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Questions handled on this page:

  • How do you design your scale models and make them accurate?
  • How do I print the 1/48 Saturn?
  • Hey I wrote you and you didn't respond?
  • How do you roll those tubes so perfectly, Also
            what is the 'trick' to get it to look so good?

  • What programs do you use to design models?

The big question: How do you design your scale models and make them accurate?

Well, here is the answer.

2/13/04, How do I print the 1/48 Saturn?

Well, here is the answer.

11/11/04, Hey I wrote you and you didn't respond?

Well, I answer all emails, ~IF~ you give me a good email address to
respond too!!!   I get a lot of email with bad email return addresses.
So Danny, here is your email:

So glad you stopped by and wrote a note.  I only wish
I had access to these models when I was 10.  I'd saved
a whole lot of my allowance rather than spending it on
plastic models.  

If you have the patience, you can build them just
You really need an exacto-knife to do them right so
please check with your parents that you have the
proper dexterity, skill, and tools to do them.  And
for petes sake, make sure you have a cutting board,
your mom will kill us both if you cut up the kitchen

If you work slowly and carefully, the 1/96 Saturn V is
really not that hard.  Work from the top down so you
can see the results as you go.  And use as little glue
as possible!!!   All the models you see were made with
a single bottle of elmers glue, and I still have half
a bottle to go.   Never put glue on a model part
directly from the bottle, always use a toothpick or
unrolled paper clip.  Also fold, roll, and bend the
paper so it basically holds the shape you want without
any glue.  The glue just locks it in place, its the
folds, curls, and scoring that make the shape.  If you
are "forcing" the pieces together with the glue, it
probably won't come out quite right in the end.  

Best of skill and patience, 

Jonathan Leslie

How do you roll those tubes so perfectly, Also what is the 'trick' to get it to look so good?

My guess your problem with working with the paper vs heavier parts breaks down to the most basic element of model making: Slow down. I tell my kids that all the time. work slowly, speed comes later. think about what your doing, and if it doesn't feel right, back off and try a different approach. More specific advice below.

Formers go a long way into making the tubes really strong and true, here is the best former style in my opinion:

On making tubes, it can be difficult especially on the very long ones. The first trick is to make sure you pre-curl the paper around a smaller wooden dowel ( a round pencil is a staple in my tool chest.) you want to get the paper so curled that it basically holds the tube shape without any glue before you attempt to glue. Here is a perfect example of the 'Slow Down' principle. Many builders rush the pre-curling step, and go quickly to the glue. You will pay for not properly pre-curling your paper. All parts should be folded and curled so they basically hold their shape with no glue prior to any glue. If it doesn't your going to have trouble glueing, it will get messy as you fumble with it, etc. Also the edges should really be over curled, so it dimples in before the glue is applied. you can smooth it out later.

If you can't get a finger into the tube for some back pressure when you glue, you'll want to run a smaller diameter wood tube through the tube so that you can apply pressure on that. I actually keep a set of $1 store long rachet sockets handy, various size diameter steel cylinders, to use as guides:

Now sometimes the size of the tube is just not agreeable to either of those situations. The last method to insure that the tube is perfect is to make it twice, as in make an identical one slightly smaller than is necessary out of a scrap piece of paper. this one doesn't have to have perfect seams. Then take the printed part and wrap this inner support tube, if you made the inner tube to big, well you'll have to redo it. If its too small, wrap additional sheets/strips of paper to thicken it up so that when you wrap the actual tube part, it's seam lines up just right.

I also take old magazines/junk mail and roll them and insert them into the bodies of the 1:96 rockets, this keeps them from getting dented, and makes them heavier and keeps pressure on the tube to keep them round. For flying models you will not be doing this.

I also use coverstock on most of my models, that would be 65-70lb paper (like a business card) Its very forgiving expecially for the biggest mistake people do:


Glue should be applied with a toothpick or an unfolded paper clip, and spread, envelope-lick saliva (I can't think of a better description) thin.

Well that's a few tips, one or more will hopefully address your issue.


Jonathan Leslie
"the paper man"

What programs do you use to design models?

I use Microsoft Word and Paint Shop Pro 6.0 almost
exclusively, with some help from Ghostview/Ghostscript
you can see a nice picture tutorial of the basics here:


and here is a tutorial of how to organize your files on a windows system:


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