Fx Feature is here!

Fx Feature
Fx Feature is a new section whereby YOU can showcase work that you've done, right on the main of Fx Console, where thousands will see your work!

How do you participate?
Simply register on our forums, post up pictures of any models you have done in the Models Galore forum. If it's good, it comes to the main blog right away.

No holds barred
Remember, Fx Console isn't just about modelling from card/paper. Any medium of choice is completely acceptable: spanning paper, card, clay, plastics, wood and more.

Fx Console: Your own medium, your own models. This is your art.

Click here to join our forums.

Getting started with your own models

8 steps and tips to do this:

1: Choose what you want to model!

This may seem like a completely brainless step to include, but your choice of what you want to model is extremely important. Don't just have an idea, you must know exactly what you want to do. The object that you want to model will affect your choice of materials, so it is wise to lay down the rules before you go down to the art and hardware store to get supplies.

If you want to make a model of a building, know exactly which building you want to make. If you want to make a model of human, know exactly which character you want to make.

2: Choose your scale

It is wise to decide on the scale before materials, because the level of detailing will affect which materials you should use.

Here's a list of scales commercially produced models commonly use, it is wise to choose one, because you can easily obtain parts to compliment your own model along the way:

1:6, 1:18, 1:24, 1:32, 1:43, 1:48, 1:50, 1:64, 1:72, 1:144

If your scale is 1:6, all measurements will be scaled down by 6 times. Measure a length, and divide it by six to obtain the length of the same side on the model.

Hence, the larger the number on the scale, the smaller your model will be.

The choice of scales are often very logical: tall buildings require scales along 1:144, if not your model will be huge.

3: Choosing the right medium

I myself work with clay and card/paper, because having a choice of either medium adds alot of versatility to what you can model.

The fact is, card/paper is the simplest and most effective solution to making your own own models. The reason is the advent of more and more high quality home-based printing solutions, as well as the easy availability of graphics design software. In other words, it's really easy to design models using the computer, and add colour/graphics by means of your printer at home.

I use clay to sculpt characters that I like because while paper/card works well for creating objects with straight edges and flat surfaces like buildings, gadgetry, robots etc, paper/card cannot follow the curves of human form.

Here's a list of medium you can use -

If your model has straight edges and flat surfaces e.g. buildings, gadgetry, robots, vehicles:

Polymer plastic sheets

If your model has plenty of curves and no angular edges e.g. humans:

- polymer clays are the way to go e.g. air dry clay, oven bake clay, epoxy clay.
I strongly recommend you go for the brands professional sculptors use, because lousy brands are difficult to mold, break extremely easily and do not last.

Some recommended types of clay: Super Sculpey, Super Sculpey Firm, Super Sculpey III, Magic Sculpt, Chavant, Apoxy Sculpt.

Bewarned, some of these are toxic, so, have your own workspace that is well ventilated, and if you're going to bake the clay, do not re use the oven for food.

4: Choosing the right tools

There is no need to buy an arsenal of tools right away, it's wiser to start off with basic ones, then slowly amass better tools as your skills and models grow more complex.

If you're working with paper, card, cardboard, simple cutting tools like the paper knife, metal ruler will suffice.

If you're working with ply wood or metal, you will need more heavy duty tools to cut your materials. Check with your hardware store as to what you can use for your home.

If you're working with clay, a simple sculpting tool set will do. The tools sculptors use are extremely varied and depend on the way the individual sculptor carries out his work, but there is no need for this right now. Start simple!

5: Choosing the right adhesives

There are many kinds of glues available, but these are the 3 that I keep in stock at home. You can get them at any hardware store:

The usual art glue - good for holding paper model parts together.
Super glue - for fast bonding in emergencies. Contrary to popular belief, I've found that Super glue is extremely weak and only good for holding parts temporarily.
Expoxy adhesives - consists of two parts, a hardening paste and an adhesive paste. These take extremely long to reach full strength, but they are extremely strong. Very useful for holding heavy parts together.

6: Be resourceful

Most of the time, there are plenty of parts and materials that can be found lying around the house and even in the trash bin. Old toys, incomplete model kits etc - it's easier to use these, than to build everything yourself. If you need a car, it's easier to buy a model car, than to waste your time building a whole new one. So be resourceful!

7: Painting and finishing

For hobby purposes, go for acrylic paints. Poster paints, water colours are a no, because these are water soluble. A drop of water and your paint job is ruined. For now, buy 2-3 brushes of varying sizes, making sure you have at least one fine tipped one to reach into corners as well as apply details.

You will need to buy a primer spray as well. A primer is used to prepare the surface for painting, because not all surfaces can hold paint well.

