Holding foam board and plasticard in place when gluing

When making buildings from either foam board, plasticard (styrene sheet) or card – such as Metcalfe kits – a common problem is how to hold the various pieces in place while glue sets. Here’s what I use.

If you make your own buildings for your railway, diorama or war gaming table you’ll undoubtedly have come across the corner problem.

Namely, you cut to walls, miter the ends, apply the glue and then present them to each other only to then find you’re stuck there for the next 5 to 10 minutes while the glue sets.

And that’s before you start to consider about keeping them at a precise right angle.

I use two accessories that make it a lot easier and allow me to work on multiple corners at the same time.

engineers block

The first is an engineers block. This is basically a lot of heavy hardened steel block used when milling and drilling but their precision finish and weight makes them great for keeping walls upright and at 90 degrees during gluing.

One piece of advice for these however.

As mentioned, these are intended for workshops and to protect them they come supplied in grease so make sure you wipe them down first. They’re also heavy so don’t drop them on your toes, not that I’ve ever done that 😉

Secondly, and one of my best finds are these.

corner clamps

Proses magnetic corner clamps. I found them at a boot fair ages ago but they’re available in most model shops or on the link if you don’t have a shop nearby.

These are essentially magnets in right angled plastic containers. You put one on the inside of the corner, the other on the outside and the magnets snap together holding the plastic in place. Being magnetic they also work with the engineers block.

They are sized for OO/HO but can be used on larger N scale buildings too.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.  
Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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