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Papercraft Models & Textures

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papercraft (or cardstock) models have come up in a number of threads, so thought we should start one to hold links and chatter about these. papercraft are the printed cut out structures you cut up, folk and glue together. These are not like the lasercut models like the Sankei that are done from colored high density chipboard and usually layered up and rarely folded much (the chipboard does not fold well). you can find papercraft pdf files both commercially and for free. some companies sell the pdf file others only the printed cardstock. its actually a big hobby in japan, so you can find a bunch of things out there for free.


papercraft can be a really inexpensive way to create structures, but at 1/150 scale they can feel a bit flat as at this scale your eye wants to start seeing much of the detail in 3D even if it would be miniscule in reality. this is why many models have grossly over-scaled detail features as i think they were done to give the right effect to the eye at 3' rather than be perfectly scaled model details. its always a game to play with do you want perfection or do you want it to just look right to the viewer's minds eye and also from what distance will you be regularly looking at the model. You can think about adding some more 3D details, but this can be difficult to blend with many of the printed papercraft kits.


I think papercraft works much better for structures in general for T scale where even at 1' you are the equivalent of 3' back in N scale. ive thrown together a few larger buildings quickly to see the effect and was amazed at how good stuff looked for something that i spent 15 minutes on. you can also print onto clear acetate to get clear windows if you want (if the window areas are white, if not then you will need to go into the file and erase out the window/clear areas). but usually from the scale distance of a couple of feet in T scale (like 1/8 mile) most windows go dark gray in appearance which is why many of the papercraft structures will come with grayed out windows.


there are also lots of papercraft busses in japan as there is a big bus fan community. while at n scale they dont look anywhere near as good as a tomytec bus, but if you wanted to do a bus yard of the same bus or just some bus butts, they might look fine from 2 or 3'.


paper craft takes a bit of getting use to for building. lots of cutting and folding to do. also you have the issue of what to print on. paper is usually way too flimsy, so card stock works better, but does not do as well in some printers. then there is the issue of warping. cardstock can suck up atmospheric moisture and start to warp with time so its important to stiffen your models with some styrene or balsa sheet or strip material. this is really critical if you are coming back to paint any parts of the structure later as this will tend to warp the cardstock. other issue is if you have any exposed edges of your cardstock you need to probalby color them with a felt pen gently (dont want it to wick into the paper too far) to make it blend with the printed materials its next to.


also have to work on the scale. most papercraft out there are not done to 1/150 directly, so you need to figure out what percentage you need to print the file out at to get it to 1/150. little measuring and simple math will get you there quickly.


if you want to get fancy you can also take the pdfs into a graphics program like photoshop to add your own details or change markings and such.


links tend to go dead fast on these so i just usually download the pdfs and dont bother with the links much, but here are some links to start things off with:




Showa buildings and some modern - https://online.brother.co.jp/ot/dl/purifure/mokei/train/train-03/

misc buildings - http://paperstructure.web.fc2.com/Free/free.html

aircraft hangers - http://www.tomtom-net.de/resources/cardmodel/hangar/hangar_f.htm

high rises - http://www.niku-mansei.com/contents/05club/papercraft/paper_honten.html

high rises - https://mcac.exblog.jp/21994341/





Japanese house - http://www.mars.dti.ne.jp/~opaku/shogun/ex_index.html

haunted housed way cool! - http://www.haunteddimensions.raykeim.com/index301.html

japanese house interiors - http://www.jphome.net/craftsado_01.html

another interior - http://www.mars.dti.ne.jp/~opaku/shogun/ex_index.html

misc houses - http://homepage1.nifty.com/anraku/sigoto/p_craft/p_craft_top.htm

houses w. solar cells - http://www.eyefulhome.jp/wakuwaku/papercraft/index.html





streets and vending machines - http://paperstructure.web.fc2.com/Free/free.html

coke machine - http://www.flickr.com/photos/motomachi24/tags/紙自販機/



Busses & vehicles

lots o busses - http://www.geocities.jp/playtownbingo7570/ppb-101.html

fire engines - http://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/www/contents/0000000000000/1110965308117/index.html

