Which Modelling Adhesive Should You Use?

Orangeville, ON (James Doan) Before blithely starting to assemble your prized project, take a moment to ensure that you are, in fact, using the right adhesive to ensure a durable bond. From my personal modelling, I have found these particular adhesives to be the most effective in their appropriate media.

Plastic model cement – Available in many brands, this is the usual initial adhesive for most modellers. It should always be used sparingly, applying it to small parts with a pin or toothpick. Because the glue dries quickly, only squeeze a small amount onto a piece of scrap paper and then pick up the glue to be placed on your model with your fine point applicator. Never use the same pool of glue more than ten seconds or so after squeezing it out as the glue will already have started to skin over, thicken and string. Many modellers now recommend:

Liquid plastic cement – This is not a glue but a solvent, suitable for styrene plastic kits. When this cement is applied to the two surfaces to be bonded, the solvent dissolves the plastic. Holding the pieces together as the solvent evaporates forms a plastic weld. Highly effective for styrene kits, but will not bond resin pieces or white metal.

Cyanoacrylate glue (superglue) – This family of adhesives includes both the traditional liquid and the newer gel types. For resin kits, this glue performs admirably. The gel-type will even fill small imperfections of fit. Use sparingly and be careful when assembling. Not generally recommended for white metal kits as the lead reacts and the bond will not be permanent.

Epoxy adhesive – These contain no solvent and do not shrink as they cure. When used with white metal kits, they will fill imperfections of fit and can be worked when cured to make imperceptible joins. The ‘5-minute’ type does not produce as strong a bond as the ‘overnight’, but for most assemblies, I find the short clamp time to be preferred.

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