neděle 11. srpna 2013

Papercraft: Betexa – 3x Architecture

Description of Czech publishing house and review of three of their buildings. Betexa was founded in 1997 in my hometown, Brno, and slowly swarmed the Czech market with dozens of models of all possible genres and difficulties. Among them is a vast collection of Czech castles and chateaus, which would be great, except the quality of execution isn’t always very good. On the plus side are the buildings often huge and impressive, and they are often the only available model of a given structure. For the builders abroad is also a definitively positive thing the presence of the walkthrough in English and German. 

On the opposite side you may expect extremely smooth paper, which should be roughened first on the parts that are supposed to be glued; precision of the drawing also isn’t a strong point. But it seems that their models got better over the years. Personally I’ve built only a handful of their models, most of the castles were put together by my father. This is my presentation and review of three different architectural models from Betexa, which showcases their progress over the last decade (models are from 2000, 2003 and 2009). These were built by me over the course of July 2013, after period of three or four years of my papercraft hibernation. 

1) Karlstejn Castle (Hrad Karlštejn) (2000)  

Author: Ing. Robert Navrátil Scale: 1:350 Website:
Karlstejn is one of the most famous, if not the most famous Czech castle and it’s a rather strange, that this is the first time the model of it was published (some years later the same publishing house brought smaller model). The first unusual thing about the model's construction is the fact it’s build from top to bottom – and during first half of the process it can’t support itself, so you risk the additional damage to the long and uneven parts of the walls. The most difficult part is to assembly the imperial palace and its roof, since there aren’t many available ways how to reach to all pieces that need to be glued together. Assembly of the hill itself is also difficult for precision, but it’s doable. The final hell is to put together two separate parts – the inner part of castle + hill itself and the Burgrave’s palace area and the Well tower. Thanks to abundance of free time, I’ve managed to put it together in four days, to the infinite pleasure of my girlfriend, who is in love with the Czech historical musical set on it.

2) Watch-Tower in Roudnice nad Labem (Hláska v Roudnici nad Labem) (2003) 

Author: Anonymous (possibly Ing. Robert Navrátil) Scale: 1:150 Website:
Actually the first model I’ve build after my three years long gluing slumber, to practice a bit for the Karlstejn castle. Rather simple in execution, but served its purpose. There are no guidelines other than Czech, but the construction drawing is easy enough to follow even without the knowledge of Czech language. My assembly wasn’t completely successful, unfortunately.

3) Vernacular architecture from (Czech-Moravian) Highlands (Lidové stavby z Vysočiny) (2009) Autor: Bestr, Navrátil Scale: 1:87 Website:

Actually two buildings in one package – first is watermill and the other is rural homestead. This is possibly the best made Betexa mode, I’ve seen and built in my entire career. It’s finally printed out at good (not smoothed) paper; the colours don’t go out of the areas of the parts and even enables to build the models in two versions, either the simple one or with using cut-out windows, real-looking milling wheel or the supporting beams. The only greater issue is with the way the roof is attached to both buildings: first you have the walls; these are covered with big, flat, wholesome strip of paper. Then you build the roof, which also get covered with other big, flat, wholesome... you get the idea. And only then you glue these two big, flat... whatever together. It doesn’t make problems with watermill, but the homestead suffers greatly thanks to impossibility to adjust the parts with the final touch while gluing them to the terrain – or you have to cut most of the inside of such construction areas.And in case of the homestead, what looks like a damaged piece, is actually a drawing on the modell.


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