cement trucks - http://www.taiheiyo-cement.co.jp/other/papercraft/index.html

snow plows - http://www.nichijo.jp/amusement/papercraft.html

fire trucks - http://www.mie-matsusaka119.jp/08page/paper/paper.html

trucks - http://www.ecotruck.co.jp/kids_craft.html





fire boat - http://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/www/contents/0000000000000/1110965308117/index.html

freighter - http://olypen.com/carapace/emiliana/default.htm

japanese coast guard ships - http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/01kanku/paper/paper.htm

cruise ship (if you want to go there!) - http://www.asukacruise.co.jp/focus/papercraft.html

patrol boat - http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/cms/5/5-a_eng.asp?id=608

merchant and work ships (for sale) - http://www.papershipwright.co.uk/category/merchantmen/

misc harbor and work boats - http://www.papershipwright.co.uk/category/free-downloads/

cargo ship - http://www.scalescenes.com/products/T030-Cargo-Ship

container ship - http://www.taiheiyo-cement.co.jp/other/papercraft/tanker.html

motor yacht - http://www.digitalnavy.com/LillaWeneda/index.html




snow plows - http://www.nichijo.jp/amusement/papercraft.html

kintetsu trains - http://www.kintetsu.co.jp/soukatsu/ShockWAVE/papercraft/index.html

trams - http://hw001.spaaqs.ne.jp/tidbit/english/eigo.htm

jr west - http://www.westjr.co.jp/fan/paper/

trams - http://www.6696.jp/marunishi.html

painted train - http://www.twr.co.jp/info/2011/15th_anniversary_special.html

more jr west - http://www.westjr.co.jp/fan/paper/local/





Disneyland items for a theme park - http://www.disneyexperience.com/models/models1.php



Index sites





commercial sites









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Hobby Dreamer

Thanks Jeff, for taking the time to do this!


And thanks for being balanced and honest. When paper or card stock was discussed last people here were hypercritical of paper but unreasonably forgiving of plastic.


Good paper kits look amazing but to attain that look in plastic one has to paint and weather, which is hardly ever done. There are so many advantages to paper such as cost, look, ease of construction, safety w.r.t. glues, and so on. Sure, some kits need added support but all plastic kits need work even just to cut them off the sprues..


I'm a huge fan of card stock but there is not a lot available in N and the free kits (ever heard of a free plastic kit) often lack detail. A lot of good paper kits have embossed detail so they look great. Even windows are formed with several layers.


Some things are better in card such as roads. Even Tomix has used card stock in some of their ads!  That says everything!


My first love in model structures are the German kits but these are mostly HO. A close second are the British layouts that are mostly card stock. Absolutely realistic. In fact most don't go anywhere and are just tabletop vignettes yet one can look at these for a long time.


Anyway, here are some additional links:

1) A nice but somewhat outdated FAQ:



2) a Forum (look under Card Models)



3) A Brit product:



There is a nice Brit site that is down right now so I'll post later...



I'd say give card stock a try but buy a decent kit and follow advice from forums. If you print a cheap (free) paper kit on the wrong paper with the wrong printer it will look wrong..


Thanks again Jeff!


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thanks Jeff and thanks Rick,

I think papercraft are a really good source for handmade buildings and more, some of us (ASN club) use it like example to build a better "3D" construction.

we print papermodel on adhesive paper and them put on evergreen styrene, paper or wood and after a lot of "cut & paste".. that's an example...




free download from


a greath work from Antonello Lato




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Hobby Dreamer

Thanks Massimo!


I love the buildings in your link. One thing about card structures is that you can design your own to a certain extent.


I want a structure that is built like a triangle but that would be tough to do in plastic but pretty easy in paper.


I plan to "beef up" any card structures with styrene!


