Learning to build in 1/87 scale

  • Preparing for the steamer Venture construction & build I wanted to get my hands and fingers onto something in 1/87 scale. Changing scales like this means a whole new set of references. After all, going from my favourite scale until now, 1/16, to a scale of 1/87 is the same leap as building a 1/5 scale model!

    So the approach would be to build "a model of a model", to get the feel of both of designing and hands-on building. To that end, and to keep the nautical connection, I hauled out a set of freeware floats by Tobin Vetting for the Fiddlers Green Piper Cub J3, which I had reworked to a scale of 1/25 on a previous occasion.

    Building these in 1/87 was quite fascinating, since I kept all the numerous original small tabs thought to be required for larger scales, and all little doublers and details I had added. A couple of completely muddled attempts resulted in a third, reasonably decent attempt. After that, however, I decided that 1/87 required both different design & building techniques.

    The floats were redesigned - all tabs were lost, and some parts rearranged. The result was a much cleaned-up design; of no less complexity, but much higher efficiency, and quite feasible to build.

    I am really starting to like this building "models of models" - everything fits in so much smaller space - material, tools, the parts sheets themselves. Just for fun I've rearranged a couple of aircraft models in regular scales to 1/87, and I really do look forward trying them out. They all fit into a single A4, or very spaciously on two A4s.

    The immediate concern was to find some aircraft that would conceivably fit in with the era of the Venture, and the general scope of the imaginary exploit of Skull Island. After all, an aircraft would have been quite helpful in scouting the island, wouldn't it?

    My first thought was a De Havilland Gipsy Moth, with foldable wings and on floats. Several were used in all kinds of similar expeditions, like saving polar researcher Nobile. Alas, however, no Gipsy Moth to be found, so I'll go for something else. The present candidate is a very small aircraft which would fit into the Venture hold.

    Meanwhile, here are the floats it will rest on in 1/87. If anybody needs them (in this or other scale) just say so, and I'll try to put something together. They are quite good, actually, also in larger scales.

  • A regular trip to the flea market this weekend yielded a very nice gadget - have a look at the little yellow heater fan on the shelf. It is actually a Braun hairdryer, from the time they were made in Germany, to a high standard, and with quite special design.

    This one obviously was made to hold in your hand as a little box (no protruding handles). The air is sucked in at bottom front, heated and blown out from the front top. Very ingenious - and it also makes it ideal for placing on a shelve, always ready to assist in drying out a small part painted or varnished.

    In order to make it stay in its place also when the fan is running, I just added a couple of rubber self-adhesive small feets. It is working beautifully, and it is also quite smashing to look at. And it's small - compare for the Venture 1/87 scale crew hanging around beside it.

    So, if you ever run across one of these little gems in your local flea market - don't hesistate to pick it up, now that you know what to do with it. I paid 4 euros for mine; well worth it!

    Note also the postcards hanging below it. That is a little training exercise for building in 1/87; the classic SG38 Schulgleiter scaled to 1/87 (the middle card is the entire model!). The objective of the exercise is to attempt to finish this "model of a model" as close to the original complexity as possible. (And no, this is not the aircraft planned for the floats I made above!)

    I print on 100g Photo quality inkjet paper. For this scale, I had to abandon my earlier practice of using ordinary paper of different thicknesses from the artists shop. For card doubling I use Bristol, ca 0,20-0,25 mm, a very stiff but thin card (used by airbrush artists; I still get that from the artists shop).

    After a few trial cuts, I can already state that Bristol card is not ideal for doubling - it is simply too hard; too much chalk and glue, and no paper. In the future, I'll try ordinary thick paper of different thickness.

    Note the card hanging far to the left. That is back-side colouring I've added (actually printed on the back of the part to the right of it). For now it is just an exercise in getting the technique of printing accurately on both sides of the paper right. For later models, I'm planning to paint interior details in cockpits, etc., on the backside of the covering parts.

    If anybody feel the need for some tips or help in getting this technique down pat, I'm kind of itching to tell it. But I guess you'd rather like to find out yourself. I admit that is more than half the fun of entering a new area of modelling!

