Saturday 15 May 2021

Tamiya Poly Cement

 I personally think that this is one of most least talked about things in model making. We spend hours upon hours discussing the minutia of a particular model and its accuracy, days talking about the merits and downfalls about the paint that we use but we very rarely talk about the glue that we use to hold everything together in comparison. Well this is my contribution to a discussion that we should all be having! 

Waaaaaaay back in the early 80's (when I was a young lad) I used the venerable tube of Humbrol poly cement with a dressmakers pin inserted in the end to prevent it from clogging up in between models. I think

that on every model I made back then I had at least one melted part where the glue had spilled out in huge globs and had to wiped away and of course the obligatory fingerprint that ensued from my forgetting that the surface had been softened by the now wiped away glue! Of course lets not forget the headaches that followed the wonderful euphoric feeling of using this glue in an enclosed room! I don't mean to denigrate this glue too much as its still available, still does the job its intended for and if your just starting out in the hobby or are limited in funds then its very cheap in comparison to other glues available. 

When I started back in the hobby (20 years ago; god I'm old!) I was still haunted by the memory of the humbrol glue days and looked for an alternative; enter Revell contacta Professional glue! The glue is at least half the viscosity of the Humbrol and is supplied in a bottle that has a fine steel needle for accurate application. This stuff was a godsend in comparison and remained my glue of choice for many years. It still had one of the issues that plagued the Humbrol in that the tube was easily clogged with thickening semi-cured glue and had to be cleared with acetone or a piece of wire but that in my opinion was a small price to pay for the accuracy of the contacta. 

Fast forward a few years more and when visiting a local hobby shop I decided to stock up on some essentials that included another pot of glue. To my horror they didn't stock the Revell!! They did however have a pot of Tamiya cement. Worrying that I was running extremely short of the Contacta I bought a bottle. I was pleasantly surprised at the design of the bottle and applicator. The application of this glue is via a brush that never cloggs and the amount of the glue required can be easily moderated by scraping it on the side of the bottle. I was instantly sold and remained a fan of it to this day (I still use this for larger panels). 
It was when I started watching youtube videos that other model makers have produced that I started to notice that their bottles of Tamiya cement looked different to mine that I really started to have a transformation in my model making life. Their bottles were green? What was this new and brightly decorated bottle? It was Tamiya's Extra thin cement! This stuff allows you to hold the parts you want to glue together and then by simply brushing the glue along the seam the capillary action of the thin cement draws it into the seam and closes it beautifully with hardly a thought to surface damage BUT WAIT! Tamiya also manufactures a quick setting version of their extra thin cement as well!!! A short browse around the internet and an international delivery wait and I was in receipt of what I have to say is a complete game changer for me. The "quick setting" on the label really means quick setting! I can assemble almost an entire model in one sitting without concern of a soft joint coming out of alignment whilst being handled. The joints are precise, clean and strong. This stuff is unbelievably good. When I am about a quarter of a bottle left I automatically order another. I can't imagine building my models with anything else. I am aware that there are other companies out there that now make their own variety of fats setting thin glue such as Mr Hobby but for me I am a firm believer if it ain't broke then don't try to fix it! For the foreseeable future I will continue to use Tamiya's fantastic range of cements.     

If you have thoughts on these glues I would love to hear them or if you have bought and used them based on what I have written here then I would really like to hear from you. Until next time; happy model making!!

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