Why build cardmodels?

Discussion in 'General Card Modeling' started by andrew ferguson, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. lizzienewell

    lizzienewell Member

    Here is the work that I've done with plastic. These action figures are self portraits with a bit of addition to muscle bulk. I made the parts out of modeling clay then made a rubber mold and cast the parts out of polyurethane resin.
    I've also posted the work that I did yesterday in mostly paper.
    I still am working with some of the same ideas in that my models have moving parts and relate to anatomy. My wing structure is based on the bone structure of birds and humans.
    Polyurethane resin stinks. You have to wear a mask to cut down on fumes and it still stinks. It's fragile. If you drop these things they can break. I'm comfortable throwing my paper models and trusting that they won't shatter.
    The rubber for the molds was about 60 dollars a pint and the resin is pricy too. Sure it gives great detail but notice the dent on my boob. The mistake was in the mold, so I got details of errors and couldn't correct them.

    Cardstock won't do this kind of modeling of facial features but if I need to do that I'm sure I can work with water putty or papermache. I could make a mold of the part and put papermache or water putty into the mold. At some time I'd like to try making a mold and then putting a wet piece of cardstock into or over the mold and then letting it dry in that shape. This might allow better modeling of compound curves.


    Attached Files:

  2. k5083

    k5083 Member

    Let's see, at my present rate, about five. No, but seriously, if I never built another model published before yesterday, I'm quite sure that I could not even keep up with the current output by publishers of models I'm interested in building.

    But, building rates change. When I was a kid, it was nothing to churn out 50 models in a year. And I hope one day to return to those naive, idle, carefree days of childhood, only it will then be called retirement.

    However this is all beside the point. In my previous posts I said nothing about building, only collecting. Plastic modelers long ago learned that the collecting and fondling of unbuilt kits is an important way to enjoy the hobby.

    And Lizzie: Around here, we try to photograph our models from such an angle as to conceal those boob dents.

  3. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    With the advent of all the resin, photo-etched and other assorted after-market stuff, plastic modeling just doesn't seem like modeling anymore. There used to be some satisfaction in making a sub-standard kit cockpit look good and you had to develop some skills, but now all a modeler has to do is buy the resin tub, paint it, plop it in and now your cockpit looks like everybody else's.

    Plus, plastic modeling has just gotten too darned expensive for my tastes.

    And, lastly, the stuff I like to build -- Real Space subjects and launch vehicles -- are genres that plastic companies largely ignore. There are exceptions, of course, but if I want to model the cargo version of the proposed Shuttle-Derived Launch Vehicle, I pretty much have to scratchbuild it, and it's easier to do in paper.

    And having been (and entered) numerous IPMS contests, I can attest that there are some modelers here whose work is every bit as good as the folks who work in plastic.

    Paper is a limitation only if you look at it as a limitation.
  4. barry

    barry Active Member

    plastic v card

    Does it really matter which as long as you enjoy it, personaly I could not afford plastic kits let alone the add ons but it does not stop me enjoying Jim Baumans 1/700th masterpieces. I like card because, I can, with a bit of luck, design what I want to build it may not be that good but I get enjoyment from it.
  5. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Couldn't let this thread pass by!! I'm with you Barry, comparisons are almost pointless, because the various niches in the modelling spectrum require all sorts of different skills, different equipment, storage, degrees of commitment, and provided the individual concerned is enjoying his/her chosen hobby, what the heck?!

    I just like making models; I am lucky my job allows me to exercise a lot of the skills needed, and I have occasional access to some useful bits of equipment and software, but the models I build at home using a very basic tool kit, in both plastic and paper, give me the same kick. Setting oneself a challenge and working it through to a finished model, however achieved, is a worthwhile and rewarding thing to do. And if you choose to spend a fortune on plastic, etchings, or resin, or a big format printer and a copy of Photoshop, or a pitance on a penknife and some second-hand Maly kits, so what?!

    And as for bemoaning the lack of certain subjects in the currently avalable ranges, (you know what is coming, don't you!?) DESIGN YOUR OWN MODELS! If you think you get a kick out of building someone else's kits, just wait 'til you get the kick out of someone else building your designs!!

