Stormsure is something you’re more likely to find it in a Chandlery than a model shop as it’s more usually employed in rubber dingy and wetsuit repair – but the new packaging suggests the manufacturer’s ongoing desire to push it into other outdoor activities.
It’s available in clear and black, (plus khaki, and white apparently) in 5g and 15g tubes. A 3-pack of 5g tubes is around 7 GBP posted. The smaller tubes are the best option, for reasons I’ll go in to later.
In the box there were the three 5g tubes I was expecting – but in a new (?) black design, not the yellow of old as shown on the box. The thin instruction sheet unfolds into something that’s heavy on illustration and superficially overly busy – but does contain a lot of useful information (in English). On the reverse are safety warnings, in English and thirteen other European languages.
The free gloves are very thin, and the halves are impossible to separate into an opening unless you wet your thumb & forefinger first. Marked as “M” (medium), I still managed to get my hands in the gloves, although they were uncomfortably tight on the middle fingers.
Given the way this glue seems to travel on fingers, tools, work surfaces and the item though, it’s good to have them included.
I recently bought a pair of Troll 1.5” spiked tyres at a low price due to one of them having a small split on the sidewall.
It was a manufacturing fault from back in the day, a cold shut from the first 12mm section of rubber through the injection nozzle for that batch, causing a worsening split over time.
I cut away the offending inclusion, then cleaned the area with acetone on a cotton bud.
It only took a tiny amount of Stormsure to bond the crack & fill the gap, but as it was sagging, I put some masking tape over the repair, and left the tyre repair down to cure overnight.
Come the morning, it was evident that the Stormsure had crept a long way under the masking tape. Removal showed it had bonded to the tape far better than the actual rubber, and most the glue pulled out of the crack. The remains pulled out easily, though there was some cling.
Repeating the process without the tape – and leaving it right side up – resulted in surface spread and sagging in the gap. Curing was complete after 6 hours. I assessed the adhesion 2 weeks later and the adhesion was no better.
Ideally, I’d have devised a repeatable method comparing various rubber glues in pull tests, and even a centripetal fling test involving high RPMs to compare it to the other candidate for “best” tyre glue (ZAP-RT), but it was evident that the standard of the results I’d had this time didn’t merit it.
It’s important to note that I’ve used Stormsure on vintage Tamiya rubber parts before – Opel Ascona tyres, 3-speed/Wild Willy switch boots, CVA shock caps and had much better (functional, if not aesthetic) results – so I did some additional adhesion testing.
I used various Tamiya rubber parts (vintage and new Sand Scorcher front & rear tyres, wire bushings (the shaped grommet through which the motor & resistor wire leave SRB mechanism boxes), well nuts (the bits that old that mech box to SRB chassis), and a random bit of leftover neoprene.
In all cases I cleaned the area to be tested (which I think is good practice) and scuffed up the areas with wet & dry paper - as per the instruction sheet.
I seem to have lost the image of the non-tyre test pieces, but as you can see from the photo below, most of the test applications peeled away cleanly - this was after 14 hours of curing. The degree of cling varied - on “old” rubber I’d class the bond as inadequate, and on newer rubber, barely adequate – in fact, the only thing I’d describe the bond as worthwhile was on the neoprene test piece.
The "Sythentic Rubber Cement" Question
You may have seen that phrase in Tamiya manuals – in particular, temporarily fixing parts during suspension assembly on three-speed trucks comes to mind.
I’ve always thought they meant something like the tubes of rubber glue (or “vulcanising solution”) you find in bicycle tyre repair kits, though Evostick Impact, or even Copydex would do in a pinch. I don’t think Stormsure can go on the list, given the long cure time, tendency to creep, and questionable adhesion.
Stormsure has a limited useable life, as once you break the seal it starts to cure in the tube. The manufacturers say you can keep it in the freezer to prolong its life – I’ve tried, but it had cured solid when found it on an unrelated trip to the freezer months later. If I can’t see it, I might as well not have it, and if I need some glue, I never think to look in the freezer.
I haven’t done extensive testing but found that returning to a started tube after 2 weeks the material in the open end had cured to the extent that nothing fresh was coming to come out, and no amount of winkling could get the cured plug out either. It was possible to continue to use the tube by poking a hole further down, but clearly that’s a one-off, final approach.
As noted above, I remember having better results with Stormsure in the past, so it may be that the formulation has changed. From my testing this time, it seems that the older the rubber, the less well it sticks.
It’s difficult to draw conclusions from this, other than it’s not especially good at the thing RC enthusiasts are most likely to want to do with it – fix old rubber parts. It’ll depend what you want to do with them though, if your restoration is destined to sit on a shelf, no problem, other than the visual mismatch. If you plan to use the vehicle in question then on static parts, like switch boots then it should be ok. On tyres though, I really doubt it.
What is clear is that Stormsure does have some other problems. It tends to creep and spread, not helped by the long cure time (12 hours according to the manufacture, 6 hours in my experience). It’s best used where you need the (limited) gap filling properties. The limited life once started is also an issue.
Where you have more damage to deal with (like an age/UV crazed vintage Blazing Blazer/ Wild Willy M38 tyres) or are performing a cut & shut operation to resize a tyre – anywhere you don’t need to fill a gap – I think you’re going to be much better off with a fast curing, premium RT (“rubber toughened”) CA glue like ZAP-RT PT-44.
At present, I don’t think I can really rate it any better than two out of six.
Written by TB member Jonny Retro