How I build tiny

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by thewoodengraver, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    Miniatures in card
    If you think Micromodels are too small, you need to read this.
    I shrink my Micromodels to fit a business card…and smaller!
    (Do you see my avatar?)
    You may already be asking; "why build miniature? This seems like foolish nonsense to me!"
    Take a look at some of the Deluxe Cardmodel build threads. There are sometimes hundreds of tiny parts.
    I don’t want to break out my $50.00 (example) deluxe model with hundreds of tiny parts and hack it all to pieces because I failed to practice my methods.
    I want to build many "deluxe" models but I want the parts to be built well. Sure I could scan the model and build a copy over and over until I get it right, then build the origional…boring!
    I have way too many models I want to build. I don’t have enough time to build them once let alone several times for practice.
    I look at it this way, by selecting free downloads to "practice" tiny building, there is very little loss of money or time, even if you make a mistake. What do I gain? Lots of cool miniatures made of card, and valuable practice.
    Building miniature is no different from building origional size except that the level of accuracy usually increases. It is crucial to cut and score with precision especially at smaller sizes. An inaccurate cut or score that is off by as little as the thickness of cardstock can throw your project in the wastebasket. Take your time to be accurate.
    For beginners, I have found that the simple models (1 to 15 pieces) make the best candidates. Just about everything at are excellent choices for beginner miniature builds.
    Do you recall browsing for cardmodels and coming across that one simple model thinking to yourself "this is too simple for me"?
    That would probably be a prime candidate for miniature.
    Hako models, Child’s toys and the like are prime candidates.
    Miniatures made easy
    If you are already somewhat experienced at cardmodeling, like building free downloads, try building again something you have already built…only smaller! You have already built it once, you know how it goes together. Challenge yourself! Trust me, when you get that deluxe cardmodel in the mail, you will need to have some pretty good skills. Even if it does come with instructions!

    I use normal (?) cardmodeling tools.
    The elusive "Drink-me" tiny potion is just a rumor…started by me during a period of disbelief while looking at Texman’s 1/144 Aircraft.
    • 110# cardstock *
    • Copy & Print paper (occasionally)
    • #1 x-acto with #11 blade
    • #2 x-acto with #24 blade
    • tiny scissors (PRIMARY)
    • Micro-point tweezers
    • Self-healing cutting mat
    • Magnifying lamp
    • Steel straight edge
    • Dowels, needles and pins (rolling tubes and cones)
    • Small smoothe jaw needle nose pliars (clamping/spot-welding/folding)
    • Elmers school glue
    • Heavy paperweight (laminating/clamping)
    * 110# cardstock is all I use. Occasionally I will use paper for cosmetics, or thin objects like Sails. The 110# cardstock offers me great stability and if I am careful, only folds when and where I tell it to.
    Unless the tab has artwork that must be included, I cut of all tabs. They can cause serious fit problems if folded/scored improperly and in my opinion, most are a waste of time. Use your discretion. You may have to hold the parts in place a little longer but the edges of cardstock/paper accept glue nicely. I have successfully glued edge to edge countless times.
    Where to start
    Usually I will look for the smallest part of the model, this will give me an idea of how much smaller it can be printed.
    No model is exempt from building miniature, it may be restricted to how miniature depending on the size of the smallest parts, or the deletion of some smaller parts.
    Some of these smaller parts can be simply added with a paintbrush, or deleted alltogether. At this scale, how much would you be able to see anyway? The greatest challenge however, is NOT deleting any parts.

    • First, if the file I want to rescale is not already in .jpg or .gif format (ie .pdf) I make it so. That way I can easily rescale it several times on the same page and print once.
    • Second, I print the model full size (100%) to use as a map. This is the key! This will show, for instance, where score lines are when it is impossible to see on the tiny.
    • Third, I print the model again at scales of 100%, 75%, 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and sometimes 10% (see step 1-4 below).
    • Finally, I build at 100% to understand the build. Then I attempt to build the next largest, and so on.
    Step 1
    Use Photoshop (or whatever) to convert your .pdf file one page at a time each to Jpg’s with the same size and resolution.
    Step 2
    Create a blank (white) .jpg with the same size and resolution as the .jpg model you want to rescale (assuming the model sheet is full-page, if not, make a full-page blank with the same resolution) and save as tiny1.jpg. Keep this file open.
    Step 3
    Open one .jpg model, If the image is smaller than full-page just copy and paste to tiny1.jpg.
    Next, resize the model to 75% of origional (do not save!), copy, and paste onto tiny1.jpg. Select the model and undo the resize. Now resize to 50%, copy and paste onto tiny1.jpg. Select the model and undo the resize. Do this, as many times as there is room for, or when you have reached your desired tiny. Close the origional image without saving.
    Step 4
    Save tiny1.jpg and print.
    This is what your page might look like. Here is my Skateboard rescaled several times. (Note: my Skateboard at 100% fits a postcard)
    That’s all there is to it! There’s no need for a build thread. Nothing new here!
    Download tiny1zip on the next post. It includes pics of the finished skateboard and the full size image shown below. Print it and see how small you can build it.
  2. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

