Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Lets Get Ready To Rumble! Glue vs. Weld
The first of my new 12-step program...
Its fall. The weather here in the Southeast U.S. is gorgeous. So how do I spend my time in this epic portion of the year? Simple. I stay indoors and build models.
Not really, I get outside a lot during this time of year.
But the truth is, I spend many of my fall (and spring) evenings building stuff for 40k, and priming it during the nicer days. Around these parts, its too cold in the winter and too hot/humid in the summer to get good priming done. So I tend to mass build and prime during the nice weather - effectively building myself a stock of stuff to paint during the not-so-pretty months of the year.
So it occurred to me the other evening, as I was building my latest Nurgle Sorcerer/Lord in Terminator Armor (post forthcoming sooner than later), that I wonder how many folks are tuned into the awesomeness that is Plastic Weld.
You've never heard of it? Man, have you been missing out.
At the top of this post, you see two images, one of the tried and true-blue model cement (glue), and one of some weird bottle of "Pro Weld." WTF is that, you are probably saying to yourself.
Simple. Model glues, like the Testors product shown above, are simple adhesive products. They take Part A and Part B and put a bonding agent between them, so they stick together.
But Plastic Weld, like the Ambroid product (that I use) pictured above, is different. Plastic welders dissolve and liquefy the surface of the plastic items, which you stick together, and then when it dries (very quickly, I might add), the two parts are not so much bonded together, but they are literally fused together into a single object.
Let me pretend to do some math and show you what a "built equation" might look like. A and B are the two parts to be put together.
Plastic Cement. A + Glue + B = AglueB
Plastic Weld. A + Weld + B = AB
Not only do I use weld to bond separate pieces together, but I have also used it in a few other ways on plastic models.
Gap Filler. If you're putting two pieces together, and there is a tiny gap between the two, you can simply fill it with weld liquid, and the gap will fill itself up. Granted, the gap cannot be to large. But I noticed this application of the product when I was putting together a bunch of Cities of Death buildings. A few of the CoD building panels I had shaved the mold lines off a little too aggressively, so when put together, there was a thin gap along some portions of the panels. I spread a little more weld along these sections - the water-like consistency of the weld means it will wick into any space - and voila, the gaps disappeared.
Surface Smoother. In a few of my projects, I've had to scrape away some detail. A good example was having to remove all the Blood Angels icons (blood drops and chalices) from the Space Hulk Terminators I purchased for my Wolfwing Project. Although I did a decent job of doing this, in some instances, the surface I left behind showed some angles or rounded areas that exhibited flat facets. I found out that putting a thin coat of weld on the surface, waiting a moment or two, and then putting a thicker drop on it did a good job of smoothing-out those noticeable imperfections to make them smoother, if not "perfectly smooth."
Before you start to think that I *LOVE* Plastic Weld, and I want to marry plastic weld (oops, too late), let me caution you with some things that plastic weld WILL NOT do.
It doesn't work on metal.
It doesn't work on resin.
Super-glue is still the product to accomplish bonding these types of materials (or these types of materials to plastics).
It doesn't fill large gaps.
Green stuff (kneadatite), milliput, or some other modeling/sculpting product are your best answers for accomplishing larger gap filling.
In conclusion, plastic weld isn't the end-all, be-all of the model adhesive world. BUT, it IS the bee's knees when it comes to bonding plastic-on-plastic. There simply is no reason to use "plastic glue" as long as companies like Ambroid continue to produce and sell plastic welders. If anything, the worst problem for plastic welds is that your average hobby/game store doesn't carry it. You may have to seek out specialty shops, like model train stores; or you may have to go ONLINE AND ORDER IT. The product lasts a VERY long time. I've built entire armies, several at that, and am currently on my third bottle of Ambroid Pro Weld - having been using the stuff since 2006. That's three bottles over the course of 4 1/2 years!