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Darqen

Best Cardboard for modelling

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Hi All,

 

I've been thinking about building some models out of cardboard, and just wondering what cardboard is the best for modelling? I'm not making huge models, was looking for something that is quite still, does not fray or tear when cut, and is ok to paint on with acrylics (or do so with pva first). Can anyone give me some advice?

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the thinnest plasticard you can get will serve you better than any quality of cardboard. No matter what kind of cardboard you chose, it is heavily affected by humidity. This will give you more problems than it's worth when painting and probably sagging and warping models in the long run. That being said I have used some stronger papers with a sealed, semiglossy surface which behaved much like plasticard, but still would warp over time. They came from straight from a printing plant that did high end art prints, so that's what this paper was used for.

 

Since you didn't state what you're going to build I may be wrong and my points may not affect your work. I still hope I could help a bit.

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I would agree with @Schwarz-Brot the fibrous nature of cardboard does not make it the easiest material to work with, let alone the longer term issues.  Even in the last century (1980's actually) Dave Rowe suggests Plasticard or 9mm ply. Today we also have 5mm foamboard available, the main problem with this is getting a vertical cut, The only card I have seen recommended in modern books is Acid Free Base Board  - a laminated card. Another issue with  foamboard and AFBB is that they warp if you use water based paints directly only them.

 

Your decision about what material to use will also depend on the scale and subject of your build. I model in both 1:148 and 1:76 scales and in those 5mm foam board is over 2ft / 1ft at scale!.

 

Last two points. If you are new to card modelling I wold start with a pre-cut kit, such as those produced by Metcalffe to get used to card and suitable adhesives. I would also look out for good books on the subject. The aforementioned Dave Rowe being one author.

 

 

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Schwarz-Brot said:

semiglossy surface which behaved much like plasticard

Pretty sure that's Bristol Board . Should do the job ..It isn't a board although you can get thick Bristol Board and it is board like ( anyone still reading ? ) . I use the thinner stuff  for airbrushing . I can dump any amount of Acrylic paint ,including washes over the whole sheet of A3 and it doesn't warp . I hold it down using lo tack tape , removes without tearing /lifting the surface off . If I was going to use a paper to build with , this would be it

https://www.craftyarts.co.uk/bristol-board-pad-a3-p6119/s12440?cid=GBP&gclid=Cj0KCQjwu6fzBRC6ARIsAJUwa2QMPRMBRNEr4z6ECtollYt36lFyMXetI5agppHywiyX2fKfSWTruXYaAoIWEALw_wcB

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Schwarz-Brot said:

the thinnest plasticard you can get will serve you better than any quality of cardboard. No matter what kind of cardboard you chose, it is heavily affected by humidity. This will give you more problems than it's worth when painting and probably sagging and warping models in the long run. That being said I have used some stronger papers with a sealed, semiglossy surface which behaved much like plasticard, but still would warp over time. They came from straight from a printing plant that did high end art prints, so that's what this paper was used for.

 

Since you didn't state what you're going to build I may be wrong and my points may not affect your work. I still hope I could help a bit.

I've Attached images - they're vehicles from an old cartoon I used to watch called MASK. They were normal vehiicles that transformed into armoured versions of themselves.spacer.pngspacer.png

Edited by Darqen

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Blimey .. My son was into this in 86 ish .. Cost me a bomb , had some mountain thing with boulders or missiles ( I forget) firing from it , vehicles and figures . Sat next to his castle Grey Skull and army of figures .. I feel old now !

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3 hours ago, bzn20 said:

Blimey .. My son was into this in 86 ish .. Cost me a bomb , had some mountain thing with boulders or missiles ( I forget) firing from it , vehicles and figures . Sat next to his castle Grey Skull and army of figures .. I feel old now !

I've always loved the deisigns, but wanted to make them a little bit more like the cartoon design - the pontiac one in particular is very different to the toy. I was thinking of cardbaord as i mentioned, but plasticard could be a better medium? How do I cut it well, because when I've used an exacto on thin sheets before its been an absolute nightmare to cut. 

 

Also I had the boulder hill as well - it was a brilliant set.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Darqen said:

boulder hill

That's it .. My brain was starting to hurt thinking of the name of it !

You have to change the blade quite often . Sand down the edges if needed along the edge and not across it . Depends on sheet thickness too. I imagine curved edges would be tricky though on any thickness . I would use a hard base to cut on ,cutting mat has some give in it and can "buckle", distort thin sheet as it dips in under blade pressure .

