The Project

The theme for this series of articles is Paper Kit Modelling.

The SLD executive was looking for a theme that would pull the 2011/12 season together, be attractive to experienced and novice modellers and hopefully cover an aspect of the hobby not so well covered before. As usual in a volunteer setting, the person advocating the strongest in favour is asked to run the show even though he does not have a particularly deep experience on the topic in question. Andres has taken on the challenge to lead our workshops and provide direction as we learn how to assemble a paper structure kit.

Even though Paper (or Cardstock) models have been around for some time, it is not something that a lot of us have an in depth experience with. Paper models carry the stigma that they are 2-dimensional and went out of favour at the time when inexpensive plastic models with true 3-dimensional detail became available. Since those days, a few things have changed.

For one, truly inexpensive plastic models are but a memory and the current mainstream models, while nicely detailed, are also priced at a level often unaffordable for a lot of modellers. At the same time, Paper models have improved in detail and are still very affordable.

A lot of the models can be downloaded from several sources on the Internet for a modest fee. With the advances in printing technology, most of us either have access to a full colour printer at home or at a near by printing shop. A number of sites even offer free models of varying quality either as a starter / training model or as a public service. While these free models might not hold up to close up scrutiny, they will be perfectly fine in a background or a group setting. Furthermore, the introduction of laser profiling has also added a level of detail to cardstock models although laser profiled cardstock kits come at a price commensurate with the added cost of the manufacturing process.

For the Kitbuster series , we have selected a kit from Clever Models , a Crossing tower. The model is available as a free download in both HO-scale and O-scale. By scaling the printout, it will be possible to produce a S-Scale version.
The file should be printed in full colour on 110lbs paper.

Paper Kits have been around for a long time.
There is a relatively new trend in North America to bring out high quality paper kits for Model Railroad applications. An article in theSeptember 2009 Model Railroader magazine (page 62) elaborated on how the British Modellers have enjoyed Card Stock Kits for some time.

Photorealistic Kits
With the advent of digital photography and powerful graphic editing tools, a new trend has surfaced where Paper Kits are produced from high resolution images of the real buildings. Examples can be seen in the kits from Stipp , marketed by Auhagen in Germany. While these kits are based on German prototype, there are similar kits for North American Prototype on the Web.

Another relatively new trend is to design your own buildings using a suitable software package and to print them on the thicker paper required for assembling a structure (See for example NMRA Magazine April 2011, page 36) There are also sources of free models on the Web.

Creating The 3D Look
Older Kits gave an impression of 3 dimensionality by using really thick card stock. A variation of this idea is to laser engrave structure into a thick card stock (see example kit from Moebo in Germany). These type of kits are best compared with laser cut wood buildings in the North American market. (price wise, too).

Enhancing your kit
Use Actate and / or window castings to replace the paper windows.
Add scatchbuild components, for example use wood to replace the outside walkway on the Tower.
Combine parts from different kits. For example, I am using a scaled down version of the O-scale walkway/deck on one of my HO-scale Towers.

Another way of achieving a 3-D look is to work in layers:
Cut out windows and glue in from behind, sometimes with a spacer.
Cut out extra window frames on glue on from the front.
Prepare battens and siding edge covers seperately and glue on top.

  • Cutting
  • Fresh Blades, change blades as soon as you notice fraying
  • Think about how to do it
  • Remember to score and fold small parts before cutting them out
  • Leave support material on small pieces
  • Check that all the required fold tabs are available
  • Check that the tabs do not overlap

    This Web page is maintained by Grant Knowles and was last updated on Dec 5, 2011.