Figuring Out Scale

Discussion in 'Miniatures and Scale Models' started by ajbenson09, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. ajbenson09
    ajbenson09 Well-Known Member
    So I'm wanting to recreate the buildings in my cities downtown that my Grandpa either helped build or remodel. It's going to be a lot of buildings.
    I'm currently trying to figure out between Strong & Flexible Plastic, Full Color Sandstone and High Definition Acrylate. I'm not entirely sure what size I want, because it will be at least 20 buildings. On one side will be exterior of the buildings and as you walk around the other side will be the interior. So I want them large enough to be able to appreciate the detail, while not so large they take up an obnoxious amount of space.

    Anyway I'm mainly struggling with the detail, there are many intricate details in a lot of the buildings. However I worry that if I use Strong & Flexible Plastic or High Definition Acrylate I won't be able to have all the detail I want. On the other hand if I use Full Color Sandstone I worry the colors will be muddy since I've read the material doesn't like photo realistic details. I've attached a couple of pictures showing the detail of one of the walls I've been working on. Thanks for the help!

    Attached Files:

  2. edweldon
    edweldon Member
    AJ - 1/87, (3.5mm per foot), the scale for HO model trains has proven to be the most popular of the model train scales in the USA. I'm thinking that the reason for that is that it is near the best compromise between layout or model scene size and the objects that are pertinent to human scale. And it turns out that the minimum size detail that Shapeways can usually produce is right at the edge of smallest objects the average person can see close up. Most 1-3 story building walls in 1/87 will fit in a normal size picture frame if you want to display a number of them on a residential room wall. It also offers a bit of a market for sales to model railroaders who will use building walls like storefronts as backdrops for small shelf areas of train layouts an may even be interested in using interesting interior walls in complete building models.

    If, on the other hand you want more details at the expense of larger sizes choose 1/48 (1/4" per foot) for USA model trains (referred to as "O" scale). In Europe similar slightly larger scales are 4 mm/foot and 7 mm/foot. In Europe these scales are referred to as "OO" or "Scale4" for the smaller of the two and "O" for the larger one. This latter is a bit confusing. European "O" scale is 1/43, which happens to be a very popular scale for die-cast model automobiles.

    The four scales I mention here have many available details such as human figures, vehicles, interior furniture and store fixtures. Either 1/48 or 1/43 offer a good selection of human figure models if you want to try your hand at painting and a bit of carving to make them represent real people in your life. (this takes a steady hand with a knife and paintbrush as well as some specialized artistic skill with representing people). HO and Scale4 sizes of human figures are too small for most viewers for representing realistic humans although some of the German made Preiser figures come close.

    One other point is that it is possible to accurately 3d scan a human head and reproduce it by 3d printing. The equipment is still a bit pricey for us amateurs, but that may change in the near future.

    There is one other possible scale, 1/100. It has been commonly used by professional architects for 3d building models and has a lot of mostly modern figure and vehicle details available from a few sources. However I suspect that architect model building may decline in use with modern computer modeling being a less expensive path to 3 dimensional presentations of architectural work.
    Ed Weldon, Los Gatos, CA
  3. ajbenson09
    ajbenson09 Well-Known Member
    Hi Edweldon,
    I didn't really understand what you said, I understood that when your creating a miniature that your scaling the object down by a certain scale. Beyond that I didn't understand anything.
  4. southernnscale
    southernnscale Well-Known Member
    Hello! I have been working with some miniature buildings and I have been doing Z scale 1:220 not to small but been using the Frosted ultra detail material I believe it shows good detail to a point. Some parts like railing might have to be a little out of scale with the shapeways rules on support wire size and wall size. The only problem I have found is with the new price change even the smaller printed models cost a bit so the more detail the more material and cost. some of my small building Cost $147.00 for a small model so you have to stay really close to the rule to keep the price down! I also do all my models in real scale first then scale them down with Netfabb. This way they can be easily changed to any scale! Here are some of mine I have many more but you can see the detail in these. you can add siding or brick to buildings.
    IMG_4997.JPG IMG_7026.JPG IMG_5472.JPG IMG_5617.JPG IMG_5426.JPG IMG_2266.JPG
  5. edweldon
    edweldon Member
    Sounds like shapeways may be pricing themselves out of the bulk of the model train market for anything but casting masters and tiny detail parts too difficult to make any other way. When it comes to structures the cubic volume of a complete structure is the killer. The "air" inside the structure is cheaper than the plastic but it still costs. Best to stick with flat wall and roof pieces and plan on assembling them with some adhesive or mechanical joint.
  6. ajbenson09
    ajbenson09 Well-Known Member
    Hi Southernscale, thank you so much for the help and the images! They really helped me to understand the scale. Particularly the one you have of the multiple buildings! Like I said I want to make a lot of buildings. However, part of my problem was figuring out away that I could make a ton of buildings without the entire set becoming an irritating space hog. So you mentioned that if I use your method, which I really like, I could include brick and or siding. What would be the minimum size I could get away with in order to include such little details? Also how do you scale in Netfabb? I've been trying to figure it out, but the most I've learned is how to fix holes that I didn't know were in my model.
    Also thank you for pointing out the cost, I haven't completely taken that aspect into consideration.
  7. southernnscale
    southernnscale Well-Known Member
    I should have also said these models are one piece per building. I didn't have to glue pieces together! But hard to paint when doing the hand rails and other small pieces. sorry for the late reply but not on here a lot!
  8. southernnscale
    southernnscale Well-Known Member
    It's not easy to explain! I do all my drawings in real scale. then use Netfabb to check and scale.