the realm of armor....

Discussion in 'Armory & Military' started by nebeltex, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member is the armor section. i would like say thanks for the opportunity to moderate this subject. i have been designing paper models off and on for over 20 years. i have quite a few armor designs and i release them for a small sum at
    my primary scale is 1/72 and my works are popular with the war game crowd. they are also a good rainy day project for any paper modeler. i plan to design a little bit of everything but most of my research is in armored vehicles. i was a history major in school. i realize there is a fair sized following for larger scale armored vehicles and there are some classic designs available which look as good as any other modeling medium. i'll be looking for input from those with more experience with the larger scales as i have built few......
  2. Corporal_Trim

    Corporal_Trim Member


    I went to your site and looked around, Nice tanks ! I don't really have any experience building card models of armor subjects, though I've done my fair share in plastic: 1/35, 1/48 and 1/72. Yours look very good indeed in 1/72, and if I were looking for a budget approach to wargaming, why your vehicles would be just the ticket.

    For myself, to do a tank or other AFV strictly as paper modeling excercise, my preference would be to build something in a little larger scale (though yours look good enough to tempt me into giving 1/72 a shot). That's probably more a reflection on my card modeling skills than anything else. Doing tiny stuff in cardstock is a little hard for me, I have trouble with 1/43 cars as well. Looks like a lot ot the Polish armor kits are 1/25. Be nice if there was a sort of a 'tweener scale. :wink:
  3. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    AFV scales

    There are a few models in 1/35 - mostly by the Polish publisher "Answer".

    My view is that you either lose detail going to 1/35 or wind up with lots
    of micro parts. The light tanks of the 30s and WW2 aren't very big models even at 1/25 (approx 150 mm long). I guess if you are into models of the
    Maus or KV-2 the smaller scales have some attraction.


  4. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member


    not long ago someone asked "wonder why so few armor models finished?"
    i believe this was an allusion to the large number of parts associated with some of the larger scales. one of the hardest aspects in designing a model is trying to accomodate the expectations of builders. a balance must be sought between ease of construction, detail, and scale. artistic techniques such as tromp de l'oile (sp?)"trick of the eye" can add depth, an important component of detail. each original designer, regardless of modeling subject, has his or her own design style.
    it has been my observation that many paper modelers were once plastic modelers. this trend seems to be mostly one way. when you compare the time it takes to build and detail a plastic model of an armored vehicle vs. a paper model (for display) you will find it takes longer with more parts (parts you have to build). this is particularly true for the larger scales. they will also have to use their imagination in modeling techniques for detailing. if this sort of challenge is what the model builder enjoys, great. the results will be good. if it gets to be too much, even if the model is completed, this modeler may go back to plastic.
    armor models are usually more complex and in general do not look as graceful as most aircraft models. they do not display as easily. you need shelf space. ever see a tank on a string hanging from someone's cieling?
  5. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    I agree with all the sentiments expressed by nebeltex but I'd like to add
    a couple of observations of my own....

    - The engineering of a lot of paper armour models is often quite poor. For example, since the model is almost always going to rest on its tracks, the
    modelled suspension must be able to take the weight of the model over
    long periods of time. Mostly this isn't factored into the designer's design and you wind up with a model that gradually sags. See Jim Nunn's exposition of the Halinski Panther at for an example. The T-70 model by Bug is another example of the same problem.

    - I'm coming around to the view that the traditional build sequence - do the hull, then the suspension, then the tracks is guaranteed to frustrate and demotivate a modeller. The hull is usually the easiest part and the most fun to build. The suspension/tracks are a pain because of the number of repeated elements. Perhaps building in the opposite order might be worth exploring in that all the boring stuff is finished before you get to the easy/fun part - I'm trying that on my latest project.

    - One of my gripes about most armour models is the problem of getting the basic framework correct and straight. Deficiencies in this always turn up much later at an uncorrectable stage of the build. (I believe the ship builders have similar problems?). It would seem to me that a simple modifcation of the design of the box/eggcrate with diagonal braces would go a long way to fixing this problem.

    - It has always seemed strange to me that most armour models model the
    design of the armoured vehicle very closely in exquisite detail but don't take the extra step of engineering the roadwheels to turn - that would really be amazing. It isn't all that difficult to do provided the materials properties of paper are accounted for in the design.


