Best Materials for Scale Models

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by kingscarbine, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. kingscarbine
    kingscarbine New Member

    What's the best material(s) for:

    1) 1/72 scale vehicles

    2) 1/350 - 1/700 scale ships

    Is it possible to make parts in different materials and assemble them separately? I'm trying to keep costs down and make the best use of the material for different parts.

    For example, hulls in one material and upper structures (masts/sails, guns, etc) in another. Or vehicle body in one material and wheels in another (guns in another?).


  2. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    It depends on the look you are going for and the wall thicknesses. Most likely you'll want to go with FUD for the most detail and the smallest walls. Check the material pages for design rules and images of what the material looks like
  3. Dragoman
    Dragoman New Member
    That's hard to answer in such general terms. It depends a lot on what you consider "best". As cheap as possible? As accurate as possible? Some reasonable compromise?

    As a rough guide:
    "Strong flexible": cheapest, detail reasonable, but not fine, rough surface. painting needs special care
    "Detail": medium price, good detail, reasonable surface
    "Frosted Ultra Detail": more expensive, fine detail, good surface (let's hope recent technical problems have been solved)

    For 1/72 scale vehicles, "Strong Flexible" should be good enough for most purposes.
    For 1/350 to 1/700, even FUD may not be good enough for very fine detail, especially thin round parts, like handrails or the barrels of small calibre guns.

    Combining various materials should be possible, but check the pricing policy. Each item price has a volume-dependent part and a fixed handling fee. If you combine different parts the handling fees may negate some of the savings from using different materials.

    You will need some experience to know what to use. Check out the Shapeway shops (lots of vehicles and ships in different scales) and forums, there are quite a number with photographs and see what materials others use. Read the discussions about which materials others use and what tricks can be used to save money, e.g.hollow parts, sprues with multiple objects attached that count as 'single piece' for the handling fee etc.

    Upload some of your designs, check what prices Shapeways calculates for different materials, print (or buy from other shops) some test models and decide what you like.

    Karl Heinz
  4. kingscarbine
    kingscarbine New Member
    Thanks both for pointing me in the right direction. Managing a balance between detail and cost is what I want. I'll search the forum for more information.

    Best regards,