Materials commonly used for scale models

  • by Girish Reddy
  • 08 Aug, 2017

Essential model making materials

Perpex acrylic
Perspex: It is a clear/coloured plastic (acrylic) material used in most of the fabrication purposes. It is available in various thicknesses and mostly used by model makers to create the outer skin (structural walls, roofs) of the scale models. They can be cut and engraved by laser cutters and spray painted with cellulose paints.

Different types of solid woods like oak, pear, beech, maple are used to make semi detailed building models.

Mapel wooden block
MDF (medium density fibre): Available in various sizes and thickness is used as a base and plinth for seating the finished models. The base structure is constructed using battens, screws and wood glue. Base is  primed and spray painted with cellulose  or cladded with wood veneers. Veneers can be cut and engraved using laser cutters.
MDF & Veneers
Cibatool: An epoxy based resin available in various densities is a strong durable material used to make various shapes and forms, it is easy to cut and sand with band saw, circular saw, disc sanders and can be milled with CNC machines. A good finish can be obtained with  cibatool because of its  composition and is used to create accurate parts of the scale models. It is an ideal material for building concept models,  working prototypes, visual models and block models.
Copper and Brass sheets: They are used to create railings, vents, louvers, window frames ect, by etching the metal sheets. The metal etchings can be as thin as 0.2mm in thickness.
Etching is a process in which the design(designs are drawn using Auto CAD or Coral draw and applied on to the meatal sheets) on the copper sheet is coated with acid resistance substance and the plate is treated with a strong acid to cut into metal to create the needed design. In modern manufacturing various other chemicals are used for different types of materials.
Brass etching
Glues: Various glues are used to stick different materials of the models together.
Plastic weld  is used to stick Perspex.
Super glue for general purpose.
Clear wood glue to stick miniature trees, scenic shrubs and other small parts.
Contact adhesive is a non -drip adhesive suitable for bonding laminated plastics, pvc, cork, plasterboard, metal, wood and rubber etc.

Various glues for model making
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