  • Hi Leif,
    ok, you got a hairdryer and its making...hot air...and it was cheap. But for what do you use it? I have central heating in my room :D


  • Hallo Jan,

    Zum Trocknen kleiner oder bemalter Teile.

    So hätte ich es herausgelesen. :D :D

    @ Leif,

    No bad idea!!!
    By the way, great work you show us every Time.

    Heinz Michlmair verstarb am 05.07.2007 bei einem Sportunfall in Ungarn. Mitglieder und Betreiber von kartonbau.de vermissen Heinz und seine Beiträge. Seine bisherigen Beiträge in unserem Forum sind nun Teil unser Erinnerung an "Heinz".

  • Yeah, I know, Jan, I'm full of hot air. But haven't you ever waited impatiently for at part that you painted, varnished, edgecoloured or doubled up on card to dry out completely so you could continue?

    But I agree, mostly it was a case of finding some good use for such a nice little gadget... glad you liked it, Heinz!

  • Michael, the flea market. It is a travel in time, every time we go there. Loads of completely useless and useful stuff that's been collected from dead people's homes. I love it. You get to see how people lived down to the tiniest details (kitchen utensils, embroideries, paintings, furniture of course; plus cameras, sewing machines, radios - and hairdryers; always hairdryers.

    I've got quite a collection of butchered hairdryer motors by now, with their nifty little fans attached. Turns out they all run on ca 9V (the 220V mains current is brought down through the heating coils), so they would make ideal jet engines for paper aircraft, with an onboard rechargeable battery. At a scale of 1/33 you'd have to look for the smallest kinds of hairdryer you could find. There is one type which is not really a dryer, but a curler, with a very small internal fan plus heating coils.

    Don't get me started on flea markets....

    Dankbar für die Gelegenheit auf Englisch schreiben zu dürfen, kann aber Antworten problemlos auf Deutsch lesen.

  • Leif,

    why don't you tell me a little about flea markets?

    I always thought that CD-ROM motors would be ideal for engines - but then, the hairdryer idea sounds about right.

    Too bad that on the German flea market, you mostly find professionals selling pirated T-Shirts... ;)


  • You should go for the Church's outlets, if there are any. Nice places. Also, in our town there is a well-reputed commercial flea market, which obviously collects estates from dead people, and they're quite good. Like you, I wouldn't go to the kind of flea markets operated by a number of inidividuals renting space for a table or a stall. The big ones, centrally owned, charity or otherwise, would be my best bet.

    Together with the hairdryer, we got a couple of towels, which took all night to fix up by hand, but now they are the pride of our bath-room. And a spatula for frying which turned out to be beautiful, once the handle was sanded down and re-oiled with cooking oil.

    It is a pleasure in itself to do these things. But mostly, like you said about the hairdryer from your childhood, it's a time travel; often a little bit sad. The things we attach our lives to....

    Highlight of last visit - I got to feel out a really old 8 mm German movie camera, the kind you wind up mechanically. There was even a roll of film in it, so I could sort of figure out how to load it and make it work. Whirred away quite satisfactorily, much like the horrible film-maker on Venture and Skull Island... I didn't get it though. No more stuff, please! (Unless of course it is an irresistible yellow hair dryer, making a formative childhood impression, as it turns out, on a certain card model internet forum administrator...)


    PS. The thing about hairdryers is not so much the motor (which often is a little bit on the big side), but the fan that's attached to it. No way you could make such a nice fan by yourself. Thanks for the idea with the CD or cassette player motor though! Probably ideal for prop aircrafts. Now I've got something new to look out for!

    Finally, since you goaded me away from the subject at hand, have a look at this perfect replica of an early Ghost jet engine, suitable for a scale of 1/16. For 1/33 there are smaller hairdryer units. Fuel supply from 9V battery.

    I was planning to use this in a Jak23 (unfinished project; but nice to contemplate).

    PPS. (Added later:) I collected some experiences with hairdryer fanjet units for paper models in different scales in a separate thread for ease of finding; see:

    "Hairdryer fanjet engines".

