Friday, October 21, 2011

A Matter of Opinion: The Glue that Binds

Yes folks, that right. There is more than one type of glue out there, and don't let your local GW store tell you any different. No matter how much they want to sell you that pretty little (emphasis on 'little') bottle with their logo on it, shop around and try out a few brands before you pick a favorite!

Or just read this article and take it from my experience on what has and hasn't been able to glue my models, and my fingers, together reliably.

Since this is one of the "A Matter of Opinion" series of articles, please note that the only glue brands and types I'll be offering any opinions on will be ones I've had personal experience with. Lets dive in, shall we?

Super Glue
Insert Brand Name Here. No matter what the brand it is, I don't care for super glue. I do not like the viscosity of it, nor the bonding times associated with it. I would glue my fingers to the model more often than not trying to hold the glued pieces together. You might say that I used too much, I'd say that the glue ran. You could always hasten the bonding time with a little hit of Zip Kicker, but then you've just killed the strength of the bond, in my opinion. Yay, let's make an already brittle bond worse! No, thank you.

Games Workshop Plastic Glue
Credit where credit is due, this isn't a bad product. It does the job it sets out to do, just as well as any other plastic-specific glue out there. I don't care too much for the drying/bonding time on it though, a little long for my tastes. The price point on this little bottle of glue, though is the sticking point (hah-hah) for me. Too much cash for too little product. The brush-tip on the end of it is nice though.

Games Workshop Super Glue
Once more the price point kills it as a contender for me, as does the fact that it's super glue. See above comments on any other brand of super glue.

Super Glue Gel
Once more, Insert Brand Name Here. I like Gel types of super glue and have used many brands through the years. I like the viscosity of them, I like that they do not run and drip all over the place, and I like that they have a certain amount of hold to them even before they set. You don't have to use your fingers like vices 90% of the time, and save a bit of the skin on your fingertips in the process. I will say that if you like the Gel style of super glue, try the Loctite brand in the blue and gray hard bottle.

Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel
God's gift to my hobby. Obviously this is just my opinion, but hey, that's the point of this article, right? I differentiate this from their standard Gel because I honestly believe it bonds better, as I have tried both. This one comes in a blue and black hard bottle. The applicator tip is nice and precise, and even better, you're squeezing the sides of the container, which then pinch an internal tube, giving you much more control over the amount of glue you use, as well as limiting any potential mess. The price is a bit higher than some other Gel brands, but I feel it's worth it, and you do get a decent amount for your money.

Gorilla Glue
Okay fine, I 'll admit I have never personally used this glue on a model myself… For good reason! While Gorilla Glue may be all that and a bag of chips for wood and other household projects, do not use this on your models. And yes, I wouldn't be even including it in this list if I haven't actually been asked about it by someone who shall remain anonymous. Gorilla Glue actually activates with trace water particles in the surfaces your binding it with, which is little to none in most of our cases. Worse than that though, it EXPANDS to fill gaps, pores and holes in said surfaces that it's binding together. We do not like this, Sam, I am.

Testors Model Master Plastic Cement
God's OTHER gift to my hobby. I use this when I don't ever want a model to come apart. You may then be wondering why I would want a plastic model to come apart in the first place. Simple, what if I make a mistake and need to repose? The window to do something like that with this stuff is much narrower, beyond the fact that it sort of melts the plastic together to form that super-strong bond. I mostly use this for basing applications and vehicle construction.

PVA Glue
Yes, I included basic, white glue here because of the variety of applications I use it for. Of course, most of those applications usually have something to do with either basing my figures, or a display base. These include basic flocking, ballast as well as snow applications.

Green Stuff
THIS IS NOT GLUE. It may be tacky before it cures, but it will not form a bond between two surfaces once it cures. Please, just… just don't. Not glue, people, I can't stress that enough.

Just in case you missed it among the listings, my two favorites are the Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel and the Testors Model Master Plastic Cement. These two are my work horses of choice when it comes to The Glue that Binds. That doesn't mean they have to be yours, or that I'm right and you're wrong, etc. I'd actually enjoy some opinions on what works best for you, and why!

After all, it's only a Matter of Opinion.

- Tim


  1. Super Glue, just like Primer is always one of those things that everyone does different. I am a Krazy Glue Brush on man myself and I simply will not build models if I am out of it or if i can't use a brush to apply it - period!

