Craig Martin – President – Archetype 3D

Model making is what we do. In fact we belong to the Association of Professional Model Makers (APMM) www.modelmakers.org . There was a time not too long ago when people would hear that term “model maker” and know exactly what it is we do. Those days are no longer. For awhile my shop also did computer graphic work and the word “model” became a much different thing. A model – all of a sudden – was a 3D form built in computer space. I had to distinguish between virtual models and physical models. I closed the department that built virtual models a few years ago. We now build only physical models yet many conversations with clients must still start with a definition of terms.

“I am building a development and would like a model” says a client. I say “Great, I am sure we can help you with that”. Then he says “I need to be able to fly over the site and then swoop down through a window to pan the interior”. “Ah, I guess you are looking for a virtual model, We build physical models”. “Physical models?” Yes” I say, “Scale models that you put in your showroom to allow people to see your project in miniature”. “Oh, you mean like a diorama?”

Diorama? Now we have a problem. I refuse to substitute the word diorama for the word model. The actual history of the word diorama is interesting as it started as an elaborate theatrical experience invented by Daguerre https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diorama. but the modern version of the word conjures up, in my mind, shoe boxes with dirt inside and a few army men to represent a civil war battle done in elementary school. (No offense to all the elaborate dioramas built for fun and competition by exceptional model makers – it’s just, the ones I built were done with Nuns watching over my work). A diorama often recreates a scene, usually it’s the model makers interpretation of a historical event, or an imaginative snapshot from the model builders imagination. I mainly build models that represent the future, a development that has not been built yet or an industrial design that is only a dream. I have built historical models for museums including the historical water drainages in Yellowstone National park and the Historical Camino Real Trail. But even these models cannot be defined as Dioramas.

The Yellowstone model being built and details of Yellowstone park and the Tetons

The Camino Real trail model as a topo and painted with labeling (this model also had an interactive LED system.)

I am a model maker. My company is listed under “Model Maker” in the phone book. There was a time when most people would be able to read that and understand what I do for a living. Of course then as now I still get the occasional young, sweet voice on the phone asking “Can you make me into a model?” Sure, honey, come on by and I’ll see what I can do.

Craig Martin

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