Mainly after a presentation at the paper modellers meeting in Bremerhaven, April 1999
News and Views on Models  


BILDRUM (home)

Some model kits give you more of pleasant building time than others. What makes it? Everyone has surely her (or his) own favourites. Some prefer big models. Other prefer small. Some build nothing but airplanes from WW2. Some have fallen in love with Atlantic Steamers. So have I got my symphaties and antiphaties. I get simply tired just from looking at a kit to build a ship with more than four lifeboats or three canons. And I donīt like cut-outs where you have to strengthen some paper parts with 2 or 3mm cardboard. I like when the model shows a character that in some surprising way catches the original. And I find it boring to build a model that misses all essential things about the original with eventually an exception from the exactly scaled down measures.
  It is diffucult to make a theory on why some models give you more fun than others. But I find it interesting enough to start a discussion on the subject by commenting some examples. 

To the best paper models ever designed are the birds from Birdmobile. You allways get very surprised to find that some curiously formed paper pieces so simply could be glued together to a living image of an individual bird.  Many kit publishers seem to prefer issuing models of the most famous ships, airplanes or buildings. Probably because thatīs the way they believe to get the highest selling-results. My own experience is instead that model builders prefer more odd things to build and try to avoid the tourist traps. When I let school children choose very freely what to build, they often choose typical things in their neighborhood that most grewn up people not look upon as worthy enough for modelbuilding. It could be tin garages, dust-handling premices and elecrical transformer stations rather than churches and cottages preserved by the local-monuments preservation committee.

Of importance to make a kit appealing is of course the graphic form. Especially for cut-outs where different countries have their own traditions. German cut-outs usually present the different parts in well organized raws. Czech cut-outs look very tight and confusing at the first glance. But it makes great fun to find that the numbering of the parts follows a very intelligent system that makes it easy and often very surprising to put the parts together.. A French engine model from the 19th century has its parts so marked that the litteras are still visible on the built model. You donīt do like that to-day as it doesnīt look "real". But I really liked to build that model as it reminded me of old didactic illustrations and thus strengthened the technical character of the engine.  
The colouring of a model makes a lot for your wishes to build it. What is really the "correct" colour on a picture or a model could be (and shoul be) discussed. There are no scientifically absolute way of translating the colour of a real thing to a scaled down model. The model designer must make every colouring to a conscious and harmonized whole in itself with enough freedom from what eventually could be measured on the real original. A designer that has given me special joys to remember just from the colouring is Roger Pattenden with his Heritage Models.
 Every model kit should of course be control built before issuing. It is good to have experienced contol builders with ability to see what is wrong with the kit and what is wrong with your own handling. But I think that we should also let children do the contol building. Not so much to see that the constructions are exact as to learn how children see, think and build. From that we could learn what makes a model enjoying to build. My experience is that children sooner build small and detailed than that big and simplified we grewn up often believe is best for children. It seems to me that children often feel extra joy when we put confidence in their ability to work out things that grewn up think is difficult

 Even models of popular buildings and well known things could of course be enjoying. To build a model of an historic monument could be a good preparation for a visit. You are allready aquainted with the place when you arrive. And the building of a model could be a joyful rememberance of a happy journey. Some museums know that and consciously use cut-outs as a way to get in closer contacts with the public. Many cut-outs have in fact started to get a good contact between children and parents or teachers and that way made the museum to an enjoying place for education.
  You can find the cut-ots in the museums shops, but nowadays more and more often as downloadable things on the internet web sites of the museums. It is now possible in every classroom to build an own little World Museum consisting of anything from sky to sea, technology and art from all parts of the earth. And sure it is much more enjoying to build the museums pieces yourself than to just look at them.                                                                  
                                                                                      Gunnar Sillén