    Tim P (wishing he was already retired so he could actually finish a model once in a while....)
  6. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Tim, you steal a bit of my thunder. A lot of the problem with this thread lies in lack of common definitions of terms. If one says variety of models is limited (in any medium), then one reveals they are actually a kit assembler and not a modeller. To a modeller, the kit may only be a starting point....and, to a scratch builder, who even needs the kit? To a modeller, there is always an infinite numer of models available to him, and he/she is limited only by their imagination. Getting back to the initial question, I prefer modelling in paper rather than plastic because paper is so much easier (and less costly) to work and more environmentally friendly than just about any other medium. When you start talking detail....how do you define detail? In plastic or resin, the vast majority of the "detail" is bas-relief sculpture on the surfaces of the larger components. In paper, the majority of the detail is graphical depiction on the surface of the larger parts. And, if that detail then has a little bit of embossing applied to it (a la the Glowworm build), where is there a difference? And what is kit quality? The older Maly kits have crappy printing and paper, but by and large have great parts fit during assembly, and pretty fair fidelity to scale. I can start with just about any Maly Modelarz kit published after 1970 and create a model every bit the equal of a contemporary plastic kit with a ton of aftermarket parts hung on it. (Which leads to another point of argumentation....the number of plastic model kits that by themselves equals the detail of a Helenski paper kit can about be counted on the fingers of one hand. All the super-detail that is touted doesn't come from the kit, but instead comes from upwards of a dozen or so aftermarket component purchases. And, in paper medium, one can do exactly the same through aftermarket photoetched parts, machined wooden or metal parts (or, shudder, even plastic parts)....or, better yet, draft up ones self. One can argue that, since it is possible to make the graphical depiction photo-realistic, given sufficient image resolution, paper has potential for far superior detail that will ever be possible with any other medium. That said...the bottom line is still there is no right way....there is only what works (for you).
  7. silverw

    silverw Member

    Plastic vs Paper

    Why compare?
    It seems to me that it is sort of like comparing apples and oranges. "Which is better?", depends entirely on who is answering the question. Then there are different kinds of apples and different kinds of oranges, and you can do different things with each of them. Apples...Mmmm..pies, cakes, sauce, or for oranges.....ah, ...well I guess an orange is ready to go when you get it...just assemble(dis-assemble) and it's ready to go. They both are beautiful fruit! Some people just have more fun baking and eating an apple pie, with cheese and ice cream, than peeling an orange!
  8. Jim Nunn

    Jim Nunn Member


    I beg to disagree with your comment that a paper model "can’t hold a candle to a plastic model". I have entered paper models in direct competition with plastic models at IPMS contests and have taken prizes unfortunately no first places but several 3rd and a second place.

    Now I have been building paper models for over 30 years oh dam better make that 40 years and why I build them could be summed up in the title of a book on how to build models that I saw in a hobby shop the title was “ It’s just a matter of assembling”. Paper models kits are best described as scratch build models with a few handy parts, plastic kits are just not a challenge for me.

    Jim Nunn
  9. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    I am not a great modeller, but I do enjoy making models of things I like.

    When I made plastic models, I had no trouble putting the model together, filling in the gaps, sanding it down and even bashing Monogram's B-52D, into an H model. Where I had trouble was painting the model. I came to realize all I was doing was putting together a kit of something, only to toss it away after my lousy paint job.

    Then came 2001. I had recently moved to a new place, had good internet access and thought, "I think I will scan the internet for WWI model aircraft I can get." Well, that led me to Fiddler's Green and their collection. I have been a card modeller since. Why? Because while making an aircraft, or even a ship, I have noticed, I am actually making a model. I form the parts needed to make the guns, the proper airfoil on the wings, the fuselage, and then put it together. With plastic, I would slap two halves together by lining up the posts, dabbing on a bit of glue, hold and there is the wing. In paper, I roll, lightly fold, line up, then dab on a bit of glue and maybe I get a wing. If it is a digital model, I can do that as many times as I want until I get the proper wing. When finished, I can put the model on a shelf and look at it and think, "I made that" and smile.

