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Ignorance is Patriotic
OK, so I can't stand plastic stirrup steps that are included with many of today's plastic kits. The slightest bump, accident or derailment results in the stirrup step breaking off. Simply put, plastic stirrups are too fragile and this is why I have began to experiment with metal stirrups.

I just recently purchased a package of metal stirrups from A-Line, and am installing them on an Eel River Models 62' beer car. I am stymied, however, on how to permanently attach the metal stirrup step to the plastic car. As you will see in the photo below, the car contains a plastic sill through which two holes are drilled for "side mounting" the stirrup step horizontally through the body. For the plastic stirrups that came included with the kit, the answer is simple: just use some cement or Tenax to weld it to the car. The metal stirrups seem more complicated:


As you can see, the "mounting pins" of the metal stirrup have been bent 90 degrees to mount horizontally through the plastic sill of the boxcar. The fit is perfect, although I would like to cut off the excess of the pins that protrude beyond the plastic sill. MY PROBLEM: every method I've tried to permanently secure the metal stirrup to the car has failed; Testors glue will bond the connection somewhat, but the slightest jar or impact will crack the glue, resulting in a loose step.

I am thinking of using a soldering iron to pour a small puddle of solder on each of the stirrup's pins, my hope being that the solder will bond to the metal pins of the stirrup and result in a strong bond with the plastic body. The prospect of using a soldering iron (of which I have little experience) on a plastic car, to create a metal-plastic connection seems unusual and risky?

Can anyone offer any advice on how I can create a STRONG and DURABLE bond between stirrup and plastic body?

Any help would be much appreciated.


Ignorance is Patriotic
Hmmm, Ambroid's website says that Pro Weld is for styrene-styrene bonds. Could this be the best option for the metal-plastic bond that I need? What are your thoughts on the soldering method (melting a small puddle of solder onto each pin of the stirrup)?


I have used ACC (super glue) with excellent results. Once you have the pins cut flush, just apply a drop to each pin (from the inside of the car). The bond is almost instant and forever.



5th Generation Texian
use a THICK super glue, or an epoxy.

also note: if you trim the protruding pins before gluing, they will flatten and spread somewhat at the cut, increasing the mechanical bond. DO not trim AFTER you glue as this may fracture the glue bond, especially if you use a super glue.


Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Ken is right: epoxy or super glue. I like the thick super glues best. Epoxy will give you a very strong bond as well, and it will even have a little flex to it on an area that small.


Ignorance is Patriotic
Can you guys offer any brand-names of super glues? Or how about an epoxy brand that will work well?

Should I just abandon the soldering idea?


Registered Member
Staff member
Definately abandon the soldering idea. As for the Super glue (Crazy Glues) any of the dollar, cost you less stores, Wal Mart cheapies will work. Use the glue sparingly, capillary action will draw it between the plastic and metal if it is not the filler type.


Been Nothin' Since Frisco
I use Zap A Gap. I get it at Cabella's in the fly fishing section. Actually, there are a lot of modeling goodies in that section of Cabella's, come to think of it...


Ignorance is Patriotic
Now I'm just getting confused, haha.

I like the idea of using a thick super glue. My experience with epoxy has been that it's messy to use (mix) and it dries too fast for longer projects.

Can anyone throw out names of THICK super glues so that I can know what to look for when I go to the store next time?

Also Josh, what's this gap-filling CA?


Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Gap filling CA (cyanoacrylate adhesive) = thick super glue. Here's a webpage showing the Zap A Gap line of adhesives:

If you can't find a supplier in your area, you can try this link or click one of the links at the very top of this page on to check out one of the sponsors. ;)


New Member
I use a mixture of CA glue with Microballoons and/or baking powder.
The glue is the bonding agent and the micoballons/baking soda is the filler.
It acts like a metal weld, making it very strong and light.
I used this technique when I was building RC model aircraft to attach hinges of rudder and aileron.
Try it you will like it.
Have a nice day.
Narrowgauge CDB / (Constantin)


The way I have replace steps in the past was to drill two starter holes and then super glued the step in the starter hole.This makes a stronger hold.

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