We Repair Models Too!

We just completed a model repair on one of the displays at the Mueller State Park Visitor Center in Colorado. 

Good as new=)   BEFORE:                                  AFTER:

The Mueller State Park Visitor Center, located atop Big View Overlook, features a scenic panoramic overlook hidden below the shadow of Pikes Peak. In the heart of Mueller State Park, this information area features indoor and outdoor exhibits emphasizing the park’s natural habitats, wildlife and heritage. Visit the Watchable Wildlife Kiosk and learn about those who call Mueller home. At the Gazebo, hand painted panels of the surrounding mountains help you get your bearings before heading out on the Wapiti Nature Trail.

Three trailheads from the Visitor Center parking lot connect you to short family friendly or long connecting hikes. Don’t forget to pick up a trail map before you head out!

Estimating Production Time For Your Architectural Model

We are your partners in this venture and accurate information is paramount to the success of the project. An accurate timeline will clearly delineate expectations. We promise to give you regular, accurate and transparent information on the progress of your project. We will post images when appropriate for all your team members to review. You will always be welcome at the shop for visits and inspections. If there is a problem that arises, we promise that you will be the first to know so that we can work together toward a solution.

Next Steps
We hope you have found this information to be helpful. But we also understand that it also probably generated many more questions than just the 10. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our shop and we can walk you through the process. We have been working with clients for over 30 years and look forward to working with you on your next project.

Display Elements For Your Architectural Model

What other display elements are needed (stand, cover, case)? How is your spectacular model going to be displayed?

The stand is an integral part of the model presentation. It can tie together the style of the model with the showroom design. There are several considerations that go into constructing a stand.

If you are building a showroom and working with a designer and carpenter to get it looking great, feel free to have them build the stand for the model. They can match the wood and finish exactly but we may need special considerations from this team. If we are not building the stand, we must work closely with those that are. The model has to fit comfortably but not so tight that you can’t get it out. If we are doing any lighting or electronics, easy access is needed for maintenance. Your stand maker is now part of the team and good communication is paramount.

We recommend dust covers on ninety percent of the models we build. Unless planned for, most models do not hold up well with people constantly touching them. Under a cover, we have models that have been on continuous display for over twenty years. Other models are built to be touched and they can hold up well but need to be built more durably.

The crate your model goes into can also be an important element to your presentation. If the model is a showroom or a trade show, the crate is simple, strong and heavy. Many models are taken to their audience and the crate needs to look more elegant to reflect what is inside. We have built custom wood crates with a nice stain finish, handles for easy carrying, and casters if they are a little heavy. We have also made “roady” style cases and “suitcase” models to be taken on an airplane. Answering question one “What is your model going to be used for” will go a long way to determine the best crate for a project.

Special Effects For Your Architectural Model

What special effects will enhance your model?
We add lighting to many of our models but that is only one way to enhance your clients’ experience. We have also created motorized components and sound effects along with interactive touch screens. These special effects add a completely new dimension to your presentation that your development may well benefit from.

  • ●  We built the interior of a McDonalds with actual spinning gears and fans complete until we made the gears and fans spin.
  • ●  We designed an interactive model for the visitor’s bureau at Lake Tahoe. Two touchscreen computers activated dozens of LED lights on the model. The screens gave specific information on hotels, casinos, golf courses, museums and other points of interest.

● We produced a lighting display for a residential tower in which the salesperson could shine a laser on a unit which would then light up. At the same time, the big screen behind the model showed the floor plan, price point and the precise view from out of the windows.

Programming interactive features have gotten easier recently and are now only limited by the imagination. The cost/benefit of interactive features is also easy to calculate. Do you need a sales person to talk to every visitor in your office? The model can act as a self-guided tour freeing up your staff to talk to the buyers with the most potential for closing. Get your important information across in an entertaining way and your model will pay for itself more quickly.

Are Completed Drawings Required For An Architectural Model?

The answer to a very common question is NO, you do not have to have completed drawings for us to bid your project. In fact, it is always best to get your model maker involved as early as possible, even in the initial drawing phase of the design. With early involvement, you can get cost estimates to put into your budget and be able to schedule the entire project with completion dates for the plans and the model. It is always helpful to secure a timeframe for your work so that there are no delays in delivery. We have extensive experience and have most likely already built similar projects to the one you are proposing. Cost estimates are often based on extensive past experiences.

