Looking for the right glue for your miniature project? Gnome Games has you covered!
There are a lot of different types of glue available for your miniature projects and quite often there’s a little bit of confusion about which glue is best for each of the projects. We’ll go through the various types of glue we carry, and what each is best for.
First – we want to make sure everyone understands that many of these glues are cyanoacrylate adhesives (CA). They really don’t dry – they cure in the presence of water. The water reacts with the molecules in the glue to form super strong chemical chains that are tough to break. These are often called “super-glue’ because of the speed of curing and the strength of the bond. What makes the cyanoacrylate adhesives cure is water. Therefore it tends to stick to your fingers and skin so very well. Acetone (fingernail polish remover) will dissolve the bonds and remove the glue.
Types of Glue at the Gnome
We have several different types of glue available at Gnome Games – mostly for your miniature and scenery projects.
Maxi-Cure™ – (Pink)
Maxi-Cure™ extra thick CA is the best CA for most plastics, including GE’s Lexan.
MAXI-CURE™ is the best choice for plastic model assembly. When used with INSTA-SET™, it works better than any putty for modifying or filling voids. It can be carved with a knife or razor blade and sanded and feathered to form a finish indistinguishable from plastic. MAXI-CURE™ bonds fiberglass, hardwood, metal and rubber better than any other hobby adhesive.
Insta-Cure+™ – (Purple)
Insta-Cure+™ is a higher viscosity CA for loose fitting joints in which the adhesive must bridge gaps.
Normally, the thicker CA is applied to one surface and then the parts are held tightly together for about 5 to 15 seconds. To prevent premature curing, don’t spread the glue into a thin film. Lay down a serpentine bead with about 1″ separations on one surface, then assemble the parts, letting the pressure spread the CA out.
Insta-Cure™ – (Blue)
Insta-Cure™ has a water-thin viscosity that wicks deep into joints by capillary action and cures in a matter of a few seconds.
Make sure that the surfaces to be bonded are tight fitting and hold them together while you apply the CA around the edges of the seam. When CA’s cure, they give off a vapor that can irritate the nose and eyes, so be prepared. Thin CA’s work very well on balsa since they penetrate into the wood and form more than just a surface bond.
Super-Gold+™ – (Gold)
SUPER-GOLD™ Thin and SUPER-GOLD+™ gap filling medium thickness are our odorless foam safe CAs.
They are non-frosting and take only 2 or 3 seconds longer to bond compared to Insta-Cure and Insta-Cure+. There are no fumes that irritate the nose and eyes.
The SUPER-GOLD™’s do not attack white foam; therefore, they can be used in the building of foam core terrain and the assembly and repair of plastic and foam structures
They will not fog clear plastic. SUPER-GOLD+™ is ideal for attaching clear and transparent bits to figures; however, MAXI-CURE™ is still recommended for assembling the rest of plastic kits.
Wood can be bonded to white foam with SUPER-GOLD +™ in less than fifteen seconds. For bonding foam to foam, spray a very light fog of INSTA-SET™ to one piece and apply SUPER-GOLD+™ to the other before joining. Excess INSTA-SET™ may create too much heat, which can melt the foam. Both SUPER-GOLD™’s cure to a more flexible consistency for better shock absorption.
Insta-Set™ – (Copper Spray)
NSTA-SET™ is a catalyst which acts as an accelerator that allows CAs to quickly cure in thick layers by enhancing the alkaline conditions during polymerization.
INSTA-SET™ in a spray bottle is normally used to cure the CA that flows from joints when parts are pressed together.
Applying an additional bead of thick CA along a seam and then curing it with INSTA-SET™ significantly enhances a joint’s strength.
For difficult to bond materials, INSTA-SET™ can be applied to one surface and CA to the opposite surface. When brought together, they will bond instantly. INSTA-SET™ is formulated with a strawberry scent and activates CA in 6 to 8 seconds without any degrading of the CAs strength, which can occur with many other accelerators. It is compatible with all surfaces, even clear plastic and white foam.
Plastic Glue – (Polystyrene Cement)
Polystyrene (poly) cement is only suitable for rigid polystyrene plastic which is the type used for injection molded kits. It works by dissolving the surface of the plastic which then re-hardens. If a bead of poly cement is put between two pieces of plastic, then both faces of the plastic dissolve and meld together so that when they harden, they have formed a solid joint. In effect, the two pieces have been welded together, so a very good bond is formed that is as strong as the plastic.
The drying time will vary mainly depending on how much is applied and the viscocity (thickness) of the glue. Very thin formulas will normally dry in seconds, but the very thick tube glue might take a few hours. Note that even when a bond has formed the plastic may not have fully re-hardened so should be treated with care for a time.
The major disadvantage of poly cement is that if too much is used, then it will completely dissolve through the material being glued and damage it. Also, if any glue is dropped or smeared on the surface of the model it will damage any surface detail. For this reason, it does have to be used with care and the minimum amount should be used. Furthermore, glue should not be placed into holes and cavities that are not exposed to the air, because it will not be able to dry and will slowly dissolve the surrounding plastic.
PVA Glue (Wood Glue)
PVA – Polyvinyl Acetate is a water-based glue that works well for basing and gluing sand, flock and other basing components to terrain or miniature bases.
It remains flexible and is water soluble.
What else might I need for my glue projects?
There are a few other things you might want to have on hand for your miniature gluing projects.
Acetone – (Nail Polish Remover)
Acetone dissolves CA adhesives – and is great for removing it from fingers and other places where you really don’t want it.
Make sure you get the acetone version of nail polish remover, other types of nail polish remover that contain ethyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol and propylene carbonate and do not react with CA adhesives.
- Acetone is very flammable – always make sure you use CA and Acetone in a well ventilated area, away from any open flames.
These small plastic extenders are designed to fit over the applicator tip of the glue bottles and the flexible tip can be cut to the length and/or inside diameter that is needed for a specific application. With the tip, the CA can be applied to confined areas.
If you don’t see these on the shelf – don’t worry! Gnome Games is your source for extenders and glue.
Ask for the #301 for the bigger bottles of glue and the #304 for the pocket bottles.
Un-Cure™ – (Green)
UN-CURE™ debonder will soften cured CA. If parts are bonded incorrectly or your fingers are stuck together, a few drops of UN-CURE™ will dissolve the CA in about a minute.
Apply on bonded skin and roll apart fingers. Once stuck, use acetone to clean off softened CA, then wash off with soap and water.
Since cured CA is essentially acrylic plastic, anything that will dissolve CA will also soften most plastics. Be careful when using Un-Cure on plastics or they may turn to soft gooey mush.
Have any questions or need some help with your miniatures?
Stop in and ask our miniature experts – or message us on the Gnome Games Facebook pages!