Adhesives & Glue


Cut off the top half of the eye of a fine sewing needle, forming a forked end. The sharp end is put into a cork. Simply dip the open eye into a drop of super glue. A tiny amount of glue will stay in the eye for transfer to your model. The finer the needle, the smaller the drop. By the way, did you know that super glue evaporates more slowly if it is refrigerated? And if you have trouble keeping the nozzle of your super glue tube clear then, after you have dispensed the quantity you want, stand the bottle upright and squeeze the corners, creating a vacuum inside which draws down any glue remaining in the nozzle. STRONGER BONDS A stronger bond can be made with epoxy cement by adding a small amount of the dust sanded or filed from the material you are joining. When unlike materials are cemented, add dust from the harder of the two materials. Keep a container of aluminium powder on hand for use in joining various metals together , or to other materials. These particles unitize the joint and add considerable strength.


Most tubes of toothpaste, and similar tubes containing ointment, glue and so on, have a cap with a recessed top. This recess is handy for holding small amounts of superglue. The stuff won’t dry as fast in this little reservoir as it would if you dropped it on a flat palette. Glue the cap to a piece of cardboard or sheet styrene to keep it from tipping over when in use.


Use the plastic lids from margarine and similar containers as a pallet for mixing epoxy gap filling putty,and superglues.


Acetone, bought as a manicure solvent, is an inexpensive solution to removing superglue from hands and tools. It is also a lot cheaper than buying acetone or other superglue solvents. But remember that acetone is deadly to plastic or chrome and should only be used in a well ventilated area.


The plastic coated twist-ties that come with plastic bags are great for holding plastic kit parts together while the glue dries. The ties apply pressure in a concentrated area and the plastic coating won’t mar the surface of the model.


Superglue will not stick to graphite so, when applying small drops use a pencil, or if you need something finer, use the lead from a propelling pencil.


When assembling models with super glue, a white deposit is sometimes left around the join. This is called chlorosis and is a precipitate of cured super glue. Thick slow-curing super glues produce less of this white ‘crud’ but a coat of Johnson’s Klear Self Shining Floor Polish retards the formation of chlorosis on clear parts. A fan blowing across your work area will help to stop the precipitate from settling on your models. Should the deposit already be present on a model, sand it off with fine-grit sandpaper or polishing compound before painting.
(Note: Many American model magazines refer to Future Floor Polish in articles. This is available in New Zealand as Johnson’s Klear Self Shining Floor Polish and is obtainable at most supermarkets.)


To clean the hardened glue from the dispensing tip of your superglue tube, soak the tip in acetone overnight. In the morning you can clean the softened glue off with a toothpick and screw the tip back on for a good clean start.


Have you ever applied just a little too much super glue when joining parts on a structure or other project? To get rid of the excess, simply take a small piece of paper towel and roll it into a tight cone. Use the point of the cone to wipe off the extra glue and then throw the paper towel cone away otherwise you will get glue in the wrong place if you try to use it again. Use a new paper towel cone every time.


Ever get annoyed when a sticky price label covers a photo on a box lid, or on something you want to use? First, peel off as much of the price label as you can without scratching the product it is stuck on. Then spray some WD-40 onto the rest of the label or glue. This will not only loosen the sticky label, but when polished with a clean, soft cloth, will give a nice shiny clean surface.


Here are some tips for using super glue: 1. Wipe excess glue from the tip every time you use the glue. The cap will fit if the tip stays clean.
2. Instead of struggling with a finer tip, put a drop or two on a scrap of glass or plastic and use a toothpick to apply it from there.
3. Refrigerate super glue to make it last longer.
4. To clear the nozzle tip, instead of using a pin, use a small size drill bit. The drill bit can be cleaned with acetone.


To remove stubborn tube caps on glue or paint without the foil tube twisting or splitting, hold the tube immersed in boiling water for a few seconds. Use a kettle or small pot for this procedure and only immerse the inverted neck of the tube in the still boiling water. Take care and wear hand protection against the steam. About thirty seconds should do the trick, then use a cloth to gently twist off the cap which should unscrew without any problems.


Methyl Ethyl Ketone, or MEK, is a carcinogen and in liquid form it can be absorbed through the skin. As well, its fumes can be inhaled. It can not be eliminated from your system afterwards and accumulates in the body. Just take the necessary precautions when using the stuff.


Acetone is also dangerous stuff to use. It too can be absorbed through the skin and can cause long-term liver damage. Wearing gloves when working with acetone will help modellers live a longer life.


If you have had trouble waiting for cyanoacrylate glues to set, you are not alone. Sometimes they adhere faster to your fingers that they do to the plastic model. The reason is simple. Cyanoacrylate adhesives (CA) were developed in the first instance for surgical purposes using water as a catalyst. The moisture in the skin on your fingers therefore, causes the glue to set immediately. Plastic does not have any inherent moisture so when you use any CA adhesives to join plastics, the glue must absorb moisture from the air so as to set hard. If you have a tight fit to your join, very little CA is exposed along the edges so it takes much longer to absorb enough moisture to secure the bond. Just be patient.


Drill small holes into mating surfaces and flow superglue into them before superglueing parts of a kitset together. The glue will act like connecting rods for a stronger joint.


When fixing two parts of a model together, tape them together to check the fit. they may need a small adjustment. When they are OK, run a bead of super glue along the seam line using a thin wire applicator. To do this, squeeze a small puddle of super glue into the cap of a soft drink bottle, dip the wire into the glue and apply. When the wire gets encrusted with dry super glue, just scrape the wire clean with a hobby knife.


 Superglue fumes and liquid can easily fog clear plastic parts if you are not careful. You should be able to remove this fogging by wiping the plastic with a soft brush or cotton bud that has been dipped in superglue debonder. If in doubt, experiment on a scrap of clear plastic such as a piece of sprue or tree to make sure the clear part won’t be affected.


It is best to buy items in bulk that you are going to use a lot of in building your layout. PVA glue is one such item. It is surprising how much of this stuff you will get through.


Once super-glue or cyanoacrylate goes thick or hard with age, throw it out because it cannot be thinned. If you are not using it regularly, keep it in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. Make sure the bottle is clearly marked and preferably sealed inside another container so you don’t accidentally use it for something else.


Problems sometimes arise when gluing smooth plastic surfaces together. Try roughing the surfaces to be glued with coarse sandpaper to give the glue a ‘key’ to hold. The join will be much stronger using this tip.