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Glue for plastic models and buildings

I saw a question for the millionth time on a forum about what glues to use on plastic models and buildings. So I’ll cover the topic here, where it won’t get purged after 8 months.

Ask the question at a hobby shop, and the answer comes down roughly 50/50 whether to use some type of super glue (cyanoacrylate, often abbreviated CyA or CA), or some type of MEK-based plastic weld, such as Tenax 7R. Every once in a while, someone pipes up about the tube cement I used as a kid. You don’t want to use that stuff. If you’ve ever tried, you know why–it’s messy, dries slowly, and the bond isn’t as strong as it could be. Read on and I’ll give you the advantages and disadvantages of both alternatives, plus some secrets.

Read More »Glue for plastic models and buildings

Don’t paint on Mondays (or any other bad day)

I should have stayed away from the model kit.

I was looking for a way to unwind after a long day. I don’t know why it was long or hard. It’s not like I got jinxed by hearing "I Don’t Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats on the radio today or anything.

But I don’t need to tell any more of the story than this: I got in a hurry, and I got burned.The correct way to paint with a spray can is to spray a light, almost translucent coat onto your work, from a distance of about a foot. It helps to aim a little bit away from your work even.

Krylon commercials say no runs, drips or errors, but guess what? Shoot too much from too close, and the paint will run like Carl Lewis every single time.

So what next?

I’m going to go find a zipper bag, pour some Purple Power or Castrol Super Clean into it, drop the piece in there, let it sit overnight, pull it out, rinse it off, and be presented with clean plastic. Then I can start over.

So there’s good news. At least starting over is an option.

In the meantime, I need to keep telling myself that you can enjoy a well-built model for decades, so it’s worth putting a few extra hours into it.

Easier said than done.

A model railroad scale conversion chart

Plans in model railroad books and magazines are often in a different scale from your favorite. Having a model railroad scale conversion chart helps.

I’m into O scale and the rest of the world, it usually seems, is not. Dimensions for published plans are almost always sized to HO scale, or even S scale of all things. Of course, after A. C. Gilbert imploded in 1967 and took American Flyer with it, it seemed like the “S” is S scale stood for “scratchbuild,” because building it yourself was the only way you were going to get anything, so I guess that’s fair.

Here’s a cheatsheet you can use to convert measurements from one scale to another.

Assumptions: O scale is 1:48, G scale is 1:22.5. If you use a different measurement for either scale, I’m sorry. This won’t be much use to you.

G Scale O ScaleS ScaleOO ScaleHO ScaleTT ScaleN ScaleZ Scale
G Scale213%284%339%386%533%711%977%
O Scale47%133%158%181%250%333%458%
S Scale35%75%119%136%188%211%289%
OO Scale30%63%84%115%158%211%289%
HO Scale26%55%73%87%138%184%253%
TT Scale19%40%53%63%73%133%183%
N Scale14%30%40%48%54%75%138%
Z Scale10%22%29%35%40%55%73%

Find your scale in the table along the top. Then scroll down to the desired scale and find out the factor you need to enlarge or reduce. So, if, say, I have HO scale plans I want to enlarge to O scale, I run across the top to HO, then down to O scale, and see that I need to enlarge the plans to 181%. If I have O scale plans I want to reduce to S scale, I run across the top to O and down to S, and see I need to reduce the plans to 75%.

You can also do this if a building you want exists in kit form for a different scale. Measure it. Then do the math based on the chart to figure out what size to build everything for your scale of choice.

Further reading

I hope you find this model railroad scale conversion chart useful.

On a somewhat related note, if you’re unsure what scale something is, here’s how to figure that out before you convert it. You might also find my cross-hobby scale conversion helpful.