A different approach to detail scale card modelling - in 3D

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by j77ason, Sep 4, 2004.

  1. j77ason

    j77ason New Member

    Sep 4, 2004
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    Hi Guys,
    I guess quite a few of you will shudder at my methods of card construction and finshing, so I will keep it simple (if I can).
    I have been building models in card for over 25 years and I only found out about ex Communist Block card kits in the 1980's, when I was into barter with pen friends in countries within the then "Soviet Block" and trading for plans....... so then I traded for everything I could lay my hands on up to the mid 1990's when I got fed up with it all - still got it all however - catalogued, etc.
    I first started building in card, after being unemployed, married, mortgage, kids, etc and after I went to a scale model ship club - "being poor", one of the financial members looked down his nose at me and suggested that I should build in card........so I did and that was the start of my hobby, back in the early 1980's.
    Back then.I found plans here few and far between and anyway, I hated building another model of something someone else had already built - i like to be different, it is fun to be different - so I spent several years of my "free time" going through old technical journals at Reference Libraries and Universities here. photocopying prints and plans from those journals from 1850 up to the 1920's when plans ceased to exist in these journals. Can't get the plans & prints at all now. Something to do with the printed paper deteriorating - so photocopying is banned.
    I photocopy enlarged plans to a specific scale and scratch built them - Ships & Armoured Fighting Vehicles for radio control working models, Tanks, later on - buying Tamiya 1/15 scale r/c models and photocopy enlarging plans/card models, hulls & turrets to fit similar running gear 1/15 Tamiya assemblies - but upper hulls and turrets in card. It is great to have one off models of a particular tank - which no one else has!!!
    One thing lead to another and when my resources here dried up, I started trading (barter) for original plans, magazines and card kits from the ex Communist Block.........so 10,000 plus plans sets of air, sea, land, space, etc - hundreds of obsolete (now) card kits, prints and what have you. Add to that, free downloadable kits from the Internet and well............That's me.
    I need many lifetimes to even make a scratch on what I've got - at going on late 50's, the end is not too far away for me...........perhaps.
    Card models. I seldom build a card model at the published scale - I prefer big models, especially of Warships and Tanks/AFV's. Easier to see when assembling too!! I don't really build aircraft although I've got tons of stuff - even a near complete set of "Aircraft of The Fighting Powers" published from 1939 to 1945 with great plans and info on all of the aircraft, back then. Main reason is, at 1/33 scale, aircraft models take up a lot of area - ships and tanks - well its just a hull.
    I photocopy enlarge kits in black and white. It is really easy with a photocopier, cheap too - A4 page size to A3. Then I cut up the A3 sheets and reglue them back on to blank sheets of A4 paper - then photocopy enlarge again those "new" sheets to A3, repeating the process again and again...until I have the enlarged building scale I want.
    Then I do two copies at that final scale, one working copy and one copy as a master, to recopy, in case I stuff up.
    Of course, I have the original card model - I never use that.
    I PVA glue B&W photocopies to thin white card I buy from a drawing/art supply shop. That is, I coat both surfaces, the card and the back of each photocopy page with PVA glue and then lay them together and wipe the photocopy laser printed sides evenly with a soft cloth to remove bubbles and to stop tearing - then put aside to dry overnight. Enough PVA glue as you would find (wet) on the back of a postage stamp.
    I cut out parts with A Griffold Hobby Knife - cutting off all tabs, then I PVA edge glue the large parts of each model together first, later glueing 2mm strawboard (used in picture framing) cut to shape, internally and on the back of that thin card - this provides great strength and durability and helps with later assemly. I use the thin card pattern, before assembly, as the pattern I draw around with a black biro, onto the 2mm strawboard - so when I came to assemble the thicker card behind, it is only a matter of simple trimming to get a neat fit.
    I never use any building instructions - which in any case don't exist (if scratch building from plans) or are in Russian, Polish, Japanese or Chinese - which I don't understand anyway.........when you think about it, it is easy to build the larger parts first, then find the smaller numbered parts and cut out and assemble them, before glueing them to the appropriate place, painting parts before or after assembly, depending on the paint scheme - not hard...
    I build in 3D, that is a porthole or window is see through - not a coloured blob. I make doors stand out from the model, in the case of ships,
    I use Cotton Buds and the nylon tube (stick) which comes with a boiled sweet on the end - kids eat the sweet and chuck the stick away.
    The cotton bud stick (nylon) just fits in the boiled sweet nylon tube - great for axles, hinges and all sorts of things - like working props, gun turrets, wheels, etc. Cotton Bud sticks can be reinforced internally by unbending a wire paper clip and pushing that through the cotton bud tube.
    By the same token, cotton bud sticks, wire reinforced, can be used for permanent shapes - like front wheel steering on model cars - right ?
    I use Chromacryl (water based) Acrylic paint to paint my models by hand. If the paint colour is not easily mixed by me, I take the original card kit along to a builders hardware suppy and get them to use a computer aided paint program to scan the card model colour page and provide me with a sample tin of water based paint, for a few $ - enough for many models. Interestingly, the colour scheme of some parts of my current 1/200 USS Missouri model, is the same colour as my walls in my home - so I could also polyfilla and paint over the numerous holes I earlier drilled for pictures and shelving...too.
    One trick I use frequently to get razor sharp edges of paint colour changes on my models, is to cut out a particular enlarged part from the paper sheet (not glued to thin card), then paint that the appropriate colour, then PVA glue it to my model......and so on........and variations of that technique. Great for "shatter type paint schemes".
    At the end of the day, I have a really superb model, as good as anything I would expect from plastic and since I build to museum quality standard - no filler, sandpaper or cheats - accuracy, accuracy, accuracy and if it's not assembled well enough, chuck it away and do again and again and again, until I get it right - one off models, for which my technique is original to me - models which I am proud of and which always get a great response from visitors.
    I guess what I am saying here is, it is fun to be different and for me anyway, why build a model which is static scale, when you can build a model for another purpose as well - like a radio controlled working model ? Say a ship which floats and does whatever you want it to do?
    Waterproofing = varnish or if you can get it Shellac - but Methalated Spirits doesn't half PONG!!
    Anyone want to enlarge this theme - no problem this end - fire away with the questions and I'll see what I can do to interest you in my hobby, for a bit of variety.
    I used to deal in trade/barter. I might be interested again.
    Air/Sea/Land/Space - occasionally. But I'm not really interested, however in the spirit of friendship............
    My theory is that what I've collected over the years, cost me thousands - so if I were to provide something for a "wish list", I would expect something of like "wish list" value in return. In this way we would both be winners - that is, nothing gets nothing and I'm not interested in pirated stuff - pass.If anyone has a hard luck story - not interested - pass.
  2. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Jan 18, 2004
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    Hi Jason,

    any pics? Your models sound very impressive. I'm sure the other forum members would like to see some.

    Tim P
  3. j77ason

    j77ason New Member

    Sep 4, 2004
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    Hi Tim P

    Yes, I have some pix of my warship models and I would "love" to post them - remember that each large scale warship model is both a static model and for working radio control - electric - although none fitted for playing with - I'm not really interested in doing that here.
    All ships are crewed by scale sailors - which I cut and build myself making up the 3D shape with PVA Glue then painting later on.

    Silly question - how do I post my pix here?