Scale modeling is an art that requires precision, attention to detail, and a variety of specialised materials. Among these materials, glue plays a vital role in the success of the model. It is the glue that holds the different components of a model together and ensures that the finished product looks and feels realistic.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the different types of glue used in scale modeling, their properties, and when to use each type. We will also explore some popular examples of each glue type.
Thin Cement Glue
Thin cement glue, also known as plastic model cement, is a specialised adhesive which is used to bond plastic components in scale modeling. It is a solvent-based glue that works by melting the plastic components and fusing them together.
Thin cement glue is ideal for bonding plastic components such as model kits, miniatures, and figurines. It is also useful for filling gaps and creating seamless joints between plastic components.
When to use thin cement glue:
- Bonding plastic components in scale modeling
- Filling gaps and seams in plastic models
- Creating seamless joints between plastic components
Popular examples of thin cement glue:
- Tamiya Extra Thin Cement – A fast-drying and high-strength cement glue that is ideal for bonding plastic components in scale modeling.
- Mr. Hobby Cement – A specialized cement glue that is designed for use with plastic model kits.
Cyanoacrylate (CA) Glue
Cyanoacrylate, commonly known as CA glue or superglue, is a fast-drying, strong, and durable adhesive that is widely used in scale modeling. It is ideal for bonding small parts and materials such as plastic, metal, and wood.
CA glue works by reacting with the moisture in the air to form a bond. The bond created by CA glue is permanent and can withstand stress and vibration. However, it can be brittle and may break under excessive force or pressure.
When to use CA glue:
- Bonding small parts or materials
- Filling gaps
- Quick repairs
Popular examples of CA glue:
- Zap-A-Gap CA+ – A fast-drying, high-strength CA glue that is ideal for bonding plastics and metals.
- Gorilla Super Glue – A versatile and strong CA glue that can bond a wide range of materials.
- Loctite Super Glue – A fast-setting CA glue that forms a strong and durable bond.
PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) Glue
PVA glue, also known as white glue or school glue, is a water-based adhesive that is widely used in scale modeling. PVA glue dries clear, is non-toxic, and has a low odor, making it ideal for use with children or in confined spaces.
PVA glue is ideal for bonding porous materials such as paper, cardboard, and balsa wood. It is not as strong as CA glue or epoxy glue, but it is flexible and can be sanded or painted over once dry.
When to use PVA glue:
- Bonding paper, cardboard, and balsa wood
- Applying decals and labels
- Attaching landscaping materials such as grass and foliage
Epoxy glue is a two-part adhesive that consists of a resin and a hardener. When the two components are mixed, they react to form a strong, durable, and waterproof bond. Epoxy glue is ideal for bonding large or heavy components and materials such as metal, wood, and fiberglass.
Epoxy glue has a longer curing time than CA glue, but it creates a stronger and more durable bond. It is also more flexible than CA glue, which makes it ideal for bonding components that are subjected to stress or vibration.
When to use epoxy glue:
- Bonding large or heavy components
- Filling gaps
- Bonding materials with different coefficients of thermal expansion