Cement & Glue: Tips and Types
Plastic cement, CA glue, white glue, etc.
Plastic cement typically refers to styrene cement (the stuff that 99% of models are made of). I tend to use Tamiya Extra Thin with the green cap for 90% of my builds. It has a fat jar that does not easily tip over, as well as one of the smallest applicator brushes in the business. In fact, the bottles are great for other cements as well, so don't throw out empty ones.
- Tamiya Extra Thin (green cap)
- Hold the pieces in place and wick the cement into the cracks. Capillary action pulls it in.
- Can refill with Tamiya's Airbrush Cleaner (same formula)
- Tamiya Extra Thin Quick Setting (lime green cap)
- Works with capillary action like regular extra thin
- Some plastics melt too much with Extra Thin, so this is a great alternative.
- I recommend this for Bandai kits.
- Tamiya Standard Cement (white cap)
- You can replace the big applicator brush with a smaller brush from the Extra Thin bottle.
- Use an old paintbrush to apply cement on large areas quickly.
- Model Master black
- Model Master black dries much slower than Tamiya regular and allows flexing while it dries.
- Great for individual track links
- I like to put it in an old/clean Tamiya Extra Thin jar.
- Other types
- Limonene is a naturally-derived/less-toxic cement.
- ABS cements works with non polystyrene plastics.
CA or Super Glue
Cyanoacrylate (CA) or super Glue is what I turn to for gluing brass, resin, wire, and fingers to styrene. Applying it can be tricky, as well as selecting the right viscosity. Ergo, it takes a bit of practice, especially with how fast it sets. Now, CA glue does lose it's effectiveness over time, so consider replacing your glue bottles every 6 months to a year. Also note, finger oils will fog up if the CA vapors hit them (aka don't use this stuff on clear parts).
- Thick CA (I LOVE VMS THICK CA)
- Can be applied with the glue bottle or toothpick.
- Great for parts that need extra time to align them
- Thin CA
- Stuff is like water...be warned.
- Best applied with an applicator like the Glue Looper. Put some Thin CA in a small cap, dip the Glue Looper into the CA.
- Hold the part in place exactly where you want it, and tap the edge with the Glue Looper. The CA will wick into the crevasses like Tamiya Extra Thin. Use a lighter to clean the Looper tip.
- You might also try taping one end of a large brass piece down, then apply glue to the other end. This helps in keeping the part aligned.
- Beer bottle caps work great to hold thin CA.
- Black CA
- Useful if you need to know where the excess is for sanding purposes
PVA White Glue
PVA or White glue is very common and quite versatile. I have several types and it has many specific uses:
- Titebond Wood glue
- used for bonding wood or foam-board together (for dioramas)
- Also great for bonding air-dry clay and plaster molds to a base
- Formula 560
- General use white glue, great for canopies and clear parts
- Scenic Cement
- This is a heavily thinned white glue
- Great for gluing sand/terrain on
- You can put it in a mister bottle...just make sure to shake it very well before use
Epoxy glue is a special type of bonding agent that requires 2 parts to be mixed equally to bond. I have everything from 5-minute epoxies to the illustrious JB Weld.
- Best to mix with toothpicks on wax paper
- Great for odd plastics that cement won't bond to
- Great for bonding plastic to wood
- Perfect for attaching structural supports (like brass tubes to wings)
- You must brace or clamp things as the glue hardens (some epoxies take 24 hours)
Good tip on glues