Model Making Materials

Just before the Easter break I decided to order some materials for model making so that I could experiment with techniques at home. I have already attended a short course in model making run by David Neat, so I just the used the knowledge I gained from that to choose my materials.

The below image shows a 1:25 model of a sofa created by David Neat out of one of his most recommended materials kappa-line foamboard. He explains his method in detail on his website.


The back, seat and sides of the sofa were cut as block shapes from the sheet foam, glued together and then rounded using fine sandpaper. The traditional ‘quilting’ effect was easily achieved by depressing the pattern with something resilient e.g. the end of a small metal ruler or broad screwdriver.

The best way to achieve a convincing leather look is to apply a generous basecoat of a ligh-
ter colour first, then use either a wood stain or shoe polish (the bottled shoe polishes with sponge applicators are ideal for this). In this case I rubbed a final coat of transparent shoe wax in to give a satin shine in places and dry-brushed areas with a slightly lighter acrylic to create the appearance of wear. 

It was this particular model that made me think that experimenting with scale model making could help my design of the bar. I am interested in creating booths that look as if they could have been taken from a train carriage. My drawings below haven’t quite achieved what I wanted as I haven’t managed to mix the idea of train seats with diner booth.IMG_3259 IMG_20130228_0006

I also want to use some of the kappa- foam to provide detail for the wall behind the wall, which will be brick with sunken shelves. Kappa-foam is particularly good for achieving a believable brick finish. Here is one of my projects I produced during the workshop where we were taught to score a brick pattern into the foam.

IMG_20130304_0003 copy

Below are some links to show more uses for kappa-line foam from David Neat’s blog.

Using kappa-foam can be a little difficult if you are working without having a clear idea of the intended outcome, so I also bought some Styrofoam to start with in order to make rougher shapes.



I’ve been mostly working in 1:50 for the technical drawings and models. This is more difficult when producing detail because the scale is so small so I got some scale figures to help illustrate my work and some obeche wood (another David Neat recommendation), which can be cut to a very small thickness and is less brittle and more flexible than balsa wood.


I got all the materials at the 4D Modelshop, which you can visit here.

3 thoughts on “Model Making Materials

  1. Thanks for another informative website. Where else could I get that type of info written in such a perfect way? I’ve a project that I am just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information

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