I’ve seen paper craft kits before, but not like this.
Terada Mokei is a small paper craft model company that first got my attention at a souvenir shop at Tokyo Skytree. I had never heard of them, but their designs and packaging were top-notch and professional, so I had to come back to the office and ask about them.
But no one else had heard of them, either. And we started thinking, ‘Well, why not?’ Here we’ve stumbled upon a great company with great (and expansive!) product lines, and somehow we had missed out on offering their products before. A few weeks later, here we are, with dozens of their superb kits available worldwide through our website.
Most of the kits you’ll find are made in 1/100 scale, with some in 1/50 scale as well — the scale used for architectural models. Terada Mokei’s website sums up their company and how their lineups got started in much better words than I could, and in English. Read it here! The short version, though, is that Naoki Terada, the founder, was seeking a solution to a problem in architectural design: the ability to easily, quickly add any number of accessories to architectural models to improve their appearance, without the intensive labor involved in hand making each and every piece. He found his solution in mass-production techniques similar to plastic model kits, which brought about Terada Mokei’s main product line: the Architectural Model Accessories Series.
The line boasts numerous themes, including spacecraft, famous cities’ street scenery, sports, Japanese cultural events, folklore, and even more. Most kits come on a single sheet of sturdy paper with a postcard backing which the company also painstakingly designs to provide inspiration for assembly.
Unlike plastic model kits, there are no assembly instructions. Everyone is free to build the kits as they please and create custom scenes to suit their interests. The kits can be used to decorate architectural models, but they offer so much more. They stand alone just as well, as you can see from the examples in this post.
Because there are no instructions, a little guidance is necessary to get started, especially if you haven’t built a paper craft kit before. To this end, Terada Mokei has published an extremely helpful video guide on YouTube to get you started. The basics included in this video are all you need to pick up any one of their kits and have a great time building it.
Here are the takeaways:
- Gather your tools: A craft knife, tweezers, ruler, wood or craft glue, and a toothpick
- When cutting pieces off the runners, it doesn’t hurt to leave the “nub” tabs on the piece, if you’re working with a piece that needs folding assembly. The tabs can be used for gluing.
- For any pieces you’ll be folding, line your ruler up across the tiny holes, and run your craft knife over it to score the paper (don’t cut all the way through!). This will let you fold the pieces without any distortion.
- Use your tweezers to fold any tiny parts.
- Use your toothpick to apply glue.
But wait, there’s more.
Aside from the kits in the Architectural Model Accessories Series, there are other products in the series that don’t require assembly (or, at least, not much of it). Of particular interest: the greeting cards and coasters.
The greeting cards from Terada Mokei are all very simple yet sophisticated. They tend to come in a single color, with neatly-curved corners, a simple message on the front, and another inside with a paper cutout scene that can be popped up. They’re a clever, and affordable, way to add a touch of fun for hobbyists during gift-giving seasons.
The coaster sets are also a lot of fun. Each coaster has a character or bit of scenery along the edge that you simply fold upwards, as seen above. Each coaster pack has four coasters, and they all feature a different piece of decor, so you can even stack all four up under a single glass to create a miniature scene. Individually, they’re great for identifying separate glasses, and together, they’re just fun.
If these paper crafts have struck your fancy, you can see all of our offerings right here and pick some up for yourself. And never fear — though many may be out of stock, we’re pleased to say that we can get additional stock fairly quickly, so you won’t be kept waiting too long if you have your heart set on a particular kit.
I’d love to hear what you think about these if you’re reading this, and would even more so like to see your projects if you’ve built any of Terada Mokei’s paper crafts! I’ll be starting on my own soon and look forward to the challenge.