Model-making Techniques Course

A 5-day intensive, practical course covering model-making skills for theatre, film, animation or spatial design. Led by David Neat. Deptford, London SE8

‘Model-making Techniques Course’ real-time online! .. from January 2021

Due to the continuing situation I’ve had to postpone all my studio courses until the future becomes more ‘foreseeable’. I’ve consulted what the other larger course providers in London (such as University of the Arts and City Lit) are guaranteeing in terms of safety and, the fact is, I can’t provide the same .. my studio room is not big enough for ‘1metre+’ distancing for example, whatever other precautions are taken. In short, it’s still too risky!

So I’m currently preparing a version of my ‘Model-making Techniques’ course to be delivered online. Yes, it’s a different experience from spending a week with others in a dedicated workspace, but I will be doing my best to make it feel as if you are!

For example it will all be real-time ..everything will be live, no recordings! The week will be the same 5-day block starting on the Monday at 10.00 am as it usually does, and each of the five days will end around 5.00 pm. It’s important to retain that kind of focus! The most important part is that I will be sending each confirmed participant a ‘Materials and Resources’ parcel containing almost all of the materials you’ll need for the week’s work (you’ll just have to get a few easy ones). You’ll need to have your own basic tools but I’ll be including in the parcel the special ones (such as specially made sanding tools) for you to keep, and they’ll be included in the price. The pack will also include all the worksheets and info handouts I’ve provided in the past. I’m very conscious of the fact that computer screens can become too cluttered if things like this are sent as files. My aim is to keep your visual connection with the group as clear as possible, especially at times when we can discuss things, and I will be consciously enabling those times throughout each of the days.

My teaching method will not have to change very much at all. We will be talking together, when I am introducing a subject or explaining an activity; at other times I will be demonstrating what to do using a ‘document camera’, which provides a very clear, well-lit and undistorted view. The third resource is screensharing photos of prepared examples and other visual references. The rest of the time .. the majority of it will be working. I’ve still to explore how clearly or quickly I’ll be able to ‘look at’ what everybody’s doing all the time to offer feedback, but I’m sure it can be worked out for the best.

The course will cost less than the £330 it has been up to now .. I’m just not sure how much less yet!  I’m assuming I can make it less because I can take a few more people than the 6 I’ve been limited to in my studio .. but on the other hand a ‘crowd’ no longer feels a ‘group’, so I’m guessing not more than 10. If you have the kind of internet connection which has usually given you a clear image and sound when using things like Zoom or Skype, then I’m assuming there’s no problem from your side. If you have your own second camera so that you can switch from yourself to your cutting mat .. that’s brilliant! (you can get them starting around £15 but a good one I’ve tried is the ‘Wansview 1080P Webcam with microphone’ currently £25 from Amazon).. but having one may not be essential. I’m not sure yet.

I’m working on a new course description to send out, detailing what we will be doing throughout the week and finalising the cost, and the technical requirements etc. If you have any questions in the meantime, or would like me to send you the description directly once I have it, you’re welcome to email

Below I’ve kept the previous summary description, for reference, and because the essentials remain almost the same. How the online course will differ from the original, as far as I know so far, is as follows ..

  • there will still be mouldmaking because I will be sending you the silicone rubber, but not casting because resin cannot be sent by regular post. I will however be talking about and demonstrating this clearly.
  • I’m still hoping there will be time for a proper demonstration of soldering, but I can’t judge yet how long things will generally take under the new circumstances.
  • the ‘painting’ part will depend on what paints etc you have yourself. I will demonstrate different techniques, and you could choose to try them ‘then-and-there’ or later in your own time. I will give more guidance on this, including a ‘shopping list’ if you’d like it.
  • for ‘scenics’ i.e. plants, trees etc. I will be showing examples and demonstrating

The former course publicity read as follows:

‘David Neat is a professional model-maker with more than 30 years experience in theatre, film, 3D design, architecture and exhibitions. He is a practicing sculptor and a qualified teacher. His book ‘Model-making: Materials and Methods’, a comprehensive, interdisciplinary book on model-making, was published by Crowood Press in 2008 and is fast becoming a teaching standard.’

David’s emphasis in these workshops is on accessible techniques of building, modelling, surfacing and finishing relevant to designers and makers in various disciplines. There is a focus on ‘realism’ in representation, geared more to theatre and film work, but the aim in keeping the course solidly materials-based and covering as many of those as possible in a short course may even stimulate architectural or product model-makers looking for something new. Each session will offer a wealth of information, supported by specially prepared examples and worksheets, and clarified through demonstrations and practical exercises. Areas covered include: –

methods of constructing or shaping with card, plastics and foams; methods of making model furniture; mouldmaking in silicone rubber and casting in polyurethane resin; modelling with soft materials; techniques of soldering (demonstration); scenics, such as plants and trees; various surface/texture treatments and paint finishes.

Materials are provided, and participants need only bring some basic tools. Each will also bring with them their own varied knowledge and talent, making this a valuable opportunity to discuss and compare personal experience. Whether a beginner, or with more of a hobby interest, or a professional seeking more specific guidance…this unique course will help you on your way.

The cost per person will be £330. At present places are limited to just 6, for the most effective teaching and participation. This does however mean that courses do tend to book up quickly!’