When plans are complete, please understand that any changes can have a significant impact on the model itself. We take plans very literally and try not to deviate at all from what we see. The designer is the artist and our job as craftsmen is to fully realize the designer’s vision. If we can see it in the drawings we can build it. Conversely, if the building has an area that the drawings do not show clearly, we will need to ensure we have open communication and come to a consensus. There are always a few clarifications needed between the design and the client We are both working to create a great sales tool and in this phase of the construction everyone needs to communicate clearly.

Special details are also important for your model maker to see. Things like bench details or wrought iron fencing can add beautiful elements to the model so being able to see these types of details in drawings or reference photos is crucial.

Colors are always a challenge to properly match. We can only accept colors as physical samples or color system numbers that we can get samples for. If color chips don’t tell the whole story such as in a variegated stone pattern, a photograph is acceptable as long as it is printed on a piece of paper, approved by the designer and physically mailed to us. Colors CANNOT be sent as email attachments since we mix our colors very precisely and computer monitors and
printers are notorious for altering shade and tone.

We take coloration very seriously. To get final approvals, we will construct a small colored wall section to send to our clients for approvals. This is the moment of final approvals for textures and colors before they are applied to the entire model.

Determining The Best Scale For Your Architectural Model

What scale is best for your model?  We now know the area of your model and size that you want it to be. The scale is now easily calculated. Below is a guide to typical scales and the types of sales models that are best shown in each. If you are selling interiors, you are going to need a larger scaled model to show the details. Master plan models can be built in smaller scales to show more property in a smaller size.

Different scales are used to sell different aspects of your development. A master plan can be on a small scale like 1″=100′ to sell properties and community.

1″ = 100′ (Size 6′ x 7′)

Land Development Design Model


1″ = 8′ scale (Size 4′ x 5′)

Used to show individual units, interior detail or detailed sections of a building. We build whole buildings in 1″ = 4′ scale but the size is large and they are usually built for a showroom setting.

Resort Construction Model


1″ = 4′ scale or larger (Size 4′ x 2′)

Interior Architectural Model

The model is a very personal and interactive sales tool. It immediately demonstrates a commitment to the project and the professionalism of your company.

This is the most popular scale for exterior detailed architectural models. It is easy to see most textures and other subtle details in this scale. Colorful people and cars are available from the hobby industry and most of the models are a good size for showroom display.

If you still want well-detailed exteriors but you have a larger site with multiple buildings. 1″=16′ scale might work well for your project.

1″ = 16′ scale (Size 5′ x 5′)

Beach Resort Architectural Model

Another reason this is a commonly used scale is again the hobby industry has ready-made cars and people that can populate the model.

If your focus is on the immediate site surrounding your larger development. 1″=20′ may be the best scale.

1″ = 20′ (Size 4′ x 4′)

Hotel Design Model

We can still show textures on the buildings but they are getting smaller and less easy to notice. This scale is still good for colorful (though small) people and cars.

Typically, the focus is more on the site and a little less on the buildings in this scale. 1″ = 30′ is too small to show people so cars are the only items used to give a sense of activity.

1″ = 30′ (Size 5′ x 6′)

Resort Development Model

Landscaping and water features are often as much of a focus as buildings in this scale.

1” = 50’ scales are good for showing a larger master plan designs. Building again is usually (but not always) shown as mass models. This has been a good scale to show entire golf course layouts, complex highway interchanges, and phases of master plan developments.

Scale 1″ = 50′ (Size 6′ x 7′)

City Architectural Model

Buildings are often shown as mass models when they get this small but as you can see in the image windows, doors and colors still show up well. 3D Landscaping is more limited, mostly trees, grasses, and forests although we use a lot of colors to represent different ecological zones.

1” = 300’ / 400’ / 500’ scales are mostly used to show detailed topography over a large area of land. The building can still be seen but they are little more than extruded footprints. We have used a much smaller scale on models done for the National Park Service of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons these are done with some vertical exaggeration.

1″ = 500′ and smaller (Size 4’x 5′)

Topography Scale Model


Let's Build Something

Let one of our talented model makers discuss your project with you.
You don’t need to have your plans finalized. We pride ourselves in
being able to work with the customer from start to finish in the
design and build process.

3000 Airport Drive Erie Colorado Unit 201A 80516
+1 (303) 449-0878

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