|News and Views on Models|
|This page has articles written in English or Swedish on models and
model building. There are deep theoretical thoughts mixed with common
information and a little gossip. You are wellcome to send comments and
even articles or pictures to be eventually published here. The oldest
texts are in the bottom to minimize your problem with scrolling if you
have seen them enough already. Some texts will be moved to other pages like "model
builders" or "paper models" when they are no longer news.
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|Svenska örlogsfartyg från JSC||11th of November 2003|
|From the meeting in Bremerhaven in april 2003||22nd of May 2003|
|Halton model show||11th of October 2002|
|Paper modelling with a grandchild||10th of October 2002|
|Paper modelling in school (Isolda i Strömsskolan. L.Edet)||13th of February 2002|
|Exhibition "Till sjöss" (At Sea) in Stockholm 2001||29th of May 2001|
|From the meeting in Bremerhaven in april 2001||2nd of May 2001|
|Paper model publisher JSC||4th of October 2000|
|Paper or plastic? A comparision between two kits||8th of June 2000|
|From the meeting in Bremerhaven in april 2000||19th of May 2000|
|What makes joy to build||22nd of June 1999|
|Ships, picturing and pedagogical fantasy||4th of Nov 1998|
|15th International Card Model Meeting in Bremerhaven in April 2003|
| This beautiful model, designed by Karl-Harro Reimers
in Esslingen, was one of the news presented at the annual Card Model
Meeting in Bremerhaven this year.
Click the picture to read more about this model and see many other models, especially ship models, on display.
|The Halton model show on 6th of October 2002|
|This yearly event at the RAF Halton base an hour north of London is said to be one of the worlds greatest shows of hobby models. All aspects on modelling in two huge hangars and with lots of radio controled activities outside on the airfield. What struck me was that building working models of circuses and fair grounds seemed to have grown more popular than model railroading. There were more than fifty models like the one shown here.|
|The International Card Model Internet Group was also represented. The
pictures above show Roger Pattenden talking over his designs to the paper
architecture model collector Robert Freidus. Then you see Mike Stamper
talking to a visitor over the model he built from the JSC kits making up
the Long Embankment in Gdansk. On the third picture is David Hathaway and
a visitor looking at Davids wonderful models of old odd war ships. Over
Davids head is an airship designed by Alvar Hansen and published by
Schreiber. Alvar also brought the fishing boat in the foreground of the
picture. To the right is Ray Morris with his fine collection of railway
engines he has designed in the micromodel scale. The big pictures show
Roger Pattendens beautifully designed beam engine, that hopefully soon
will be published, and David Hathaways interesting model to the "Huascar"
that once upon the time scared people on the South American west coast.
More about Rogers models on www.heritage-models.co.uk.
More about Davids models on www.papershipwright.freeserve.co.uk.
|Paper modelling with a grandchild
Johan is five years old. On a visit to me, we sat down and I built a paper dragon for him from the excellent kit issued by Polish Halinski (www.halinski.com.pl). Johan watched me and helped me and also tried scissors and glue on remaining pieces of paper.
When home again he started to fill his room with own paper models. Lots of dragons, but also bees and birds and mooses. He now treats the scissors and tape as good as the pencils. And he told his parents: "Now you don´t need to buy toys for me any more. I can build the toys myself."
Thanks to paper modelling he has really revealed a new dimension in his life.
|Paper modelling in school
A group of boys in the Strömsskolan at Lilla Edet on the west coast of Sweden got the chance to try paper modelling in school. They built the free downloadable model of the 3-mast-schooner Isolda which was originally built one houndred yeras ago in Lödöse quite close to Lilla Edet. Click the picture to see and read more.
|Model exhibition "Till sjöss"
(At Sea) in the Stockholm Toy Museum May - October 2001
The picture shows some of the more than 60 paper ship models that make up a part of the exhibition. Click the picture to get closer presentations of several of the models.
|Card model meeting in Bremerhaven
28th-29th of april 2001
Click the picture and you will get more views of this wonderful model and many others.