    For me, there is a lot more satisfaction in making a card model than making a plastic model. If I didn't have such bad eyes and a shaky hand, I would want to try one of Halinski's masterpieces. But I'll leave that for the younger generation and just enjoy my models from designers such as NOBI, Marek, Zio, Roman and others, who design fairly simple, but still good looking models.
  10. Peter H

    Peter H Member

    I 2nd your thought Sheila on the thrill of making something from nothing. It's a marvellous acheivment in a small way to bring together with your hands a model of an aircraft or whatever that wasn't there hours ago.

    As an aside with the years of collecting I have hundreds of models maybe even a thousand or so. It's literally a hobby shop I can go to 24/7 and enjoy that emotion of "what do I want to build" as I riffle through the virtual shelves and boxes of the models without the manager waiting for my choice or the envious feeling I had when I was a kid and no money for the big models.

    Then there is the mistakes that stop me only long enough to reprint the sheet.

    Finally putting a model photograph on the Internet takes imagination,presentation, photography, editing to the point where I almost take it on as a hobby in itself, learn it's craft, tricks and traps.

    Hope the insight gives food for though.

    Peter Henderson
  11. Perhaps 'more detailed' was a poor choice of words in comparing plastic models to paper. I think the terms 'better realism' and 'more accurate shape' are appropriate when referring to plastic models as compared to paper ones, however.

    Printed on details, like panes lines for example, no matter how intricate still don't have the natural relief or depth (ie three dimensionality) of a plastic model and hence, to me, are not as realistic. Also, double curvatures (like the cowl of a WWII fighter or the radome of a modern jet) are very hard to capture in paper accurately, you often end up with a 'multi faceted' look, rather than a gentle double curve. Paper, by its nature, just doesn't form a double curve very well, but molded plastic does...so to me plastic models of aircraft tend to be a lot more accurate in shape then their paper model counter parts.

    This is much less true for ships, armour, buildings etc where most if not all surfaces are flats, angles or single curvatures and double curvature is at a minimum.

    Again, not trying to ruffle any feathers at all...i've come to regard paper modelling as an excellent hobby and plan on using them for many projects in the future. But from what i've seen i will most likey be avoiding doing many aircraft subjects in paper and sticking more to armour and ships, which suit the paper medium better.

    Where a plastic alternative is not available, wood carving, to me, seems a better way of capturing the subtle curves of many airplanes...

    For me, i'm not looking for the challenge of building or the satisfaction of creating......i just want a large scale model that captures the look of the real thing as best and as affordabley, as is possible..
  12. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    For me?

    First is the subject availability.
    Plastic models can offer so much, but card models can offer much much more, (most of my fav subjects were very hard to find in plastic, but readily available in card), and if there aren't any, you can ask someone to design or you can design yourself.

    Second is the Cost.
    Plastic models really cost tons of money on very big subjects (it really takes a toll on my college allowance), but for card models, the price range will be from $30 (pls correct me) to a rock-bottom price of $0.

    Third is the structural integrity.
    Plastic models are fragile. One mistake and you'll end up with either a broken prop or 1000 pieces of broken plastic (just like humpty dumpty)

    Fourth is the scale.
    Many card models are offered in scales which plastic model manufacturers wouldn't even dare to mold. And if the model is in electronic format, you are not limited to just one scale alone.

    Fifth is its "mass-production" property.
    You can just build to your heart's content. You can build one for your school, your officemate, your fiance', your parents, and still manage to build one for yourself, for the cost of a few cents of card, and not for a whole model. Once you have it, it will stay with you.

    Sixth (and for me the most important) is the builder friendliness and creativity.
    In plastic models, Once you screw up a part (or the whole project) it can be difficult to find replacements, you have to ask some mates if they have that part in their spares, or if the whole model becomes destroyed, you have to take it to the trash, and buy another kit. For card models, screw a part, print another, screw a model, print another and start again.

    In creativity issues, for me, card models provide the "feel" of building the real thing, cause in plastic models, eveything is pre-shaped, whereareas a card model must be rolled, folded, shaped-up into (sometimes) impossible figures to match the requirements of the model.

    And remember, the real prototypes of our subjects (planes, cars, ships, rockets, everything) started out as a plain SHEET of material (can be composite, metal, wood, plastic etc), they are just molded, rolled, or folded in shape. (that's for my opinion that is.)

