I'm thinking of coming back to the hobby after many years. Trouble is
I seem to have forgotten most of what I knew!
For example - what is the best glue to use on card kit model
ditto plastic kits
What is the current thinking on the quality of the card kits available
on the market. Any manufacturers to avoid or target.
I know how you feel!
I prefer solvent based UHU or similar since it dries quickly and
doesn't soak the paper like PVA can. You can use it like contact
adhesive for an instant joint. YMMV but I don't get on with PVA at all
for card kits.
MEK (e.g. Slater's MEKPAK), polystyrene cement, plastic weld,
superglue amongst others. Be guided by the specific kit instructions.
Some, such as Parkside Dundas, use ABS for some components, which
needs one of the stronger glues.
They're mostly OK but the corners tend to show and they can look a bit
flat. Good weathering and touching in at the edges can make them a lot
Take a look at
where you'll find a growing
range of downloadable kits and building papers which are the equal of
Metcalfe, etc. I can thoroughly recommend them (usual disclaimer). You
pay once, to download, and then print and build as many times as you
want. Excellent for long runs of terraces houses or retaining walls.
There have been a few Scalescenes freebies in the Hornby magazine,
maybe you can find someone with a spare copy to try out.
Regardless of model material, apply the glue with toothpicks, pins, and
small brushes. Never apply with the tube, or the brush that comes in the
lid of the glue bottle. Use as little glue as possible.
Also use plenty of bracing - square wood in the corners, triangular
For card/paper models I prefer PVA. It comes in many styles or
varieties. Use the "school glue" variety, it doesn't warp card/paper as
much as the woodworking grade. I've also used glue-stick (good for
larger surfaces), and "tacky glue" as used by crafters for gluing cloth.
Solvent-based glues (cements) vary also. They are IMO second best for
paper/card models, but they have their uses. I sometimes soak the parts
in liquid cement, apply glue, spread it, and let it dry. The cement
soaks into the card, which in effect becomes a composite material. Then
use liquid cement as if the card part were plastic. I've had reasonably
good success with home-made cement: dissolve bits of clear styrene
plastic in a liquid cement to get a consistency thinner than the stuff
in the tubes. One drawback of solvent cements is that they can make the
I've used spray type rubber cement for large surfaces (such as roofing
sheets over a sub-roof card), but do _not_ recommend it. In the long
term it reacts with the card and the air, turns brown, becomes brittle,
A liquid solvent cement is best. Apply it with a small brush - the ones
in the lids of the bottles are no good at all. Tube type cement is
sometime good for filling gaps, especially when applying bracing inside
the model. It also has good "tack", which makes it useful when applying
Also, you'll need Squadron Green or similar plastic filler.
Again, use plenty of bracing. A floor/ceiling works wonders to keep a
The Metcalfe and similar photo-based models look very good at the
"normal viewing distance" of about 3ft from the model. But art-based
models can also look good. The main thing is not to mix the two styles
of model - keep the look of the models consistent.
In general, I would not recommend card over plastic kits, however,
mostly because plastic kits are a mine of bashable parts. I seldom build
a kit as designed, and find plastic kits to be more adaptable than card
kits. Also, I find it easier to paint and weather plastic. I use water
based acrylic craft/artists colours.
That being said, I do build card kits from time to time. Just for the
fun of it.