Card Model Deterioration Over Time

Discussion in 'General Card Modeling' started by damraska, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Ammonia Test


    If it's ammonia it is easy enough to test for it. Just place a few samples of PVA glued paper on a platform over a pool of ammonia inside a covered bucket. Let it set for several days and examine the bonds. I have a feeling that PVA is not ammonia resistant...,

  2. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Mixed regular household ammonia with some PVA. It did a great job of thinning the PVA and didn't seem to have any effect on the glues bonding ability.

  3. john wagenseil

    john wagenseil New Member

    :thumb:A visit to a library with a good selection of books on longevity of materials used by artists might be in order.
    Paper is affected by humidity and will expand and contract assymetrically. Acid paper will eventually self destruct. PVA glue is supposed to be stable. Dye based as opposed to pigment based inks will fade. By the way, a major enemy of paper is bugs, "silver fish" in particular eat the edges of paper.

    Polish paper models were not known for being printed on high quality paper.:shock::curse:
    If the computer in the room has a laser printer it is spewing out ozone (corrosive) and micron sized dust (escaped toner particles, not good for lungs:p).
    Depending on how close to the Bay you are you may be getting salt particles in the air; This is not good for paper.
    I have not been in the Bay area for many many years but the air around the sacramento river used to be pretty filthy thanks to the oil refineries and agricultural blow off.
    Paper models are ephemeral. Eventually the paper will loose its structural integrity and will sag and the colors will fade unless very high quality artist colors were used.
    Some plastic models are also doomed to die, as the solvents used in processing the plastics will attack the model from the inside.
    If you want a model that will outlast you, you build wooden ship models using 18th century techniques and materials ( All organic materials, ie wood, and hide glue, everything pegged, use high quality lead free pewter or brass for metal parts, linen sails and rigging, mineral pigments for colors, no synthetic glues or paints).
    Paper modeling allows you to make something out of almost nothing, for a minimal cash outlay, for me it is the process not the final object that brings enjoyment.

    If you really want to know why you models are deteriorating, see if the UCBerzerkey art department, or if other local art school has classes in conservation, or if near by museum or rare books library or art gallery or even up scale artist supply store has conservation expert who knows paper and would be willing to take a look at your models and offer opinion.

    Good luck look upon this as an opportunity, your disintegrating models are freeing up space for new models.

    j wagenseil
  4. paper warrior

    paper warrior Member

    Most of my models are 4-5 years or so old now, still look good. Using Wausau Card, and Elmer's Ge Glue. Stored at 100+ degrees, no sunlight and regular humidity. I'll give you an update in 2009. :p
  5. scon10

    scon10 Member

    Just to throw in my (euro)cent of worth, in Holland there is an acrylic (water-based) clear varnish for parquet floors, which gives a durable protective layer, in high gloss or satin. I noticed 6 or 7 years ago it could be used very well on paper models and my models so treated are keeping up in pristine condition. I can dust them with some kitchen paper lightly moistened with ordinary house hold window cleaner. See the attached pictures, which were dusted in that way to make them presentable for the camera. One of the pictures show the can of parquet varnish called "Pantserlak", the brand is Rambo, of the Dutch paint manufacturer Sigma Coatings. Maybe they are exported, but I am sure this sort of varnish must be available wherever parquet floors are installed.

    (on a side note: these models were made of paper glued onto a balsa frame for the fuselage and wing, with stringers and ribs to give the shape, just as the real thing was built up (I am an aeronautical engineer). The paper acts as skin, therefore. It is specially coated paper which we can buy at any art store and in Holland it is called in translation "Lacquered Paper" (Lakpapier), with a thickness of around 180 or 200 grms /sq meter and available in all sorts of high gloss colours. I used here aluminium, white, red and dark blue. The engines of the Super Constellation were copied from the Schreiber model of the Lufthansa L1649 Starliner, those of the Stratocruiser were scratch built/designed. Decals with small lettering and KLM logo were printed on transparant decalpaper. The models are scale 1:50)

    Attached Files:

  6. Jim Nunn

    Jim Nunn Member

    I think I’ll jump here with some of my observations. I have had paper models that were over 20 years old that had not deteriorated I had used Wilhold glue to build them. They were German commercial models printed on very high quality paper. They had been stored in a chest of drawers with some air circulation. Currently I am cleaning and fixing several of my models for the IPMS Nationals several of them are over 4 years old and look great.

    In the wood model ship world there has been a lot of discussion about white metal fittings that deteriorate when the model is in a display case with little air transfer. There is also some discussion about Cyro glues crystallizing in sealed cases. Perhaps the issue is how you store the models and paper quality.

    Jim Nunn
  7. cygielski

    cygielski Member

    I myself find my wife and children the chief threats to my models. None have suffered perceptibly during their lifetime, barring damage from dusting implements and little hands.

    On a side note, I like building models, but somehow don't feel a whole lot of sentiment for them afterwards. I have trashed a number of them without much heartbreak. Perhaps if you can't figure out what's wrong with your models, adopting a more zen attitude might help. Still, hope you don't have to resort to that. :)
  8. Gregory Shoda

    Gregory Shoda Member

    For myself, I have been surprised how durable paper is. My first model was completed in 1989 and has not noticably degraded. I did not expect that they would last long as I did not seek out acid free materials. I imagine, however, that around 20-25 years they will start to show aging problems.

    John Wagenseil: Thanks for your research. Very interesting.

    scon10: Nice airliner models.
  9. I had a posterboard geodesic dome hanging on the wall I made from a Popular Science plan that lasted at least 25 years before I moved and parted with it. The principal factors here have to be paper quality, heat and humidity.

    Still, part of the fascination I see in card modeling is the fragility of the material. I suppose if my models deteriorated it would just give me a great excuse to build them all over again, which I can do as long as I (or someone online) have the model files.

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