  6. Corporal_Trim

    Corporal_Trim Member

    Some good points there, Charlie.

    I've never built a track link-by-link in paper. Nor do I really want to. I can imagine it's quite possibly the most tedious task in modeling. (Another which comes close is tying off ratlines on a ship model - something I have done). Your proposed approach of getting the repetitive tasks out of the way while your enthusiasm for building the model is still fresh - great idea ! I'll remember that one.

    Something I've already tried in the middle of a big project is giving myself a few "wins" with a few other, quite different, quick & easy builds to stay motivated. Of course the danger is, you might never resume the bigger project once you stop it. Another way to keep the pressure on yourself to drive a complicated build to completion could be to post it here as a work in progress and announce it with some Gallery shots. :wink: Can you picture LarryMax on the Cleopatra thread sayiing: "Hey guys, I'm tired of this - just decided not to finish it up." :)

    Crooked framework could indeed be a problem on ships. I've done waterline models so far, where you can avoid warping during the construction by means of mounting the bottom of the model to a temporary base. How do you handlle this issue for armor builds ?
  7. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Crooked frameworks - and their avoidance

    I usually use a small builders square to get the framework more or less
    straight. It can be quite tedious getting the frame parts right so they'll fit
    together correctly. If the frames were designed with bracing diagonals there
    would be much less chance of getting crooked frames.


  8. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    while i have never experienced "sag" with the smaller scale, "twist" can be a problem. armor modelers avoid chassis twist, ship modelers battle hull twist, and aircraft modelers curse wing twist.
    i have found that the hull/chassis for armored vehicles is better formed by gluing both tabs of the rear first, then both tabs of the opposed to left front and left rear followed by the right side. for larger scales, once you have a square hull i imagine it would be possible to add corrugated cross bracing to keep the hull square. i'm afraid that a hull built square and set aside won't just "twist" but "warp" if it is not built upon quickly or weighted and/or braced. i agree track and suspension construction can be a chore. my MK IV has 32 pieces each side. the 38t has only 13. once i finish one side i find myself eager to finish the other side. for 1/72 scale models, i find the building time for a paper vs. plastic to be about 1 hour longer for paper. at least it was last time i built a platic model (3 years). i'm going to chop up an expression here but i feel....
    "a good model build is like a woman's skirt, long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep it interesting!" c.b.
  9. Jim Nunn

    Jim Nunn Member

    the New GPM AFV's

    Has anyone else purchased any of the new GMP AFV models? I would like to get options from other modelers on these gems. I just received the SdKfz 252, 250/3 GREIF and the Stug III and they are superb though as I look at them I'm thinking that they are almost un-buildable due to the extreme detail. As an example helmets are included along with chinstraps!
  10. rickstef

    rickstef Guest

    WOW, well that is detailed.

    one of the ABC magazines i have gotten from Joseph, has a 8x8 Tatra Trial truck, the seats have a 4 point seatbelt harness, and the scale of that kit is 1:64, this is small

    I also have a copy of the Megagraphic's M3 Halftrack, the detail in that kit is amazing too, weapons and sleep rolls are modeled too, scale 1:35

    Let us all know if you decide to tackle those AFV

  11. Jim Nunn

    Jim Nunn Member

    1/64! 1/32! My fingers are way to big and blunt for those scales. I have seen photos of Megagraphic's M3 and it does look like it would be a great model.
  12. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    I haven't seen the GPM kits but the Answer 1/25 SdKfz 250 is similar in its
    complexity and tiny details.

    I wonder if there isn't a crunch coming in model design - the number of modelers prepared to take on these hyper detailed models must
    surely be reducing as the complexity increases. One would expect the return on the time invested in designing to this level of detail must correspondingly fall as the potential client base contracts.

    I can understand the motivation to design more and more detailed models but this (IMHO) defeats the purpose of modelling - having fun. Personally I'm much more impressed by simple, clever design which goes together easily than a complex design with dozens of tiny (and unbuildable?) details.


