Friday 15 February 2013

Gluing plastics

Meet Rogue.
Rogue is 'helpful'.
Rogue is also a certifiable headcase.
I've embarked on a massive bout of batch-assembly of plastic figures - specifically, six boxes of 28mm Wargames Factory Persian cavalry to stand in for Parthian horse archers. (That distant rumbling sound you can hear? Yes, that's a deadline approaching. For once, it's a whole two weeks further off than my usual!)

As it's <deleted> perishing out in the workshop, I've temporarily appropriated the dining room, which is great for being warm, but needs the door shut in order to both keep the smell of glue and paint out of the kitchen, and keep the cats from 'helping'.

On the left, EMA Plastic Weld.
On the right, Humbrol Precision.
This is the first batch job I've done in a while (since the El Cid army, I guess), and it's I think a slightly different plastic (Wargames Factory) to the one Conquest Games and Fireforge (and I assume, therefore, Renedra) use. Interestingly, this seems to mean I need to change glues.

Normally, I use Humbrol Precision, which comes in a nice yellow plastic bottle with a metal needle applicator. On the upside, it's very easy to apply precisely where you want it, and for the Renedra plastics it seems to just work. The downside is I /believe/ its base ingredient is methyl ethyl ketone, and in a closed enviromment like the dining room the fumes are enough I can only work on about a dozen figures before needing to take a break. Also, it doesn't appear to stick the WF plastics as well: this is fine for the horses, which have some pin/socket locator thingies to hold them, but is tricky when you're trying to attach arms,  heads and things like quivers that rely on the joint to hold them against the weight of the piece.

You may have seen me mention EMA Plastic Weld before - it's a different glue in that it comes in a bottle, and is applied with a brush. For some reason, it seems to work much better on the WF plastics than the Renedra-manufactured ones, providing an almost instant bond (10 seconds of holding the joint rather than a minute+). The Hunbrol is a bit slower to bond even on the Renedra/Warlord/Fireforge/Conquest plastics, but the ease of use tradeoff means I tend to use the Humbrol for those.

The Plastic Weld fumes also aren't quite as noxious in terms of light-headedness, but it is dichloromethane, which is supposed to be slightly worse for you (category 3 rather than 2 safety risk) with prolonged exposure. You also can't apply it quite as precisely, as it needs a brush. Its other downside is that it's very easy to knock over if you're a klutz like me! The short fix? Superglue (using the new Army Painter superglue I picked up at Hammerhead (thanks, guys from Warlord!), which is just awesome in terms of speed of bond) a beermat to the bottom of the bottle.


  1. I'm guessing the EMA has a brush built into the lid? If so, use that to blob a little into the lid of a Pringles tube, then use an old fine painting brush to do the application to the figure parts. You can clean the brush up afterwards with a small amount of nail polish remover.

    That's what I've been doing with my Revell glue recently.

    1. You guess wrong, actually :D I have a bunch of old Humbrol brushes that I use for it. Also, not sure given how potent it is, what it would do to a Pringles tube!


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