Free Models From the Web – Spacecraft Paper Modeling
In a previous article, I discussed how I discovered the wonderful world of paper (or card) models available for download. You simply download a graphic file, print it on your inkjet printer and assemble with glue. While this medium will never replace plastic models, there is a lot to say for a model format that offers you unlimited replacement parts, scale adjustability, and usually is, well, free.
If you love space ships, as I do, there is a great variety of space models free for download. Whether you want a model based on a move, TV show or reality, you can probably find it. Currell Graphics features models of the (pre-spaceage) V-2 rocket from WWII and the SpaceShipOne. The Lower Hudson Valley Paper Model features some great models of NASA craft in their “Real Space” section, including several versions of the Space Shuttle, the upcoming Ares moon craft and even a 4 foot tall Saturn V Apollo rocket.
You’ll find many card model available based on spaceships of movies and TV. An easy starter would be Erwin de Jong’s saucer from “The Day the Earth Stood Still” at Cut & Paste Sci-Fi. A fairly new model on the web is a very detailed version of the Discovery from 2001: A Space Odyssey that is several feet long when finished. Battlestar Gallactia (both versions) are well covered, as are several other popular and less well-known shows. My last count was at least 40 downloadable models available depicting “Star Wars” craft, from a small and simple Tie Fighter to a very detailed At-At walker. The “Star Trek” franchise takes the ribbon for the most free model downloads on the web. I’ve documented about 100 and I’m sure there are many more around.
Constructing space models in paper is basically the same as building other card models. The trickiest part tends to be in matching the joints of cylindrical hull sections. I like to complete each section, dry it and fit the next section to the previous one. And while many card model files include bases, I almost always prefer to suspend them by nylon thread from the ceiling. You can poke holes along the hull during assembly and embed buttons inside with the thread tied to it. Doing this in 2 places along the length allows 2 contact points for the string for easy leveling. An easier method is to simply locate the center of gravity of the finished model and tie the thread around that section of the fuselage. Transparent thread will be basically invisible.
A couple of good places to start looking for free space-oriented card models are Free Paper Toys and The Lower Hudson Valley Paper Model Giftshop.
Wade Watson enjoys collecting movie-related models and props. You will find his list of hundreds of free movie/TV-related card model downloads listed by title at Paper Hollywood.