  • Leif,
    just to get you started on a new topic. The Cd-Rom Motors are brushless motors with newly winded coils and driven by special controllers. They have become the standard power plant for all indoor flyers. Try googling for LRK motors.


  • Leif,

    Two sided printing is very good for printer ink cartridge sales (paper too)..., especially if you need accuracy. I would be very interested in hearing your technique.

    -Gil Russell

  • Johnny, Gil, and other interested

    There was indeed a lot of waste in the beginning. None of it, however, had anything to do with misalignment, but with my lousy Epson and it's unreliable colour feed. The good result makes me think that the following is quite a reliable method (might have just reinvented the wheel again, but here goes anyway). See:

    Back side printing in ten easy steps

    I'd very much like to hear how you both fare with this.


    Dankbar für die Gelegenheit auf Englisch schreiben zu dürfen, kann aber Antworten problemlos auf Deutsch lesen.

  • Learning what it means to build in 1/87 scale I have started three aircraft models. From bottom to top below it's the SG38 Schulgleiter, the Slingsby Cadet, and the Fiesler Storch. They represent vastly different construction approaches.

    The SG38 is seemingly simple, but the building technique of the 1/33 model includes lining the framework with patterned strips for a better look of the laminated fuselage framework. This gets very clumsy in smaller scale. Even "as is" the framework is designed too coarse, if you compare with original drawings and photos. I'll think about how to redesign this model to get the right, very fragile, impression. Rigging it will be a separate challenge.

    The Slingsby Cadet (Kartonbau.de freeware model by Jan Müller) is very gratifying to scale down. What you learn is that anything with tabs and slots should be avoided in this scale. I'll probably redesign the framework a little bit, after experiences from the GPM Fiesler Storch in the background. The recessed wells for pedals and control stick in the cockpit was a pain at this scale.

    The GPM Storch is a masterpiece of design. Getting all those little framework details in place is a challenge in 1/87 (not strictly necessary, but fun). Main learning experience building this design, is that it is built upon a number of horizontal framework parts, corresponding to the longerons of the full-size aircraft. Formers are just bits and pieces to get the right spacing. This is a very good method, and I will try to use it also on other models.

    Other general experiences so far is that doubling on to 1 mm cardboard is best replicated by triple layers of the 100g printing paper I'm using. This can be incorporated already when you scale and rearrange parts for your 1/87 version of larger models.

    (A most frustrating experience was finding out that glue sticks are useless for laminating. I'll revert to white glue, although it tends to deform the rather thin printing paper; will have to learn how to spread it thin, even - and fast, before it dries...)

    I am also playing around with Jan Müller's DH88 Comet, plus the little float plane for the steamer "Venture" venture. All in all, building in this scale is fun, and a completely new challenge. I am probably keeping too many details as yet. Elimination and simplification are key.

    The models look very coarse when blown up like this. I can only hope my left index finger provides an extenuating circumstance. The models are quite small - as all of you who build in still smaller scales know even better.

  • Leif,
    again an astonishing piece of (art)work. I hope you will finish my little Slingsby :]. Keep up the work!


    PS: Oh, actually this Slingsby is just known as the T21. There is another one called the Cadet, its the Slingsby T7 Kirby Cadet:


    • t7kcade.jpg
  • Small models means small part sheets, and everything small. Thought it would be nice with a little cabinet made of cardboard for keeping track of several projects at once.

    So I built one. It is made entirely of 2 mm cardboard (the hard, white kind, bought at the artists shop) and white glue. Walls are mostly doubled for rigidity. Painted with gloss acrylic in two nuances. Nobs fastened by cut-off pins for nailling from the inside (plus glue of course).

    Six small drawers, inside measure about 160 x 125 mm make for outer measures of ca 175 (width), 180 (height), and 130 (depth) mm. Made to go with the other plexiglass units I already had. But I like my own new cabinet much better!

    It took longer than I anticipated, but it was worth it. Drawers still run a little bit tight (the paint still kind of sticks), but that is getting better by the minute as I use them.

