Absolute beginners questions

Discussion in 'General Card Modeling' started by CarlWalters, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. CarlWalters

    CarlWalters New Member

    Hello, I'm brand new to this card modelling (having spent many happy hours with Airfix models as a boy). I thought I would give card modelling a go. having read through a few guides I've equipped myself out with what I think should be the basic tools i.e.

    - A3 self-healing cutting mat.
    - Architects metal rule 12" (triangular)
    - Scotch Scrapbooker Glue with 2-way applicator
    [FONT=&quot]Fiskars 209921 Soft Touch Micro Tip Scissors
    - X-Acto X2000 knife plus extra No 11 blades.

    I'm hoping this is going to be enough to start me off with but I'm sure to have missed something. Does anyone have any comments on that tool set? Any Additions?

    With that sorted I'll be ready to actually start modelling! I'd like to concentrate on real space craft to begin with. But as a beginner is it best to purchase a per-printed kit or try one of the - many - free downloads?

    If I'm going to download some models to print off at home then will be HP Deskjet All-in-One printer be good enough for the job? If so then what would be the best weight of card to use? I'm guessing this will vary according to the section of model being worked on? Is it best to buy a selection of different card weights at first? If so do you have any recommendations as to suppliers?

    Phew - that's enough questions for now.

    Many thanks in advance for any help.


  2. ltla9000311

    ltla9000311 Member

    Hey Carl welcome to a whole new world! While I still dabble in plastic every so often, paper is quickly becoming my favorite medium for modelling. There are many different subjects, (cars, planes, tanks, mecha, and space craft) that just aren't available in plastic. That's part of what keeps me coming back to paper. Well that and the fact that if I screw up a pat while building, print out that page again! Try that with plastic!

    Your list of tools is all you need to start building right now. Although I would add some cheap toothpicks to that list. You can use them to apply glue to small part without getting it everywhere. I might also look into something to "score" your fold lines. If you've got an old ball point pen lying around that will work pretty well. I use a burnisher I bought at a local arts & crafts store. If you've got one near you just ask at the counter they should be able to point you in the right direction. The only other thing that I can think of off the top of my head is a pair of tweezers that are long, preferably without teeth on them.

    You will get lots of good advice around here on the forum, there are many modellers from all over the world with many different techniques for doing the same task while building. Don't be afraid to experiment! Sometimes you'll come upon something that no one has come across yet.

    Personally I started building free models. I've been building paper models full time for about a year now. Looking back on it I'm glad I started with the too many to list free models out there. I only recently felt my skills were advanced enough to tackle some of the "pay" models out there. But, if you find a kit you can't do without, buy it. You never know if it will be available when your ready to build it. The same can be said for the free models out there, some designers only release their models for a short time and then that's it. There are some exceptions to that rule, experience will build as you ask questions and look around.

    Here is a picture of some of the tools I use, the only thing missing are my wooden dowels of varying diameters. I use them to form curved parts on, much easier than doing it by hand.

    Hope this helps,


    Attached Files:

  3. CarlWalters

    CarlWalters New Member

    Hi Todd,

    thanks very much for the quick and informative post. It's always good to see someone's workbench. On the back of your recommendations I've gone ahead and ordered a set of tweezers (better than borrowing the wife's eyebrow ones I guess) and a paper scorer. Toothpicks we have in abundance (a Manhattan on a Friday evening always goes down well I find).

    I had a look at getting an assortment of dowels but the best I could find on-line was a large assorted set ranging from 3mm up to 16mm for £22 ($31). It may be cheaper to go to a local hardware hop and pick up a few odd lengths.

    As you suggest I'll start on some of the many free models that are available. Would you have any recommendations as to the variety of card stock (thickness/colour) that I'm likely to need.

    many thanks

  4. Gixergs

    Gixergs Well-Known Member

    Hi Carl welcome to an exciting new world. This is a link to a very good site full of varied freebie models and links to FAQ'S so hopefully it should help get you into the swing of things. http://www.ss42.com/toys.html Have fun
  5. CarlWalters

    CarlWalters New Member

    Hi Phil,
    thanks for the reply and the link. It wasn't one I'd come across before and looks packed full of interesting stuff to try

  6. zakopious

    zakopious Member

  7. ltla9000311

    ltla9000311 Member

    Carl-No problem with the help, anytime.

    As for the dowels, I went to Lowe's and for about $4.50 I was able to get 4 different sizes. They'll come in 3 foot lengths, but I just cut them with a razor saw to a comfortable length, and then sand the sharp edges rounded.

    On cardstock, I have a Lexmark X5070 printer, it feeds 110lb just fine for me. I can't say much about other printers, I don't know. In the beginning I bought my cardstock at Wal-Mart. It was about 6 bucks for 150 sheets in 110lb if I remember correctly. Like all hobbies as you go along and get better, and buy/download that one special model, you start to look for better paper. It does get a little more pricey, but that's the way it goes I guess.

    My first model when I started was Jan Rukr's 1/148 Aliens dropship. I bought 110lb to start with, needless to say it was a tough build due to the small parts and the heavy paper. But it is a fairly stout little model built out of 110lb. I'll post a pic of it at the end here.