  3. Padre

    Padre Guest

  4. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    It's funny you should post that link Padre,
    The business card Piper cub was the first tiny I ever built!
    Good eye my friend!
  5. papertrain

    papertrain Member

    will you guys stop this with the tinys,,,,,,,i went and strted printing this stuff out to do,,,,,now i have to enlarge it 50 times so i can just read the instructions:grin: i need a microscope now.8) thanks for the link:roll:
  6. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    Added to the reserves!
  7. paulhbell

    paulhbell Guest

    What do you use to cut out the skateboard. I got to 40% then I made a mess at 30%. Please help.

    Forgot to say I printed it on a4 paper.
  8. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    tiny scissors, tweezers and hold your tongue at 10:00.

    P.S. thanx Chris! :)
  9. Mark_1984

    Mark_1984 Guest

    Tiny cubes

    View attachment 6844

    Here's a pile of tiny cubes - the smallest is 3mm - I'm sure some people can get far smaller than that ;)

    The picture ? Unashamedly to attract TWE's attention ;) (and it amused me to post a pic of it balanced on my finger - couldn't balance all four and hold the camera at the same time tho........ )


    Attached Files:

  10. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    Flip that last one............ finger is pointing up:grin:
  11. milenio3

    milenio3 Active Member

    My hat off to you, my dear TWE! I always amaze at your tiny's.
  12. James Hover

    James Hover New Member

    I love to build in small scales but am having a rough time finding a way to convert my cad art whitch can be printed very small into somthing i can color and print as enything other than a blurry mess with my varios paint programs. I wuld love to share my kits but wont releas them in less than acseptable resilutions:cry:
    any sugjestions:???:
  13. Sumato

    Sumato Member

    Even if you don't build tiny, I think the skills you are developing by trying it will certainly improve your models, no matter the size. It helps develop your precision, and raises your standards of accuracy.
  14. Chthulhu

    Chthulhu Member

    I use AutoCAD 2000 to work up my models' parts, and Adobe Illustrator 10 to "decorate" them; Illustrator just happens to read 2D AutoCAD .DWG files very nicely.

    For other vector-based drawing programs, you may need to export your CADD art as 2D .DXF files, which a wide variety of vector *and* raster programs will read.
    Mike Hungerford
    "Schadenfreude is chocolate for the soul." - R. Milholland
  15. Sumato

    Sumato Member

    I adore the concept of building tiny, because it raises your standards of accuracy. My problem is I love to build macro... I enlarge everything! It really makes me lazy as hell. My 1/32 aircraft I always enlarge to at least 1/24, and sometimes up to 1/8 scale. It's a real problem because these enormous aboninations can only be disposed of by either very large fire-crackers, or the Alang ship-breaking yard.
  16. C Babbage

    C Babbage New Member

    Inspired by the tiny models thewoodengraver has displayed, I tried my hand at tiny. Not at tiny as thewoodengraver's, but small. The wing span is about 2.5 inches. I modified the Gee Bee model from to look more like the model "Z" in "The Rocketeer". Not 100% accurate, but fun to build.


  17. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    Very cool! Nice looking build you got there. I like it!

  18. Clashster

    Clashster Member

    Great looking build! And awesome way to display it! Thanks!

  19. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    Charles, that is superb!!!:grin:
    What a wonderful way to introduce yourself...WELCOME!
  20. cardmodeler

    cardmodeler Member

    Charles, that is a way cool model!!! The Rocketeer is one of my all-time favorite movies! How did you make the display base? Very creative!! I like it, I like it!:-D

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