    Pretty nice to have your present cardboard universe just in front of your eyes in such a small space. I can only recommend small cabinet making in cardboard - it is very rewarding! I am already thinking about the next extension, for small tools.

  • I attach the notes I used for building the cabinet, also as a record for my own sake. Note the construction of the corners, and the supports for the drawers. They are identical to the ones glued to the drawer sides. See the photo from the inside.

    Everything made of 2 mm hard, glossy card. Outer measures in my case 175 (width) x 183 (height) x 130 (depth), in order to fit in with other items. Modify to suit your own needs.

    Once the outer dimensions have been settled on, everything else follows from that:

    Parts list:

    Top & bottom outer: 175 x 130 (2 pieces)
    Top & bottom inner: 171 x 128 (2 pieces)

    Sides outer: 179 x 130 (2 pieces)
    Sides inner: 175 x 130 (2 pieces)
    Backside: 171 x 179 (1 piece)

    Inside space is 167 x 175
    For six drawers, each drawer can be 29 mm high (made them 28 for tolerance).

    Drawer supports: 126 x 14 (24 pieces; 12 each on the cabinet frame and on the drawers). Bevel slightly at front (cabinet) and back (drawers) end.

    Drawer sides: 124 x 128 (12 pieces)
    Drawer back: 163 x 128 (6 pieces)
    Drawer front outer: 167 x 28 (6 pieces)
    Drawer front inner: 159 x 26 (6 pieces)
    Drawer bottom: 159 x 124 (6 pieces)


    Drawers were trimmed with a knife where necessary for a good fit (the cardstock is not 2 mm exactly, which made drawer supports and drawer sides butt out less than 1 mm at the back), then sanded lightly for a perfect fit.

    Painted with two nuances of acrylic gloss colour, in my case "Mahogany" and "Nut brown"

    Drawer handles are 25 x 12,5 x 6 mm each (triple layered). Prepainted, glued and nailed from the inside with cut-off pins for nails. Holes for nails were drilled with a 0,5 mm drill.

    Finally, the problem with the sticky drawers was solved the same way as you solve the similar fullsize problem - by rubbing every bearing part with a stearin candle. Works like a charm - I am actually surprised how well the drawers now run, in spite of the stickiness of the glossy paint.

  • Leif,
    this is amazing. Seeing one of my projects having its own drawer is quite rewarding :] :]
    Did you ever learn the carpenters business? Looks like...


  • I am grateful for the new free download PWS-50 from CardPlane. It comes in 1:33 scale, but I have scaled it down to 1:87, since it seemed like such a good project for exercising building and changing designs to suit this small scale.

    Experiences so far are that models in this scale, even more than in larger scales, really need a rigid framework underneath. The PSW-50 is not a good design in this particular respect - bulkheads attach directly to flimsy fuselage sides or bottom, and it is very difficult to get it aligned properly to start with.

    Please note that this criticism is valid only for my particular experiment to scale it down. The design might work just fine in its original 1:33 scale.

    Second experience is that tabs in this scale is a no-no. You should try to redesign so that thin parts join to doubled parts wherever possible.

    Even so, a lot is up to the builders ability to handle small parts cleanly. I haven't learned that yet, as demonstrated by the pictures below. It looks kind of awful, and I can only hope to be able to show some better results with other models later on.

    I am relying on getting some practice here. It's just the PWS-50's bad luck to become the object for my climbing up the learning curve.

    Finally, note how nicely both instructions and parts sheet fit onto a single A4 of photoquality inkjet paper!

  • Leif,

    nice model nevertheless.

    One objection though: Models of this size (regardless of scale) shouldn't need any framework at all. When using 120g/qm paper (or heavier) the parts themselves should be enough to keep the form.

    Agree on removing the tabs - I do that almost always and everywhere...


  • Leif,

    The picture in you last post gave me an idea. Make an assortment of 1:87 aircraft models. To show them arrange them on glass beaded pins like a dragon fly (libelle) collection. This would cause a double take when suitably mounted on the wall...,

    -Gil Russell

  • Good idea, Gil. Or a hanging mobile, like the ones babies get above their cribs. Suitable give-away present for new-born grandchildren. Got to catch'em young, right?

