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Working with Cardstock Models - Building a Walthers Hotel Kit

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Working with Cardstock Models - Building a Hotel Kit
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This kit includes hundreds of wood, paper and plastic parts. Lay out all the parts to familiarize yourself before getting started.

©2012 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

In earlier days of the hobby, cardstock (paper), wood and metal kits were the norm. The advent and later proliferation of inexpensive plastic kits pushed these other models to the back for decades. Kept alive through tradition and craftsman kits, wood and paper buildings have been a relative rarety.

The advent of laser-cutting has brought a rebirth of these kit materials. With precision cut parts, modelers get the best of both worlds - the guaranteed fit we've come to expect from plastic with the ease of working with wood and even paper.

Advantages of Wood and Paper Kits

Many beginners get started on plastic kits. Indeed they are still a hobby standard and the variety of buildings available is staggering. Plastic kits come in all sizes, prices and degrees of difficulty. The same is true of wood and paper models.

One big advantage of wood and paper kits is the adhesives used to build them. Basic wood and white glue work fine. There are no harmful solvents and no worries about sticking your fingers together. You may also be surprised at how little glue is needed on these models, how quickly the glue sets, and how strong they can be once dry.

Painting and weathering paper and wood model kits is also very easy. Some processes are even easier than with plastic. The biggest challenge of a plastic model of a wood building is making it look like a wood building. That step is already accomplished on a wood kit!

Customizing paper and wood models is also quite easy. The kit being built here will be done largely to instructions, but just like with plastic models you can "kitbash." The advantage with paper models is that the parts are much easier to cut and modify.

Getting Started

The fist step with any kit is to familiarize yourself with all of the parts. Looking at the Walthers Hotel kit shown here, it necessity of this step becomes immediately obvious. Although the building materials are simple and the construction methods straight-forward, this is no simple snap-together kit. Several hundred parts await painting and assembly.

Like many kits, there are several parts that look similar, but are not identical. Laser cut models like this are incredibly precise. Assemble per the instructions and no filing will be necessary. But only if you put the right pieces in the right places! Parts are not individually labeled. You have to refer to the instructions to match everything.

Take your time and pay attention and there won't be any problems. And don't be intimidated by the number of pieces - assembly goes easily when you break it down into sub-assemblies.

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