    Hope this helps out,


    Attached Files:

  8. Paladin

    Paladin Member

    It is good to have you here. As you have heard, there is a great deal of potential in paper modeling. I personally still mess with plastic to a very small degree. How small, well, maybe once or twice a year. Paper models just allow for screw-ups that plastic is very difficult to correct. You’ll also notice that there are probably many more models made out of paper than there are plastic. To do plastic you either have to find a regular manufacturer, which is usually not terribly detailed, or just plain terrible. Or, you find a small operation which makes resin models, (which I find difficult to build), and costs both arms and both legs to purchase. I have found paper models of very nice aircraft, or sci-fi craft that were 5 or 4 dollars, or often even for free, whereas the only resin manufacturer wanted 50, 60, or even 100 dollars or more for the same model.:eek:

    You may even get into this enough to create your own models of something you want and can’t find, or don’t like what is available. I sometimes like to build some paper models adding my own details to them to make it more realistic, or just more like the scheme I want. The possibilities are really unlimited. :cool:

    For tools, I have a nice sharp exacto type knife, and some fine scissors, (I use some straight, and curved blades from a manicure set). I also use toothpicks to apply glue, and several fine point markers to touch up edges so the white paper doesn’t show so much. I often will use a nice gloss, or flat clear-coat to finish off the model and seal it from water and sunlight. I will occasionally use acrylic paints to add little touches like burn marks, or damage areas. I typically use 110lb cardstock, it’s the easiest to find, and cheap. In this forum you can find out about anything you need about building and designing paper models. You can even search for available models, or ones soon to be released.:thumb:

    I must warn you though for two things, first, beware of the source of any model, whether free or paid. This world of ours is indeed large, and yet the internet seems ten times larger, and thus piracy is alive and well I am sad to say all over the internet.:cry:wall1 I would first say that it is very likely that anyone selling, or giving away digital copies of normally pre-printed models, such as Maly, Geli, or many others are almost always pirated. If you need to know, try to find who the designer or publisher is, and ask them. There are enough people on this forum that can direct you if this problem arises.

    My second warning is that this hobby can be addicting.:razz: I have a corner of my house that is full of models from so many different categories, that I could open a small museum and fill it. My wife thinks they are great, but we don’t have that big of a place, and I have to slow down my building or I’ll have to rent someplace to put them all.:eek:

    Now this site here has some very nice real space models:thumb:, and many others: http://www.jleslie48.com/
    Any other models you want to find, ask here in the forum, and someone will probably know where to get it. Some sites have very nice models for free, and it would be very nice to make donations to them to help them keep up their designing, and websites.

    Have fun, and welcome to the forum.:mrgreen:
  9. CarlWalters

    CarlWalters New Member

    It certainly does Todd many thanks once again. I will look for a local hardware shop for some dowel rods shouldn't be too pricey. I have an HP Photosmart F2280 which should handle 200gsm/110lb so that should be OK. I'll check on-line for the best pricing and see if I can get an assortment with the main stock being 200gsm.

    The picture looks fantastic - hard to believe it was a first attempt.

    thanks again

  10. CarlWalters

    CarlWalters New Member

    Hello Paladin - thanks for the warm welcome (a really friendly bunch of people on her I've found :) ). I think you're right about the pitfalls of plastic/resin modeling - mainly the high cost especially once you've added in all the paints/airbrushes etc. The chance to rip it up and start again is also a very big plus of card modeling.

    Thanks for the warning about piracy. It hadn't even crossed my mind to be honest. I guess I should have expected it though.

    The link you provided looks to be a great starting point - full of the kind of things I'm interested in building.

    I'll bear in mind your warning about addiction :) Your wife sounds very understanding. Let's hope mine is too :)
  11. Paladin

    Paladin Member

    You're very welcome. I have had some fun making really special displays and giving them away to family and friends. My wifes grandfather was a fighter pilot in Korea, and he started out on P-51s then ended up flying F-86s, so I made him a miniature diorama of these planes, plus his intermediate F-84, on a little airfield, and put them inside a clear plastic ornament ball. I am about to make a small Saturn V rocket sitting on the launch pad, and send it to my Father-in-law.
    I told you it was addicting.:eek:
  12. piginapoke

    piginapoke Member

    Welcome aboard

    If you're interested in real spacecraft, you can't go much better than Alfonso's superb space shuttle as a starter. His website is

    I built Columbia and external tank and SRBs and there weren't very many parts to cut out and there's assembly instructions for all of it. The level of detail for what is a nice easy model build is stunning.

    You can see my model at my website


    Good luck!
  13. doctormax

    doctormax Member

    One thing I seen one person have on the tools to have was a magnifying glass. there are parts that can be really small. so that is one thing that would always come in handy. I bought the cheapest one i could find and it has proven to be overworked. I seen the person had his stuck to some box of some sort myself i just taped it to an adjustable lamp that was broken
  14. There are some really good tips here. The only thing I would add is that it helps to set up a well lit, out of the way spot in the house where you can work on a model, then walk away for awhile and things won't be in the way. One great thing about card modeling is that you can just pick it up, work for a few minutes, then walk away, which is what I do. It's a nice sort of therapy to be to get away from the mental stuff and work with my hands awhile now and then.

    I keep a few flattish cardboard boxes around to protect project parts in progress. Other than that, I just devote a file folder to the model sheets.

    Have fun!

  15. lehcyfer

    lehcyfer Member

    Yeap, good lighting goes a long way to improve quality of your models :)

    Also get some nice slim tweezers and the mentioned already toothpicks.

    I'd add some good permanent markers or acrylic paints for touch-up and transparent spray lacquer to seal ready model - then it's more durable and it's easier to keep it clean.
  16. aflec

    aflec New Member

    Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
  17. rthompson10

    rthompson10 Guest

    hi Carl, l have been in to card modeling for about a year now, my first paper model was a free download from NASA of the Hubble Space Telescope. that hooked me right there! I also use an HP all in one printer,it handels heavy paper fine(115 lb) i get my paper from walmart (Acrylic pad) it has a grey and orange cover, has one smoth side one rough.and works very well, nice and strong! i also use Elmers carpenders wood glue, it does not dry clear so you have to be carefull, but it works GREAT!! I now have over 50 models and a wife about to kill me!

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