    Dankbar für die Gelegenheit auf Englisch schreiben zu dürfen, kann aber Antworten problemlos auf Deutsch lesen.

  • Finishing the scaled-down PWS-50 involved making the propeller, wheels, and landing gear. Wheels were actually turned in a mandril made by an ordinary pin and two pieces of small plastic tubing, holding the wheels together while mounted to the drill.

    Landing gears were supposed to be rolled of paper, which turned out to be impossible (at least for me) in this scale. So I resorted to different diameters of floral wire (Photo 1 below). A better solution, I now believe, would have been to use much thinner (0.3 mm) steel wire, and just fold the paper around it and cut clean at the trailing edge. I'll remember that for the future.

    Drilling holes in the wings and fuselage is actually the least harmful way of getting small holes for attaching the different struts. (Photo 2)

    After getting every strut into a reasonably correct position, and the white glue had dried overnight, the different coloured floral wires were painted with grey gouache. The whole model received a coat of gouache protective varnish. (Photo 3)

    And we're done! (Photo 4)

    Main learning experience of this test build is that I will do everything I can at the preparatory stage to make a keel for the fuselage, much like Jan Müller designs his models, or for that matter the GPM Fiesler Storch.

    Second learning experience is that stabs and fins should have a doubled inside which is smaller, so that the outside bends down prettily at the leading and trailing edges. For the wings, I have some thoughts on inner framework, which I'll have to mull over a bit longer. But I'll be sure to try them out on e.g. the SG-38 in due course.

    Third learning experience is that struts and gear should be made by folding the paper parts over thin steel wire, and then cut along the trailing edge (as a substitute for rolling these impossibly small diameter tubes).

    Fourth, and major learning experience, was that you can actually turn wheels even at this small scale, on an ordinary pin making out as a mandrel, as long as you press them hard together between two small pieces of plastic tubing when mounting them in the drill.

  • The wheelmaking process for the PWS was so rewarding that I thought it deserved expanding upon a bit further. Here's what it looks like, but now for the single wheel of the Slingsby glider trainer (design by Jan Müller, freeware download from this site, scaled by me from original 1:33 to 1:87).

    There are three main wheel parts provided in the kit, two outer sides, with black tyre sides and rims, plus a middle blank layer sandwiched in between. In the original they are to be doubled on to cardstock. In 1:87 I replicated that by triple-layering with the 100g paper used.

    Now for this more advanced wheel (more advanced even than the original!) we need two extra layers of black tyre sides to go on OUTSIDE the original wheel, in order to provide some roundness, plus rims realistically recessed. So print another set of wheels, and double them onto the paper you're using. From there on it goes like this (numbers refer to photos below):

    1) Cut out the insides (and ONLY the insides) of the extra 2-ply wheelparts. Sand the insides (the holes) to perfect roundness by any means available to you. A drill and a ceramic bit isn't necessary, but nice.

    2) Edgecolour the insides. Do it now, and do it well. You won't be able to get at this part of the wheel later on.

    3) Glue the extra 2-ply outer sides (without rims) onto the 3-ply full wheels. Check that they become really centred on to the rims.

    4) Cut out the three wheel parts (two of them now 5-ply, and the middle blank 3-ply) slightly oversize. You don't want to sand the wheel down to smaller size than it should be.

    5) Make a mandril from a common pin plus two small pieces of plastic tubing (I keep a supply of RC inner control rods for this and similar purposes; a tube from a spray can would work just as well). Mount the three pieces on the needle in correct order, glue, and press hard together. After fixing the parts, you may want to remove them temporarily from the pin to press down really hard.

    6) Mount the mandril with the wheel into the drill. Try to press the part really hard together between the plastic tubings. Sand the wheel to proper contour and size.

    If you have two wheels to do (the usual case), mount them together, and sand the outsides first, dismount and change the order so you can sand the other two sides. This way, you'll always be sure that they turn out the same size.

    7) Paint the tyres while mounted onto the drill. This is the easiest way to handle them. But don't turn on the drill while working on this!

    8) Done. Check that the wheel fits into the model and mount it.

