A master of miniature model-making shares his hard-earned secrets

I first discovered David Neat’s work via his website where he delves deeply into all sorts of fascinating interests, from furniture design to natural history to art. Mainly what drew me there was his extensive tutorials on all aspects of miniature model-making. The amount of content he’s posted is staggering, as is the quality of everything. Read comments about David’s site (or this book) and you will hear from seasoned pros, surprised by how much they’ve learned from David’s work.

Model-Making: Materials and Methods collects some of David’s best content from the site. While only 176 pages, this book manages to cram in a lot of eye-opening tips and techniques for building miniatures. David comes from the theater set-building world and teaches design and model-making, mainly with theater, TV, and movie models in mind, but the techniques in this book can be applied to all forms of model-making, from dioramas and dollhouses to tabletop miniature games and train layouts. Chapters cover model construction, molding and casting, working with metals, creating surfaces and textures (one of David’s strong suits), and finishing techniques.

I love a book that has so much to offer, you can simply poke your head into it for a few minutes and you’ve added a few more wrinkles to your brain by the time you put it down. Model-Making: Materials and Methods is such a book.

Model-Making: Materials and Methods
by David Neat
Crowood Press
2008, 176 pages, 8.5 x 0.5 x 11.0 inches, Hardcover
$33 Buy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Notable Replies

  1. I have nothing against 3D printers and such, but I have much more respect for people who master the dozens of little techniques required to scratch build models.

    I need to re-create a transparent fin unit for a scale Titan II model rocket. I built the model (badly) in 1978 or so, and rebuilt it (pretty nicely) in 1999, but a disasterous first flight resulted in the fin unit breaking. It was made from "butyrate' plastic, which was once common in hobby shops; it was used to make model airplane windows. The "glue" to put it together was clear butyrate dope. A skilled modeler would know what clear plastics to use and what adhesives would work best. I'm in my 18th year of procrasticnating!

  2. Neat is a super interesting dude, even apart from his specific modelling work. A great example of the more humble side of maker culture. (Your link to his blog is broken, too. Just a heads-up!)

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