This flat-pack wooden kit not only comes together to look like a camera, it actually works. Rather than using a lens, it has a small pinhole opening which captures fuzzy, but artful images onto 35mm film. The 79-piece plywood kit takes about 2 to 3 hours to assemble, and the camera even has a tripod mount.
THE BEST Models
We can think of no better gift for an aviation fanatic than this metal model inspired by the iconic Hughes H-4 Hercules. Like the real Spruce Goose, this miniature has eight propellers, though these turn using a wind-up mechanism rather than 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney engines. The 219-piece kit is best for ages 14+.
Miniature model maker Hoo’s mini world shows off an incredible build, a teensy version of a Leica M10 camera, complete with a removable lens. No detail was overlooked, from the curvature of the lens glass, to the leather case, to the aperture settings on its lens ring.
Why buy off-the-shelf Star Wars figures when you can build your own? These flat-pack metal models aren’t easy to assemble, but the resulting sculptures will be worth the effort. They come in Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, Boba Fett, C-3PO, and R2-D2 variants. Patience and tweezers not included.
LEGO My LEGOs uses stop-motion to show off the assembly of a really cool Chinese dragon boat model, complete with mechanical oars. This impressive looking model isn’t actually a LEGO kit, but comes from a company called Xingbao. The 3325-piece kit is a veritable bargain at just $68 from Brick Me up Scottie.
The real Notre Dame Cathedral suffered from a devastating fire in 2019, and it may take decades before it can be restored and made safe for visitors. For now, let’s enjoy this miniature version of the iconic Parisian landmark, courtesy of builder FoBIRD, who created a replica from wooden popsicle sticks and kebab skewers.
Model maker Boylei Hobby Time shows us how with a little creativity and skill, off-the-shelf model kits can become so much more. For this build, he took a miniature X-Wing Fighter and a duo of TIE Fighters, and brought them to life using LED filament lights to simulate lasers, and a little steel wool to create a spark effect.
Expert modelmaker Luke Towan shows off how he built a tiny HO-scale replica of a Land Rover Defender. What makes the miniature so impressive is that it not only is motorized, but can be remotely controlled to drive along tiny roads. He bought the model in kit form from Tiny 4×4, but it’s definitely an advanced build.
Artist Rayclay used a combination of 3D modeling software, 3D printing, and hand-finishing to create miniature models of a freediver and a manta ray. He then precisely painted the pieces and submerged them in transparent resin to create the illusion they were swimming beneath the ocean’s surface.
Model railroad builder Luke Towan shows off one of the coolest miniatures we’ve seen – a 32″ tall HO-scale model of an art deco apartment building. The 450+ piece laser-cut acrylic Majestic Towers kit is made by Custom Model Railroads. Luke’s painting, added 3D-printed details, and interior lighting really bring it to life.
Geoff Collard takes us on a POV tour of his recreation of the bridge from the Starship Enterprise D on The Next Generation. It features an incredible level of detail, with light-up displays, and a viewscreen that plays videos of space. You can check out more pics of his impressive seven-year build on Facebook.
To celebrate Honda Australia’s sponsorship of LEGO Masters Australia, the car company commissioned artist Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught to build a detailed model of the famed Mount Panorama racing circuit. The 150,000 brick model took eight builders over 650 hours to construct, measures 11 ft by 6 ft, and has driveable R/C cars.
Dreipunkt’s flat-pack wood kit lets you build your own orbital model of the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon. As you move its lever, each astronomical body rotates relative to the others, as an arrow indicates the date on which they take up those positions. From Laserdeko, who has all kinds of nifty laser-cut stuff for sale.
Drop by The Awesomer Shop and save 10% on these flat-pack wood models from UGears. Choose from a working safe, a steam locomotive, treasure box, vintage grand prix car, butterfly, or monowheel, each offering a challenging glue-free build and working mechanisms.
Located in Manchester City, UK, Etihad Stadium is one of the most iconic stadiums in Europe. Model maker FoBIRD took about 20 days to fabricate a miniature replica of the football stadium, using wooden skewers as his construction material. He did a great job capturing the facility’s architectural highlights.
These days, if you want to destroy a city in a movie, you do it all with computer graphics. But back in the day, it was done with practical effects and miniatures. Check out this footage from the 1933 disaster movie Deluge, in which models of countless New York City buildings are demolished by a massive tidal wave.
LEGO builder Slekk024 is hoping to get his creepy crawly model of an emperor scorpion put into production. The brick-built sculpture is based on a real creature that grows as large as 9″ long, and glows under UV light. The model is made from 694 parts, and has around fifty articulated joints, including legs, pincers, and tail.
Model maker Roman Khramov of Minibricks shares a wonderfully soothing video in which he meticulously crafts a realistic diorama, complete with tiny tress, plants, tourists, and a model of a medieval castle as its centerpiece. He 3D-printed the main structure, but did all of the detailing and painting by hand.
A fantastic gift for fans of architecture and design, this kit lets you make a pint-size wooden model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Guggenheim Museum. The model measures just 6″x 4.5″ x 3.5″, and takes about 4 hours to complete. Made from aspen and American cherry, and licensed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
While we’re perplexed by Liberman’s musical selections, we are impressed with what he was able to construct on his workbench. Watch as he puts together a working model of a helicopter rotor from plywood, rulers, popsicle sticks, and off-the-shelf hardware. We love how it even can adjust the angle of its blades.
Microworld makes these intricate metal building kits of mech-animal hybrids. The collection includes a polar bear, crocodile, lion, flying tiger, scorpion, and a police dog. Each one is made from iron and brass, with fade-resistant color coatings. Expect a challenge for all but the most experienced builders.
Restoration junkie MrRescue got his hands on a toy Porsche 356 model that looks like it was stomped and kicked into a pile of dirt. From the looks of the undercarriage, it doesn’t look all that ancient, but we’re still impressed with the finished car after he brought it back to its former glory with that glossy peanut M&M paint job.
Time for Machine makes amazing metal and wood models of vehicles. Among them is a tiny tank called the “Marvel.” TOMs Modeling in Motion assembled one of these mini mechanical marvels and captured the build as a time-lapse, stop-motion video. We also enjoyed watching him put together a metal Hindenburg from AEROBASE.
The supersonic Concorde jet planes have been retired, so the only way to witness the majesty of this marvel in flight is through replica models. RCScaleAirplanes shares footage of Otto Widlroither’s incredible 1/6-scale version of the jet. It measures 33 feet long, has a 13 foot wingspan, and is powered by four JetCat P300 Pro turbines.
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