The most diversified materials can be used to construct the architectural models; their choice will depend on the level of development of the project and its basic idea, although the level of representation, the tools available and the manual skills of the model builder play an important role. In addition to this, it is deeply depending on the personal predilection of working with certain materials; in other words, sensitivity – purified by experience – in terms of the possibilities offered by the diversity of materials and the effect of combining them.
It should never be indifferent what kind of cardboard paper is combined according to the type of paper or what kind of wood according to the type of material! The effect of materials and manipulation techniques must be analysed. The beginner should provide a collection of rather extensive materials, including completing it by existing means, that is, with objects found of different characteristics, which at the moment of their incorporation in the model produce an amazing effect. All these materials need to be handy so they can work more easily.
For the same reason, attention must be paid to well-designed and attractive architectural models by other manufacturers by analyzing the reasons for choosing the necessary materials and the techniques adopted. At first, different techniques will be imitated to feed our own knowledge, to develop our own “language” in the fabrication of the model. By setting the goals we want to pursue through the architectural model, the direction we want to move forward is determined. Even if the models are a self-evident reality, subject to specific artificial rules, they should not themselves become a goal.
To work on each material there are specific tools: from scissors cut paper to the woodworking carpenter. It’s always worth buying quality tools. Otherwise, the sharp scissors might not leave an exact trace that we need. Good quality tools take longer, although they need to be cared for!
Cutting and using electric machines, take safety precautions to avoid possible injuries! It is not necessarily serious accidents, but a small drop of blood is enough to spill the model, and a wound patch could disturb you while you work. Most of the time, the architectural model builder underestimates the tools and machinery used: the smaller they are, the less dangerous they seem to be comparing with the larger ones. Protective glasses or masks can sometimes bother, but a splinter in the eye may cause a chronic lesion. Dust caused by polishing affects the respiratory pathways and can cause asthma! The solvents can affect health and some are also explosive. It is preferable to work in a well-ventilated place and try not to smoke! The two component glue hardener is usually corrosive: some thin gloves can avoid contact with the skin.
“Practice gives birth to professionals” is a sentence that also fulfils the construction of a scale model. Before using a new material in a model, you can do some testing on it. Routine work with known materials permits the ability to dominate them. This can also be applied to tools and machines.
Before painting, the colour samples must be made, and enough quantities must be kept of the blends to cover the possible future imperfections with the same tone. Water-soluble paints tend to clear and dry, while the lake and oils tend to darken. To build architectural models, it is best to have small paint tubes and not large bottles that end up spraying.