There are some exquisite models made from card. And, it has to be said,
some pretty horrid ones. It is a medium which is versatile and workable,
yet at the same time quite hard to get right.
My understanding of the genre is that there are four major classifications.
* Perhaps the most traditional is simply the use of card as a raw component in
the construction of scratch built buildings.
* The second is the extensive range
of printed card models produced primarily for the model railway market.
* The third is the (mostly) continental range of printed models of famous
buildings. Sometimes sold as collectibles in their own right but appearing
in my viewfinder most often in the gift shop as I leave an historic sight.
* Lastly, models produced as toys or novelties.
If I have oversimplified or missed
something please do email Miniature Buildings and we will correct this.
Card as a component
I have long been a fan of Pendon. You may have seen mention of it in other postings.
What I hadn't realised was that work still continues. While looking for images as I was
writing this I stumbled across the blog of Nick Salzman. He describes his blog as "The
ramblings of a retired General Practitioner’s hobby of Railway modelling and Model
engineering." He undersells himself.
Take a look and admire some
really high class work.
Work in progress
on Lilac Cottage by Nick Salzman
Another exceptional modeller using foamboard ( which I'm happy to regard as a species
of card) is French artist and master craftsman Emmanuel Nouaillier. These photos are copied
from the interesting
within the County Gate website - built by an
anonymous enthusiast (at least I couldn't find a
page where he identifed himself). Within that site, take a look at this wonderful
Printed kits for model railways
Ten years ago a company such as
Metcalfe would probably have been considered as
the archetype of this genre.
This photo of their 00/H0 Scale Stone Built
Wayside Station (PO238) shows all the detail and texture they continue to be proud of. It comes
as a die-cut card kit, with added laser-cut canopy brackets and awnings. They say it
is based on Brunel's original drawings for a standard wayside railway station as
used at Twyford and Bradford on Avon. But it is not cheap at £18 and the platform is extra.
My biggest issue however with this style of precut kit is the corners, as seen front left
next to the black poster. The fact the blockwork does not wrap around the corner
really spoils it for me.
And one more little gripe, which is not unique to Metcalfe who are just
following common practice. The OO/HO designation really bugs me. It may make sense for track
but for a building it simply does not. Either it is made to 1/76 or 1/87. It cannot be both
but is maybe something in between.
Another long standing name is
Superquick, who say they have "been manufacturing
....for the railway modelling industry for nearly 60 years". They say that
"the innovation, that is the Superquick pre-cut card kit, has been developed
and refined into the product you see today". As with Metcalfe, they use the
meaningless HO/OO desigation.
Superquick's Railway Hotel SQB33
Despite the range of subjects,their long
standing position and their attention to details, there is something that
doesn't feel right for me. I just cannot quite put my finger on what it is.
A little too bright and shiny? An old bias based on their offering from
decades ago? Their continued presence means they must be doing something right.
If you are an advocate for them please do write in.
But today I get the impression that
featuring the work of John Wiffen is the market leader. Home printing and internet usage
has led to the domination of downloaded images to be printed and assembled
(and modified?) by the individual modeller.
By Nick Wood using Scalescenes material
I just wish I was able to make them.
Put together well they produce wonderful models but they are hard work.
Certainly I have struggled, especially with window openings.
Others have however mastered the art and the Scalescenes site features
a gallery of what can be achieved. The two photos copied here are just
a tiny sample of what talented modellers can create from PDF files downloaded
from John's site. The range is not exclusivly railway prototypes but includes
a church, castle, school and canal material.
Scalescenes material reduced to
T scale (1/450) by Ian Wigglesworth
He also supplies plain sheets
for scratch builders. You will gather I am a big fan. My last use of some
of some his stone walls was in constructing a nativity stable.
Returning to my gripe about HO/OO, there is no problem wth this kind
of downloadable 'kit'. They are designed as 1/76 OO buildings but can
just as easily be printed out that little bit smaller to make them 1/87
for HO layouts.
Or reduced dramatically to produce the crazily tiny Z
or T scales. How do people manage to work at this scale? My eyes simply
could not manage it. N scale is a stretch!
Scalescenes is, of course, not the only company in this sector. Model
Railway Scenery is one arm of the
Scale Model Scenery
operation run by Justin Noble in Leicestershire. Their downloadable building
kits are much grittier than some others. As this picture shows, their model world is a long way
from the nostalgic chocolate box style of buildings for villages that might sit
in Midsomer or Borsetshire. I will return to Justin's
work soon in a piece I'm planning on laser cut models.
If you are a fan of buses or the London underground you will probably
already know of Kingsway Models.
As well as their more serious offerings you will find this free download of
a fictional Tube station.
Smart Models pub & Kingsway East End Tube
Kingsway East End Tube
Wherever I travel, but especially in continental Europe, the souvenir
shop at the end of the tour - of cathedral, chateau, bell tower, palace, etc
offers me the chance to buy a kit to make a
card model of what I have seen. Sometimes a big fancy model (at a big fancy
price) in an A4 sized pack and sometimes just postcard sized.
An Italian display
The display sample
Until now I have resisted the temptation. So the only
examples I had seen were the made up examples in the shop
display. But this month I tried my hand at making one - the
Chateau du Clos de Vougeot. Take a look at how I found
the experience? Have
you tried them? Please share your experience.
Toys & Novelties
I stumbled across this 1983 example in a charity shop recently. It is waiting
to be made up with a grandchild some wet afternoon. Though, actually, it may
prove to be too hard for young fingers.