Formula 1 Papercraft [RB16]

I spent a few evenings building a Formula 1 car out of paper

I wouldn‘t consider myself a car person, but since watching Drive to Survive on Netflix I have been obsessed with Formula 1 racing. We get up in the morning every Saturday for qualifying and every Sunday for the race and even going so far as to watch 24 Hours of Le Mans. I admit that the Netflix docuseries is way more dramatized than the sport itself, but in general the races can be either wildly out of left wing or pretty predictable.
So far I‘d say my favourite team is somewhere between Red Bull Racing and Maclaren but once I had heard that Honda (the engine supplier for Red Bull) had posted various papercraft projects to the internet, I knew I had to build a Formula 1 car. The whole process took a few solid evenings after work to complete, but I had a ton of fun and want to share the experience and tips.
Before you start
Before you embark on your papercraft journey, you‘ll need a few things first:
A Cutting Mat

Yours doesn‘t have to be as elaborate as mine but you‘ll need a surface to cut your paper on. I got the HG Cutting Mat with Grooving A4 from

Design/Art Knife

Obviously we need a sharp knife to cut paper with. You can go with pretty much any knife here, but make sure its got the ability to replace the blade as you‘ll want to keep your cuts sharp. I got the Precision Design Knife set from

Angled Tweezers

You‘ll thank me later for this one. You can also use regular tweezers but the angled tweezers will help you set a bunch of smaller intricate folds in the papercraft. It‘ll also help you hold particularly small pieces in place as the glue dries. I got the Extra-Fine Needle Shape Tweezers set from

Transparent Adhesive

Emphasis on the word transparent. You can get some pretty good glue but make sure that it‘s the kind that dries transparent. We wouldn‘t want white smudges all over our nice model now would we! I‘d also recommend a glue that takes some time to dry and isn‘t as "permanent" as you may want to place a piece with glue and adjust it before it fully adheres. I got the B-7000 Industrial Glue from Amazon. This particular glue comes in small tubes whose caps have a sharp needle to prevent any clogging.

Heavyweight Cardstock paper

Paper!! But not just any paper. You will want to get paper that is heavier than 97 lbs as anything lighter will make the model too flimsy. I got the Neenah Cardstock 110lb Paper from Amazon

Paint Marker (Optional)

This is totally optional but highly recommend it. These paint marker pens can help clean up some of the creases and edges in the paper. I got the Uni-POSCA Paint Marker Pen - Fine Point - Set of 8 from Amazon

Setting Up
First thing we‘ll now need is the pattern and intructions! You can download the papercraft by going to Honda‘s Fan Zone website and scroll down near the bottom of the page where you should see a bunch of papercraft models. Pick one to download and print the pages off on your heavyweight cardstock paper.
All the papercrafts Honda have uploaded.
All the papercrafts Honda have uploaded.
When you open up the PDF you‘ll notice this legend at the top of the sheet. It is very important to follow as you could accidentally fold or cut a part the wrong way. A Mountain fold is folding the paper as if you were creating a mountain. And a valley fold is folding the paper inward, as if you were creating a valley.
Throughout the patterns you‘ll also notice some parts of it have a tiny star. This just means that you‘ll be gluing the area. If it has a number in addition to the star, that indicates what part piece needs to be glued there!
Build the Thing
The nose.
The nose.
Building the papercraft is as simple as following the included instructions.
But to help you out, here are a few tips:
  • Cut slowly, use a ruler - Cut out the pieces slowly with your knife. It can be tempting to blast through the cutting part but the cut is really where the quality of your model starts. If you leave too much white space, it really shows through in the model. But also, it‘s paper so if you mess up just print another!
  • Keep your knife sharp - If you ever find your knife catching on the paper while cutting, that means your blade is getting dull and it needs to be sharpened.
  • When cutting curves, cut in a "C" direction (in to out) - This is a weird tip but I‘ve found that when doing cuts on a curve it is easier to control the cut going inwards then out like the shape of a "C".
Body Chasis and Tail
Body Chasis and Tail
  • Use paint markers to paint paper edges - I alluded to this earlier but after you‘ve cut a piece I highly recommend painting the edge of the piece with a paint marker. The paper you‘re using is thick and will have a micrometer of depth which will end up showing through in your model.
  • Use tweezers to help fold delicate folds - There are quite a few tiny folds in the build where you can use angled tweezers and a hard edge to fold the paper. I don‘t recommend folding these with fingers as you can get folds that are more rounded this way.
  • Score the fold line to make crispier folds - And my best tip yet, if you "score" (make a sort of indent in the paper) the fold line before you fold, it will be easier to make a clean fold than trying to fold the paper on the fly. Again, the paper you‘re using is thicker than regular paper so aiding the fold however you can is worth it.
My Build

My build took 4 evenings (approx. 4 hours per night) to finish. I had a lot of white lines from the paper edges so I ended up painting over them with a paint marker and a fude pen. Overall I liked the sort of "comicbook" style the linework created!

The finished product
The finished product

Hope this was helpful and makes you want to build one for yourself! It is a lot of hard work and also very worth it!

Posted Sep 22 2020
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