How to fix your buildings down without fixing them down

If you’re still building a layout and continually moving buildings around while working on it, this is for you.

Is a model railway ever finished? I don’t think so.

Certainly, mine aren’t. There’s always something to be done.

The problem however that while you’re working on your layout, there’s a risk you’ll damage parts that you’ve already completed.

This is especially the case for buildings.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve accidentally caught a delicate building with a tool of one form or another and damaged it.

The answer is to move them while you’re working on and when you want to see them in place you just place them but leave them unglued so they can be removed in future.

But that means that when the buildings are in place they don’t look right (often with a small gap between the building walls and groundwork). Worse, if you have pets (especially cats) who occasionally walk across your railway (surely not!!) they might dislodge these unsecured buildings and send them flying.

What to do…

Here’s a remarkably simple tip.

Use magnets.

Get some kitchen cupboard door magnets and fix them to the baseboard where the building will go.

Now take the other half of the magnet, remove it from its plastic holder (that allows it to be screwed to cupboard door) and glue it to the walls of your buildings (on the inside!).

Your buildings will then be held tightly and firmly in place but if you want to do some construction work on the layout they can still be easily lifted free.

Sure it’s an obvious tip but it’s one of those that’s so obvious it might get overlooked.

Let me know if you use this for your layout.

> 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 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.
    • Great idea Paul! That would be so useful as it allows the insides to be worked on while the building is on the layout too! Thanks for sharing. Andy

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