Paper models, also called card models or papercraft, are models constructed mainly from sheets of heavy paper, paperboard, or card stock.
Printed card models became common in magazines in the early part of the 20th century. The popularity of card modeling boomed during World War II, when paper was one of the few items whose use and production was not heavily regulated.
Micromodels, designed and published in England from 1941 were very popular with 100 different models, including architecture, ships, and aircraft. But as plastic model kits became more commonly available, interest in paper decreased.
Since papercraft patterns can be easily printed and assembled, the Internet has become a popular means of exchanging them. Commercial corporations have recently begun using downloadable papercraft for their marketing (examples are Yamaha and Canon papercraft).
The availability of numerous models on the Internet at little or no cost, which can then be downloaded and printed on inexpensive inkjet printers has caused its popularity again to increase worldwide. Home printing also allows models to be scaled up or down easily (for example, in order to make two models from different authors, in different scales, match each other in size), although the paper weight might need to be adjusted in the same ratio.
Inexpensive kits are available from dedicated publishers (mostly based in Eastern Europe; examples include Halinski and Maly Modelarz, a portion of the catalog of which date back to 1950. Experienced hobbyists often scratchbuild models, either by first hand drawing or using software such as Adobe Illustrator. CAD and CG software, such as Rhino 3D, 3DS Max, Blender, and specialist software, like Pepakura Designer from Tama Software and Waybe or Dunreeb Cutout or Ultimate Papercraft 3D, may be employed to convert 3D computer models into two-dimensional printable templates for assembly. Because of this, there is a vast number of models available. Ships, automobiles, aircraft, spacecraft, buildings, and animals are all common. In recent years, Japanese subjects, such as Gundams and anime figures, have become common subjects in papercraft.
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