There is no doubt that putting together miniature model kits is an activity that brings a special kind of satisfaction. That is, however, if you can do it perfectly right. Being detail-oriented, people who love this hobby simply will not tolerate imperfections and errors.
Apart from patience and ability, the most important requirement for making a diorama or modeling project is to have the right materials and tools. If you want to put together a miniature model kit, you will need a glue that is perfectly compatible with plastic.
With all that in mind, and in order to help you choose wisely, this buyer’s guide will review five of the best glues for plastic models on the market. Furthermore, it will provide useful information about using this type of glue to create diorama projects or assemble model kits.
5 Best Glue for Plastic Models – Comparison Table
|Testors 3509C||1 minute||25.8 ml||4 x 1 x 8 inches (4 units)||3.2 ounces|
|Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue||10-20 minutes||20 ml||1 x 4 x 7 inches||2.08 ounces|
|Lineco Books by Hand Ph Neutral Adhesive 16Oz||30 minutes to 1 hour||473 mililiters||2.5 x 2.4 x 6.3 inches||1.25 pounds|
|Pacer Zap-A-Gap CA+ Pt-04 1/4 oz||20 seconds||7.3 mililiters||4.8 x 1.1 x 0.7 inches||0.32 ounces|
|Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue Fine Tip||3-6 minutes||88.7 mililiters||2.6 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches||19.95 pounds|
1. Testors 3509C Plastic Cement Value Pack – Best Quick-Drying Glue for Plastic Models
This cement for plastic is great at joining plastics that are often featured in modeling kits, including polystyrene and ABS plastic. It dries very quickly, and it’s malleable enough to be used effectively. Once dry, it produces a strong hold that is very durable.
Without a doubt, one of the greatest advantages that this product has to offer is its precision. Because its formula has the perfect density, the Testors 3509C Plastic Cement is easy to apply on regular and irregular surfaces alike.
Despite not being thick enough to be difficult to manipulate, the product is not runny or watery in the least. Better yet, its delivery system is simple and effective. That is even truer when you use one of the four precision tips that are included in this value pack.
Application and Uses
Practical, effective and compatible with various different types of plastics, the Testors 3509C Plastic Cement Value Pack is great for embarking on DIY, model kit building and craft projects. It is so effective, as a matter of fact, that it can even be used to make small repairs on complex plastic objects such as certain types of electronics. Because it is easy to apply and very precise, this glue for plastic models can be used to create amazing small details.
Drying Time and Hold
As previously mentioned, the Testors Plastic Cement is a glue for plastic models that has the advantage of drying very quickly. As a matter of fact, it curates in under a minute, making it one of the fastest drying glues of its kind.
Taking everything into account, it can be said with confidence that the Testors 3509C Plastic Cement Value Pack is a product very much worth looking into. Despite its affordability, it lasts a great deal and it’s very durable. This, in combination with its two-year shelf life, makes it a great go-to glue for plastics to have in the house. What is more, this product dries quickly, it’s easy to apply, it does not get clogged and, best of all, it’s incredibly strong.
2. Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue 20-Gram Bottle (1365882) – Best All-Around Glue for Plastic Models
Featuring a super-strong formula and compatible with a wide range of materials, this product by Loctite is great for heavy-duty projects and repairs. However, it also lends itself to being used to create fine details such as those you would see in miniature modeling projects. In order to make it as easy as possible for the user, this glue for plastic models comes in an easy-squeeze bottle that holds 0.7 ounces (20 grams) of the product.
Uses and Compatibility
Quite amazingly, the Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue works perfectly with most types of plastic, including difficult ones such as Plexiglas, polycarbonate, polystyrene and PVC.
Even better, it works with a wide range of non-plastic materials, including leather, cork, paper, cardboard, wood, chipboard, fabric, metal, ceramic and rubber. As a result, this is a great option for DIY model makers that want to combine several different materials into a single creation.
In order to apply the glue, this Loctite product uses an easy-squeeze bottle that is complemented with a specialized precision tip. Despite being long, this precision tip does not clog easily. To ensure this even further, the manufacturers created a cap that punctures the opening of the bottle as it closes, preventing the glue from drying and creating a blockage. Featuring a low viscosity, the glue flows very well, making it easy and quick to apply.