  13. Jim Nunn

    Jim Nunn Member


    You make a very interesting point and I think you are correct about the Hyper Detail Crunch. I also build, I should say used to build, wood plank on frame ships and a very large number of these models are never finished due to the extreme amount of work that is required to finish the model. God knows that I like complex paper models but these new GPM models are pushing the limits of the medium, perhaps that is why we are starting to see Photo Etched parts. I wonder if making the models overly complex will drive away newcomers to the hobby. Chip Fyn’s models are very simple but look great and they certainly have helped create a wider following for paper models.
  14. rkelterer

    rkelterer Member


    I fully agree with you concerning hyper details. I think there is a more and more blurred line between card modelling and scale modelling (were any kind of material, any kind of treatment is allowed) . you may say I am a card purist, but if i want to color my parts extra I would prefer other materials and scales. it seems that in poland it is normal to paint your papermodels. the models are realy nice, but is it still cardmodelling ? there are real artists, making perfect models, but on the other hand there are a lot of people who love to build cardmodels, not perfect, but perfect enough for themselves.

    the journey is the reward (that's why I love construction reports :D )

    only my two cents

    cheers from austria
  15. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hi All,

    Hyper detailing..., in the same sense as what is observed in plastic models? Photo ethcing and resin upgrade kits? I guess each and every modeler has a line which they refuse to cross..., just listen to the arguments whether flat or semi gloss finish should be applied to 1:72 scale plastic models by their builders. I just like to test new media and apply it if it makes sense and saves time. Painting models mirrors the real life originals and I don't find that getting in the way of my HP printer if that's a better way of getting the effect desired (maybe that's what this whole modeling thing is, effects). I'm still a long way off from being an expert at Adobe Illustrator but realize that package can do some amazing things in capable hands. I just need the time and the motivation to take on the task. Right now I'm really enjoying priming and painting acrylic modeling paste filled surfaces of card stock that are of all things looking better than any plastic model of the same. Why does it look better? Something very subliminal, and extremely difficult to explain other than it just does. Chin straps for helmets....., hmmmmh

    Best regards, Gil
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Member


    Methinks you have a point. The number of Jim Nunns, and Polish equivalents, out there is finite and limited.
    The way it's going there will be too many bought but unbuit kits and while this might cater for the collectors the building side of the hobby will suffer.
    The market will presumably decide whether the cardmodel companies achieve sofficient sales.
    Surely a balance will need to be struck to cater for the abilities of us lesser beings, perhaps dual complexity packages.
    Sort of
    "look at this - this is what I built - oh and look at this - this is what I could have built".:lol:


    That's a brilliant way you have for rolling small tight rolls. It will be immitated. :)

  17. Maurice

    Maurice Member


    Stay within what you do so well.
    I quite like the idea of using paper as a primary structural material in modelmaking rather than just relying on a printer to give colour, but chacun à son goût - er - folie.

  18. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Couple of comments:

    1. The creeping complexity of kits.

    I think think the papermodel publishers may have to change their business model if they want to continue down the complexity track. Perhaps a "sell lots of the basic kit" - "give away the complex parts" (for the hyper scale fanatics) via the Web would work. That certainly would contain the kit production costs and control selling price escalations.

    2. Rolling small tubes.

    I like Jim's idea but a simplification of the technique would seem to be to use a split bamboo skewer rather than the brass rod to roll the tube onto.


  19. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hi All,

    I second the use of bamboo dowels...., over time this is one building material that seems to have no end in its flexibility as a building material. The supply comes from shish-kabob skewers on one end to matchstick roll-up curtains for really long dowel pieces. I use a wire draw plate to reduce the diameter to very small diameters. Small diameter brass tubing is great for achieving and holdng diameter IDs but doesn't "grab" the paper adequately to get a good tight paper roll going. Bamboo is better but still a littlle to slippery to get a tight roll going. I find that wetting the bamboo before starting the roll helps to "grab" the paper to start the roll. To remove the roll after gluing it should be turned in the opposite direction of the roll and pulled at the same time. Another method is to use a diagonal or spiral roll with edges butted against one another for a smooth straw like tube. A second layer is wound in the opposite direction with glue between the layers. The spiral method is both easy and can be made very tightly. Additional layers can be build up to and desired thickness within reason. The overall shape depends on the shape of the mandrel over which it is wound. Tapered barrels and the like are easily made with this method. Overlaying with a printed detailed overwrap allows computer graphic detailing with a single seam. Of course if you can find a straw of the right diameter you need not bother.

    Best regards, Gil
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Member


    Check out Jim's article in the ezine for how he gets a grip on things when rolling. It's simpler than the technique I've been using for the last 40 years.


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