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How to create a paper model - collecting blueprints, images and all possible documentation

Documentation - part I.

Doesn’t matter if you are making model of Mig-15, Tiger tank, Eiffel tower or Droideka robot, it is necessary to have as much visual and text materials as possible. The only exception is, when you are creating some model based on you fantasy or ideas. But even in this case, you will find yourself doodling or drawing sketches of your desired figure or vehicle. And that’s also kind of a documentation you will use during 3D model creation. The amount of documentation rise with level of details you would like to have in your model. Are you going to create simple tank in small scale and you only care about basic shape? Simple blueprint will be fine. Are you going to create highly-detailed Mig-15 airplane? Detailed blueprint is only beginning and at the end of the day, you will find yourself driving from one side of the republic to the other to an aviation museum just to make some photos of the airplane’s interior area behind the ejection seat ツ.

There is also one saying, which describe my obsession by documentation pretty well: „You never had enough documentation for your model!“

We can divide documentation in few groups:


Batwing blueprintOn the internet, you can find blueprints of everything. Doesn’t matter if it’s car, spaceship, helmet or even alien being. Technical drawings of desired object from various angles and viewports (top, side, front) could found on various sites, however also in various quality. I am not talking only about image resolutions but also about precision of the drawings. Sometimes you find drawings which look great but when comparing them with real objects, they just don’t fit. If you are lucky and find for example complete construction plans of your object, you can create 1:1 digital copy of original. Then it’s really simple to unfold it and print it on the paper. Where can you find blueprints? Simply use Google, also there are several sites with big databases of blueprint – for example the-blueprints.com (however the quality of the blueprints is questionabe).

Photos, images

Mig-15 ejection seatEven if you have great technical drawings, there are lot of parts of the object which simply cannot be visualized without having photos of it. Sometimes there are also areas of the object which are not visible in the drawings. In these cases, photos of real object are necessary. Lots of great materials could be found on the internet, and also lots of great photos you could make by yourself. For me, visiting museums, airshows, sci-fi exhibitions or castles became more „documentation hunting“ than visiting. And I have to say that with good photos, you can make great looking model even without blueprints. But always be careful – for example there are various version of Mig-15 airplane with some small and some big differences. So always be sure you have the right photos for your type of aircraft, vehicle or whatever you are going to build. Where can you find good photos? Your first move should always be Google. Then, there are lot of modelers forums like modelforum.cz (one of the best resource for aircrafts – in Czech) or therpf.com (forum with focus on replicas from movies and TV series – mostly sci-fi). Also you can find great photos on social media – Facebook and Google+ groups or Pinterest. And then, there is also a real world with all the museums and exhibitions, buildings, vehicles, planes…


Y-WingAre you making model of Star Wars ship? Was this ship in the movies or TV series? Then the best way how to make precise and real-looking model is to have your copy of the movie and grab some pictures directly from the movie. The ships in the movies are shown in various angles, sometimes showing areas which are not shown in photos or in technical drawings. But be very careful. When making a sci-fi movie, it is common practice to have not only one model of spaceship. This is also the case of BatWing from Batman movie. There were various models – for close-ups, for detailed views, for shots from far. These models differ in various ways.


Mig-15 videoYou can find really interesting videos directly on YouTube for example. All I have wrote for movies, could be applied to videos. Videos are great source of documentation, objects are shown in various angles, but always be sure what are you looking at. Is that Mig-15 in the video the same version I am going to make model of? Where can I find these kind of videos? To be honest I am using Google video search and in 99% of all cases I’ve ended on YouTube or Vimeo.

Want more? Proceed to part II.

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