See also what people have said about the course on the ‘reviews’ page in the drop-down menu attached to this one. For anything else, including a more detailed course description, contact me at

62 thoughts on “Model-making Techniques Course

  1. I am interested for this course. Let me know about more details about course fee and date of joining online class.


  2. I’m very in interested in taking any online courses you have to offer.

    Thank you,
    Elizabeth Morgan Willett

  3. Hi, I’m an artist working with photography and small constructions. I’d been watching your site, wondering if there might be an opportunity to attend a workshop either at UAL, online as a part of a group, or online as a one-to-one session. I see that you were planning something for January, which I may well have missed, so just wondering if there are other options available?

    • Thanks Nancy. I’m looking into how feasible that might be, yes, for the aspects I’d want to focus on. I’ll post on this page if/when I get further in terms of offering something. Best, David

  4. Hello David.
    I would very much like to book a place on your next ‘model making techniques course’. Is there any availability for your October course at the moment? I understand if you wont be taking any bookings yet because things might not be back to normal by then. Could you let me know if it’s possible to book.
    Best wishes
    Mollie Cheek

  5. I would very much like to book onto the march/ april course.
    Please can you advise me if there is still availability. Many thanks.

  6. Hi David,

    I am a recent graduate from a stage design masters and have been working for a year now. I would like to improve my model making skills and your course sounds fantastic. I can see that I missed all the dates listed above, but could you let me know when further courses should become available?

    I’d very much appreciate it.

    Kind regards,


  7. Hi David!

    I’m really interested in both your model making and mould making courses and having difficulty to choose between them. I want to better my knowledge and skills for stop motion animation and wondering which you would recommend for me to take? I’m a beginner as I have studied animation. Thanks!

    • Hello Nada,
      Yes, I agree, that’s a difficult choice .. because on the one hand the ‘Model-making’ is best for set and props (and only a little useful for puppet making) whereas the ‘Mouldmaking and casting’ is essential re puppet making but doesn’t deal much with creating textures, painting/finishes etc. I would think .. if you feel you need to learn more about animation set/props making it’s the first one, or if you need more specialist knowledge applicable to puppet making it’s the second. The other fact though is .. for this part of the year (now until June) the only ‘Model-making’ course for which there are still places is the one very soon .. March 19-23! On the other hand the last ‘Mouldmaking and casting’ is scheduled for May 14-18 but I’m a bit concerned about being able to run it because the response has not been so good .. so far at least! I’m sending you the full description for both courses.


  8. Hello David,
    Could I do these things with your help on October course:
    1. Make a mould of family wax seal and caste approx 5-10 copies in pewter or silver or resin?
    2. Caste from a rubber mould already made copies of a goblet approx 12cms H in pewter?
    3. Make a mould of a tall thin statue approx 20cms H like a Etruscan figure and produce copies in pewter or resin?
    Mark Neuman

    • Thanks for your interest Mark. These are things which would be possible (mostly) on the other course ‘Mouldmaking and Casting’ and only the first i.e. 1. possible on the model-making course and then only in resin. I’m sending a course description to your email address.

  9. Hi David,
    I will do your course at Saint Martin in October because i only have Saturdays free. I would like to ask you what kind of wood would be better to built a dollhouse . I just work with balsa and probably i need a stronger wood. I also need a scale ruler 1:24 .
    best regards

    • Hello Ricardo,

      See you in October! If you mean the main construction of a dollshouse I’d guess that interior-quality plywood i.e. birch plywood would be best because lighter and easier to work with than MDF. The build would need strengthening with battens (thicker strips) of pine. It’s not so easy to get Imperial .. 1:24 .. scale rulers in the UK, best bet would be Amazon or ebay. On the other hand you don’t really need a scale ruler for 1:24 unless you’re going into very fine measurements. A normal ft/inches ruler would do .. 1/2inch becomes 1ft etc.

  10. Hi David,

    I’m interested in enrolling for Model Making Techniques in May 2017. Since I live in UAE and have to plan my days and sort out visa formalities. Could you please send me the link to proceed with the application.


  11. Hello,
    I can see that your November/december course is already booked up but please could you pop me on your waiting list? I currently work for a prop making company but this sounds like a really exciting course.
    Thank you

  12. Hi, I am interested in the November/December course. No doubt I am sure it is fully booked already. However, being a complete optimist, I am sure someone will drop out at the last minute. Either way, I am extremely interested in partaking in the course if a place is available.
    Many thanks & warmest wishes

  13. Hello David,
    I just want to let you know that I’m still interested to join you for the next course (Nov 28 – Dec 2). I would like to be sure that you will count me, so how can I book it ? Many thanks !
    Best regards,

    • Hello Daphne,

      Yes, don’t worry, I put you on the list when you first enquired in May. The thing is, there were many others who have been waiting quite a long time and for the next course late November I felt it only fair that I give them the first chance. As it was the course was filled before I got through a quarter of the list. I’m still wondering whether this is the right way of doing it .. maybe when I have dates for the next I’ll just email everybody.

      • Thank you David for your answer. I am free for the next sessions too if November is full. I really need to follow your course for begining a new career in England, so I look forward to hearing from you!
        Kind regards,

  14. Hello David, I am a technical instructor at Falmouth university and am interested in doing this course or one of your other one’s. they all look great. Did I read somewhere that they occur only on Saturdays for 5 weeks? Or do you do them on consecutive days? Many Thanks. Will

  15. Hi David,

    As you can imagine, I too am very interested in this course and would be ever so grateful if I could be added onto the list to find out the next available dates.
    Many thanks!

    Kind Regards,


  16. I’m very interested in this course but because of work committments I could not do the week starting April 20. I’ve ready and enjoyed your book Model-Making, Materials and methods and would like to try then under guidance. I’m a hobbyist, mainly building for model railways and interested in a wide variety of techniques.

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