paper models

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Paper ship models

This cavalcade originates from the exhibition "Till Sjöss" ("At Sea") at Stockholms leksaksmuseum (Stockholm Toy Museum) in the year 2001. I was invited to show paper models and brought some 60. Most of them are from my own collection, but I also got help from my friends in Stockholm, Gdansk and Hamburg. Some of the pictures here have been added later. It is my intention to go on adding pictures as soon as I have found and tried new interesting paper ship models. 

Latest update 12th of November 2002                  
                                                                                                                                                        Gunnar Sillén


Two 19th Century French Navy models from  Pellerin&Cie in Epinal. Canon-boat l´Aigle (Grand construction No281) to the left and torpeilleur Le Requin (Moyennes construction No 281) to the right. Especially the canon-boat was quite difficult to build with complex lines,  very many and very small glueing tabs and lots of glueings from behind (superstructures should be glued through holes in the deck to the underside of the deck).  The boats give good characteristics. Note the visible part of the propeller blade shown on the Canon-boat.
The Allers Familj-Journal was most important to popularize paper modelling in the Scandinavian countries. From 1914 till about 1960, this weekly magazine had at least one cut-out paper model, paper theatre or paper doll printed in each issue.
  The movable diorama with a submarine shooting torpedoes is from 1917. The Marble Ship from Peking is one of H.C.Madsens designs from 1937. The Ferry is from 1947 and the simple but effective model of the destroyer Småland was published in 1958 in the Swedish edition of Allers. (The ground plate is my contribution.)
This big and quite simple model of the Queen Mary is an example of what one could get (at least in the UK) if eating Corn Flakes enough. It is a reprint of an original Kellogs model that comes together with the help ot a tabs and slot construction. I believe the original was pre-cut. I wish someone could tell me when the original was printed and how much Corn Flakes you had to eat to obtain the model.
This is another Brittish model from about the same time, but reresenting the opposite end of papper modelling compared to the Kellogs Queen Mary. This is a Maory war canoe issued by Micromodels. It is very small with a beautifully sofisticated detailing. The original cut-out sheets were smaller than post cards.

Micromodels (Copies and originals) are still in the market thanks to Myles Mandell in Centerville OH, USA.

Poland and Germany have long living traditions publishing scale true paper models of modern ships, especially war ships. There are also some rare examples of Swedish ships issued. This model of the cruiser "Tre Kronor" in scale 1:400 was published by Maly Modelarz in Poland in 1959. (the model is a copy.)
The Swedish model builder SvenNorrman from Kungälv has designed some beautiful models that catch the forms of the originals with few and simple parts. The Ferry "Prinsessan Margaretha" was published for the Göteborg-Fredrikshavn-Line in 1955 and the traditional fishing boat as a post card for the Bohuslän tourist traffic association also in the 50-ies.

Legendary paper models were the Kranich Modellbogens, published in the 1960-ies by Verlag Junge Welt in the DDR. The cut-outs were printed in unbelievable huge editions. So many youngsters built paper models in clubs and organizations. The models were designed in quite big scales and often showed Russian ships.
These models of cruiser Sverdlov in scale 1:200, atomic icebreaker Lenin, old cruiser Aurora, robot cruiser Kildin and fregatt Kashin were built by Peter Hjelm in Stockholm 35 years ago. Peter has moved five times with the models, which shows that paper models are not as easily damaged as one may believe.
Thanks to German friends I have got the chance to try some Chinese cut-outs. They have much in common with European models produced in large quantities during the pre-plastic model era aiming at youth groups. They are printed on quite heavy card-board and the colours are surprisingly bright. I have scaled the models down from around 1:70 - 1:150 to 1:200 and 1:250 (the bigger boat). I had some difficulties to find out the scale for all the original prints as the ship dimensions were not told. I had to guess a little from what I know of similar types. But it was great fun to build the models.  


A well known Swedish model builder and drawer is Björn Karlström, who since the 1940-ies has provided Swedish model builders with houndreds and houndreds of detailed drawings of airplanes. He has also designed some interesting paper models of good quality. Here is a torpedoboat of Spica class, published in the magazine "Allt om Hobby" in 1988. The original print was for a model in scale 1:150. This model is from a  rescaled print 1:200.

The model of "Gripsholm" in scale 1:525 was published in the magazine "Allt om Hobby" in 1975. I have combined the model with the well known model of New York harbour, designed by A.G.Smith for Dover. 