Without a doubt, the Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue is a great product. Quick-drying and very powerful, this glue for plastic models can help you create durable, solid and stable projects. The fact that it works with a wide range of materials is definitely a plus that adds to its versatility. As a result of all this, the Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue is a glue that’s good for both arts and crafts projects and heavy-duty repairs.
3. Lineco Books by Hand Ph Neutral Adhesive 16Oz – Best Neutral Glue for Plastic Models
This product by Lineco was created with bookbinding in mind. However, despite not being specifically formulated for modeling, the Lineco Books by Hand Ph Neutral Adhesive is versatile enough to bond plastic (and paper) pieces together effectively. Completely acid-free and totally clear, this glue is as neutral as it gets, expanding its potential uses. In the end, however, this product is better used for its main intended purpose: bookbinding.
One of the reasons why people use this product for a variety of tasks is its versatile formula. Due to its lack of viscosity and thickness, this glue is easy to apply. What is more, it dries fairly quickly. However, this formula is not very well-suited for bonding some of the rarest plastics on the market.
Even worse, it is often too runny or watery to fill gaps between plastic pieces. Where the Lineco Books by Hand really shines, however, is in the bonding of flat, close-fitting surfaces, particularly when they are not too solid.
Uses and Compatibility
Due to its formula, this product is especially well-suited for binding paper and paper-derivate materials, including cardboard. However, it is still versatile enough to be used on a decent number of plastics, including all the most common ones that are commonly used in plastic modeling kits.
Despite not being compatible with many types of plastic and some other materials, this glue is not without its advantages. Among them, the most notable is the product’s capability to be thinned with water in order to increase drying time as desired. Even better, this glue can be watered down after being applied, making it easy for users to make modifications that would be impossible with other products.
Book Binding Capabilities
Without a doubt, the Lineco Books by Hand Ph Neutral Adhesive is perfect for bookbinding. First of all, its formula integrates perfectly with softer materials such as paper and cardboard. Furthermore, its re-hydration capabilities make it a great material for creating certain types of arts and crafts projects. As if all that wasn’t enough, this glue dries perfectly clear, eliminating the need to cover up its existence through concealed application or awkward covering.
All in all, this multi-purpose glue product is definitely capable of helping you create a plastic model. However, its strengths are closer to the world of bookbinding than the world of plastic modeling. At any rate, this is a good option if you are planning on creating a model that is heavy on plastic or cardboard details. The fact that this glue works perfectly with styrofoam makes it an even better option for building complex dioramas.
4. Pacer Technology (Zap) Zap-A-Gap CA+ Pt-04 1/4 oz. – Best Multi-Purpose Glue for Plastic Models
More often than not, your modeling endeavors will heavily feature foam-like plastics such as styrofoam. For that reason, if you are embarking on a project of this kind, it’s a good idea to use a glue that reacts well to such materials.
Introducing the Pacer Technology Zap-A-Gap, a glue for plastic models that was formulated specifically to be used with the kind of plastics that are normally featured in modeling projects. In particular, this glue works well with kits for hobbyists.
Because it is formulated for being used on model kits specifically, this product comes in a practical, compact bottle that is easy to squeeze. Moreover, this bottle comes with a specially-designed easy application extended nozzle. Even better, this nozzle comes with a special cap that prevents clogging while simultaneously serving as an additional application tool. In order to further ensure durability, the product even has an extra security cap that keeps out oxygen whenever it’s not being used.
Pacer Technology’s Zap-A-Gap features an advanced formula that is perfect for assembling miniature models. With a medium level of viscosity, this formula provides a fantastic consistency that makes application easier and faster. The fact that this glue dries in only 20 seconds is also notable as it makes it practical and convenient.
As previously mentioned, this glue for plastic models works well with a variety of porous and non-porous surfaces. Apart from most plastics, this includes harder, heavier and more textured materials, including dense woods like bass and spruce. Quite incredibly, it even works well on oily surfaces. Consequently, if you want to use mixed materials to create your model, this glue may be a great choice. This is also a good choice if you want to use it as a go-to repairing glue to have in your home or workshop.
