David Merriman’s Scratchbuilding the Dove (unfinished)

2014 Note:   David Merriman started this series of articles, some 14 years ago.   It was never finished, but there was a lot of great information and standard David Merriman commentary.   I’ll be reposting some of this as time permits. 

by David Merriman, Jr.

NOTE FROM CULTTVMAN: David Merriman has some very strong opinions about the modeling hobby. You may not like some of what he has to say. Remember, scratchbuilding is an advanced form of the hobby. It’s not for everyone. But I think there is something for all model builders in this series of articles. Remember, you have been warned about Dave’s opinions.


This starts an effort to teach some of you how to become an award wining model builder – If you’ll only listen, practice, and invest the time to develop your craft. The subject here will win a Gold trophy at next years Wonderfest contest. I’ll show you where the Gold trophies grow. And how to tend that garden. Specifically, a 1/48 scratch-built model of the DOVE from Journey to the Far Side of the Sun


The Makings of a Model Builder

Accomplished model builders work with such mediums as clay, wood, metal, sheet plastic (and extruded industrial shapes), expanded foams, resin, and the like. We employ fabrication techniques to render those raw materials to the desired shape: machine and wood turning, resin and metal casting, acid-etching, GRP lay-up, vacuforming, and numerous other methods of achieving a model part or master. What technique the experienced model builder employs is driven by his real-life shop experience with the materials being worked and the physical challenges presented to the finished product.

Model builders are compelled to acquire and sift through photos, plans, text and VHS/DVD/film records that pertain to the prototype; the subject; the ‘real thing’ we are making a model representation of. Further, model builders often have to prepare exacting orthographic drawings (projections of the subject in plan, profile, ends, and sections). Drawings needed to perform the critical layout and assembly tasks.

Wouldn’t you want to have the skills to achieve any subject, in model form, you wished?   I’ve been to two Wonderfest events.  There were a lot of talented people roaming the halls at that convention (and other competitions).  Why don’t you take advantage? Stop those guy’s who’s work you respect, and suck their brains dry.

I can teach you a few techniques, if you have the guts to listen and the smarts to learn.  Follow me.


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