Sometimes the internet is just about the best thing in the universe. When it comes to paper models of boats, planes, spaceships, robots, animals and a million other cool things, just jump on the web, download and print. Then a bit of paper and glue and a pair of scissors are all you need to surround yourself with a world of wonders.
The folks at Disney have this adorable little R2D2 to download and glue together. It is an easy build and you can be done in less than half an hour.
There are plenty of Star Wars paper models out there. I was really impressed with the AT-AT walker. It is made from seven sheets of A4, but comes out at a decent size and is pretty detailed. It took me a good week of evenings to build but stayed on display for months because it really looked good. Eventually the cat knocked it off the windowsill and a leg came off the model so it got binned. That is one of the wonderful things about paper models. They are very cheap to make so if they get damaged, it is no great loss.
Papercraft Fokker Triplane
An excellent little paper model, and I really do mean little. This is tiny. It was one of the first paper models I constructed and it is still one of the ones I like best. If you use a decent weight paper you end up with a really solid little plane.
This paper model wasn’t free, but was bought from the excellent Fiddler’s Green website. I didn’t have any coloured ink in the printer so printed greyscale and low res. It didn’t have a scale listed but it looks to be around 1:72. It took about an hour and a half to build and I only had superglue so it is a bit of a mess if you look closely, but it was such fun to build. I will have to do it again properly really soon.
Model Sailing Ships
Visit Shipmodell.com and you can download hundreds of ship plans. Click the anchor icon next to the model of your choice.
Simple can be effective. This is a rather pretty freebie from the kind folks at modelbuildings.org
Many railway modelling websites offer their visitors plans for buildings, but this one stands out for the excellent graphic design work.
If the general store is a bit too humble for you why not build a castle instead?
This one comes from TeoDom and is available in two versions
Paper Model Dragon
This terrific papercraft dragon comes from Canon’s great Creative Park website. It looks wonderful, but there are plenty of other dragons on the same site if you are searching for a particular look.
Making Paper Models as Props
If you like making movies you will probably already know that finding props can be a hard task. Paper models often provide a great source of life sized props.
The camera above was actually available from Olympus themselves so you know it will be accurate.
If you enjoy paper modelling a few good accessories are a knife with swappable blades. I always put a new blade in for each project. If you have a cutting mat (like the green one shown above, you will keep your table surface looking good and a metal ruler can be a useful accessory in most every project.
Which glue for paper modelling?
For my paper modelling projects I use PVA based glue most often, but in truth, you can use which ever glue you like best. The only exception is superglue. The problem with fast acting superglues is that the paper pieces stick so quickly that you don’t get time to make the ultra-fine adjustments needed to make a truly wonderful model.
PVA often comes in big plastic bottles that are quite a hazard if they get knocked over. I prefer to transfer a reasonable amount into a little pill bottle and only have that around my work in progress. Rather than use a brush I usually use wooden coffee stirrers to transfer tiny dots of glue from bottle to paper. You really do need a lot less glue than you might think.
Tabs are the small extra flaps that are added to individual items to help you to glue them to other bits. To be honest, some models have well thought out tabs and others are poorly done or are occasionally missing altogether. This can be the difference between a fun day of modelling and a frustrating day of misery. My advice is to look at the printouts and see if the designer has thought to add tabs for glue. If they haven’t, put that model aside until you have had a bit of practice and feel confident in adding your own tabs.
Customising your models
Once you have made a few paper models you may wish to make some little adjustments. For example; many model aircraft have simple disks for wheels. How about adding an outer layer so the tyres are a fraction wider than the centre of the wheel? Little embellishments like that can really elevate a model to a whole new level of excellence.
After a while it is this added level of creativity that really becomes a core part of the hobby. Making a paper model better than the original maker intended gives a great feeling of accomplishment.