Digital Card Models is one of many mom-and-pop sites dedicated to providing paper plans for scratch-built models to be constructed from paper.

DCM provides the kits as PDFs, as in the sample kit Bristol Scout and Fairey Swordfish. One of the interesting features of the earlier planes in the kits is that roughly through the end of WWI, plane designs were actually engineered in miniature. Thus the thin-section wings on most WWI planes. Small-wing airfoils are more efficient in thin section; it turns out thick section works better at actual airplane scale. This error means that small models of these designs are frequenty quite flyable as gliders. Of course, it’s important to carefully balance the plane, but it’s quite do-able.

With proper care, these kits can look nearly as convincing as those old plastic Revell kits persons of my age grew up making. Mind you, that’s with proper care. Any impatience whatsover will ruin the build and require starting from scratch.

There are a ton of other interesting resources on cardmodeling, which is by no means restricted to planes, or even machinery – I’ve built kitted birds, such as this hawk (which I’m currently working on).

Here’s the Cardmodeling FAQ. Here’s Fiddler’s Green, another airplane house but one of the oldest and largest of the American companies supporting this hobby. Info about conventions is at the site (the bird pic is from shots of the ’98 convention), and this scanned catalogue for a British supplier, Marcle. Some of the European models can be obtained via Oregon’s Paper Models International, and the Europeans sell the PMI kits too.

Long-time readers will be pleased to learn that there are a variety of decent models of dirigibles

I would respectfully submit that having designed and built my own flying scale card models of both a Fokker triplane and a Nieuport 17 might possibly make this an even more geeky entry than one previously cited by one of my readers as the geekiest thing he’d ever read. All that remains to be noted then, is that I do hope for a comprehensive, in-depth series of careful, exegetic reviews of the entire ouvre of Dave Sim from that correspondent.

9 thoughts on “Digital Card Models

  1. Excellent topic! Of course the last time I did this stuff was quite a while ago, though I have been collecting links.

    Have you seen the card mechanical modeling kits by the company that does the flying pig and one hand clapping? I’ve the link somewhere around here…

    Let’s see, assuming the unnamed individual is Ken, and the article was your unmiring yourself from your Mac muddle, deduction shows that… Ken reads Cerebus?

  2. Alan, yes, the paper engineering stuff is very cool… can’t recall the gentleman’s name, but his work is effectively art, a real, hurm, cut above. Dig up that link!

    Ah, the Dragon. I don’t recall the kit, but I’m sure it was amusing. I didn’t link to Tom Wham or The Awful Green Things From Outer Space here yet, but now I have.

    I used to have a copy of the issue of the mag that this game originally appeared in – man, hilarity. Especially for sixth graders.

  3. Odd world this is when two equally odd individuals have similar hobby interests. I’m working on my first “box of sticks” R/C plane. Had a trainer plane loose half of wing mid-air and do one of those spinning dive bombs you see in the war footage movies of old. Would have been cool if it wasn’t me at the controls. Eric

  4. Mick, you’re doing it again :.)

    Flying Pig. They seem to have increased their models a great deal since last I visited.

    Ah, Tom Wham! I loved TAGTfOS, though I had the Steve Jackson games pocket box, and King of the Tabletop. Mertwig’s Maze was a bit over complex I thought. I’ve been looking for ages for an original edition of Kings and Things.

  5. groan.

    Sorry, man.

    I used to have the oddball wraparound laminate velcro closure paying surface box. I think I inherited it from Eric of …pickhits… over in the sidebar.

    He and I had tons of the old pre-box Steve Jackson games: Melee, Wizard, Car Wars, Ogre and Mons Olympus, what the hell was that great robot game, uh, Rivets!

    The last one of those I bought was the pocket-box version of Illuminati.

    Man those old SJ games were so great – in our D&D campaigns we eventually exclusively used Wizard and Melee for combat.

    Ken, the geek factor here just exceeded your wildest imagination, I think.

  6. Oh! Oh! That was so cool! How come I never got to do that? Oh yeah. I’m not a geek. Nuts. I wanna be a geek. Is it too late?

    (Thanks, Allan.)

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