May 2017

How People Talked About Model Making 20 Years Ago

A trip back in time: how people talked about model making 20 years ago

We don’t need to venture too far to know how people were talking about model making over the past two decades. We were those people. A quick look at our model makers, engineers, senior management and more will show you that most of the faces have been here for a while. Passing on their knowledge to the new members of the team.


If you ask Dave Orman, our Model Shop Manager, he’ll focus more on the materials that were available, as these are ever-evolving. He’s got a great story about creating a prototype for a leading vacuum cleaning firm, and the challenges of using wood; splinters, grains and no control over the weight of the finished part.
“I’ve been with over for 33 years and seen a lot of changes. Namely the mass introduction of the model board, which is lighter, easier to work with and much easier for the paint team to create excellent finishes. If there was a plastic component, we’d fabricate it from a flat sheet of ABS and then form, bend and cut out all the bits and carefully fit them together.”

1960’s and 70’s at Ogle

It’s impossible not to get an overwhelming sense of nostalgia as we look back at what was happening 20 years ago. However, we’re fortunate to have the heritage that spans over 60 years. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, Ogle worked for iconic brands including Bush Radio, Raleigh Chopper, Bond Bug and the T45 truck cab for Leyland Vehicles. It was in 1976 when Ogle worked on the production of the original Star Wars films.


Len Martin, Managing Director at Ogle, ensured the firm were one of the first to invest in rapid prototyping technologies; purchasing an SLA machine. He said: “I first saw SLA in 1993 or 1994 on the television programme ‘Tomorrow’s World’. I knew that this was the future, and if we didn’t invest in the machine, we’d go bust. Within five years that decision absolutely transformed the business.” Industrial 3D printing not only opened up new markets for Ogle but also gave clients geometrical opportunities that hadn’t existed before. Clients also started to change, as we built a reputation for excellence within the automotive industry, working with Bentley, Lamborghini and Jaguar Land Rover.


This has to be one of the biggest advancements in the industry. For firms able to invest to get the best technology, the machines deliver such precision and pin-point accuracy. The industry used to be heavily weighted on staff to manually deliver the project. When Dave Orman first started working here all those years ago, a model maker would literally fabricate models from scratch. A presentation model, for instance, was carved out of wood based on the client’s 2D drawings. So, it was the model maker’s interpretation of what was drawn on the piece of paper.

At Ogle, our experts work to get the best output from the machines, and when a client’s requirements can’t be achieved through a machine, it’s so important to still have the traditional hand skills in-house to deliver. While a computer may have in many respects replaced the chisel, you still need the skilled team to know how to create the model, break it apart and put it all back together again.

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