    Just as much as I love it, out other local modelling guru, CVinton hates it forever and doesn't understand why I use it - just as much as I would't glue dried macaroni with his glue. It's like the rituals baseball players have. Don't even get us started on primers!

    Anyway, I am ranting, so the reason I use the Krazy Glue brush on religiously is the brush gives me absolute control over the glue and the Krazy Glue bonds within seconds, usually with just enough that I can make a split second adjustment upon contact just before it is set forever. I also tend to pin my models, so bonds are usually improved by that, but even when I don't pin, the bond is much stronger than I have experienced with other brands from my pre-brush on past.

    My two cents, I look forward to all the glue opinions your article is sure to generate!

  2. Good article. I'll have to give the gel glue a try. I don't like how super glue forms up around the hole and makes it hard to put the cap on.

  3. IMO, you're off-target regarding your comments about Gorilla Glue (at least Gorilla SUPER GLUE - the product you have pictured above). Excerpt from the Gorilla Glue FAQ page:

    How is Gorilla Super Glue different from Gorilla Glue?

    Gorilla Super Glue is a cyanoacrylate adhesive. Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane adhesive.

    Gorilla Super Glue does not require extended clamping or moisture to activate. It does not foam during set up. In addition, Gorilla Super Glue is recommended primarily for indoor applications only.

    Gorilla Super Glue is ideal for smaller repairs that require an instant bond and projects where clamping is not needed.

    I've use this product a few times, and it works a treat for me. It's a bit thicker than a regular cyanoacrylate, but not quite as viscous as super glue gel.

  4. Ahhh... see, I hadn't known that the Gorilla Super Glue was any different. Thanks for Clearing that up, Ironclad :)

    I'm happy to admit being wrong, when I'm wrong, trust me! You like it though? I may have to give it a shot.

  5. Pfft. Who says Green Stuff isn't for bonds? I've got tons of models held together with green stuff. It's great for big, heavy metal models. Like Warmachines and Horde Warbeasts.

    What I do is I use a drill -- and not a hobby drill, and actual power drill! -- to make a big nasty hole, then cut some small pieces of coat hanger wire and bend them at slight angles. The idea is that you want to create a "pocket hole" where the inside cavity is larger than the opening to the hole. With a power drill you can wiggle it around a bit and get a nice cavity.

    Fill all the holes and gaps with green stuff, and press them together. Of course, if you let go, it falls apart. Which is why I make sure I can hold it together with one hand. Then I take Zap-A-Gap and drip it into the joint - it reacts with the green stuff and hardens it instantly! The end result is a super-hard resin block that penetrates into each piece being joined and has excellent hold. Using this method I've assembled everything from Carniveans to Titans in under thirty minutes from opening the box to priming - and more importantly, the models have survived being swept off the coffee table by my evil, evil dog's wagging tail.

    Of course, this only works with big, heavy pieces. But I've also found that drilling a hole slightly bigger than the pin I'll be using, filling the hole with green stuff, and then using zap-a-gap as a zip kicker creates a much stronger bond for tiny pieces than just using pins and glue.

  6. Testors is, definitely, the best plastic glue out there.

    Loctite is the other brand I tend to use when it comes to super gluing.

    Worth noting that as long as green stuff isn't wet, and is still tacky, I find it bonds to surfaces just fine... now, that's "bonds to surfaces" as in "I'll stick it on something and craft it, not "I'll stick it between two parts and assume it'll hold them together. For those times, I use a sturdy wire skeleton and build the greenstuff around it.

  7. I know this is kind of an old post but my 2 cents:

    I've used Gorilla Super Glue and the one reason I like it better than other is because it actually has rubber in it, which makes it a lot better at resisting drops from the tabletop. It doesn't dry quite as brittle as other super glues. What I don't like, is you have to hold things together for a long time.

    For plastics, I tend to use the GW stuff (though it seems to go everywhere) and a glue called Tenax 7R. Tenax is great stuff, it's not too thick and seems to actually bond the two pieces together for a super strong hold.

    1. Toss in your two cents, and add a nickel or three in whatever age posts you would like, I'm thankful to hear from you!

      I'm hearing more and more good things about Gorilla Glue Super Glue since I wrote this article, and honestly, I'm happy to hear it! The more I'm exposed to, the better I can give everything a fair shake, and even a fair re-shake :).

      You've really got me intrigued about the Tenax 7R though, I need to find me some...

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