    Detail is also very impressive. Most models need aftermarket parts to beef up its realism, but for most card models, all of the detail is present, no AMs needed.

    I'm also an avid plastic modeler, but this modeling media provided me the challenge and the subjects which before, I've only seen in my dreams.

    Well, maybe card models may never reach the realism level of plastic, but who knows, maybe some guy out there hides a secret method of building card models that can give results that most people would say...

    OH C'MON!!!!IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO BE PAPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D
  13. Darwin

    Darwin Member

  14. Bikerpete

    Bikerpete Member

    Why build?

    Wow, great thread with lots of insightful thoughts! I'm not sure my reasons for building cardmodels are as well thought out as most of the previous comments but here goes.

    Assembling plastic models with or with out all of the extras is great fun but painting has become increasingly troublesome due to household concerns about fumes and frustrating due to pet hair in the paint. (that will hopefully change whan my new pet free shop is finished). Cardmodels can be completed without a lot of painting!

    Cardmodles are little more portable. I can take a model to work or the museum and build parts without having to drag along filler, files, paints and an airbrush!

    I've always been interested in scratch-building and have done a fair amount of model railroad structures in the past but "non-square" objects have been difficult for me to replicate. I'm hoping that by working with card-models I'll better understand how to breakdown a complex shape into smaller, more easily assembled shapes. That experience should help me with scratch-building in paper and other media.

    The last reason is simpler....I just like big ship models!

    I will always build models of some sort. I don't think any one media is better than another or that they should be kept separate. Some parts are more easily built in paper, others in photo-etch, still others in wood, plastic or metal. Whatever method turns out the "best" representation with the least amount of effort is the one I'll try to use.

  15. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    Oh and another thing, you can build a plastic model from a card model by transferring the part patterns to a sheet styrene :-D
  16. k5083

    k5083 Member

    I agree with Darwin about unlocking the potential of paper models using home design and repainting. I've tried my hand at both, and it's great fun, although it sucks up a lot of time. I've been a true "modeler" rather than "kit assembler" in plastic as well, but again, lifestyle choices force me to be more a kit assembler than a modeler in either or both media for the present.

    But I agree with aferguson on the key point about the relative fidelity of the finished products. For those who build fantastic paper models and claim they can compete head-to-head with the best plastic models, I have to say No, I'm sorry, you can't, because of the limitations aferguson mentioned. The workmanship may be magnificent, easily the equal of the best plastic models, and they may get high marks at IPMS contests if workmanship is the primary orientation of the judges, but in overall realism they just don't get there.

    And Hans makes a good point that paper model patterns can be transferred to plastic. In fact, plastic scratchbuilders have been doing scratchbuilt models out of plastic card for many years using methods and structures we would readily recognize. I have articles in British plastic model magazines from the 1970s describing scratchbuild projects using our tube-and-former construction. However, where the real subject had compound curves, generally the plastic modeler will then slather the paper-model-like project with putty and sand it to shape, because the main limitation that we live with -- simple curves -- isn't accepted in the plastic community.

  17. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Interesting that you say paper can't compete with plastic. As it works out paper can be molded also. Work explaining all this was lost two or three sites ago but nonetheless it can be done if one takes the time to learn the art. Again it is not the media it is the modeler and the process one enters into..., and if you like plastic that's great too, it's just that this is a site for those that enjoy the challenge of mostly paper construction.

  18. gera

    gera Member

    Here I goooooooooooooooo.................
    I have been a modeller for 51 years, and yes I build plastics once in a while, have about 100 in their boxes downstairs.....and they will rot there!!!!!..I have been scratchbuilding models most of the mentioned time and part of that construction has been card models.....found the first one in early 1962.
    Plastic models??????...............3D puzzels with Instructions!!!! that's what they are......have you ever seen a real plane!!!!!!....can you see the panel lines on it???? can you see the thread in the tyres???? from a few feet away......can you see the fin-rudder divison..............on a faky plastic you can, you can even see the color of the eyes of the pilots they put in them!!!!!!.......Have you ever seen in a Real Museum a plastic model??????, tell me where, it will probably make a Rippley Oddity........
    Those beautifully painted plastic models you see in the magazines.....they are totally unreal, some even show "rust marks comming out of the ailerons hinges!!!!!!!"....Some Digital cameras catch that....not human eyes my friend....so plastic models are "fakes".....very pretty fakes.............I flew P-51's and I can't remember that I could see the panel lines from 5 feet away from the comtraption and at the time my eye sight was 2020.....color, light and shade hid that like it does on any plane a few feet away....can you see line details on a 747 a few feet away???? you can in a plastic fake.

