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Model Design &
Blueprinting Handbook
by Charles Adams

Reviewed by Sean Hert
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Over the years, many modelers of various subjects and topics have looked for and found books on scratchbuilding and detailing models. While various construction techniques, methods and materials are discussed and demonstrated, few of these books ever delve into the technical aspects of model design; the process of turning plans, pictures, or even simply ideas into something tangible to work with. This work, Volume One of a new set, is an introduction into those skills.

This book is different from many of the publications we review here; there are no pictures! Now, there are over 230 illustrations throughout the 300+ pages of this book. These drawings are truly illustrations; they delineate concepts from the text.

The author of this book is Charles Adams, a name that may be familiar. A longtime modeler and author, he created such websites as and, as well as contributing to several books and magazines. He has over 20 years of experience in the technical fields of drafting, illustration and model building.

Model Design is a book that is organized quite well into 2 primary sections, Creating Blueprints and Making Construction Patterns. Each section is further broken down into chapters, and each chapter has multiple topic bullet points. You can very quickly find a particular subject to reference when needed.

Table of Contents

Section One: Creating Blueprints

  • The Blueprinting Process
  • Blueprinting Basics & Standard Practices
  • Laying Out Plan Views

Section Two: Making Construction Patterns

  • Pattern-Making Basics
  • Cross Sections
  • Developments
  • Transitions and Intersections

One of the things that may appear daunting at first glance, flipping through the pages of this book, are the large numbers of technical and isometric drawings, as well as the equations and math! Don't let this discourage you; the formulae described inside are well explained.

This book serves as an excellent manual on drafting and 3D techniques useful to the modeler. It also uses examples from all sorts of modeling, from aircraft and ships to railroading. Each subject aids in illustrating different concepts; airfoil shapes to cylinders to prisms. You never know, when trying to design the modified bridge for that dream variant of a ship, which example will prove useful. It would be safe to assume that all of them will serve well at some point.

The book also has tips for working with common computer applications, pointers concerning image formats and printing, and an excellent glossary.


This fascinating book is a "Must-Have"; it is a very impressive volume dealing with topics that are daunting for many modelers. Now, this book isn't a children's book; the concepts and techniques herein can be difficult to grasp and understand, but Charles Adams handles these subjects with aplomb and clarity. That said, I wish I'd had this book back in school! This book will quickly become a well worn and oft-referenced volume on your bookshelf.

Modeler's Notebook plans further volumes in this series, all of which will join this book as required reading- and owning- for any serious modeler. Highly Recommended- Pick up a copy today!

Model Design & Blueprinting Handbook is available direct from the publisher, Modelers Notebook for $34.95 US + S&H. Thanks to Modeler's Notebook for suppling this review sample.