Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Lemon Aid

One of the great things about building your own models - as opposed to buying them off the shelf - is that you never stop learning, and so much of the new knowledge that comes your way is from exchanging ideas and experiences with other modellers.

And so it has come to pass that after more than 20 years of scratch building I have discovered a new glue.

Limonene may be old news to you, perhaps, but I have to confess I only came across it for the first time a couple of weeks ago when reading a new 'how to' publication from fellow modeller and blogger Phil Parker. (There's a link to his blog at the side of this page.)

He wrote about how it was a much milder form of solvent which was ideal for laminating styrene because it wouldn't attack the plastic so much and cause it to curl as it cured.

Until now I've been using Mek Pak and other similar chemicals for bonding styrene and have got quite accustomed to my workpieces bending like prize bananas within a few hours, and I  have adapted the construction of my models to anticipate this tendency.

I read what Phil had to say, thought: 'that's interesting', and did no more about it until I was buying another consignment of resin casting goo from Hobby Holidays' website, saw them offering bottles of Limonene and made a spur of the moment purchase.

(Incidentally, I must record what fabulous service I've always had from this firm. Place an online order at 4pm and you'll find your consignment on your doorstep the next morning!)

I've used Limonene for the first time on the masters for the B wagon kit and I have to say my first impression is that I'm very impressed.

It's non-curling properties are all that Phil promised they would be, although on the flip side it does take considerably longer to fix the parts to one another and you do have to be careful not to disturb the bits you have just glued as you continue working on the piece, unlike with more aggressive solvents like Mek Pak where you get a good, solid bond within seconds.

As its name suggest it is a product derived from citric acid, and unlike most other modelling solvents which can give you a headache, this has a very pleasant aroma of orange / lemon zest, as does your model until it is fully cured.


  1. Glad to help Rob. Also pleased that it's not just me that likes the smell. It sounds wrong to say it though!

  2. hi rob

    just a thought, could you not use dots of mekpak to hold pieces in position and rely on limoneme for the major lamination bonding... seems to be best of both worlds (at least in theory, not being a modeller myself...)