Free scale model plans

Scale models are a representation or copy of various objects that can be larger or smaller than the actual size of the object that they represent. Some of the most impressive examples of scale models are the ships in bottles, old sailboats, model railroads... Scale model maintain the relative proportions (the scale factor) regarding the dimensions of an actual object. Scale models are mostly build out of wood, althought they can be build out of various materials, such as plastic, metal, acrylic glass, paper,  and in many cases the manufacture of scale models requires a combination of various different materials.

There are models made by professional model makers for various purposes in science and industry, as well as in many other professions. Architects needs architectural scale models (fr. Maquette),to  visualize ideas so they could show the new construction to the investors, before it is sold and built. Engineers require scale models to conduct tests on them at an early stage of development, and thus avoid costs of making a real prototype. The film industry is using scale models to simulate sets that are difficult or impossible to build, or can not film on them. Today the CAD / CAM / CAE programs, 3D printers, 3D laser scanners and similar technology are replacing such professional models, but nevertheless scale models are still used in the industry.

Another type of scale models are hobby scale models or amateur scale models made by various enthusiasts and amateur model makers. Mostly there are scale models of ships, airplanes, houses, vehicles, mechanisms, watches, etc.

Amateur scale models can be divided into two groups: the scale models which only replicate the look of the original object – so called Static Display Models. In the second group are the scale models which not only replicate the look of the original object, but also have functional properties of the original object, so that – for example – aircraft models can fly, ship models could sail...

In our Scale model plans category we will mainly publish the amateur scale model plans, which will be customized both for the beginners and experienced model makers (modelers, modellers).

Wooden truck crane model plan    
Wooden truck crane model plan    

There is harder (more demanding) and the easier (simpler) way to make the scale models: the harder way is gathering all necessary material, making all parts, and finally- assembling the model.  Easier way is to purchase a kit containing the plan with all the necessary parts, and your task is to process individual parts and assemble the model.  If you make a model according to our scale model plans, you will fall under the first category. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in your workshop, but at the end you will be satisfied, because you made a model totally on your own. We assume that you will make models by our plans out of wood, but it is up to you to decide whether to use wood, plastic, metal or other material.

Model maker should have two basic characteristics: patience and meticulousness. These requirements are essential for being able to make really perfect models. Model building is much more than gluing the pieces together. Modeling means making a perfect miniature copy of the original object with all details – even the smallest details. The parts must be carefully cut out and sanded, this work also includes assembling the pieces, removing all visible drops of glue, painting and adding details. A well built model looks like a perfect scaled copy of an actual object. Models made this way always attract attention, causing admiration of the observers and respect to the model maker. Modeling is a hobby, which only people who have enormous patience, perseverance, calm and skilled hand, and who devote meticulous attention to details can deal with.

Special attention should be given to the selection of wood. You should pick high quality wood with uniform color. Color of certain parts of each subassembly must be adjusted. Alignment of the wood grains of the individual parts should be incorporated to form a harmonious entirety. The modeler should think about all these things at the very beginning of production of individual parts, and the appearance of finished model will show if everything was done properly.

Making models from the ground up is not easy, because besides the patience it also requires wide multidisciplinary knowledge. In this category you will get only the scale model plan. Your task is to gather all the material needed for the model and to build it. To do this, you need to have experience and knowledge in such fields as technical drawing, woodworking, wood finishing, metalworking, planning... Selection of a quality plan is one of the key elements in the modeling, because model building requires a lot of work and time, while mistakes made during cutting can not be masked – they require re-making all the parts that do not fit.

Keep in mind that most of the parts you made for your model are very small, so using these models as children's toys is not an option  – because small children can swallow or inspire parts and seriously hurt themselves, and also the model can be easily damaged or broken.

Follow all woodworking safety tips regarding you and your workshop.

Amateur scale models can be made from many kinds of wood like walnut, cherry, maple, poplar, pine, oak, basswood, alder... There are special cases, for example when building a flying aircraft model, where the construction should be as light as possible, and the only optimal solution will be using Balsa wood.

Balsa wood has several advantages in model making hobby. Balsa is the lightest wood in the world. It has an optimal balance between lightness and strength and it is easy to cut and carve (the softest commercial hardwood), making it ideal for a multitude of projects. It can also be painted or stained any color the hobbyist desires.  Balsa wood is often used to make models of ships, because of its large cells that remain filled with air after drying; also it has excellent buoyancy characteristics.

One of the characteristic of the scale models building is that you do not have to invest much in tools and material, but instead of that you have to invest much more in knowledge and patience. For model making, you need classic hand tools adapted to process parts of small dimension, and when it comes to machines, you will most frequently use the drill, bandsaw and scroll saw.