    A pretty exclusive wheel for this particular model, since you won't see much of it. But it did seem a satisfying way of working, don't you think? (And you can use this method for larger scale wheels even more successfully. Then you may want to use a better mandril, made from the thinnest screw and bolt with washers you can find.)

    PS. The wheel you have just watched being made is 5 mm in diameter, and 1.75 mm thick. In the last photo (8) it is three times larger than life, at least on my portable's screen.

  • Leif,
    I do not take any liability for damage to your eyes. The model was not designed for microscopes :D :D

    Great job here. It is amazing. You are not really building to get a nioce model in the end, but you are building to learn something new. Amazing.


  • Another small step - the cockpit of the Slingsby finished. Learning experiences here were that I tried out the technique of just folding a piece of paper round the control rods, and cut it close (plus colouring afterwards of course). The crossbar of the airbrake wasn't as easy, so I tried bending the floral wire back on itself. That turned out a bit too clumsy, though.

    Otherwise I guess going for the glove compartment at this scale was a bit arrogant and didn't really make anything for the model.

    Learning to handle parts at this scale is the real challenge. I'm getting better, but far from good yet. Little itsy bitsy pieces regularly get lost or just disappear into thin air. Very strange.

    I can't get away from the covering part now. I have but little idea how to proceed the best way, which is scary. We'll all see how it comes out soon enough I guess.

  • Leif,
    You just have to write a book! You have so much information inside you regarding model making that just has to get out! Many flashes of brilliance have been seen posted on this forum, but I would imagine that what we see just scratches the surface of what you could share. Consider publishing Leif!


  • John, Peter the Painter: Many thanks! I think we are each of us writing our little books right here on the site, aren't we? And the lucky thing is that we do it on a site that attempts to collect all our respective little gems into something of lasting value.

    I do appreciate the efforts made by the administrators here to collect techniques, hints and tips, links, photo archives, download opportunities, etc., in a systematic way. It's a gargantuan task, and they deserve all the help and appreciation we could give them.

    Now for today's business:

    Inspired by Josef Mayer's paper figures in 1:250 I went hunting for good originals to attempt similar figures in 1:87. At Papershipwright I found two sets of sailors. The second, improved, set was originally made by Michi from this site, and improved upon by David Hathaway. (See the "Hints and tips: Figures" section at the Papershipwright site.)

    Judging from the comments on the sheet, these figures originally were in a scale of 1:100 or thereabouts. I quickly scaled them from their present 1:250 to 1:87, and divided them up on A4 print sheets (they just about fitted in, with some slight rearranging):

    Page 1: Merchant sailors
    Page 2: Semi-uniform sailors - ferry?
    Page 3: Different hair colour heads & details like mops, flags, boathooks
    Page 4: Early navy sailors - pre WWI?

    I for one am off to the printer, and then the cutting knife, to see whether it is at all possible to recreate these figures in 1:87 scale.

    If you are interested to try this 1:87 experiment, give me a note, and I'll send you the pdf of the four pages. It is 6.8 MB and thus too big to attach. If you aim at any other scale than 1:87, it is of course just as easy to download the figures from the original site. Here's the direct url for the original pdf in 1:250 :


    I hope it is alright to republish these wonderfully well made figures. I have included the source and copyright notices on each of my four sheets.

    The challenge, of course, is to modify some of these figures into pilots and ground crew. Much harder than just rearranging the excellent work of others!

    Here's what the merchant sailors page in the present set of figures looks like:

  • Cutting out the 1:87 figures soon revealed a need for "fleshing out" the bodies. Triple layers plus the "overcoats" provided back and front isn't enough in this scale. That will have to wait until next batch, however. For now I have made one complete set of the merchant sailors type according to original specification.

    They can be seen in the background, awaiting a bit of "nip and tuck" to round them off, plus the all-important edgepainting. That really makes a difference, which might be seen from the two first figures, which already have been subjected to this treatment.

    What I wanted to show today, however, is in the foreground. Cutting through triple-layered 160 g paper for a couple of nights made my forefinger quite sore. Which resulted in the scalpel handle leaning against the wooden block.

