Hobby Basics: Glue

Now, everyone’s different, but in my case, my models go to actual war when I play with them.  I am not only rough with my little toy soldiers, but also quite clumsy, so I need the glue in my life.

In this series, I am going to break down the essentials of the hobby.  Everything you need to know to get the basics right.  Today, we will talk about glue.

Glue may seem like a simple enough thing, I mean, part A, glue, part B, voilà.  But, as simple as it may be, it’s always a source of much questioning. Also, it’s worth exploring because there are a plethora of options available to you, and they are not all created equal.

As I’ve said in the intro, my models tend to go through actual war in their time in my collection…  I’d say I will try to be more delicate or less clumsy, but I think I am hopeless in this regard.

But it’s alright, I’ve come to terms with this condition, mainly because of varnish and glue. 

If you’re anything like me, building models is the part I enjoy the less out of the hobby.  Painting, like that.  Basing, like that.  Buying boxes, loooove that, but building, not so much.

These factors combined makes me some sort of a connoisseur when it comes to all of the dirty tips and tricks to make building models easier; and glue plays a big part of that.

The Best Glue Advice Ever

Glue is often ignored or overlooked because it seems simple, and yet, there’s a lot of options available to you, each with their own pros and cons.

Before we go any further, let’s put this out there:  Hobby-brand glue is more often than not re-branded and overpriced than their generic counterpart.  

Glue is pretty much always the same thing, the main difference being the texture of it and container.  If a brand says ‘made with our secret recipe’, I can guarantee the added ingredient is love, and it’s the same.

Now it is the same, except for texture and container, so those are actually the things we want to look for.

Texture usually varies from thin to thick.  Thin being something like water so very liquid, and think being gel-like, almost like toothpaste. 

Thick is nice because it doesn’t run everywhere, but it will overflow and show around the parts you’re gluing if you put too even a little bit too much.

Thin is great because it won’t leave traces, but it does have a tendency to run everywhere and you end up with your fingers covered in it.

 

Let’s dive into the different kinds of glue used more frequently in our hobby.

Plastic Glue

Plastic glue is perhaps the bread and butter of the hobby, especially if you are mostly into gundam and Games Workshop models, because they are all made of plastic.

And this is the most important thing about plastic glue:  it only works to glue plastic on plastic.  Not plastic on your textured bases, not plastic on a resin hand.  Plastic-on-plastic action only.

That is because the way plastic glue works is by melting the plastic a little bit, and as it sets, the two pieces will be weld together.  If one of the pieces doesn’t melt, it won’t weld.  If it doesn’t weld it won’t stick, if it doesn’t stick, it won’t make you happy.

Because of this, I am very fond of the thinner kinds… in fact, I had to buy the thick one for the sole purpose of making this article because I don’t use it ever.

Plastic glue being a little bit more hobby-specific, going with brand names makes sense. 

One of the most popular one is the Tamiya extra thin cement.  It is quite fairly priced, and comes with a little brush applicator so it’s really easy to use.

I’m also a big fan of the Citadel plastic glue, which surprisingly enough, doesn’t come with an insane GW price tag.  

It is very slightly thicker than the Tamiya, which my clumsiness likes, and the applicator is a thin metal straw, so you don’t lose much in terms of precision. 

Super Glue

Now let’s move on to cyanoacrylate, more commonly known as super glue or crazy glue.  

This product is great because it glues everything together: metal, plastic, resin, your hands, everything!

This is the real money saver, because this is such a generic household product, there is no need to buy a ‘hobby brand’, this is 99% the same thing, again, with different thickness and container.  

I like these two here, they are best sellers at my store, also the only ones we carry.

The bigger one is called Orbix, it’s a low cost generic brand that’s on the thicker side.  It’s similar to most hobby-branded super glues, but cheaper.

It’s great for everything; I like it a lot sticking models on textured bases because it fills the small holes between your models feet and the texture of the base.

The small tube 4-pack is my all-time favorite.

The name changes every so often depending on which warehouse had the best deal when I place my orders, but they are always the same thing:  very thin, super cheap, and in 4 small tubes.

The biggest flaw of cyanoacrylate is that it sticks on anything, including the pot and lid, which spawn a monstrosity of lid-fused-pot after a while of careless hobbying.  I rarely have this problem with the small tubes, because I use it all quickly.  

And even if it does become clogged and stuck, well it’s not my whole glue operation, it’s one of 4 small tubes, so no big deal.

The activator

The coolest part of cyanoacrylate is this product right here:  the activator. 

It has a bunch of different names, sometimes magic, sometimes accelerator, but again, this is always the exact same thing packaged and branded differently.

What it does is allow cyanoacrylate to set instantly.

Not really fast. Instantly.

This is the real key to using super glue, and it makes bulk assembly a joke.  It goes without saying, this is my favorite method of putting together my models.

Instant pro tip:

Maybe I shouldn’t have to say this, but also, there are instructions on shampoo, so I’ll say it:  Make sure that your activator doesn’t come in contact with your glue.  

There are a handful of other kinds of glue used in the hobby, like PVA and Epoxy, but we’ll talk more about those in another article.

Until next time,

No excuses; hobby like a champion!

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