All accounted for, it can be said that the Pacer Technology Zap-A-Gap is one of the best specialized glues for model assembly. What is more, it makes for a very decent glue for general repairs. The fact that it works well with dense, porous materials such as some woods is definitely a big plus.
5. Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue Fine Tip 40ml – Best Extra-Thin Glue for Plastic Models
Ultra-thin, very strong and specially formulated for being used on polystyrene plastic, this cement glue by Tamiya is a great option for model building. Due to its consistency, it allows itself to be used on very small parts, bonding together miniatures with pinpoint-like precision.
Additionally, due to its high liquidity, this glue can seep into small cracks in order to fill them out. This is particularly helpful when trying to attach parts with small contact areas. What’s more, despite not being the quickest to dry on the market, its setting time is relatively low (three to six minutes).
As already mentioned, the Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue has a unique formula that is, at one time, ultra-thin and very strong. Due to its very low viscosity, it can seep into small cracks before solidifying, resulting in a better bonding between two porous surfaces (or a porous surface and a non-porous surface). At the same time, however, the formula has enough hold and drying speed to be used to attach parts that have been pre-fitted (such as those you will typically find in pre-made modeling kits).
Another great advantage that this product has over other glues for plastic is its quick setting capability. Once applied, this glue dries to the touch in less than one minute, and it’s fully curated in a maximum of six minutes. As a result, it allows you to work on your modeling projects without lengthy interruptions designed to allow a specific section to dry. At the same time, this feature reduces the amount of time you will have to spend holding together two separate pieces so they can properly bond.
Uses and Applications
Because it’s extra-thin, the Tamiya 87038 is not the best cement glue to be used for repairs or heavy-duty projects. Instead, this product is at its best when it is used to put together crafts projects that consist of small plastic parts. It also works very well with paper, cardboard and other materials that present flat, smooth surfaces and are not very heavy.
When working on vehicle figures and other such models, it should also be taken into account that this product is not compatible with an elastomer and similar materials as it can cause them to become brittle and, eventually, break.
Without a doubt, when used for its intended purposes, the Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin is a wonderful cement glue. However, due to its low viscosity and wateriness, it’s not very well suited for attaching heavy, dense materials such as wood. For that reason, this is a product that should be used on pre-made plastic models and other crafts that feature small parts and smooth, close-fitting surfaces. At any rate, when appropriately used, the Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue is a product that will not let you down.
Best Glue For Plastic Models – Buyer’s Guide
What to Look For When Buying Glue for Plastic Models
Perhaps the most important aspect of all glues, material compatibility will dictate what specific objects the product can be used on. For that reason, it’s important to find out what glue is compatible with before making its purchase. Typically, this information will be listed on the label of the product.
Drying time is the period it takes for the bonding agent to be solidified and strong enough to maintain two or more parts joined together. This time varies according to the formula of the glue. Some glues can take a few seconds while others can take up to an hour to fully dry. Depending on the type of craft you are attempting to create, you should take this into account.
Clamping time is the time you will have to hold together two parts after applying glue to them. When clamping two separate parts, you will have to maintain the hold perfectly still as the slightest movement could ruin the bonding process. Same as drying time, clamping time varies greatly according to the formula of the glue itself.
Viscosity refers to the density or consistency that a specific formula has, and it varies greatly according to the product. There are glues that are thick, medium, thin or extra-thin. More often than not, thicker glues tend to dry faster, allowing you more time to move things around before they are completely set. On the contrary, thin glues tend to dry very quickly but are better in terms of precision and cleanliness of application.
General Tips for Using Glue for Plastic Models
- Before applying the glue to a surface, always make sure it’s very clean. If it’s not, clean it thoroughly as loose particles, dirt and grease can prevent the parts from bonding successfully with each other.
- If you are having problems attaching two smooth surfaces together, you may want to rough them first using sandpaper. If not overtly done, this can increase the surface area that becomes in contact with the glue, resulting in a closer fit and a stronger bond.
- If possible, use a clamp or a similar object to hold together the two pieces you want to attach.
There is no doubt that, when the time comes to put together a plastic model, having the right glue can make everything easier and more enjoyable. Even more than that, using the right glue can ensure that your project will maintain its physical integrity for a long time to come. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will help you choose the perfect one for your particular needs.