I suck at painting, I really do, which is why Photoshop is a such a blessing - I print the graphics on, rather than paint. Printing is therefore, another option for newbies.

Here's a nice tutorial that covers all aspects of the paint job, from priming, base coating, washing, dry brushing to finishing:
The model maker's resource on painting

8: Patience, above skill

You'll be surprised at how well your work will turn out, provided you are willing to invest effort and patience into your work. Most adults already have the psychomotor skills to carry out fine work.

If you feel frustrated and tired and want to finish the model as soon as possible, it is better to stop for the day, than do a botched job and regret it later on.

Yeap. I leave you with a set of articles from Model Maker's Resource that will explain everything more in depth.

Click here for more information @ the Model Makers Resource.

If you have a passion for making models like I do, click here to join the Fx Console forums.

Remember the Fx policy that is: your own medium, your own models. Card, plastic, wood, clay, as long as it's a model, it's right at home.

Modelling from paper part IV: Pepakura Designer

Using Pepakura Designer to create a 2D template from the 3D model

1: Download and install Pepakura Designer

Click here to download
Again, there's a free version and a full version. Unfortunately you only get features like being able to save in high resolution formats and additional features with the full version. But for now, if you're just looking for some experimental fun, you can use the free version.

2: Open Pepakura Designer and open the .kmz file you saved.

You will see a series of complicated looking instructions, but they're really just asking you to specify which is the front and base of the model.

3: Click on unfold and you'll have an unfolded model all ready

Now here's something to take note of:
The template looks more complicated than I intended it to be, because if you take a closer look at the pyramid I designed using Google Sketchup, the view from the bottom shows a model that looks like that:

To avoid this pitfall, make sure you check all sides of the model you built, otherwise you might end up with overly complex templates that you don't want.

4: Print the file and you have a papercraft template.

The free version of Pepakura Designer unfortunately, does not allow you to save your files, but a cheap way round this is to print it out and then scan the print to save as an image file.

Like models? Click here to join our forums!

Modelling from paper part III: More Google Sketchup

Creating a simple object in Google Sketchup

Here's a simple example to orientate you to exactly what you can do - I'm going to draw a series of steps leading up to the top of a small pyramid.

1: Open Google Sketchup and click on the rectangle drawing tool

2: Using this, draw a rectangle in the work space.

3: Using the same tool, I'm going to create multiple faces of the rectangle, but smaller ones than the original.

4: Using the Push and Pull tool, I'm going to convert this into a 3D object.

Click and drag each face into 3D to form this:

And there you have it! A simple pyramid. I can't show you how to use all the tools indepth, it will take a book! But using these simple principles, play around with all the tool sets to get all kinds of shapes and that you want.

5: Save your file!

Important tip
Before you launch into 3D model design work, you should be aware of the limitations of Pepakura Designer in unfolding a 3D model. It is better to break up your model that you are designing into many small parts and design them individually, rather than work on the entire model in one file!

If your entire model is one file, Pepakura designer will unfold the model into one gigantic, complex looking template that noone will build.

Click here to go to the next tutorial

Like models? Click here to join our forums!

Modelling from paper part II: Google Sketchup

Getting started with Google Sketchup

Google Sketchup is a simple to use 3D modelling software. The best part is, it's free. Right now, what we're doing is figure out how to create a simple 3D object on the computer using Google Sketchup. After that, Pepakura Designer will unfold it into a paper model template.

1: Download Google Sketchup

Click here to download
There are 2 versions, Google Sketchup and Google Sketchup pro. The latter costs money, so you know which to choose.

2: Install and open it

This is what you will see:

It's a really simple interface, with a workspace in the middle, the toolbar on top and a man surrounded by 3 lines - this is to help you grasp the perspective that you are looking at - remember, we're working in 3D.

3: Play around with the tools

What you can do now, is to get familiarised with what the tools do. Play around, draw some basic shapes.

If you mouse over the tool icons, the function of the tool appears:

4: Basic Tool sets

The first set of 4 tools from the left are drawing tools:

These let you create the all the basic shapes you need. The pencil draws straight lines, the rectangle draws squares and rectangles, the circle draws circles and the curved line lets you create warped lines and curves.

The second set of 4 tools from the left are basic editting tools:

These let you do simple editting to the lines that you drew. You can erase them, measure them and fill them in with colours/textures.

The third set of 4 are 3D transformation tools:

Push and pull will drag whatever shape you drew into a 3D object. For example, if you drew a square, push and pull will drag it into a 3D box. Move/Copy will simply allow you to move the objects around. Rotate allows you to turn your object - the first click sets the turning axis, and after that, you can turn the object in any direction you like. Offset lets you create scaled up/down versions of the things you already drew.

