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  • Writer's pictureSimon Faiers

Something a bit different

Paper modelling has become my new obsession. Over the Christmas break I had a bit of free time and found a "Fantasticar" paper model online (a free gift with a UK reprint of the Fantastic Four comics in the 1970s) and had a go at printing it out and assembling it. It was a lot of fun, and I printed out some Fantastic Four paper figures to go with it once it was complete. Helpfully, Marvel printed the Handbook of the Marvel Universe in the eighties which included full-body, background-free images of their characters, great for copyright-infringing non-official merchandise (although I have no intention of selling any t-shirts, mugs or other items with someone else's characters printed on them. Although I'd be very flattered if someone did the same with my characters, just saying!)

Occasionally, it's nice to stop trying to be original and do something fun and fan-arty instead.

Anyway, this has led to some first efforts at producing paper models of my own. Blender comes with an add-on that allows you to export your 3d models as flat printed nets with tabs, crease lines and numbered edges included so you can print your models and assemble them in the real world. It's a cool feature, and one I've been meaning to test-drive for a couple of years. I thought I'd start off with something simple, so decided to have a go at Professor Xavier's yellow hoverchair from the X-Men animated series. The modelling was very straightforward, the texturing less so as the net was printed diagonally. The other complication is that the add-on isn't smart enough to unfold the model without the tabs overlapping with each other in places.

Some other discoveries made while exploring papercraft over the last few weeks:

  1. If you do a search online for models of characters from popular culture, half your results will be cute little "cubee" models with oversized heads and tiny bodies - the paper-folding obsessive's equivalent of Funko Pop collectibles.

  2. The other half of your results of the above search will be models exploded into so many pieces that you will need a mensa-level IQ and Slender Man fingers to put them together. I'm pretty sure the same software - Pepakura - is being used to produce all these 3d jigsaws, and personally, I prefer models in as few pieces as possible.

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