    Compare for the original thin type of scalpel lying on the cutting mat, plus the odd piece of clear plastic tubing used to make the handle. The fit was quite tight to begin with (impossibly tight, in fact), but with the help of scaldingly hot tap water the plastic finally consented to go on the whole way.

    Not only cutting comfort, but also precision, increased markedly with this new handle. I can thoroughly recommend it, or something similar! (But don't forget to remove the blade before you attempt to press on the new handle - I almost forgot to do that, and still shudder about the possible medical disasters which might have occurred...)

  • Now that these little guys have cut themselves loose from their cardboard support, they can actually stand on their own two feet. They don't even have that much over-size shoes - and no glue under them! (As opposed to the plastic ready-made figures, which cannot stand up straight without the help of some glue under their soles.)

    Below you can watch them busy themselves with the 1:87 scale PWS-50, while arguing with representatives of the earlier, plastic ready-made crew. There's a difference - of course! - but with a little further work, the next generation of paper figures might be able to deceive at least a casual observer. And even if they don't, they will still provide some comparison of the original's proportions with the human scale.

    Technically, these figures have been made more or less according to what the original by Michi and David Hathaway prescribed - three-ply bodies, with two-ply layers of clothing back and front. Heads doubled back and front with extra layers of three-ply heads.

    Final edgecolouring and general touch-up painting with gouache, followed by a final layer of gouache matt varnish. This actually turned out to be important also for physical integrity, since it worked as an extra, external layer of glue and allows for slight bending of the feet.

    A note here: If you intend to go into this business of figure-making, be sure to get a tube of "flesh colour" - it is invaluable for faces and hands. Also be sure to get a few tubes of different browns, plus a neutral grey. With these, you can add primary colours to subtly change nuances to fit the original colours.

    What further work will be necessary for these figures to work better in 1:87?

    1. First of all, fleshing out of the bodies. They need to be at least five-ply 160 g paper to begin with, plus additional layers of two- or three-ply extra clothing.

    2. Some further detailing of the clothes. Some of the extra layers of clothing in the original by Michi and David Hathaway unfortunately lack the details (pockets, collars) that the underlying layers have. Easily corrected.

    3. Perhaps some careful attempt to add facial features? (Always a dangerous move, since the result might be more grotesque than realistic. The plain flesh-coloured face might still be the best option.)

    4. Find some usable pattern for pilots in different suits - classic vintage flying overall, with a suitable leather pilot's hood. With different colours, that could be used even for the first generation jet pilots. A pressurized suit with lots of oxygen lines, etc. These to be made in different colours. Experiment with jet-pilot type helmets/heads.

    5. Experiment with and develop limb shapes to make the pilot more suited to sitting down in the pilot's seat with hands on the control column and feet on the pedal. Also, in all likelihood, attempt to make pilot figures for placing in cockpits less wide - aircraft seats will tend to squeeze pilots' bodies into their minimum size...

  • I did the simple modifications - changed a faulty colour of the back side of one figure, and added patterns to the extra front torsos.

    An image of the sheet is attached below. If you already have the original download and want to substitute this page, download the 1,9 MB .pdf-file.

    If you are getting curious, and wish to have the full set of 1:87 sailors (plus the necessary sheet of extra heads and misc. details), download the three-page 7 MB .pdf, . The corrected page has been included there. (In order to bring the filesize down to allowed limitations, I deleted the last page of "old-time" sailors; it's not a great loss.)

    Note: Be sure to at least double the torsos, hats, and feet (card holder) section. There is no note about this on the sheet.

    Likewise, increase thickness of full bodies section by adding at least a double sheet within the three-ply section shown, to make it five-ply thick. No note on the sheet about this either.

    I have not yet tried out these suggested modifications, but believe them to be the minimum necessary.

  • Hi Leif,

    Very impressive! They're much better than billboard characters, in fact they're better than the molded plastic HO scale characters. Need to put a bullhorn in the hand of the first mate and a coil of rope for the deck hands, a pair of field glasses in the captains hands...,

    -Gil Russell