I just discovered a great combination: EMA Plasweld and the GC Electronics Chemical Injector a.k.a. the dinky little dropper bottle in the image to the right.
Okay, so I didn't just discover Plasweld. I've been using that stuff for years however I recently spotted the little dropper bottle over at EMA and thought "Ooh, that looks interesting". Boy is it interesting.
Okay, so it's not THAT interesting. I mean it not like a conversation with Stephen Hawking kind of interesting but if you are reading product reviews on a website about model making (and you are), then you'll most probably find it interesting.
I guess I better start with a few words about Plasweld for the benefit of those who don't already know. HELLO. If you already know all about it then feel free to skip down to the bit about the bottle however I recommend that you don't because you still might learn a trick or two by reading the whole thing.
EMA Plasweld is a solvent that can be used to stick pretty much all of the usual normal model making plastics, i.e. styrene, acrylic, ABS, butyrate, perspex, etc. It has a water-like consistence making it ideal for use when you want to hold a couple of pieces together and touch a loaded brush (or applicator as we shall see), onto the joint such that the Plasweld gets drawn in by capillary action. Plasweld grabs in seconds and will be dry in a couple of minutes. Note that you should use it in a well ventilated area.
Another good way to use Plasweld, especially when doing things like putting the arms on figures, is to apply a tiny dot of the stuff. This is enough to 'tack' the piece in place but not so much that it can't be repositioned. Then, when it's where you want it, apply Plasweld to the joint in the normal way to secure it permanently.
Finally, with respect to gluing, when joining dissimilar plastics, i.e. styrene to butyrate, the hardest material (in this case butyrate) should have the joint surface softened, by giving a light coat of solvent, prior to holding the surfaces together. Then proceed as normal.
You can also use Plasweld to soften and smooth plastics. For example, if you're sculpting with Games Workshop's Green Stuff and need to remove fingerprint marks. All you do it paint it on, it softens the plastic, and when it hardens again the marks are gone. I've also used Plasweld to help in the removal of mould lines by painting it on to the part after scraping/filing. WARNING: if you brush the plastic while it's softened you will leave marks. If you've never tried this technique before then try it on some scraps before doing it on anything you care about.
A final thing that you can do with Plasweld is to mix it with shavings of plastic to make your own filler. I've even heard of people pressing the resultant mix into moulds to make small plastic parts.
Now while I've been using Plasweld for years I'd always applied it with a brush, occasionally a needle, until I spotted the GC Elecronics Chemical Injector.
As you can see from the image above it produces very small drops, however, with only a little practice you can apply even smaller quantities as shown in the image to the right. In fact I was going a bit crazy with it in that picture so it would show up for the camera and with a little practice you can get very good control of the amount you're applying.
Another advantage is that a lot less of the solvent evaporates into the air which not only has advantages in terms of economy but also results in a much friendlier working environment.
The only down sides are a) how to get the Plasweld into the bottle in the first place, and b) that the small slender bottle is easy to knock over. The solution to the first is to used a pipette (a length of metal tube works really well - avoid plastic for obvious reasons). The solution to the second is to have a blob on modelling clay on your bench and push the base of the bottle into it.
If you haven't tried these products I strongly recommend that you do so at the first available opportunity. You won't regret it.