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"Best Way To Assemble Models" Topic

9 Posts

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1,181 hits since 8 Jun 2015
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Comments or corrections?

swammeyjoe08 Jun 2015 3:28 p.m. PST

I mostly buy pre-painted or pre-assembled figures, but have recently wanted to get more into the modeling side of the hobby. So this may sound like a dumb question, forgive me.

What's the best way to glue models together. I'm primarily thinking of Heavy Gear/Battletech/Robotech style mecha here, but tips for any figure/scale are appreciated.

I've got boatloads of multipart figures, and it takes me ages and ages to get them put together. Glue never seems to stick unless I hold it for a long time (8+ minutes), is that normal?

Should I be washing the figures first? If so, with what? I've seen people use some sort of putty also, what does that do? Should I get some sort of clamp set up to hold parts together? I had to borrow a friends "jewelry drill" to make some of the Heavy Gear arm holes big enough to attach the arms, which was the point where I became convinced I'm just doing something wrong in the assembly process.

28mm Fanatik08 Jun 2015 4:00 p.m. PST

Some figures take more skills than others (like Robotech), so the best way is to look for free video tutorials for the type of miniatures you're building on Youtube.

Of course TMP is a good place for tips and tricks also. Good luck.

haywire Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2015 4:04 p.m. PST

It depends. Are they plastic or metal or resin?

Plastic you can wash (you should before painting) and use a plastic cement. This will "melt" the plastic and provide a better bond.

You should definitely wash metal and resin with at least warm water and dish soap and use a super glue or epoxy glue.

Cleaning it removes mold release and other containments like oil from your skin. Also you need a flat smooth surface to make a bond. If you can, take a file to the surface and then clean it to remove metal/resin dust. Also know about pinning which will help strengthen the bond.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Jun 2015 4:37 p.m. PST

Concur about cleaning pieces and using plastic cement for plastic models.

Tight fits could be designed like that (to hold the thing in place better) or could mean you are putting the wrong piece in. I have been known to do that on occasion.

I have found that a set of those hair elastics that are used for ponytails works really well to hold models together while glue dries. I mostly use this for terrain pieces (where I am using lots of slower drying glue), but I don't do a lot of mecha construction.

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2015 4:47 p.m. PST

For styrene plastic, I use Testors "Model Master" plastic cement, which has a nice fine-point applicator (used to be a metal tube, which was much better, but this is still pretty good):


For resin and metal, I use gel-style superglue. The gel makes a nice bead rather than running off, like the more watery superglue.


I never use epoxy putty anymore, as the above two solutions tend to work fine for 98% of what I need to accomplish.

Pinning can be helpful to hold a problematic part on. Like you alluded to, using a "pin-vise drill" or a Dremel on a very low speed, you can make two corresponding holes in a model and the corresponding part, then cut a small piece of brass rod or piano wire (both of which you can get at Hobbytown or Hobby Lobby) and use it to connect the two parts. You can often find a 1mm or 2mm drill bit and a piece of brass rod of the same diameter at the same store.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Jun 2015 9:30 p.m. PST

The Model Masters stuff is great.

I've never washed my plastic models, they seem to stay together just fine.

What you will certainly need for them is a good set of sharp clippers to remove them from the sprues, then you will want a fairly dull x-acto knife to clean the mold lines on them. If you have one you have used for cutting foam core that should be good.

Ivan DBA08 Jun 2015 10:03 p.m. PST


Paint it Pink09 Jun 2015 2:34 a.m. PST

Everything is awesome…

Seriously, read some modelling blogs or whatever you prefer. There is a learning curve to acquire the skills, and the problems you're facing are down to not having the tools and experience in using them.

I can' speak directly about you problem with the glue, but I suspect you used too much (if we're talking about super glue that is). Less is definitely more, and a failure to dry probably means too much glue was applied, or it could mean a poor joint, as in the surfaces weren't mating together. Glue is no substitute for a poor fit.

Heavy Gear miniatures arm joints are problematical, because they need to be pinned and a decision has to be made on whether you want a tight in joint or an extended ball. It's mostly aesthetics; both will work.

See my blog here for pictures of Gears with tight arm joints.

There's a lot of content on my blog so you'll probably have to scroll down or use the labels with the tags in the sidebar: Heavy Gear Miniatures. Here's a sample.

Twoball Cane09 Jun 2015 5:31 p.m. PST

Zap a gap has worked for me…..different kinds to choose from. Just watch out for your fingers getting stuck, invariably I end up peeling some skin off.

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