that is suited just fine for SMD work for under $50/€50. A pair of jewellers glasses worth 15 bucks will do the job all the same.
Depending on the method you are going to use you will need 0.5-0.6mm soldering tin (65% tin). Some flux and a fine tip soldering iron (20-30Watt). Another option would be using solder paste and a temperature controlled heat gun. I will describe both methods in my article.
Lastly a pair of fine tip tweezers (ESD proof) a few hours of spare time, steady hand and a swear jar.
If you are not fluent in Chinglish manuals I would suggest downloading the PDF I provide to make your life a little bit more easy.