Do You Need Glue to Make a Gundam? A Gunpla Glue Guide
One of the stumbling blocks for beginners to try Gunpla building is the tools required to build one. One of the common tools they usually hear from others is glue. However, buying glue solely for building models can be tedious and prevents a person from starting this awesome hobby. Thus, this post aims to discuss if the glue is necessary for building Gundam kits.
Generally speaking, you do not need to use any Glue when building Gundam models. This is because most of their models are snap-fit, which means they snap and stick together without aid from the glue. However, there are some unique moments where you might use glue, especially to make the model more durable and improve its aesthetics.
This blog post will discuss why gluing is optional in Gundam building. While it may improve your skills, this is not required to make your first model. In case you want to learn about the world of Gunpla gluing, I also introduced the common glues you can use to serve as a reference in the future.
Do Gundam models need glue?
Gundam models don’t need glue. In fact, if the glue is required on the kit, manufacturers would put glue inside its box. Almost all Gundam models are snap-fit, which means they stick without the aid of glue. Thus, you can build a Gundam model without using them.
Many people say that Gunpla building is an expensive hobby since you need a lot of tools to start the hobby. The truth is, the Gunpla building has many optional tools you can use, making it look expensive.
However, building Gunpla kits only require two tools which are a model nipper and a hobby knife.
Here is the photo of the essential tools for Gunpla modeling.
Things such as an airbrush or glue are optional since you can build a Gunpla model without touching these tools.
However, Gundam kits can indeed be quite expensive for many reasons, such as the rising cost of plastics and designer fees. For a full article regarding this topic, you may read this post: Reasons Why Gundam Models are Expensive.
If you think about it, manufacturers would include a little glue in the box if it is necessary for building the model. However, the truth is that most Gunpla boxes don’t have glue, and you can make one without using them.
However, please take note that I said that gluing is optional. This means you can use it to make your build better.
Glues are used in Gunpla modeling either to improve its aesthetics, such as filling lines and kitbashing. They can also be used as repair since broken plastic pieces are common in Gunpla modeling.
Don’t worry; we will discuss each of these below.
First, let’s talk about filling lines to make Gunpla models look better.
Basically, glues can be used as a filler to make your models look realistic.
Why? Because lines remove the aesthetic of your model.
But what are these lines?
Here is a photo of my model to show you the lines that can be filled up with glue.
From the line, you can see that these lines are where the parts snap together. These lines make them look like models.
The truth is, real Gundam doesn’t have these lines. Thus, some modelers remove these lines by using glue.
Furthermore, filling these lines can make your models more durable since models start to break down in these areas.
Thus, gluing on those areas can make your models sturdier.
Since we’ve already been on the topic of filling lines, glues can also be used to fill cracks and holes.
Glues can also be used to repair cracks on models. This will make your models look better, especially if the gap is big.
That’s why most modelers would have glue ready in case some cracks need to be filled.
However, as a beginner, you shouldn’t worry about cracks since it doesn’t happen often.
That’s why I said, “in case.”
Another use of glue on models is to put broken pieces. Gundam parts are made with durable plastics. However, there are times when we have to put some pressure since they are snap-fit.
The problem is plastics can break if we put too much pressure, and it is rare for Gunpla parts to have spare parts. Thus, the only way to fix it is to glue the broken pieces.
Last is that experienced modelers use glue to do kitbashing, a term used for combining different Gundam models.
For example, I once saw a Gundam Unicorn with wings from Wing Gundam. You wouldn’t find something like that in stores, and the reason why it existed is that a modeler tried combining these using kitbashing.
Since kitbashing combines two different Gundams, glues are essential to help the parts stick.
However, this concept is more on the advanced level of Gunpla building, so beginners shouldn’t worry about using glue for kitbashing.
With all these in mind, what glue could you use on Gunpla kits? I put a list of adhesives you can use on building Gunplas below for your reference in case you plan to get one.
What Glue can you use on Gundam models?
The glues you can use on Gundam models are white glue, cyanoacrylate glue, polyurethane glue, epoxy glue, plastic cement, and canopy glue. Each adhesive has its set of advantages and disadvantages, and choosing which one to use depends on the user’s preference.
Why did I include this section? Well, buying the wrong glue can mess up your build.
Furthermore, each glue has advantages and disadvantages over the other, and using glue for the wrong purpose can cause some issues.
Thus, I decided to introduce the glues often used in the Gunpla building and where they are good at.
1. White Glue
White glue is also known as polyvinyl acetate or PVA Glue. This glue is very common, and you might already have it in your home.
White glue can be used on Gundam models because they are effective in gluing plastics.
