Nick Karatzides, a 39-year-old 3D modeler, animator, product designer, artist, and maker, creates 3D printed scale model kits and diorama accessories for “discerning collectors and hobbyists seeking more than ‘another-model-in-their-showcase’” quality.
His latest project is a tribute to the works of RAF Wing Commander Kenneth Horatio Wallis, a pioneer gyrocopter aviator during and after WWII.
Wallis served in the Royal Air Force as a Westland Lysander and Wellington pilot and flew 28 bomber missions over Germany. After the War, Wallis piloted the Convair B-36 Peacemaker and worked in research and development before retiring in1964.
Developed in the early 1960s, the aircraft on which Karatzides’ work is based was built in a number of variants, and one of them became famous as “Little Nellie,” the gyrocopter flown in the 1967 James Bond film “You Only Live Twice.”
The scale model kits are printed in 1/18 scale for aviation or military dioramas from Shapeways’ Frosted Ultra Detail matte translucent plastic material, and the kits contain all the necessary parts for assembling an autogyro, all in the Anyuta3D shop on Shapeways. Karatzides has also created a whole list of additional diorama accessories like oil barrels, fire extinguishers, jerrycans, and wheel chocks which can be purchased separately to lend the finished display even more authenticity.
“Before I start building a new scale model, I always try to study as much as possible the object of construction,” says Karatzides. “Any available technical manuals and detailed walk-around photos, always help during model building process.”
Karatzides says 3D printing technology as it applies to scale modeling “is a great evolution in the hobby and a creative tool that helps us to build better and more realistic models.”
According to the artist, it took him just a couple of hours of CAD work on his laptop to 3D design, scale into correct 1/18 size, and then digitally cut the autogyro’s compartments into virtual pieces. He says he’s always mindful of the need to make sure that the later printed parts will fit together perfectly and ultimately add up to a fine scale model.
He says that after he builds the 3D model, he double checks the various parts for any mistakes by 3D printing them all.
“As soon as the produced parts were cleaned, I checked for broken parts and imperfections,” he adds. “The model now consists of only a few parts in basic frame sections. Some additional details such as supporting rods, control bars and wires, made of styrene, will be added later.”
You can buy the gyrocopter in 1/18 scale by clicking here, in 1/16 scale here, and you can see the entire collection of the artist’s products in his catalog at Shapeways as well.
People are building complex objects to suit their needs every day with 3D printing, and model kit makers are among the most avid users to embrace the technology. What you think of Nick Karatzides’ autogyro models? Let us know in the 3D Printed Autogyro Models forum thread on 3DPB.com