The last set of important tools are your view tools:

These allow you to change the perspective that you are viewing your 3D object at. You can either rotate the perspective, move the perspective, zoom in or zoom out.

The last tools on the right are to save your/share your work!
These do not require further elaboration.

Click here to go to the next tutorial

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Modelling from paper part I: Introduction

Introduction - 2 ways of doing this

There are 2 ways to create the form of the paper model (just the blank model, without the graphics).

1: Using computer software

The first way is to use simple 3D modelling software combined with this application called Pepakura Designer which automatically unfolds 3D data into 2D form on paper. This way is commonly used to build paper toys that are made up of many complex polygons, such as video gaming characters.

Link from Legend of Zelda, by Ninjatoes

What you see above is an example of a paper model that is impossible to design by hand. The reason is, the character is made of many complex polygons, which are near impossible to measure, account for the many complex angles and conceptualise all in your head!

What Ninjatoes did was to acquire 3D data of Link from the game - this can be done either with 3D data capture software, or simply request the creators of the game to supply you with the required files. Later he used Pepakura Designer to unfold the 3D data into a 2D paper template.

2: Pencil and paper

The second way is to go back to basics using pencil and paper to design the parts, testing them to see if they fit as you go along.

I personally favour this method, because it's much more versatile in certain aspects. Also, if you really just need a simple part to be modelled, it's alot easier to just draw it out, than to go through all the steps required in the first method.

However, if your model requires complex polygonal shapes, you most definitely have to use the first method!

Click here to go to the next tutorial

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FAQ/Help with building models

How do I view .PDF files?
You need a free PDF viewer. Adobe Reader will do just fine.

The parts don't fit right! Why is that so?
I guarantee you these, are the exact same templates that I built the models from, and they fit fine, provided you follow the instructions I left.

You see, when I designed them, I made allowance for the thickness of the paper, which means, if you want the best results, follow the instructions for the type of paper to use on the top of the page.

I can't print on card! What do I do?
There are several ways out of this - you can

1: Print it on photopaper
2: Bring it to a friend who has a printer that can print on card
3: Bring it to a shop that does printing
4: Bring it to your office which might have a laser printer (some of the readers pointed this out to me)
5: Print it on regular, normal paper, but it wouldn't look as good.

There are so many parts to assemble! How do I do this?
I can't show you how to assemble all the parts, the best I could was to describe them in words at the back of each .PDF file. Because, if I were to draw out all the instructions to all the parts, the file would be close to 20 MB in size. My files are already very large in size because I left them in high resolution formats for you guys to play around with without the images getting pixelated.

My advice is, many people have built these models before, and most have no problems. So, just do a little figuring out>> there is only one way to assemble each piece that you cut out. You'll be just fine:)

This is so difficult! I expected origami that can be done in 10 minutes.
Well, this is a little different from origami. I designed these models as plastic model substitutes, because I couldn't find the commercial kits to make models I wanted. Plus, I really wanted the details to be there, so, there are many parts to assemble. Many tabs to cut as well.

If you want to cut time, the triangular tabs on the curved surfaces can actually be reduced in number, or even removed completely (if you know what you're doing). But I made many tabs to create really smooth curved surfaces when you stick them together - a curve is made of many lines, the more lines you have, the smoother it looks.

Are there any special techniques for building the models?
Scoring the surface of the paper with a paper cutter where you intend to fold helps to make the fold line crisp and sharp. You can do this by applying light pressure with the cutter to make a superficial cut along the line that you intend to fold on.

Applying glue is best done with tooth picks to reach into small corners and to spread the glue evenly. Glue should be applied sparingly, too much and you'll have a soggy looking model.

Hope that helps! Patience is important.

For more help, ask our forum members.

[ Gadget series ]

If you can't view the slide show below, click here to go directly to my flickr page

Download links:
After clicking on the links below that bring you to Mediafire, please RIGHT CLICK on the link that appears, and SAVE FILE AS/SAVE LINK AS to prevent your browser from opening the .PDF file directly.

If you like these models, please give any of the ads on this page a click if they interest you. It takes only half a second!
Apple iPhone
Atari 2600
Microsoft Xbox 360 HDDVD drive
Microsoft Xbox 360 (with disc tray action)
Nintendo DS Lite
Sony Playstation 3
Sony Vaio VGC-LA

If you still cannot download the files somehow, click here for another link to a zip file.

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Choose your own medium of paper, clay, wood, plastics and more. Your own models, this is your art.