    That is why I stick to scratchbuilding and card models, the beauty of a model aircraft or any subject lie in the artistic as well as accurate reproduction of the real thing. The play of light and shade in it colors have nothing to do in reproducing "an oil slick from the left landing gear".....have you ever seen a MASH helicopter in Brass!!!!!!...total model beauty.....

    Card models have to be Built!!!!! they have nothing to do with just making sure you glue parts in the right order and in the right place following instructions like plastic fakes do. Card models don't have rivets you don't see in the real thing, like plastics do have to their detriment. Card models touch your heart and soul, they are You, they gave you tough nights and sweet seconds while those circles of paper which did not want to evolve into a cowl eventually just fit.....like magic and hard work...WOW!!!!!........

    gluing plastic parts together is embarrasing most of the times, besides the smelly vapors of the vile glue you have to use messes up the clean air of the planet earth!!!!!!!! the only one we have :( .......You don't paint paper models, the shady, spooky, lovely color of the printing press is all that is needed for the model to make men, women, girls and boys open their mouths in awe......I have seen a dog which seemed to be in awe also......

    Plastics, Ha!!!!!!...you have to get Acrylics, non acrylics....smears, Future.... my God!!!!!....you don't put Future on the surface, another evil chemical and the thing is worth nothing...colors wont hold, the Decals!!!!!!! won't hold...or stick!!!!

    Paper or card models are art, accuracy, works of love, and yes, my friend, work, work, work, work...fun, fun, fun, fun...which takes stamina to finish and once done your heart pounds!!!!!!!! WOW.........Plastics???? shabby fakes which colapse because their landing gear is glued to a hole, .........

    Paper models are scratchbuilt models as any other scratchbuilt is and that is probably thier biggest asset!!!!!...........you have to "contruct" them which means you have to use your mind, you have make desicions, you have to invent a method here and there, you have to Work!!!!!! to make one.....not adhere one piece to another like plastics, you have to THink!!!!!!!!!!! not follow instructions written two years ago by Fred!!!!!...who's Fred????....

    Paper models have to be taken care of, they like us become old, weak and after many years or so are a time machine!!!!!!!! when you look at them they remind you of that unique moment of your life in which you and a flat piece of paper met and together had a magic moment!!!!!

    Plastic models are usually broken in a few years, by the movers or your grandchildren,, they really don't matter, they were too easy, they don't remind you of any special moment, how could sticking parts moulded by a machine???????

    Paper models do not fill racks, they are few.......plastics abound.......
    and I can asure you that Never have so Few done so much for my sons ,grandsons and me......

    Thank you for giving me the opprtunity to tell you why so many like me "construct" paper models, while doing so I again felt how lucky I am to be a paper modeller...................:)

    PS: I just read someone say that " Paper models don't compete in accurasy with plastic models"..............Sir paper models are not meant to compete with Fakes!!!!!!...accuracy!!!!!!.......and Yes the majority glues together plastic fakes.....
    If I would have written this in my native language maybe I could have made myself better understood...............OH, before I forget....One thing I must admit in a positive note for Plastic fakes.....Their Box Art....really nice!!!!...
  19. lizzienewell

    lizzienewell Member

    If you make a mold you can form anything inside it. I've tried this with felt, ice, snow, sand, jello, feathers, chocolate, lard, wax, plastic, clay, and bronze.

    The advantage of chocolate models is that you can eat them. They even have antioxidants.Paper just can't compete with the yummyness.

    Paper tastes like well…cardboard.

    Still chocolate has spoilage problems and can make a person fat so I use paper.

  20. Kevin G

    Kevin G Member

    LMAO That is the best argument I have heard in a long time. Put me down for one chocolate model Lizzie!

    And here is another link for you guys. Tell me this model can't compete with plastics!

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