Lately, I've been up to paper models. I was randomly browsing the web when I came across the site of Topo Solitario (worth having a look, just click). Among other things, I found a very nice looking paper model of a dropship, named UD-12 Chickenhawk. I decided to build one for fun and also as a test to my own manual dexterity. Here you can see the result (minis shown for size reference):
It doesn't look bad from a distance, but once you get a closer look... ouch! Nonetheless I'm satisfied with it as it was printed on standard thin paper, instead of the heavyweight paper recommended for these models (not only does it make the model stronger, it also allows for an easier assembly).
As I like the model, I plan to use it as a prop in the Galaxtar adventure "Collateral Damage"; I'll personalize the model giving it the same colour scheme as the protagonists wear (khaki camo) and some logos of the company involved (Union Aerospace Corporation). Customization is easy because Topo offers the model as a UCM download, a little (and free) program that makes changing colour schemes a matter of a few clicks.
And a bigger plan is developing my own paper model based on this, the UD-13 Ironhawk, a little intrastellar ship (or perhaps an overpriced shuttle?). The idea is making it 50% bigger just by printing it in Din A3 paper instead of the usual Din A4, and probably giving it two extra engines, ans a dome for the black hole generator that would convert it into a interstellar ship. That ship, with a neutral grey colour, will be named "Winged Horse" and I'll use it as the prop for the spaceship of the group of scifi smugglers and criminals (Reaper's Sascha Dubois & Rosie and Heresy's Vincent B. Ruddock & Painless Joe).
And why this sudden urge for paper models? Well, their utility in rpg's is similar to that of minis (which I talked about here). Of course, they won't ever have the same level of detail; but they have the advantage that they don't need to be painted. In my opinion there are a couple (or three) of good uses for them:
· Counters / paper minis for combat encounters, as they are a very cheap alternative for minis, that can be printed on demand, thus saving storage space too.
· Props, for some elements of an adventure you want to give some extra importance to (as is the case with the dropship model I've shown you above).
· Also, for people with no storage problems, or very laborious, as scenery. Paper scenery is becoming very popular nowadays, and there are quite a bunch of companies selling very good looking packs. I can recommend World Works Games, which offers medieval, modern and futuristic buildings, sceneries and models.
So, to get you started, apart from the two sites linked above, here you have four more (thanks go to McFonz at the Forum of Doom for pointing me towards the first three):
Jay's Box of Sci-Fi CardToys
Paper Model Directory