Cements (glues) - Types, characteristics & uses

August 3, 2023

This article is the first in a row that will deal with key aspects of our hobby. It’s not intended to be a long read or full of details but rather serve the purpose of a synopsis of useful information.

The intention is to primarily gather information that we find useful while spending time at the modelling bench as well as create a reference place for easy to find / access topics.

We welcome any feedback, views, additional information and we can be contacted here: info@the48ers.com (please add in the Subject line "Glues")


Cement (Glues) – types, characteristics and uses


NOTE: when using glues please follow the manufacturers’ recommendations.


Even though there are many types of glues out there, we will focus on those that are more widely used. But before we go over these here are some generic rules we may wish to have in mind:

  • Get to know the materials one is about to glue together. The materials will help decide on the correct glue type
  • Clean the surface it is about to be glued
  • Sometimes, it is advisable to slightly “rough” the surfaces that will be glued together


Plastic cement

Plastic cement, also known as polystyrene cement, is specifically designed for bonding plastic parts together. It works by partially dissolving the plastic surfaces, creating a strong and seamless bond between the two surfaces.

Plastic cements are the most popular in our hobby and typically come in liquid or tube form and is applied using a brush or a needle applicator. They are also offered with a different liquidity level (thin or extra thin).


White glue (PVA)

White glue, or polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue, is a water-based adhesive commonly used in various crafts, including our hobby. It is versatile and can be used for attaching small parts, clear parts, or materials like paper or fabric.

White glue dries clear and is generally non-toxic, making it safe to use. The bond should not considered as the top advantage however it dries to an almost clear finish making it ideal for different uses, like attaching clear parts, recreating clear parts (lamps, lights etc.).


Clear Parts cement

Clear parts cement, also known as canopy glue or window glue, is specially formulated for attaching transparent parts like canopies, windows, or lenses. It is designed to minimize fogging or hazing on clear plastic and provides a strong bond without damaging the transparency.

Sometimes this is called and acrylic cement which is used for the application of 3D decals.


Cyanoacrylate / Super cement

Super glue, or cyanoacrylate adhesive (CA), is a fast-acting adhesive that creates a strong bond between various materials, including plastic, metal, and resin. It dries quickly and forms a rigid bond.

Super glue is available in different viscosities, ranging from thin to gel, allowing for different application needs. It can be used to glue together photo-etched parts (with or without the use of an accelerator). Another popular use is filling in gaps in conjunction with polymer powder (acrylic polymer) found in Beauty shops.


Epoxy (resin) cement

Epoxy adhesive consists of two components, the adhesive part and the hardener, which need to be mixed together in a specific ratio before application. Epoxy provides a strong, durable bond and is useful for joining metal parts or attaching resin components. It takes longer to cure than other glues, allowing for more precise positioning before it sets.


Specialty cements

There are also specialised adhesives available for specific purposes. These include photo-etch adhesives for attaching delicate photo-etched parts, fabric adhesives for attaching fabric or decals with a cloth-like texture, and canopy mask adhesives for temporarily fixing masks before / during painting.


It's important to read and follow the instructions provided with each type of glue, as application methods, drying times, and safety precautions may vary.

Additionally, it's a good practice to test the glue on scrap materials before applying it to your model to ensure compatibility and desired results.

We welcome any feedback at info@the48ers.com (please add in the Subject line "Glues")