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embossing by hand

While I feel that for most applications, our images show plenty of dimension, I do think there’s a place for some extra effort.

I have been playing with embossing by hand. I use a burnisher with a small ball end and put the paper of a surface that has a little give like a softer paper. For stone, I start on the front and press in on the grout lines. Not too hard just enough to get a little deformation and I don’t do the whole sheet just a few areas a couple of inches in diameter.

Then flip the paper over and with a bigger burnisher I push out some stones using the marks I made on the front as a guide. Don’t over do it and don’t try to be even. Uneven is good. I think this would work especially well on corners and areas of special interest.

I did see on another forun someone had printed stone on watercolor paper. It has a lot of give and texture. I thought it was a bit too much but it’s good to know it’s possible.

That’s the tip for today.



By request

here are a couple of pix of the silver city mine shed (which is by the way in Virginia city)

This was a great subject because i could get pix of all the sides. as you can see we were very accurate in reproducing it.


new tips and tricks

A short time ago, I talked about plasticizing paper. It’s turned out to be very useful, especially for very small parts. I hope you give it a try.

Later this month Dave and I will be in Amhearst / Springfield, MA. Last year this show was very good for us. This year we get to be more involved and are giving 2 seminars on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. Kind of a tips and tricks live. I want to share more ideas about building in paper and It’s my intention to offer some useful insight every week. Some of the new railcar kits we want to offer will have more curved surfaces so we will be developing new techniques to deal with that. I have been curious about “paper casting”. It’s nothing new but applied to our hobby, it might be interesting. If folks are interested, I might also share tips for using Photoshop. As I was preparing my presentation, it occurred to me that an interesting product might be a backdrop making tool. More on that later.

One thing I have noticed is that even some of the best builders could benefit from using more layers. Here’s what I have been doing lately. My printer will not feed 100lb paper (I think the rollers are worn) so I have been gluing an extra sheet of card to the back of the printed sheet before doing any cutting. this is great for trim details. For walls you need to be sure to add thickness parts after you do any folds since the thicker paper will not fold well. My brother has had very good results using thinner paper with more layers. The thinner paper allows sharper folds. He’s been building some amazingly small critters lately using this method.

We’d like to hear your tips and tricks. What have you discovered wile building in paper.

I’m going to talk about folds and tabs in another post.


The year in review

Wow, I have a lot of unfinished kits. It’s been my intention to slow down and author fewer but better kits. We’ll see how that goes.

This coming year at least, will still see a lot of kits to offer as I clear the decks. Some will have more priority than others as we keep trying to understand what folks want. The trains were a decided hit so there will deffinitly be more along those lines. I am also designing a set of models that are not aimed at model railroaders but at the crafting crowd and I want to see if I can make some sense of all the scifi gaming stuff that I did but never released. We are making a sincere effort to make Clever Models a stable, going business. Not an easy task in this economy. On the other side of the curtain, my animation business has taken a big hit. Ordinarily, I would have extra funds to pump into CM (clever models) when needed. Instead I’ve been forced on occasions to pull funds out. That’s not good for a small business but we are holding on. To say we are thankful for all of your support is an understatement. I’m not talking about what you have purchased but about all the good words you have spread. It’s no surprise to anyone that modeling in paper is an underdog position, but we are slowly winning the battle. Hardly a month goes by that you won’t see an article in the magazines about what you can do with paper and isn’t that amazing. Well, it is amazing but it shouldn’t be surprising. You all are ambassadors of paper models. Every time you build something your proud of and show it off, it takes a brick out of the wall and helps us grow stronger.

With the apparent demise of Paper Creek, there is a real shortage of quality paper models. Even though there are more players, the quality is pretty sad. We don’t fear competition. We do what we do to the best of our ability. I want other paper companies to be successful as long as their product moves the genera forward. Why do companies who put out an inferior product  (boy I’d like to name names) apparently out sell us. I don’t know this for a fact but based on their ad budget they are either selling or going broke.

Advertising is likely a key issue and we just can’t afford it right now. Your word of mouth support is more valuable then ever.  I don’t want to sound too negative. We are surviving and our kits are evolving, getting better all the time. However, we didn’t grow last year. Sales were flat even though we dropped prices and added quality.

I am optimistic going into this year. Some how we will get advertising going and we have a few promotional ideas to try out.

I have a lot more to say about this but even I get tired of reading my ranting, so I’ll sign off for now, but let me say this.

I intend to be on this blog a lot more. One of the highlights here are the pictures of your builds. Please keep sending them and most of all thank you for “getting it and spreading the word.”


Peace out. (my daughter says that)