MRA Editors

Tips for Assembling Model Railroad Buildings

MRA Editors
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Duration:   10  mins

Have you ever been on a layout tour and been just a bit underwhelmed with the way the model railroad buildings appeared? Even if the painting and weathering look good, you can’t quite put your finger on it, but something looks, well – off. The walls don’t quite look square which leads to a cattywampus appearance and detracts from its overall illusion of realism.

No matter how good a painting and weathering expert you are, crooked walls just stand out! Now, you can learn some of the tips award-winning craftsmen use to assemble their model railroad buildings which lead to square and secure corners which are the building blocks to realistic structures.

In this video, watch as frequent MRA contributor and NMRA Master Model Railroader, Gerry Leone, demonstrates how easy it is to duplicate the efforts of the pros with a few simple but essential tools.

In his continuing series, Gerry lays out the fundamentals to assembling wall sections that lead to a solid foundation (pun intended) for great finished model railroad buildings. He begins with the importance of saving, following and – critically – understanding the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t just dive into a box of sticks and start gluing without knowing how everything fits together, and in what order. The manufacturer has already done the hard work and worked out the assembly kinks on his prototype model before it ever gets to you, so it pays to heed the instructions and tips for assembly.

Next, Gerry displays widely available tools for assembling structures – including Right Clamps, machinist squares, T-squares and Rite-Way Clamps which keep walls at the proper 90 degree angle while gluing. His favorite device is a metal gluing tray from Micro-Mark which uses strong magnets to hold wall assemblies square while gluing.

And speaking of preferred glues for styrene structures, he warns not to use contact cement like Walthers Goo or Pliobond because as the solvent evaporates it can warp styrene. Instead, Gerry recommends either CA (cyanoacrylate) glue or his favorite, Tenax 7R, to bond the walls together using a Touch-n-Flow applicator. He also has a few more tips at keeping your work organized and clean. Enjoy the video!

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