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Plastic kits

Whether building a model plane, train, car, tank or ship, there are some basic skills and tools you will need to get the best out of your model. In terms of of building a model railway layout, the most common plastic kits you will come across are for buildings. These are usually very cheap giving you the ability to add lots of them to the layout. It is important that these buildings are constructed and detailed (painted) very well.


File - to remove any excess material, be it from production or from cutting the pieces out

Craft knife - same as the file but I found it easier to use, although I do have wounds from its use.

Modelling glue - plastic model glue is designed to bind two pieces of plastic together, by a process only describable as plastic welding or fusion. This glue does take time to set, its not superglue. It is not designed to glue anything else

Clamps - invaluable to hold things together while they set. They're like a second pair of hands. they also speed up the building process.

Flat paint brush and paint pallet - The type of paint brush is that you see in most model shops and the type you get in most model packs have a rounded bristle. When applying pressure to the bristles such as you do when painting the bristles spread out, this causes an uneven distribution of paint and makes detailing much harder. The ideal brush has a flat bristle end which doesn't spread out when pressure is applied. A pallet is useful to mix paints and blot the paint brush.

Step by Step building tips


  1. First make sure you have all the tools needed at hand before starting. Suddenly finding you have glued something but have no clamp to hold will result in you sitting there for 5 minute while the glue dries.

  2. Secondly, I know this is obvious but read the instructions before you start. Sometimes there are slight differences between two pieces which are not noticeable but are vital to the attachment of other pieces (for example two sides of a house. The right side has mounting points for a garage, but you glue this onto the left, you think lets put the garage on the left then, but you can't as this would result in the garage door being at the back of the house not the front).

  3. Thirdly think ahead, are you going to install lights. If so you will need to drill a hole for the wires or even fix the lights inside before you glue the roof down. Also it is sometimes better to paint certain pieces before you assemble the building as they may not be accessible, such as the interior walls. Ideally write down what step you think you need to take and then follow them.


As already mentioned on this page, plastic model glue is designed to bind two pieces together, by a process only describable as plastic welding or fusion. This means that the two pieces can be very difficult to part again without damaging the two pieces. Best to take your time and get it right first time. Also this glue does take time to set, its not superglue.

  1. First cut out the two pieces that you are going to be gluing together with either some clippers or a craft knife. Don't cut them all out at once, as they do have codes and you may lose some of the smaller pieces. Using the file or the craft knife remove any remaining plastic left from the moulding process or from cutting the piece out.

  2. Secondly apply some of the glue to one of the pieces and then join them. For the walls of a building you will need to make sure that all the walls are square. When gluing some pieces you may find a clamp useful, so you can get on gluing something else. Be careful not to do too much at once. Give large sections like the walls of a building, time to dry. this will make it easier to apply any detailing as you wont have to worry about the walls going out of alignment.

  3. Thirdly remove any excess glue with the file or a craft knife and give the surfaces a clean before painting. This will ensure a good finish.


When using enamel model paint always mix it for 1 minute before use. Failure to do this can result in the paint looking patchy. Also never use the paint directly out of the pot. Not sure why. This was some advice I saw on TV. I find it wastes paint. It is however always best to blot the brush to avoid paint blotches.

With regards to painting technique, my advise is to paint in one direction along the grain if one is present. Just remember buildings don't look freshly painted so they need some dirtying up. I  did this by putting some black or brown paint on a pieces of sponge. blotting it until almost no paint was coming off and then dabbing or rubbing it across the building.

If you require advise on airbrushing please click here

If you require paint conversion tables to convert your paints number range to that of another brands number range Please click here


Please remember light bulbs get hot. Do not put filament lights inside paper buildings or anything combustible. LED's do not get hot and modern ones can be very bright. Use these instead. To read more about electronic click here




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R8312 - E-Link Computer Controlled Model Railway

Hornby E-Link
Computer Control


Hornby Model Railway Train Sets - Hornby Mixed Freight Train Set - R1126

Hornby DCC Mixed Freight Train Set


Hornby Trakmat

Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack A - R8221

Hornby Extension Track Pack A


Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack B - R8222

Hornby Extension Track Pack B


Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack C - R8223

Hornby Extension Track Pack C


Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack D - R8224

Hornby Extension Track Pack D


Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack E - R8225

Hornby Extension Track Pack E


Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack F - R8226

Hornby Extension Track Pack F


Hornby Trakmat

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