This nice little model is from an advertising folder for "Öresundsbolaget" distributed to all households in Malmö and aiming at getting people to cross the Öresund with the new swift hydrofoil ("flying boat") for drinking and buying in Copenhagen. There are no references to the designer or the printing year on the folder. Perhaps someone could inform me. 
Johan Rosenblad designed a lot of post-card models and distributed them through his firm Cardboard Cut-Outs in Malmö. Many of them make intelligent use of the paper and great fun to build. I am especially fond of the diorama showing the canon service onboard the ship "Vasa".
This is an other simple but interesting model. It shows a lock in the Göta Kanal and is distributed by the tourist bureau in the town Söderköping. The model designed by Tord Kempe in 1997.
One of the world´s leading distributors of paper models is Scheuer & Strüver with the Hamburg Modellbaubogen Verlag in Hamburg. I am sorry I have not had time to build their model of the liner Bremen (1929) with over 5.000 parts or the new model of the battle ship Bismarck, designed by Peter Brandt with 7.290 parts. Here are some of their smaller models. The armoured corvette "Sachsen" (1878), the tug "Mercur" (1972), the passenger steamer "Schaarhörn" (1908) and the coastal defence ship "Beowulf" (1892).

The "Sachsen" and "Beowulf" models are designed by Markus Wiekowski, The "Mercur" model is designed by Imogen Zimmer, one of very few woman paper model designers, and the "Schaarhörn" model is designed by Peter Brandt.

To see more of the Scheuer & Strüver models, I recommend a visit to their site http://www.moduni.de


The perhaps most famous Dutch designer of paper ship models is Leon Schuijt. He has designed this model of the royal sailing yacht "De Groene Draeck" (1957)  in scale 1:60.
(The photo is from an earlier exhibition.)
 This is a French model of the liner Normandie, the perhaps most highstanding example of ship architecture ever built. The model kit is interesting as it avoids but joints and also has all lines marking scores and cuts on the back side not to disturb the appearance of the model. The idea makes transporting of the the kit somewhat difficult. The absence of scoring and cutting lines makes the model clean, but paper quality and detailing do not correspond to the idea. It is also a pity that the simplifications undertaken to make the model faster to build have made it hard to understand the beauty of the real ship. And actually, this "simple" model of the Normandie is more difficult to build than more complicated models of to-days standards. 
One of the leading Polish publishers of ship models is JSC (Janina and Slawomir Czolczynski) in Gdansk. The model of the "Long Embankment" in Gdansk is in scale 1:200 and designed by Katarzyna Czolczynska, a young girl newly married into the family and giving us hope for the future. A new generation and also women will produce paper models. The liner "United States" and the Swedish tanker Zelos (1944) are in scale 1:400 as most of the JSC models. In the exhibition is also the model of the stealth fregatte "Sea Wraith".
Click the door to get to a text I have written specially about JSC. There are many more pictures.

You could also visit JSC web page at http://www.jsc.pl



Interesting paper models are also produced in other parts of the world. This is a model of the tug "Kupe" produced as a promoting material for the harbour of Wellington, New Zealand. The model makes intelligent use of the precut tab and slot techique. Designer of the model is Phillip Fickling, Christchurch, New Zealand, who has designed several beautiful models and also uses a precut submarine model for one of his own promoting cards. To see more of Phillip Ficklings models, I recommend a visit to his site: http://www.phillipfickling.com


The Polish motor canon boat S-2 "Wilczur" (Brittish Power Boat, 1940) in scale 1:50. Paper model from Kartonowy Arsenal (Halinski) in Poland.

Halinski web site is at: http://www.halinski.com.pl

The Bolsjevik armoured river canon boat "BK2" (1918). This model is produced by Betexa in the Czech Republic and designed to make motorizing possible. The Czech Republic has a very strong and very living paper model tradition giving the rest of the world lots of rare and interesting models.

Betexa web page is at http://www.betexa.cz

 This model of a SAS hoovercraft AP 1-88 for Öresund traffic between Malmö and Copenhagen airport Kastrup is also produced in the Czech Republic. This model is designed by Ladislav Badalec and was printed as a cut-out in the youth magazine ABC. Scale 1:100.
  The ABC magazine has web page at  http://www.iabc.cz  Click "Vystrihovanky" to see what models are in latest number. Click "Archiv" to see content in older numbers.


Hans-Joachim Conrad in Berlin started to design paper models of train ferries for model railroads in scale 1:160 or 1:240. This charmful model of the Swedish train ferry "Drottning Victoria" is one of them. More about ferries from "Cony´s Modellbau" on  http://www.hometown.aol.com/conysmodellbau1


A model that has gained a lot of well-deserved attention is this 1:250 model of the Swedish monitor "Sölve" (1875). The model is designed by David Hathaway, Cambridge, England and published through his firm Paper Shipwright. Do visit his web site and download a free paper model for the Australian monitor "Cerberus", one of the best free paper models on the Internet. The address is: http://www.papershipwright.freeserve.co.uk


Threemastschooner "Isolda" (1902). Scale 1:160. This is one of my own paper model designs and produced for free download from Gothenburg Maritime Museum. 

or from the Isolda home page http://www.isolda.info/

Other of my paper model designs could be seen on the Bildrum pages of this site.
To BILDRUM paper models