Saturday, October 24, 2020

What If? - Dornier Do-335 Paper Model 1/33 Scale

 What if . . .

. . . Lufthansa converted a Dornier Do-335 fighter to a post-war, four-passenger, high-speed, executive transport? This paper model, from, is 16.5 inches long with a 17-inch wing span. I made two changes to the kit:  I scratch built the passenger cabin interior and the clamshell passenger door. I am always impressed by the fit and finish of Marek's designs.

Friday, October 23, 2020

New Bedford Whaleboat Paper Model - Scale: ~1/30

This is the Fiddler's Green Whaleboat with a lot of added detail. The model is 11 inches long, roughly 1:30 scale. Whaleboats generally varied from 28 to 33 feet in length and were manned by a crew of 5: a bosun, four oarsmen, and a harpooner.

I tapered dowels for the mast and spar, scratch built the harpoon and lance, carved a wooden tiller, made oarlocks from plastic rod, added standing and running rigging, and rigged the whale line, including coils in the line tubs and at the bow. Other added details include paddles, a water pail for lubricating the whale line, a "firkin" to hold drinking water, a "crotch" to hold the ready harpoon, a wooden drag (beside the tiller) used to help tire a harpooned whale, and a hatchet to cut the whale line if the "Nantucket sleighride" went sour.

These boats typically carried a lot of tools and gadgets. I modeled fewer than half of them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" paper model 1:33 scale

 This paper model kit from Maly Modelarz was a real joy to build. Artwork and fit are excellent and the finished model is very accurate in dimensions and proportions. The scale is 1:33. The flight deck base was a free download.

The tail marking identifies this as an aircraft from the Imperial Japanese aircraft carrier "Akagi," in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The red fuselage stripe and the aircraft number ("1") identify it as the torpedo-armed aircraft flown  by Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the first wave of attackers at Pearl Harbor, in a flight of Kates. In all, 40 B5N2s armed with torpedoes and 103 B5N1s armed with bombs took part in that attack.

Once known for poor quality paper and "weird" color schemes,  Maly Modelarz has in recent years published a growing number of excellent, very detailed aircraft models in 1:33 scale. Their instructions are in Polish but newer kits (2002 and up) offer very good assembly drawings and diagrams.

How to Get Started in Paper Modeling


  • A Bit of History
  • Advantages of Paper Modeling
  • Basic Tools
  • Sites with Free Paper Models
  • Forum
  • tutorials

I started building plastic scale models as a grade-schooler. In high school, I build my first model railroad (HO scale) and began scratch building in wood. Around the year 2000, I discovered paper scale models and I haven't looked back. 

A Bit of History

Paper models have been around since the early 1800s when they were first printed in Europe, and they remain very popular today among European scale modelers.

In Eastern Europe during the Soviet era, there were no plastic model kits. Paper and wood were the only media available to most modelers behind the Iron Curtain. Publishers in Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany produced printed paper kits for that market, but the paper and inks were usually of poor quality.

After 1989, those publishers gained access to better papers, better inks, and western markets. Today, several companies continue to produce high-quality printed kits for a worldwide market.

Today the Internet has created a wider paper model industry. Using dedicated software, almost anyone can create a scale paper model kit and upload it to the Web for sale through "e-stores" or free distribution through portal sites. Dozens of new kits come online every week, many of them free or priced very low.

The huge variety of paper models offers something for everyone. The basic skills of paper modeling are easy to learn. And finished paper models are often mistaken for plastic models. As the prices of plastic models continue to rise, affordable paper models are gaining popularity.

Advantages of Paper Modeling

  • Low-cost & Free Kits
  • Simple Tools & Techniques
  • No Paints or Decals Needed
  • Huge Variety of  Subjects & Scale
  • The Glue Tastes Better

Basic Tools

  • Sharp scissors - hobby knife - steel straight-edge - toothpicks (for applying glue) - straight pin or T-pin (for scoring folds) - colored markers or pencils to color cut edges
  • Materials (from any craft shop)
  • 60# to 70# cardstock for printing downloaded kits -- My favorite is Wausau Bright White or Neenah Bright White Premium Cardstock, 65#, from Staples or Office Max.
  • Heavier card, about 1 mm thick for formers, wing spars, etc. - Cereal boxes are about 0.5mm thick; the backs of writing pads are about 1mm.
  • 0.010" to 0.020" piano wire for masts, struts, and landing gear
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue - a water-based white glue with less water content than Elmer's Glue.
  • Weldbond white glue for bonding plastic canopies and wire parts to paper
  • Avery Permanent Glue Stick for laminating parts
  • Watercolor pencils for coloring cut edges of paper parts -- You don't need to match the color; an assortment greys and black works well.