If you’re unfamiliar with white glue, their common brand name is Elmer’s glue.
Oftentimes, the white glue you used when you were in school is PVA glue.
Beginners can use this glue as it is easy to find, and most have it lying around the house.
While you may use white glue on Gundam models, they aren’t good for Gunpla modeling since they dry slowly, produce weak bonds, and changes color when dried.
2. Cyanoacrylate Glue
Cyanoacrylate glue is also known as super glue. They are great glues for Gunpla modeling since they can function as glue and filler.
Furthermore, you can buy these glues everywhere.
These glues provide a stronger bond compared to white glue. However, they are weak in terms of torsional bond compared to other adhesives.
Torsion strength is the ability of the glue to resist twisting motions. The problem is that twisted is common, especially if you play with your Gunpla models.
That’s why while it is a good glue for beginners, they tend to lose to other glues, especially when beginners learn how to use things like plastic cement.
Furthermore, super glue tends to be very messy, and they are tough to remove. Thus, mistakes are not an option when using super glue.
Thus, most experienced modelers use super glue only as an emergency glue.
Recommended Read: For an in-depth discussion on the difference between super glue and plastic cement, a common glue for plastic models, please check this post: Super glue vs. Plastic cement.
3. Polyurethane Glue
Polyurethane is a strong glue you can use for Gundam models. They are often known for their brand name, Gorilla glue.
Like superglue, they are easy to find and can produce strong bonds.
They are also multipurpose. Thus, you can use them outside Gunpla modeling.
However, the bad thing about polyurethane glue is they aren’t ideal for filling holes as they expand and foam while drying,
Furthermore, they turn yellowish when dried.
Lastly, they produce heat when drying, which is bad for plastic.
Thus, polyurethane glue isn’t ideal for projects that require precision, such as model gluing.
4. Epoxy Glue
Epoxy glue is one of the best glues for Gunpla modeling because they offer strong bonds and are good filler. The most popular epoxy glue is known as Loctite.
Compared to the ones above, epoxy glue is the best when filling holes as they don’t usually expand or shrink when drying.
Furthermore, they dry smoothly. Thus, sanding may not be necessary when you use this to fill lines, cracks, and holes.
However, they dry slowly compared to other glues, which require you to hold the parts for some time. This can lead to errors.
Furthermore, epoxy glue is strict on its mix ratio. Therefore, any error in the mixing ratio can mess with your glue.
Thus, it would be best to learn how to mix the glue properly before using it.
5. Plastic Cement
Plastic cement is the most common glue people use for Gunpla modeling. This is also one of the best glues because it binds by welding plastics.
When you first get into Gunpla modeling, you might already hear about plastic cement and why they are the best glue for the hobby.
In my experience, they are correct since the glue dries fast, provides a strong bond, and can fill spaces.
However, please note that there is a regular and extra thin plastic cement.
Generally, regular plastic cement is excellent for filling holes, while the extra thin is great for tiny cracks.
For beginners, go for the regular plastic cement since it has more uses than the extra thin.
I like plastic cement because it dries fast and doesn’t change color when drying. Also, they don’t expand or shrink.
This is why most modelers prefer using this over other glue.
Of course, plastic cement still has some disadvantages.
The main disadvantage of plastic cement is that it can only be used for plastics. They won’t work on other surfaces like wood, metal, etc.
Thus, its use is minimal compared to other glues.
Recommended Read: For an in-depth discussion on regular vs. extra-thin cement, please check this post: Regular vs. Extra Thin Plastic Cement.
6. Canopy Glue
Canopy is a glue made explicitly for plastic plane kits. However, it is one of the best glues for plastic modeling, which includes Gunpla.
Even if you’re an experienced Gunpla modeler, this might be the first time you’ve heard about canopy glue.
Well, I can’t blame you since these glues are hard to find.
These glues are like the upgraded version of the PVA or white glue. However, they are made explicitly for airplane plastic models.
Canopy glue provides a strong bond and is a great filler. All of this, plus they are easy to clean.
They can be considered one of the best models of glues out there.
However, getting this glue is quite hard. You can usually find these glues online, which are hard to find in hobby stores.
The reason is they are considered glue for plane models. Thus, they aren’t popular. But, the truth is, they are one of the best glues out there.
I hope that they get the popularity they deserve in the future.
I only scratched the surface by introducing these glues. If you’re interested in knowing more, I suggest you read my other post, which I linked below.
What’s next? This blog post introduces the types of glue you can use on Gunpla models. For a more thorough discussion on model glues, you may check this post: All the glues you can use for Plastic Models.