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Pingo

Advice on glues, assembly, etc., please, for hard plastic minis

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So I've been given some hard plastic models, styrene, I think. They come in grey hard plastic and mostly on rectangular sprues anyway.

 

One is Malifaux's "Whiskey Golem" (or, as my husband said, a wooden steampunk robot), one is Perry Miniatures "Medieval Cottage 1300-1700," and one is a set of Pegasus Hobbies "Gothic City Building Small Set #1."

 

The Gothic Building set snaps together but the makers recommend glue for some delicate parts. The other two must be glued.

 

Can I ask what glues people recommend for this sort of model? I gather there is some sort of special plastic solvent glue for plastic models, but I haven't really played around with it. My children used superglue on their Games Workshop plastic armies because, apart from that one incident of setting the cotton opera glove on fire, they could safely use it.

 

What I have at the moment are several types of superglue and epoxy.

 

Looking at the cottage, I am concerned about whether the model will hold together. It's basically just flat walls glued together at the edges. The structural engineer in me itches to put interior corner reinforcement and braces inside. Is this overkill? Will the proper glue help its integrity?

 

I also note that two of the kits contain nothing in the way of assembly diagrams or instuctions. Should I take this as a given in hard plastic models and treat them as a sort of IQ test?

Edited by Pingo
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I've put together a few hard plastic pieces. I rough up the joining parts a bit and then use super glue. I prefer Loctite gel or Gorilla Glue Superglue, no need to pin as plastic generally isn't heavy enough to require it, but I can see you doing so if they are BIG pieces.

Edited by ub3r_n3rd
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For polystyrene plastic models I use Testors Liquid Cement # 3507C.

 

It works by slightly melting the surfaces of the two pieces you're assembling. The plastic then rehardens creating a very strong bond.

It has to be polystyrene to polystyrene though. 0ther plastics and materials won't work.

 

I suggest testing it out on any spare plastic sprues to see if they're polystyrene.

 

It's also great for removing mold lines on polystyrene minis. Just put a very thin layer on a toothpick and run it lightly along the mold line. It melts the mold line off.

 

For other plastics, I'd try a combination of superglued and/or Two part epoxy.

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I prefer actual plastic glue to superglue for plastic models. Superglue will get brittle over time and I have literally seen plastic models fall apart. My preferred plastic glue is Plastruct Plastic Weld Cement or Testors Model Master Liquid Cement. This will handle both the Perry and the Pegasus buildings.

 

Although the Malifaux mini may say its made from plastic its not from a plastic that will work with either of those two glues, that one will probably require superglue or epoxy.

 

Hard plastic models usually come with at least exploded diagrams, its going to depend on the manufacturer quite a bit. The glue will hold those joints just fine. You can reinforce them with additional plastic (from the sprues themselves) if you want. Plastic cement literally melts the plastic on each side to create the bond. Once they are together they are not likely to come apart on you although you might be able to pry them apart if you are quick enough or didn't use enough glue.

 

Depending on the model, and this is how I would approach a building like these, I would assemble match up the two surfaces to be glue and then apply the liquid cement at the top of the joint and allow capillary action to do my work for me. I might turn it over and apply glue from the bottom as well, or even lay one piece flat and apply it evenly across the joint. The answer is "it depends". 

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Tenax 7R, Plastruct Plastic Weld, Tamiya Extra Thin Plastic Cement, ....

 

They're all styrene solvents and they allow you to weld styrene pieces together. When done carefully, this is very reliable and quite strong.

 

Technique: Touch a drop of cement to the seam and allow the capillary action to pull it in. Then hold for a few seconds and Bob's your uncle.

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Oh, and I should probably mention that the solvents tend to be flammable and quite volatile organic chemicals like MEK and acetone, so take appropriate precautions when you use them. (Cyanoacrylates are no walk in the park either, though.)

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I use the Testors Model Master glue with the needle applicator. I haven't built a styrene model kit in a while so I don't have any on hand to get the part number from.

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I have found buried in the depths of the house an ancient tube of Duco Plastic Model Cement, probably unused.

 

Would this be suitable?

 

As for the Malifaux model, I was half expecting resin, but it really does seem to be hard grey plastic molded in parts on a rectangular sprue just like the other hard plastic multipart models I've seen.

 

I can test a bit of its sprue with plastic glue (once I've settled on an appropriate one).

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Yes, the Duco should work. I don't know if age will be a factor or not with that stuff. I don't like the tube version its messy. Its going to come out as a blob and is usually applied with a toothpick to one of the surfaces to be glued.

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I use Revell Contacta Professional for all my styrene models (not sure if you can get this in the States), and it works perfectly well with the Wyrd plastics. The Wyrd forums do have a thread about what glue to use with their plastics, as some plastic cements work well, but others seem to have problems...

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I have found buried in the depths of the house an ancient tube of Duco Plastic Model Cement, probably unused.

Would this be suitable?

As for the Malifaux model, I was half expecting resin, but it really does seem to be hard grey plastic molded in parts on a rectangular sprue just like the other hard plastic multipart models I've seen.

I can test a bit of its sprue with plastic glue (once I've settled on an appropriate one).

There's a few companies that have made hard plastic minis on sprues that aren't polystyrene. Mantic and Privateer Press are two that I know offhand, but there have been others. The sprue test is the best way to be sure.

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The newer plastic Malifaux models are styrene. Model cement, like airplane glue or Testors, works by literally melting the plastic together and then evaporating as our good Darsc and Heisler have pointed out already. When I assembled a Malifaux crew recently, I used Testors, transferring it from tube to model joint with a toothpick; a VERY small amount will do, ghod help you if you screw up or the tube decides to let go suddenly while you're too close to the model; the stuff will melt styrene like taffy.

The GOOD news is that a tiny dab will hold arms and heads on; simply hold it in place and press gently for about half a minute, and then you can let go. It isn't DRY, but it will usually hold small parts without support. It literally welds plastic and then evaporates.

If your buildings are styrene, the same thing will work. If they are not -- say resin or PVC -- I usually use two-part five minute epoxy.

NOTE: I recommend Zap-A-Gap and particularly Gorilla Glue brand Super Glue; Gorilla in particular is more flexible and less brittle than many cyanoacrylates, and seems more durable to me.

 

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I think the tube glues are plastic dissolved in one of the same sorts of solvent used for the thin glue. As a result, they act kind of like concrete, in that they will build up a lump if they're not used sparingly or very carefully smoothed down after application.

 

This means that they can fill gaps that the pure solvents can't, and they'll stay in place where the solvents will run off, but they will also leave visible residue and will scar surfaces more than the thin stuff will.

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As mentioned, definitely test the glue before use.

 

 The old tube of glue should be okay for use as long as it wasn't opened. I've successfully used Testors model glue that I've had sitting around for years on a number of occasions.

If it has been opened, there may well be dried glue clogging up the tube even with the cap still on, and you may or may not be able to get it flowing again by pushing a pin into it. Back in my plastic model-building days, I often had to cut open a tube in order to get at the remaining glue inside.

 

You will most definitely want to be using it in a well-ventilated area, of course. While assembling the buildings, I'd have a small fan going on your work table. While too many glue fumes can be rather entertaining, it won't do too much for the quality of your assembly, lol.

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I used a 20 year old bottle of Testors liquid cement to glue my hard plastic KD pinups.  It seems to have melted the parts together just fine.

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