These Sites Offer Free Paper Models to Get You Started

is an online forum of friendly and mutually supportive paper modelers. You'll find help for every level of paper modeling and some very skilled modelers and designers. And there is a huge archive of free downloadable models. If you are a paper modeler and you are not a member of, slap yourself, then go join.


Building Clever Models Crossing Tower:  5 Ben Streeter Typical Kit Assembly Tutorial 05 15 14.pdf
Tutorial Videos for Seven Kits:  Videos & Ideas - Model Buildings
Scalescene's Arched Bridge:
On the Scalescenes Home page, almost at the bottom, click on:
•  Downloading & Printing Tips
•  Construction Tips
•  Detailing & Weathering Tips

Monday, October 5, 2020

 I Really Do Not Like the Word "Blog."

It sounds to me like something one would say while on one's knees leaning over a toilet bowl, or something you'd hear in a weather report. ("There's a Blog Warning for the L.A. Basin today so put on those gas masks.") Or it might be a creature one encounters in the dark recesses of a virtual dungeon, a creature with bad breath, bad skin, and a bad attitude. It might be one of those stupid acronyms that everyone loves to hate, Brotherhood of Left-handed Old Guys or the Baltimore Ladies Opera Guards, or the Baja-Larado Occulist Guild.  Or maybe it's the nickname you give to that friend who drools a lot and puts his shoes on the wrong feet. You know who I'm talking about.

But to call this a "blog"? To burden this humble epistle, this homespun chronicle, this whimsical potpourri of one's own triumphs, tragedies, merriments, misfires, and humorous cat pictures with a name that sounds like a Polish expletive? 

"Oh, blog it!" "Situation Normal, All Blogged Up." "That's it boys, we're blogged."

Dear friends, we could have called it an e-journal, a tale, a narrative, a yarn, a buzz -- something that reminds you of your mother's kitchen, your old dog, or your first romantic kiss. (Actually, "blog" does kind of bring to mind the first time I kissed a girl. I got better at it.) 

But "blog"? It's ridiculous! It's almost scatological! I wave my private parts at it! I fart in its general direction! May it smother forever in the arms of Cthulu! May it be bricked in behind a wall with a  bottle of cheap Italian wine! May it walk for weeks across the desert behind a dyspeptic camel!

But we're stuck with it, at least until some adolescent computer wonk with 70 million followers on InstaTwit coins a new term we can mostly agree on. So, blog on, me hearties! Arrrgh!

There. I got that off my chest. I feel so much better now.

 Coal & Gravel Bunker, Scratchbuilt, 1:87 scale

The Ceresco & Wolf River RR operates a half dozen 20-foot ore cars to haul coal and gravel to places along the line. At Scots' Landing, coal and gravel are transferred from the ore cars to small barges that serve communities up the chain of lakes. This freelanced bunker will stand on a concrete pad in the bay. Crews will use an idler flat car to push ore cars one at a time up the inclined trestle to the bunker.

The bunker walls are paper from Clever Models. I used Midwest and Kappler scale lumber stained with Hunterline weathering stain. The ore gates are castings from Rusty Stumps Scale Models, with chutes scratch built of Evergreen plastic card.

Friday, October 2, 2020

My Father's C-47 -- 1:33 Scale Paper Model  -- The Repaint

My father was a C-47 pilot in Europe in World War II. I bought and scanned a copy of Fly-Model's C-47, and used Photoshop to change the serial number and unit markings to match my father's airplane. Dad and his crew ferried a new C-47 from the US to England a couple of weeks after D-Day, so his plane had no invasion stripes. I had replace those with the olive drab of the rest of the aircraft, then redraw some of the panel lines. I also recolored the interior wall panels to a more accurate color. Next step is to print and build the kit.

In each of the photos, Fly-Model art is on the left, my repaint on the right.