 

Edited by bzn20

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On 3/13/2020 at 5:08 PM, bzn20 said:
On 3/13/2020 at 4:54 PM, Darqen said:

 

That's it .. My brain was starting to hurt thinking of the name of it !

You have to change the blade quite often . Sand down the edges if needed along the edge and not across it . Depends on sheet thickness too. I imagine curved edg

Sorry for the late reply, I thought I'd already replied. Could you recomend a thickness to work with for a sturdy model? I have a very thin sheet and quite a thick sheet and i don't think either would be great for making the model.

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Hi Darqen,

I would wholeheartedly agee about using thin plastic sheet rather than cardboard.  I have problems with cutting thick sheet, anything over 1mm, as it is so difficult to cut through, plus blades tend to bend, mis-align and blunt quicker the deeper you have to cut.  I do a lot of scratchbuilding but only use 0.5mm sheet, sometimes 0.75mm, and then laminate two or more cut pieces together to get the strength needed.  Working with sheets as thin as that can also help to obtain finer details.  The thinner the card also makes it easier to bend to get rounded shapes, such as mudguards and bumpers etc.

 

Some views of what can be obtained with thin plastic sheet and rod.

Apollo/Saturn V gantry 1:144 scale

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HMS Hermes under construction 1:350 scale

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Airport terminal 1:144 scale

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HMS Ark Royal 1:144 scale (1.75m long).

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

the point of all this is to show that sturdy and durable constructions can be achieved using very thin plastic rather than cardboard.

 

HTH,

Mike

 

 

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2 hours ago, Darqen said:

for a sturdy model?

Not really , I was answering the question . if I was going to use card . bootneck has given a pretty good advert for using plastic card . Train layout buildings use card , suppose it depends what weight it's taking . You will have to experiment to build what you want it for , you could buy a small pad of Bristol board online , see my previous link . The card back on drawing pads is good for flat parts .. It will have to be within some sort of scale I assume , thick enough to be strong enough might be over a foot or 2 thick in real life depending on the scale you're working in .

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14 hours ago, Darqen said:

for a sturdy model?

Plastic card (even as paper thin as .25mm) can actually be quite surpringly strong, especially if you support it with an internal structure or runners made of square rod etc. Or as Mike says, laminate together.

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On 4/1/2020 at 11:56 AM, bootneck said:

Hi Darqen,

I would wholeheartedly agee about using thin plastic sheet rather than cardboard.  I have problems with cutting thick sheet, anything over 1mm, as it is so difficult to cut through, plus blades tend to bend, mis-align and blunt quicker the deeper you have to cut.  I do a lot of scratchbuilding but only use 0.5mm sheet, sometimes 0.75mm, and then laminate two or more cut pieces together to get the strength needed.  Working with sheets as thin as that can also help to obtain finer details.  The thinner the card also makes it easier to bend to get rounded shapes, such as mudguards and bumpers etc.

 

Some views of what can be obtained with thin plastic sheet and rod.

Apollo/Saturn V gantry 1:144 scale

spacer.png

 

HMS Hermes under construction 1:350 scale

spacer.png

 

Airport terminal 1:144 scale

spacer.png

 

HMS Ark Royal 1:144 scale (1.75m long).

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

the point of all this is to show that sturdy and durable constructions can be achieved using very thin plastic rather than cardboard.

 

HTH,

Mike

 

 

Those models are amazing, how do you laminate it can i ask? Do you just literally put two sheets or two pieces in a laminater?

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It is even simpler than that.  Get two pieces of plastic sheet and glue them together using contact glue, such as the Airfix or Revell tubes.  Don't use liquid glue if the piece is too large, more than a cm or so as the liquid won't penetrate that far in and you would be left with a hollow gap in the middle.

Here is a view of two pieces of 0.5mm (20 thou) plastic sheet. One sheet would be smeared with the glue and then the other placed onto it and pressed together.  I tend to put weights onto the pieces to get a good firm joint.

White plastic is difficult to photograph and the coffee stirrer is just there to show the two pieces better.

spacer.png

 

An example of the strength that can be obtained by laminating pieces together can be seen in the radar mast, on the island structure in my previous post.  This is made up of four sides, each side consists of two 0,25mm (10 thou) pieces glued together.  Again, these are glued with contact glue; the 'girders' are so thin that liquid glue would melt and distort them.

 

As can be seen here, these little masts can take the weight of the radar assembly on top quite easily.

spacer.png

 

Mike

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9 hours ago, bootneck said:

 

 

 

spacer.png

 

Mike

 

Stupendous work!!!

 

:worthy:

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