Using card as a modelling medium | Railwayscenics

Card modelling

If you have never tried using card and paper as a modelling medium, you should give it a try. Card is a strong, yet under rated medium when it comes to modelling. Lately the trend has been for more detail in models, and card has been replaced my other materials. Models in these other materials are dearer as they are more complicated to manufacture. Most models used in railway modelling create the back drop, and therefore do not necessarily require high levels of detail, although these are possible to add.

Cost is a major concern in the hobby today, and this is where card really comes into its own. Card can often be obtained for free from many sources, and comes in various thicknesses and various qualities. All can be used somewhere in a model. We each throw away lots of card, whether it be cereal packets, or larger packaging items, so start saving the odd bits just in case they come in useful. In the past I have used all types of card to make a model, including the corrugated card used for cardboard boxes. One major advantage of using card is if you make a mistake, each part can be remodelled at very little cost. When assembled using modern adhesives card models are really strong and will last for many years.

To bring a flat card model to life is easy. Windows and doors should be recessed in the walls, and roofs should overhang the walls. With the advent of computers and home printing it is now within the reach of everyone to print and build their own card models at a very low cost.

If anyone has any doubt about the quality that can be achieved with card as a modelling medium the buildings on the Pendon museum layout will put those doubts fully to rest.

All of the models produced by Railwayscenics can be assembled by anyone with basic modelling skills, the minimum of special tools and a little bit of patience. Our models are not printed onto card, therefore everyone can print them using a home colour printer. All that is needed is good quality matte photo paper and a colour printer. We do recommend printing at a high resolution as this gives better results. Once your model is complete it will need to have a thin coat of matt varnish either painted or sprayed on it. This prevents it marking should it get wet, and will prolong the life and looks of the printed surface.

Each of our kits comes in two main sections. The first is the printed exterior of the model. These we call the texture sheets. Each texture we use is taken from a photo of the actual texture. They are then converted into a usable seamless texture, then added to the model in the design stage.

The second section is basically the templates which need to be stuck to your card, then cut out. These card pieces are then wrapped in the outer layer to produce the actual model. each of our models have been assembled firstly by myself, and then by a couple of friends, who happen to be railway modellers. If needed alterations are made to the design of the model. This does mean that another model has to be made to ensure that each part fits with the one next to it. It can be a long process from design to actual model to be released. For our 4mm scale models all the designs are based on using cardboard 1.5mm thick. Problems will arise if you try to use either a thinner or thicker card.

We do also include a set of basic instructions. These explain methods used, and the order of assembly. These instructions do not need to be exactly followed and are there as a guide.

Why not give it a try. Railwayscenics supply many card kits and texture sheets that can be used in railway modelling. We have some free models that you can download and see what is involved. See what can be made, and enjoy a revitalised hobby. If you need any further help or advice please contact us.

If you would like to try building a card model you can try from our range of Free Downloads

Card - A guide to weight (gsm) and calliper (microns)
If you look at the product information for card stock, you will see it is given either a weight, or a thickness, to let you know how sturdy it is.

Card weight is given as gsm, which stands for grams per square metre. The number in front of the gsm tells you how heavy a square metre of the card would be. For example, if you cut a square metre of 240gsm card and placed it on scales, it would weigh 240g. The bigger the number, the heavier (and therefore thicker) the card.

An alternative is to list the thickness of the card. This is given in microns (mic). One micron is a tiny measurement equivalent to 1/1000 of a millimetre. So, for example, card that is 1000mic measures 1mm.

Card, or board to give it its proper name is sold using both calliper and weight to give the buyer more information. Commercially available card for printing and craft use usually starts at around 200 microns and finishes at around 500 microns. This is about the limit for conventional paper machines, so 2 or more sheets of card are laminated together to make thicker card.

Our models mainly use two layers of 1500 micron card for their construction. This is available from our website in the Card and Paper section