Marc Hagan-Guirey – aka “the dark king of kirigami” – creates marvels with paper, a ruler, a sharp blade, and an equally sharp eye. For Le Corbusier Paper Models, he created templates and step-by-step guides so patient crafters can cut and fold their own mini-models of 10 iconic buildings by modernist architect Le Corbusier.
THE BEST Models
Model maker Plasmo shows off another amazing build, taking on Imperator Furiosa’s epic War Rig from Mad Max: Fury Road. He used a resin-based 3D printer and a downloadable 3D model to generate its numerous parts, but bringing it all together and making it look so great is all Plasmo.
Model railroad enthusiast Engineman takes us on a ride through his enormous H0 scale railway. As it winds from room to room, you’ll enjoy grassy hills dotted with tiny trees and detailed miniature buildings. The stark, unfinished sections where the tracks wind through tunnels remind us that it’s only a model.
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.
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.
Wood model makers Time for Machine have a new series of kits that let you assemble objects that move. Each plywood model features a splash of color in its wheels or spring-wound mechanism. Designs include a supercar, vintage car, hot rod, minibus, locomotive, and a lockbox.
Do you love roller coasters? The guys at CoasterDynamix make teeny models of virtual thrill rides for your desk or bookshelf. They come in a variety of designs, including traditional, looped, and adventure-themed rides, each sold as an easy-to-build kit. Find more variants here.
This tiny billboard lets you live out your graffiti fantasies right on your desktop. The kit is made from recycled chipboard and can be assembled in just a few minutes. Buy a bunch and create a whole bookshelf full of your own original street art. Grab ’em while you can. Sadly, its maker Boundless Brooklyn is closing up shop.
Model maker Boylei Hobby Time loves to incorporate light into his dioramas. In this clip he shows us how he took an off-the-shelf 1/12th-scale model of Darth Vader and took it to the next level with a backlit metal base and a bright red lightsaber that runs on a flexible LED filament set inside of a cocktail straw.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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