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Book Review
Model Design and Blueprinting Handbook, Volume 1
Model Design and Blueprinting Handbook, Volume 1, “An In depth Guide for 3D and Traditional Modelers”

by: Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Model Design and Blueprinting Handbook, Volume 1
“An In depth Guide for 3D and Traditional Modelers”
Soft cover
Over 230 Illustrations

Not just another “modeling manual”, the Model Design and Blueprinting Handbook is a foundational course in project design, demonstrated step-by-step, presented professionally, albeit easy to grasp, modeler friendly format. With the information provided in this new writing by Charles Adams, the limits have been decreased significantly for ship modelers. How, you may ask? Armed with the information provided here, a little research, and a desire to succeed, the shipwright can now design a new model subject, or adapt a current model kit, into that “dream variant” that will never be mass produced, easily, accurately, and scale to the level. Whether it is an ancient sailing ship from the days of oars and wind, or an ultra-modern top secret warship variant, the possibilities are quite endless!

When Charles Adams first posted news of this upcoming publication a short while back, here on the KitMaker Network, needless to say, my interest was more than sparked, as I could see immediately just how much a manual of this type could impact ship modelers as a whole. . .comparatively speaking, the shipwright normally gets the short end of the stick when it comes to new releases from the major model manufacturers, only because of pure popularity of genres. Let’s face it, mates, take a look at any Squadron flyer, 58 pages of armor and figure kits, and three pages of ships and ship related kits! But, enter this new manual, and now the shipwright has the capabilities, to design, draw, and reproduce, practically anything that floats, swims, or dives, using computer animated software, or hardcopy blueprints. The processes of 3d design are covered well in these pages, which will allow the ship modeler an open door to advancing his knowledge in modeling design and creation.

The book itself, and inside the cover...

The book itself, first in a planned series, is printed in paperback style, bound in a heavy index cover. The format, layout and design, is much reminiscent of one of my old college textbooks, but geared toward the modeler, completely. Divided into two major sections, each of the two sections is then divided further into various chapters, which support the sections main subject idea. Each chapter is then divided into subsections, each beginning with an overview, and ending with a summary of what was previously discussed. Nearly each and every page contains drawings and illustrations, as well as informative text. Important additional notes and details are given in the gray sidebars of the pages, along with a detailed glossary and appendices, providing the reader with an easier understanding of each topic covered.

The book is divided into the following sections/chapters:

Section One: Making Blueprints
• The Blueprinting Process
• Blueprinting Basics & Standard Practices
• Laying Out Plan Views

Section Two: Making Construction Patterns
• Pattern-Making Basics
• Cross Sections
• Developments (Patterns for 3-D shapes)
• Transitions & Intersections

Specialized information is presented in three appendices:
• Appendix A: Printing Your Plans on Paper
• Appendix B: Scanning Template Images
• Appendix C: Importing & Exporting Drawings

The books informational content flows very well, and reads surprisingly easily, considering the depth of subject study. The author writes in a style that’s very easy to understand, as well as entertaining, making it easier for the reader to retain the knowledge being covered, as you progress through the books contents, keeping a firm understanding of each concept. The book is jam packed with drawings and illustrations to support the text information, (over 230 of them!) drawn clear and concise.

*NOTE~In order to provide the most recent, accurate, and up to date information in regards to the index and glossary of this manual, the author has made each available in an online, interactive format at www.modelersnotebook.com in a downloadable, .PDF file.

The Author...

This book was developed, written, and illustrated by Charles Adams, who is the founder of starshpbuilder.com and airshipbuilder.com, and an accomplished modeler himself. Add the fact that he is also an artist, technical writer, and editor, with over 20 years experience in design, drafting, and illustration. His forte’ is creating accurate plans and blueprints for complex modeling subjects, using the latest tools and technology. Adams’ work has appeared in Fine Scale Modeler magazine, as well as on many websites.

Final overview, thoughts, and conclusions...

Let’s face it, mates, as ship modelers, we are a definite minority in the grand scope of the modeling world...just take a look at any Squadron flyer, and what do you see? Three pages of ship and ship related items, and some sixty odd pages of other military based modeling subjects, with, of course, a heavy emphasis on armor and figure/dio subjects. That’s what sells, and that’s the way it will always be, in my humble opinion...BUT, this book now gives the shipwright a unique opportunity, one that has been long overdue, which is a tutorial on how to design, draw/plan, and build, any ship variant he so desires.
The well thought out, easily understood text is modeler driven, and the supporting drawings, patterns, and illustrations help to make the techniques easier to grasp...As the first book in a planned series, I firmly believe that this book should be on the shelf of every serious modeler, no matter what his favorite building genre’ may be, and the following planned titles in the series can only enhance the overall usability of the collection. Highly recommended from this modelers point of view!

Many thanks goes out to Mr. Charles Adams, for giving us the unique opportunity to examine this book first hand, and also for helping us as modelers to broaden our perspectives, and build our dreams!

If you’re still not convinced, (and even if you are!), visit www.modelersnotebook.com to find sample chapter sections in .PDF file format, the extensive online interactive index and glossary, and other details of the book, including ordering information.

Keep Modeling!
Highs: Hands down, I feel that this new manual and further volumes in the series are going to change the face of future scratch building, all for the better!
Lows: Absolutely None!
Verdict: Highly reccomended, for the beginning or experienced ship modeler, this manual will allow you to create your own models
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: Volume 1
  Suggested Retail: $29.95 USD, 22.80 EUR
  Related Link: Official Company Website
  PUBLISHED: Apr 09, 2007
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Modelers Notebook.com!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...

Copyright ©2020 text by Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Ahoy Rui, Thanks for sharing.....looks like this book could be of very good use for me. I must order a copy........Ahh!.... what the heck another book.... Have a great day! Joe
APR 09, 2007 - 05:14 AM
Honestly, Joe, any modeler who enjoys scratch-building/kit-bashing, will benefit from this book. . .but especially us ship modelers! ~Gunny
APR 09, 2007 - 02:40 PM

What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • MDB
    Front Cover
  • MDB
    Back cover
  • MDB
    Making Construction Paterns - Transitions and Intersections
  • MDB
    Making Construction Paterns - Cross Sections
  • MDB
    Creating Blueprints - Laying Out Plan Views
  • MDB
    Creating Blueprints -Blueprinting Basics & Standard Practices
  • MDB
    Making Construction Patterns - Patern-making Basics
  • MDB
    Making Construction Patterns - Developments