Happy New Year


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great stuff, really shows what you can do with papercraft and layering. this technique takes a bit more work, but can really give these models that little bit or 3D relief you need to make them look great in n scale. just doing the styrene layer with the windows cut out and even just the papercraft windows mounted behind. this is what sankei does with their lasercut chipobard buildings and that creates that bit of relief detail to get rid of the flat feeling.


another technique for the windows behind if you dont want to buy moulded window frame is to print them out on acetate so you get window panes with your moulding, mullions, and frame on top.


btw theres a great tool for cutting out windows easily (especially the corners). its called a nibbler and is basically a little square punch that has one corner it really cuts square on. ive had used it for the little windows that are harder to cut out as its all corners!


keep the expamples coming here, great to get new ideas! i just bought some laserprinter adhesive paper last month with the idea of doing some details like this, but may have to try this for a whole structure!



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I used to build paper/cardbuildings when I modelled in OO (many years ago). These were quite popular in UK rail modelling. To create depth, parts such as doors, window frames and roof tiles were separate and layered to create perspective and substance to the model.

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for those that want iso shipping container to build out of paper craft. we have done this in the past on the jrm layout and it can work quite well for larger blocks of containers, then sprinkle the individual ones up in the foreground. first attempt was a bit anemic, but matthew's recent batch are quite nice. he just scanned ones he had to build the piles.







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thanks Jeff and thanks Rick,

I think papercraft are a really good source for handmade buildings and more, some of us (ASN club) use it like example to build a better "3D" construction.

we print papermodel on adhesive paper and them put on evergreen styrene, paper or wood and after a lot of "cut & paste".. that's an example...




free download from


a greath work from Antonello Lato








Mi Manchi Italia, Io ho avuto li tempo di mio vita. 




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it looks to be ho from the size of the cars. with paper craft like this i usually just figure out the appropriate dimension of something i know in the structure like a door height and then figure what reduction i need and then just print to the reduced size on the printer. only rub is that it will waste paper in a situation like this. some printer drivers will let you tile things when you scale down in order to fit two pages onto one with a 50% reduction.


its a little fiddling. you can choose a page with the front and print at a few sizes and cut out fast and see how it looks to you.


if you want these to last make sure to use better inks (really cheap no name brands may start to fade quickly), put a clear coat on it (you can do this before cutting), and brace the backs of the walls and roofs with more cardstock, chipboard, or thin wood ribbing (some use popsicle sticks) to prevent sagging in the long run.


also need to color the white edges of the cut parts that are visible with colored pencils or felt tipped markers depending on how your paper bleeds.



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Hobby Dreamer
any idea what scale Lawsons is or how I would scale it for N


@Jeff, the cars are paper (see the pages in the link). I cannot open the PDF, but the scale might be 1/100 as the house is.


Jeff's idea is correct, but it might be better to use something larger such as the car length or width of the parking spot.


If it is 1/87, and a direct print (no scaling required) then scale by 0.54375 (or 87/160).




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yeah i thought 1/100 from the other stuff and it looking to be more of an architectural site but a quick look on the pdf on screen i thought the cars looked like 2x n scale, but did not measure (and my screen is not exactly 1:1 either).


anyhow in the past ive just printed a page with appropriate things i wanted to scale and w/in a couple of tests gotten it to where it looks right.


sorry i forgot to put in the scaling formula! if you know the scale then its


[[printout scale factor]/[desired scale factor - ie 150]] *100= print %


always hard to figure out what to use to scale as everything can be variable in real life! hence cut one facade out quickly and see how it looks next to other similar structures. parking widths, lengths, car lengths, door heights, even floor heights can vary quite a bit so nothing is usually perfect in telling what to use. rick is right its best to use the largest thing you can in the item to do your scaling measurement to keep your margin of error as low as possible.


many times these papercraft either come in a rr scale or architectural scale (1/100, 1/12, 1/16, 1/48, 1/96 etc)





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  • Densha changed the title to Papercraft Models & Textures

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