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Card Modelling

By: Mike Stamper

This hobby is similar to plastic modelling. Rather than gluing plastic pieces together, card pieces are glued together. However, this is where the similarity finishes.

Card ModellingCard models generally come in book form for the larger kits or as postcards for the smaller kits. The variety of subjects is very varied, including planes, cars, ships and buildings. As with the plastic fraternity, planes appear to be the most popular.


The basic tools required to complete a card model include a craft knife, glue (e.g white wood glue), a metal straight edge, a cutting mat and paint. Most modellers use the same range of knives as plastic modellers. The advantage of the glue is that it is generally water soluble and will not be as toxic as the plastic glues, although some modellers use super glue to strengthen delicate parts. A metal rule is used for cutting the edges and scoring lines to make the folds. A blunt instrument, the point of a fine ball point for example would be used. Water soluble paints are used for painting the cut and folded edges, a simple children's paint box is all that is needed, although some modellers will go for the more expensive range of individual colours. As with plastic modelling, other tools can be used, but this list should be sufficient for most models.

As can be seen this range of tools and paper as the model medium makes this hobby much more user friendly and in some cases, less hazardous to health.

Kits are made by many companies, some make simple kits such as the one page items that can be found in souvenir shops around the country. The most usual kits are those that come in book form and will cover a wide range of subjects. Scales will also vary, for example architectural models will range from 1;150 to 1:500. Planes will generally be in the same scale as their plastic equivalent. The main problem is that there are very few shops that sell card models.

In the last few years, card modelling has been changed by the introduction of the internet. There are now companies who produce kits that can be downloaded, either as free models or for a small amount of money. Models are generally produced in PDF (adobe) or GIF format. Once they are downloaded, they can be printed off on to thin card. The big advantage of this is that the model can then be altered, either to produce a different scale, or for the more expert, colours and marking can also be changed. Also, if a mistake is made another page can be printed off. Because of the relative ease of producing a card model, the subjects are as varied as most peoples imagination, for example, one well known Japanese motorcycle company have large scale motor cycles, endangered animals and many other subjects for free down load. How about a Caterpillar earth mover? Or an industrial road roller?. They are all available on the net. Of course, planes of every description are also available. This has created a new type of modeller who will use the internet and card model mail lists to find the latest free model.

Card ModellingEvidence of the mailing list was shown at the recent international model exhibition at RAF Halton. For the first time, a group of people got together to put on a show of card models. Card ModellingThere were three exhibitors and the organiser of the group met the other two through a card model mail list, one of the group only met the organiser for the first time at the show.

In summary, card modelling is a good alternative to plastic modelling, it is cheaper, cleaner and has a much wider range of subjects available.

To get you started, here is a very short list of sites


By: Mike Stamper