I began building paper models as a kid, stopped for many years, and returned to the hobby as an adult. I struggled to develop my skills, and picked up many tips from various spots on the web. I am posting a few basic tips here to help those who are new to the hobby enjoy cleaner, more satisfying builds.
Happy modeling!! - The Prof.
The best tools for the job are: an Xacto-type knife with a very sharp blade, a good sharp pair of scissors, a metal (or metal-edged ruler), a scoring tool
(such as a very dull knife or empty ballpoint pen), a bottle of white glue or craft-type glue (such as Aileen's Tacky Glue) with a clean, free-flowing spout. A glue stick is less messy, and will hold paper fairly well, but will not hold heavier stock as well (see below).
I recommend printing the models on 67 - 90lb bright white cardstock. This will allow for sturdier models, especially if you are going to use the
pipe-cleaner armature. You can use thick paper, but the stress on joints may cause buckling. Heavy paper will probably work fine if you use the spring joints.
Before cutting the parts out of the page, consider spraying the printed side with a clear-coat spray such as Krylon. I recommend either a matte or
glossy finish. This will actually help the colors "pop" a bit, and will help seal water-based inks so that they are less likely to run when you use water-based glue, such as Elmer's. It will also help protect your models from fading in sunlight. There are some more expensive sealant sprays sold in fine stationery stores designed specifically to protect documents from UV rays, if one cares to purchase and use them.
Read instructions carefully, and test fit all parts before gluing in place. This saves a lot of heartache and hurled expletives later.
Score all parts along the lines where they are to be folded before cutting them out. Use the metal ruler and Xacto knife for making all straight cuts,
and for cutting in areas that are very tight or too difficult to maneuver with scissors.
Stuffing the hollow parts of your model with tissue, paper towels or cotton is a fine idea. It helps the model keep its shape, particularly if it's made from
heavy paper. Whatever filling you use, be sure it's free from oils that stain paper.
With the Wildcat model, and HERE, I have included 3 extra pages which can be used to reinforce and fill the models. The strips are meant to be
wrapped around a foothpick until they form a cylinder. These are then slipped inside the hollow cylindrical parts. When the toothpick is removed, a hole is left in the center through which a pipe cleaner, wire, or string can be inserted. The other parts are meant to be laminated to the inside of assemblies to reinforce areas like the shoulders, chest, and waist.
To clean-up the edges of your model, you can run a matching colored marker along the edge to hide the white area of the cut. Be careful with glue
around these areas, as colors may bleed or run.
Take your time, allowing glued parts to dry before moving on. Wash hands frequently to remove glue residue and marker ink. It is not uncommon for
even the most experienced modeler to take several days (or evenings) to complete a model.
If you make a mistake, you can reprint the page with the part and try again. You can also print pages at larger or smaller scales to suit your tastes.
Most Important of All.........HAVE FUN!!!

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