Cardmodel designer's page

Designers notes..

Wanna Design? Like most artists, you'll probably never make more than 35¢ per hour so you might not want to even read on.

OK then, being forwarned.. start with these helpful tutorials.

For years we've been trying to find the time to nurture budding paper model designers. We've put together some designs and comments to help you get a grasp on the FG format concept. Although it's pretty well nailed down, the 'format' will always be work in progress, so the last releases are always your best references.

Post It Comments

We don't, as a rule, pressure our contributors and there's never much of a deadline unless you're part of a larger project. If you're experiencing the dreaded designers 'burnout' at any stage during your project, let us know and we'll see if we can find a design buddy who would takeover the helm. To get started, simply send us an email about you, your design experience, and what you'd like to specialize in..(ie: Buildings, WWII, Seaplanes, Aerospace...etc).

Sample Instructions

(Above) Some samples showing the FG Instruction Sheet Format. It's VERY important to make this appealing! They're made up in Photoshop and it's very easy basically.. The tough part is treating it like a poster and making it fun and readable.. You need quite a lot of material to play with.. Sketches, text, three view. The exploded view is traced over a digital photo of the made up model.. I create a page, 'sleep on it', and usually re-arrange a few things the next day.. It's always a fine moment when one is finished. When I can see my way clear for a couple days I plan to create a little tutorial on creating instruction pages


Please send us a sample of what you've already done. You might think that this 'FG Format' thing is a little overly strict but someday these FG models will be published someday and the format will be critical to keep all the designs compatible with each other. I wouldn't want to.see our resources spent on re-designing things that weren't carefully done in the first place.

If you'd like to contribute design work to Fiddlers Green, the closer you keep to these guidelines, the more you'll get paid for your design and hopefully fat royalties from some future book/electronic book/TV offer/magazine offer/retailing deals. There are so many exciting channels to mass market card models.

Again, don't overlook the design tutorials we've uploaded to the site.. A few of our FG designers have spent a lot of time and effort to help budding designers along. Rob Carleen's 28 page tutorial on how to re-color cardmodels with Photoshop Elements- highly recommended !!

The dreaded FG formats' purpose is to make all models alike in appearance to give our Modeln' Pals familiarity as they build FG models AND, make future publishing possible. To 'equalize' models later would be a horrendous job as you can well appreciate. Someday FG models will be marketed to a very large audience.

•All pages are 7.56 width x10.5 long and 200dpi

•Parts are placed just a tad short of the side margins and 1/2 from the height margins.

• Most cardstock grain goes vertical so parts should be placed on the page to take advantage of bending along the grain. Regular versions are simply two large pages reduced and rotated 90 to fit on one page. Printed on light cardstock, grain matters less.

•We start with the LARGE version and the total number of pages matters not. large models can have more than one instruction pages.

•A big priority is that FG models need to be easy to build. Most models can be finished in ONE evening and it's important models get finished. (why? is another conversation) Parts like cockpit bits etc are optional. Even at the expense of not quite capturing the exact shape, fewer parts is best.

•It's important the model elements are pretty much 'packed' into the page..but space should be left for instructional sketches, interesting text, and easy to spot callouts. NEVER leave space unused. The modeler needs to feel there's so much to show and tell and that he's getting his moneys' worth. Few will actually BUILD the model BUT most will spend some serous time reading it. In this hectic world, this is almost as good as building.

• NO bulkheads or ribs..except in dire situations (lets talk).
When you get into designing in paper, you'll see that you can form things without using bulkheads. Our Modeln' Pals should (IMHO) be 'nudged' into a little more advanced paper sculpture and learn some hand forming. Simple assembly is for plastic models.
Areas like wing roots (gliders) and long fuselages (bombers) can be strengthened by layering or heavier cardstock.

•The black and white needs to be of the LARGE version. Remember to have this approved before moving on with the design. Don't start coloring until its been signed off. Color schemes should be as accurate as possible. 'Fantasy' markings are quite acceptable.
(see Queen's Glider:

•Linework.. Outlines to be 3-4 points, and carefully drawn. Opacity is to be 100% Here's why.
Stand back a few feet and look at the printed page and you'll see a clear, no nonsense piece of art with (sufficiently) strong black outlines. Somewhere around 95% of our modelers WILL NEVER build this model. They'll spend a few minutes to enjoy it. They'll thrill to the 'feel' and the content and maybe even 'build' it in their own mind through the exploded view. But that's as far as it will go.
We cater to our customers.
That's why we design with black outlines.

•All design work to be done by computer and sent (ideally) in pdf format. Send along 3 views and other goodies you've assembled to make the webpage sexier.
I'd love nothing more than having some Modeln' Pals redesigning these old models and that darn P-38 is at the top of the list. The thing is, they'd definitely need to be in the carved-in-stone FG format. I've always thought that the designer would have to be right here in the studio to really learn it. Now, I figure we can outsource the project IF we had, say, one person for every 5-7 networked designers.

A redesign would involve building the model and figuring out HOW to make it better.

The plan is to get in some good marketing folk to get the revenue to afford the re-design project. I figure between $100-$150 per design. Which we can't afford now, so basically, the projects' on hold. The 'old' web pages have to be totally re-done as well. Basically, about 10 years of work needs to be reconfigured and updated. Unless you're that magical person who can do it all right, with so many other things on my plate, I can't spend much time on it now.


What about a program to develop cardmodels?
Tomas Pleiner wrote..

I happen to be a commercial cardmodel designer since the late 70s and there are more than two different tools
for jobs like these available. I cannot talk about packages like "Pepakura", "Metasequia", "Cinema4D" etc.etc. because I have little to none experiences with those.

There are also rumors about an unrolling plug-in for 3Dstudio max . . . but not confirmed. One software package I'm working with successfully is Rhinoceros 3D - it does all the 2D/3D CAD purposes for you plus it develops ("unrolls") ale surfaces of single concavity. There is a full-functional demo available (limited
to 25 savings) and - trust me - Rhino3D is a "best buy".

The other tool is Dr. Emil Zarkov's "Surfmaster", a very powerful CMS Intellicad 4 plug-in.(Surfmaster works also well together with AutoCad 's versions 14 - 2002). The advantage of Surfmaster is that this tool is specially programmed for cardmodel-design purposes. Being a "plug-in" or "add-on" Surfmaster cannot work on it's own.
To make sense of Surmaster, it is absolutely necessary to have expert skills in ItelliCAD or AutoCAD.

You'll have to find out what fit's best to your personal work-structure. Whatever your choice will be: you will
need in addition a vector-based graphic package (Corel, Illustrator,Freehand, Canvas etc.etc.) to color your design perfectly. A touch of Photoshop may even enhance the work.
Hope this helps a bit
Thomas Pleiner


I have found that the program Irfanview is great for manipulating and resizing jpg files along with a whole host of other formats. Frank Johnson