Paper model publisher JSC
This is Slavomir Czolczynski in Gdansk in Poland. He is an educated naval architect with a great feeling for paper models. He and his family started to publish own paper models under the name of JSC, which is now known all over the world for its high quality.
If you click the picture, you will find more pictures and a report from a visit to the wonderful family Czolczynski.
Paper or plastic
Two kits for models of the same building and in the same stated scale
|Some Pictures from 12th international paper model meeting in BREMERHAVEN in april 2000|
David (and half his younger brother) with his own designs for a roman temple and a ship structure.
|Most appreciated speech was given by 14 years old David
Burkhardt, who described his use of a very simple computer software to
design paper models and make fun for himself and his friends.
Many of Davids models are very small. This one is less than 20x20 cm.
There were visitors also from Brittain this year. Roger Pattenden showed the beautifully coloured models he has designed and issued under the name of Heritage Models. He also showed a fine working model for a pop-up castle (left).
David Hathaway showed his design for two Brittish coastal defence ships (below).
|Hans Werner Grebenstein from Borken has designed and issued a lot of interesting models. His speciality is rockets and space craft. But he has among other things also designed models of an anti-aircraft-fort, the Monitor&Merrimac and this German WW2 submarine bunker|
|A very interesting speech was given by Alvar Hansen (from
Warsaw in Poland) who has designed this model of an old roman cargo ship
Alvar Hansen wants to develop the German-Polish card-modelling tradition and find model constructions that come closer to the construction of the real thing. I also liked his way of taking the question about historic accuracy very ernest.
His approach to paper model design feels absolutely to be a step forward for the whole art of paper modelling.
|Imogen Zimmer showed some new lighthouses she has designed and this American Coast Guard Boat (1:250). Precious and delightful.|
|I was glad to see that also Swedish ships have found their ways into German hearts. The coast defence battle ship "Sverige" and the icebreaking ferry "Starke" were built and described by Hans Jürgen Krüger from Berlin. "Sverige" is scratch built and Starke is a cut-out model design by Hans-Joachim Conrad. (scale 1:250)|
|WHAT MAKES JOY TO BUILD (Mainly
after a presentation at the paper modellers meeting in Bremerhaven, April
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
don´t 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.
|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 that´s 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 don´t do like that to-day as it doesn´t 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
| 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
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.
|SHIPS, PICTURING and PEDAGOGICAL
(Mainly after a speech given at the paper-model conference in the German Schiffahrtsmuseum at Bremerhaven in april 1998)
Modelbuilding is a picturing art. Theories on
representation, realism, idealism, seeing and imagination are as valid for
model building as for oil painting, photography or stone carving. I
am afraid that my philosophical knowleges don´t permit me to give a
lecture on post modernism. But I have understood that the copying of
Nature is problematic. Most artists know that copying of Nature is on
principle not possible. But many model builders still do unreflected
attempts to make scaled down copies. All models, like all pieces of art,
are abstractions. My interest in paper modelling has its ground in the
fact that the material in it self stimulates the fantasydemanding art of
|Let me take some wooden models as examples. The first one is from Vitaby church in southern Sweden. Naive and not very scale true. But during the centuries, I am sure, it has created lots of fantasies in the heads of the parishioners.||The next example is from the church of Fredrikshamn in Denmark. It is very scale true, but something is missing. It can´t be that it is a modern ship. Older ships in churches were all ships of their own times. It should be possible even to-day to represent a modern ship in a church. But this model is just boring. There is no life in it.|
|The third example is a kitschy piece of "art". Well handicrafted but more a caricature than a character-representation. The model is "over-defined". The form gives no openings for your own experiences and imaginations.||A different example (by the swedish artist Ture Albert Andersson) is made out of scrap material in a way that really makes the form wide open for personal and unexpected imaginations.|
|The Wasa-museum this year showed an exhibition
with some houndred models from the whole world of the Wasa ship. You could
really go round and think much about "true" representations.
