Tag: model train kits

There’s Nothing “Super” About Super Glue

Although claiming to bond “instantly”, all glues of the “super” variety (Krazy, Gorilla, Loctite, Super, etc.) fail to do so, at least in my experience.  I doubt that use of the word “instant” on packaging is required by law to mean something even vaguely expeditious.  Besides, when combined with the word “glue”, “instant” has about as much clarity of meaning as the packaged food phrase “all natural”.

Today I was preparing shipments for my customers, which is a very time-consuming process, even when nothing goes wrong. First, I run a final test on anything I’ve claimed “runs well” to make sure it does, and then I carefully package each item to ensure it will survive being dropped, stepped on, thrown, beaten, battered, kicked and otherwise abused via the United States Postal Service shipping gauntlet.  After weighing each package, I purchase postage, print labels, and tape up all the boxes.  Finally, I drag the load to my car for the trip to the Post Office.

One item was a set of caboose kits, two of which were partially assembled; meaning somebody (probably my Dad) had started to put the kits together.  Model kits, such as freight and passenger cars, buildings and locomotives, have many parts, made of plastic, wood or die cast metal. Sometimes the kits include wheels or trucks, which are modular subassemblies of the wheels and axles that attach to a rail car.  Packing these kits is somewhat labor intensive.  I gather up and seal the small parts in plastic bags, wrap larger parts in tissue paper, and make sure that once the kit box is closed it passes the “shake test” to make sure nothing rattles inside.

Model railroaders hate the sound of a rattling box because it usually means that something inside is broken.  And something always breaks.  While wrapping a nearly- assembled caboose in tissue paper, a plastic step broke clean off the bottom, right into my hand.  No customer appreciates receiving a damaged item if you’ve claimed in your listing that it’s in mint condition.  If you can’t fix what’s broken, you must inform the customer and find out if they want the damaged item or a discount/refund.  Regardless of the outcome, you risk flushing your auction winner’s victory thrills right down the Hopper (see my previous post).  So I got up and took the mess over to the workbench, grabbed the Super-Amazing-Fantastic Adhesive and got to work.

Round 1: The instructions were pretty clear: apply the glue to one of the two pieces, put them together and hold for 30 seconds, which is exactly what I did.  Upon lifting my finger off the step, it immediately fell to the floor.  After crawling around on my hands and knees for a while I found it on the carpet, under my chair.  I picked it up and looked it over.  The broken step had grown a beard; it was covered with cat hair, dust, and carpet threads.  I found a tweezer and picked off the debris.

There is one circumstance where Super Glue lives up to its claims: if you get it on your skin, you will adhere to anything with amazing speed and incredible persistence. Fortunately I managed to detach the step from my fingers without removing a layer of skin.

Round 2:  Placing the step back onto the caboose, I waited 60 seconds (twice as long) and then lifted the tweezers…along with the step because it was stuck to the tweezers.  Placing the caboose on the table, I grabbed the step with another pair of tweezers, detaching the first pair of tweezers from the step.  The step then fell, landing on lap.  Now I had two pairs of glue-covered tweezers in my hands and a step about to be bonded for eternity to my pants.  With one set of tweezers I picked up the step, and with the other hand I tried wiping the glue off my pants with a paper towel (I know, stupid, but you have to use what’s within arm’s reach in such cases), which clung to the glue on my pants. 

I was becoming unglued.

Note: “Super” Glue does not come out in the wash, even with “Amazing” detergent.

Round 3:  I had a clean pair of tweezers (I wiped them off with a cloth).  The glue was dry (Super!) on the caboose parts that remained as yet unglued.  After depositing a drop of glue on the caboose I carefully placed the step onto the glued area with tweezers.  I rested my elbows on the table to steady my hands.  Five minutes later, I lifted the tweezers off.  The step was there, in place…I exhaled.  Then I noticed a step on the other end was bent, sort of hanging there, just waiting to fall off.

If this is model railroading, I don’t think I have the strength…