I fancied doing a metal kit for a change and have my eye on one of the SE
Finecast car kits. Could any of you offer some advice as to which adhesives
are best for white metal, please? CA 'superglue' might be too fast curing
if repositioning is necessary. Is 'Araldite' a good alternative and, if so,
is the traditional version better than the rapid? Any advice gratefully
As these kits are largely made of relatively flat pieces, they need
careful alignment - especially if you have a separate body and
chassis. I use araldite (rapid) for the chassis, and hold the
assembly square using a surface plate or a sheet of glass. I usually
assemble the body with superglue gel, tacking it together to check
that it fits the chassis ok. If it's not right chuck it in a bowl of
hot soapy water and it will come apart. When you're happy with the
fit, fillet inside the joints with araldite.
If you are building any of the older kits, note that the metal is
fairly soft, and the suspension will sag under the weight after 6
months or so. You can get around this by fixing a couple of stands
under the car - I used 5mm metal threaded PCB standoffs so that I
could screw the model down to a base.
Don't be put off - they are a lot of work, but can look terrific when
Thanks for that, Jo. Sounds like it'll be a challenge but worth a go. I
think I'll try one of the simpler, 1:43 models first, just to get a feel for
working in a different material. Do you find that Finecast parts need a lot
of cleaning up and/or filing to get a good fit?
That's an interesting option, Martin. I think it's possible to get
'low-melt' solder for soft metals but I'm not sure. What size of iron did
you use, 25W or bigger? And did you need to make a jig to hold the parts
properly for soldering?
You say "I ended up soldering the main components". Was that because you'd
had trouble with glues or was there some other reasoning?
Low melt solder from a model shop, flux as well
25W but I should have bought a temperature controlled iron (again good model
Tape, pegs, plasticene ect.
2) Finish quality
3) Glueing white metal is looked on as wimpish
An etched 05 I am building is mainly soldered with electrical solder, -
currently needs a motor.
I like shunters
Mainline 03 RTR (a Bath Road loco)
Vulcan 04 Kit (a preserved example)
A1 05 Kit (05 001)
Lima 08 RTR (a Gloucester loco)
Bachmann 08 RTR (not yet renumbered)
There is a long history of white-metal kits in the model railway world.
I have built some, and would always solder for preference: the joint
is more solid, and can be filed with impunity.
I use an 8W 12V iron, bought specifically for the task. I use it in
series with a 10 Ohm 10 Watt wirewound resistor and a 12V drill speed
controller for fine control. May loco-modellers use a speed controller
from their layout. The melting-point of white metal (around 150degC) is
below that of electrical solder (about 200degC), and with most models
you are working with small parts.
The solder is of course different from the soft solder you would use
for, say, electrical components. It is a tin-lead-bismuth-cadmium alloy
and melts at a temperature lower than white metal (around 75degC), and
alloys with the basic metal to form the joint. The joint alloy needs a
higher temperature to remelt, so unsoldering must be done with care.
White metal can be soldered to brass, by tinning the brass with normal
tin-lead soft solder first.
Two-minute, two-part epoxy is what I love for white metal 1/43 auto models.
Easy to use, it fills a bit (in case by fitting wasn't absolutely perfect).
And there's nothing to burn yourself with -- nor stick your fingers together
with like CA. Good stuff!