Friday, 16 March 2012

I am Rubber, You are Glue...

I have had a think recently about the amount of different glues there are available to us doing this hobby and how effective each type of glue is.

From my own collection of glues (seen on the right) I have three general groups of glue - the superglue type, the plastic glue type and then PVA glue.

Each of the three perform very differently and are used in different situations. The first one I will look at being the superglue, can in fact be broken down in to two groups again. I have a tube of the gel superglue and a tub of the 'free-running' superglue. The gel I use on all resin to resin fixing and metal to anything parts as the amount and direction it is applied to can be easily controlled, which saves a slick of superglue running over areas of your model which you do not want covering in glue. I tend to save the liquid superglue for more general areas where accuracy and amounts are not so much of a problem, for instance gluing debris to bases. Drying time for superglue is generally instant, but on some occasions can take a couple of minutes.

The plastic glue can only be used to glue plastic pieces together. It will not glue plastic to anything other than plastic. It will not glue finecast models together. You get the picture. Plastics only. I have also just started using the Revell Contacta Liquid plastic glue which comes complete with an application brush, which is absolutely perfect for gluing those plastics together. Originally I was using the Army Painter glue, but whenever I used it I would have to spend time brushing away glue 'strands', which were always produced regardless of how I tried applying the glue, from the model. This was very annoying and I have not been back to that glue since getting the Revell stuff. Drying time for the plastic glue is no more than a minute and, once dry, you will have an impossible task to separate the pieces.

The last type of glue I use is your standard PVA glue. This is used solely for gluing the basing material to bases. It dries clear and is rock solid once set. It will also glue any material to your base that you want, meaning you don not have to worry about what you are adding as decoration to your base. The drying time for this glue is well over 12 hours, so you have plenty of time to position items on your base and see what they look like before moving them around again and trying something new before the glue sets.

Superglue gel, Revell Contacta Liquid with brush and PVA glue are my fixing agents of choice and they are never far away from my modelling table. There are probably a few more glues out there, but I have never felt the need to use them as I get the results I want from using those previously mentioned. But if anyone has experience of using something different, please leave a comment to let me know what you use and how it compares to other glues.


  1. Just a quick tip about using super glue. There is a warning on teh side of super glue to avoid contact with skin and eyes, since it bonds skin in seconds (we have all glued our finger to thumb on at least one occasion, usually during those fiddly three part joins (Such as termagant flesh borer models).

    The reason why it seemingly bonds skin in seconds, but can take minutes for metal to metal contacts (or whatever), is because of the high moisture content on the skin which reacts with the cyanoacrylates that make up the glue. (Safety tip, do not spill liquid super glue onto your pure cotton or wool clothing! the reaction will generate a lot of heat and could cause localised burns, and in some instances, flames!)

    So the tip is this, if you slightly moisten one side of the join and apply super glue to the other, when you bring them into contact, the join bonds quicker, meaning you don't have to be holding it in place for those minutes, trying not to let your hands shake. You still have to wait a bit for it to bond completely, but at least it is supported at the start.

    Another thing you can do is blow on the join close up, as the moisture in your breath aids the glue in bonding. If doing this, it is best to close your eyes to avoid the glue fumes from contacting your eyes, as it can be rather unpleasant.

    These tips are useful for the liquid glue, especially if there is an accidental flood of a joint, but work just as well for the gel.

    As a final tip, if you have no spare green stuff, a rough and ready alternative is using sticky tack such as [url=]Blu tack[/url]. Once you have moulded it into a gap, just apply super glue, and it will react with the moisture in the blu-tack and make a hard putty. Again using a bit of moisture on the surface helps. This is not a substitute for remodelling with milliput or green stuff or for large area work (there can be issues with finger prints), but is useful for those casual modellers who are not confident with green stuff, or who just want to fill up a few joins or cracks.

  2. Thanks for the tips, very helpful, especially the bit about the blu-tack which I had never thought of before.


Thanks for your comment it is very much appreciated. I hope to hear more from you in the future!

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