Scale true, life true, feel true and what ever true you want. The one true
must not necessarely exclude the other true. Wonderful is when a scale
true model also is life true.
But what is then life true? Old ship pictures may be "primitive", but when you study for example old grafitti you can see that very simplified ship representations often have found the most effective way yo characterize the living ship. The rules for picturing and for reading of pictures changes with the times. Therefore we have problems to see from rock carvings what bronze age boats really looked like. You can also realize that grafitti to-day should not represent reality but "cyber-reality". It is a mistake to believe that cyber-reality representations demand more fantasy than reality representations.
One houndred years ago there were also rather fixed forms for how to make toys as "fantasyful" representations of real things. Those toys now wake up nostalgic feelings. But of course they did not reflect the imagination resources of the children; more the grewn up peoples predjudices on what sort of fantasy was good for children.
|This is a 19th century french paper torpedo boat cut-out. The french navy liked odd-looking boats, but this one is far out of reality. Don´t you believe that even children a century ago would have liked a little more scale true representations to help their fantasy?||An other french cut-out from the same time represents a quite realistic scene on the shore. It moves when you pour sand in the right place. The mechanism is very complicated and gives a very modest movement. What here is encourageing your fantasy is not the scene itself. It is the mechanism. Good for children who were to invent the airplane and the modern car.|
|Scandinavian children from the first
half of this century have special memories of the weekly magazine Allers
or Familj-journalen. From 1915 it presented one or two cut-outs every week.
It could be a dolls house, a church, an airplane, a fancy scenery. The
best of them were designed by the danish artist H.C.Madsen. Round 1930 he
started to design cut-outs of the most famous houses in the world just to
allow people to build up their own architectural museums. Together with
articles in the magazine this was stimulating the fantasy to think
world-wide. (Or was it just a typical manifestation of western
Madsens designs are not exactly scale true. But they are splendid simplifications that give you living and astonishingly true pictures of the represented houses. So many of the best swedish engineers and artists have told that their creative lives started with the Allers cut-outs. There is a curious gap between the fact that the elite of modernism started to realize themselves with weekly magazines and the elitistic imagination that weekly magazines make people more silly.
|The next step after the cut-outs was to build
models from scrach. Round 1940 the interest in scale-true representations
increased. But it was difficult to get good drawings. You had to make your
own drawings from pictures and from looking at the real thing. And in this
case you were in exactly the same position as an artist looking at a nude
woman to represent in a drawing or a sculpture. You must train your seeing
again and again. And you must train your imagination to find those lines
and volumes that give the best, the most living or the most "true"
representation. For the curious thing about representation is that the
most look-alike representation of nature or a real thing cannot be just a
measured and scaled down or copied one. There must be seeing, imagining,
feeling, trying and seeing again. Even if you just build a model of an
Plastic modelling has unfortunately given people the chance to get models with the "correct" shape without seeing. It is just to follow the instruction. Then comes the sickness of supering. To many plastic model builders try to build models so that you from a photo can´t see if it is nature or model. But photos are lying. In live, such models mostly look dead.
The more exactly scale true you want to build a model, the more of imaginative seeing do you need to make the live model look life-like.
I am afraid that also paper modelling with better and better materials could go the same way. You get more and more detailed cut-outs. The model builders just learn to put the parts correctly together. But they never learn to see and imagine.
What we have tried in our Model Builders Academy is to open the borderlines of model building and learn from other arts. What can we as model builders learn from a baroque painters way of representing? What can we learn from a romantic sculptor or from a socialy concious documentary photographer?
|Sometimes we like to have our eyes
washed by models that put everything upside down and inside out. Like the
model that the swedish artist Elisabeth Westerlund built from Richard
Vyskovskys cut-out of the Estates Theater in Prague and put under a glass