Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

06 April 2012

Paper Kosmonaut's paper

Being Paper Kosmonaut I mostly work with paper in my models, but not exclusively. 
I am not a purist, so quite often the paper is accompanied by small pieces of brass, other metals or sometimes even plastic, although I try to avoid the last stuff. Most of the time it's not necessary to use it.

A question on the Papermodelers forum about kinds of paper triggered me to tell a bit more about the materials I like to work with.

Coloured paper in PK's Bauplatz.
My basic material is 200 gram white laser-jet paper, which roughly translates to 110 lb. in imperial measurements. I use it in an inkjet printer and that works fine. This paper is quite thick but it's what I started to use in the beginning and I am used to it. I rather like the sturdiness.

Pencils! Love 'em.
 Often a kit is multicoloured and during assembly you will encounter ugly white seams due to the cutting and folding. For that reason I also have a large arsenal of colour pencils. The usual stuff but also a lot of metallic colour pencils and watercolours. Watercolours especially are very convenient because of their dissolving nature. If you wet the edges of the paper a little before colouring, and then apply the colour, you can smear it out a little across the edges to get a nice even tint that kind of blends with the original colour. Often I also wet the pencil point itself before colouring.

For glue strips and sometimes reinforcement I use coloured paper. I have a lot, varying in thickness. From card with a weight of about 300 gram to thin folding paper more suitable for origami. You just never know when or where to use it. 

This is called canvas paper.
You can print your photos on this to give it an artistic look.
Personally I think pictures on canvas always look a bit pretentious and fake.
However, for these sorts of things I find it very useful.

This paper is browner in reality. It has a soft  embedded rib.
Might be good for a hull of an ET or Delta IV booster.

 I also am always on the lookout for papers with a nice grain or structure. This can be used for different things. A nice linear structure on brownish paper might be good for use on a rendition of the External Tank of the shuttle. With a more fabric-like structure  you could think of using it as the insulation blankets on the shuttle fuselage. 

 Photo paper of course is a god means for (semi-)glossy surfaces. An airliner or car might look better with glossy photo paper. I recently started using silk gloss photo paper for solid rocket motors and nose cones. It gives a nice alternating effect with the regular dull paper I use for the rest of the build. It gives a model just that little kick, that better-looking feeling.  The main issue with these kinds of pape ris the way to glue it, especially the gloss variant. White glue doesn't stick that well so I use CA for this.

Metallic paper. Chrome, silver, gold, bronze, zinc, 
brushed aluminium, blue, great. But unprintable.

 Another kind of paper is the metallic kind, the stuff I use for the rocket I build at the moment. I have a lot of glossy stuff, gold and chrome. The more aluminium or zinc coloured stuff is less glossy. This stuff, unfortunately, is beside the glue issue mentioned above, also almost impossible to print on. So all lines, words and other markings won't stick to the paper. I now think I have the solution for that.  I recently bought decal paper you can print on yourself.  But I yet have to try it.
But the result will be shown here, of course.

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