The most critical thing that determines how long your scale model will stand is choosing the best glue for building. It is crucial to select the right adhesive that will not interfere with finishing steps (such as paint) and deform the plastic. In this article, we have put together useful information that you can read to know the best types of glues for your next model building project.
If you are building scale models for quite a long, you might be aware of almost every adhesive out there. For beginners or someone looking for a productive hobby, do not get confused since there is not much to learn about adhesives used in model building.
There are several choices of hobby glues available on the market. But the thing that you should consider when selecting your glue is whether it is for plastic models, metal models, or building miniatures. Knowing what affects the bond and understanding of glues, you will not face any trouble picking the ideal glue to make model kits.
How to Choose a Glue
One of the most crucial things that model builders must know about glues used to repair or build minis or models is the availability of several different types of glue. Knowing what types of glues are there and what is most effective will make your work effortless since you will know what to choose according to the project you are working on currently.
It does not matter if you are building miniatures or models because both are made with the same material. Once you know what kind of glue you need to buy, you can check the well-known manufacturers like Mr. Hobby, Tamiya, or Revell. Other factors that you must take into considerations are application techniques, viscosity, and cleanup.
Finally, if you are planning on painting your assembled model, you must know that gluing up may need additional preparation.
Types of Model Glue/Cement
Beginners might have some questions, like what type of glue to use for plastic models or what is the ideal glue to bond plastic to metal. These questions come down to both glue preference and kind. You can use several types of glue in your model building, and choosing the right one will give you an incredible final product.
These types of glues are not only chemically different but adhere to the two pieces distinctively as well. Another property to consider of these glues is their strength. Following are the most popular types of glue used in the model kits:
1. Aliphatic Glue
Aliphatic glue, well-known as yellow glue, is a wood glue that shares a lot of similarities with PVA. The difference between the two is that aliphatic glue is made to penetrate porous material for a stronger bond and to set more rapidly. Compared to PVA, aliphatic glue dries a bit harder, is more water-resistant, and forms a cloudy buttery color when dry.
2. PVA Glue/White Glue
PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) is substantially white craft glue like Elmer’s. It is a water-based glue that is available in both commercial and domestic formulas. PVA is handy for certain instances but not a very strong adhesive. It is ideal for landscaping work when building great scale battle or train scenes, where you can spread it over a large surface.
Compared to the other adhesives, PVA has a weaker hold, but it is easy to use and inexpensive for adding display details, like stones or grass. And if you accidentally made a mistake, then this glue is not very hard to remove. The glue dries to a clear to white opaque.
3. Cyanoacrylate (CA)
Cyanoacrylate, referred to as CA in scale-model communities, is fundamentally the product called Super Glue. Hobby modelers widely use this glue since it is very efficient and available all over the world. The desirable trait of CA glue is its rapid set quality in certain instances where you may not hold the two pieces together for long or have the ability to clamp.
Cyanoacrylate is also available in a variety of consistencies, such as watery thin to a thick gel-like. The only thing you need to be aware of is that CA’s strong bond can withstand pulling force against the bonded joint, but its torsion force does not hold well. Moreover, it can discolor specific plastics as well and dries to a cloudy to white color.
However, if you want your pieces to bond together well without taking any time, then this type of glue is the right option to opt for.
4. Canopy Glue
Among scale model airplanes and RC builders who frequently attach translucent plastic canopies to the aircraft, canopy glue is a well-known adhesive. It does not modify the plastic to cause any visual defects on the transparent canopy and dries clear. An RC builder may require the holding strength, but the scale model builder may not.
It is very tricky to determine how the canopy glue was formulated since there is not only a single kind of glue used by the producers; some seemed to have a formula of acrylic-based adhesive, other seemed to resemble white glue. Some of you may like the adhesive E6000 since it is inexpensive and works exceptionally well, while others may like Formula 560.
5. Epoxy Resin
Epoxy resin is a two-part bonding agent that consists of a hardener and an adhesive. It is stunningly powerful and can hold together almost any two surfaces. You need to mix the two agents before the application; it is to activate the hardening process.
It is crucial to note that as compared to superglue, epoxy resin dries slower. However, faster mixes are also available in the market and are just a hardening agent’s higher ratio. Moreover, this glue is not convenient and what makes it less customary is that it requires more cleanup and only used out of necessity.
So, when you need a strong bond, especially between dissimilar materials, epoxy resin is the ideal choice to go for.
The Right Glue for Model Kits
Choosing the right glue for your model building depends upon your requirement and preference. Many varieties of glues are available on the market to choose from (the top ones are mentioned above). So first, understand your project, and then select the glue accordingly.