Scale models have been used since our earliest ancestors started figuring out how to plan a city, make a tool, build a ship, a bridge, an airplane, test a construction process, and for many other purposes.  The value of using scale models to communicate concepts is as valid today as it was in ancient times.

Technology has helped to make models more intricate and elaborate on much faster timelines, thus requiring a higher level and wider skill set to be a professional model maker and serve the needs of our demanding public.

The goal of a model has always been to properly conceptualize and put an idea in physical form, to be able to experience the idea, work out technical considerations and garner support, both financial and in the form of approvals to move it forward, make it happen, see it built and turn the whole project in to a big win.

A very small percentage of people on this earth can do what we professional model makers do to a level of proficiency and quality that is needed to achieve its purpose.  The terms model maker, model making, modeler, scale model and prototype are so broadly used across all industries in all parts of the world that it becomes very difficult to compare one model maker to another and know that you are getting the best value.

For us, after so many years in the business, we have concluded that it is all about relationships.  After we have the opportunity to build your first model, you are more than confident in our ability to deliver the finished product efficiently the next time your project requires a model.  This is because every model is custom and unique and needs a thoughtful professional who is experienced and will work diligently to ensure that the model communicates and functions as required.  This is our objective on every project, no matter how  large or small.

Some people specialize in building a single type of model, but here at Gemmiti Model Art, we have the facility and resources to specialize in several, as they share a common set of processes & tools used in model making.  In fact, we find that innovations we make in one type of model cross over and are used in others.  Thus, constantly improving our approach to building different types of models.  We use very few outside services and are experts in architectural, engineering, litigation, product, mockups and prop models.


There is enormous interest and participation in model making as a hobby.  Some model makers get so involved in their hobby that they become professionals at their kit or scratch-built specialty.  These are people who specialize in ship building, car & aircraft and other vehicle kits, or elaborate railroad scenes.  Millions love these models, and there is a good living in it for those who rise to the top, both in offering their custom services and in the creation of kit models for sale.

Notwithstanding the professional hobbyist niche, the professional model maker generally comes from an education or keen interest in design, how things are made, and how one could make them better, faster, more useful, more compelling and better tell the story.  We are driven by the craft and even more driven by the purpose and end result.

Each of our model makers at Gemmiti Model Art has a design degree in architecture, engineering or industrial design.  They chose this track out of a preference to design the model and build it with their own hands, from concept to the end product.  No experience replaces the immediate gratification felt after making a giant heart valve, an entire city or the first one of anything.

Many stumble on our profession and decide that it would be fun to do, so they apply for a job to be paid as a professional model maker.  While it can be fun, like any profession, it takes years of training and practice to obtain the skills to get the job done in the time required, and to the expected professional quality results.

If you have an interest in becoming a professional model maker, we encourage to learn more about what is required, where you can get training and how you can build your career.

To apply to work at Gemmiti Model Art, please email your resume and a sample of your portfolio to  Include a cover letter that describes your interest and experience in the field.

Here are some frequently asked questions for you to learn more about the world of model making:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Model Making a Profession?

Some people just love models, the art and wonder of all things miniature, over-sized, stylized or just fun, but one turns to a professional model maker when a presentation is crucial and a model is needed to win support financial or otherwise.

In some cases, as in a courtroom or a very large investment in a product or property, a really well-made well-functioning model must be made, with no room for error, or the case may be lost, the product or property may not be approved or developed.

Additionally, and to our often dismay, the need for a model is all-too-often realized at the last minute.  Only a model will get that approval, complete that marketing center, give some texture to an ad, or become necessary to keep those investors invested.

The products, buildings, and other concepts in development often take years from their inception.  A model makes it real. It says that this thing does exist.  You can see it, understand it, support it, and stay with it.  It often becomes the inspiration and impetus to move the project forward.

Will physical models be replaced by virtual models?

This question is often asked while looking for a hint of fear on our faces, but the truth is, professional model makers thrive on finding ways we can help make ideas, design and places real in this ever-advancing world.

Virtual models, digital renderings and all burgeoning technologies that replace the physical experience often start off amazing, novel, but flawed and very expensive.  Then, after years and much invested, their purpose is honed and their value is realized, but no virtual technology will totally take over experiencing something for real.  Given a choice, would you choose to hold something in your hand or see it in 3D HD TV?  Virtual solutions are fun, especially for the first time, but if the purpose of the presentation is to experience an object, then more often then not, the best way to do it is to have it in physical form.

A physical scale model is the object or the place itself, not a facsimile of it.  What is more exciting, a really good picture of an iPhone or actually holding an iPhone in your hands?  The iPhone was a model before it was a product on the market.  Designers held that model in their hands and perfected the design before an investment was made for mass production.  With a model, you control the experience because it is there with you.  Nothing is left to imagination and, therefore, confidence is gained to move forward to the next step.

In an architectural model, you may not be aware of it, but you scale yourself down and experience a place from any point of view as though your are standing right in it.

Models allow viewers to get involved with the project on a physical level, moving their body to see different details and views.

Physical models create confidence and support for a project far more effectively than a virtual rendering.  When placed in a sales center or trade show, or when presented in a meeting, a model gives the viewer the confidence and understanding that the project is well thought out and real.

Getting a real sense of how big something is next to something else, or understanding what the materials are like is best achieved with a physical scale model.

As holography advances, you will one day find professional model makers working with the technology, not against it.  Imagine people walking around on a scale model – how cool will that be?  No matter how advanced virtual technology gets, there will be many instances where a physical model is preferred or required to achieve the true experience.

Will 3D printers and other rapid prototyping technologies replace the need for model makers?

No.  Technological advancements have always improved our ability to produce more complex and detailed models faster, not threaten to replace us.

Since the advent of rapid prototyping, there is a natural flow from concept to part, which has been an exciting development if you are an industrial designer.  If your file is water tight, you are, practically speaking, ready to cut, removing several CAD and tooling steps of the past.

Rapid prototyping has been particularly embraced by those who specialize in prototype models by filling their shops with stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), laminated object manufacturing (LOM), electron beam melting (EBM) and 3D printing machines.  These technologies can produce amazing results, but they are not cheap, and in some cases having a model maker use other tools and processes to get the desired end result is still the least expensive and better quality approach – it just depends on what you want to see in the end.

Current technologies cannot produce the same result in most finished presentations without the craftsmanship of a professional model maker.

A 3D printer is just another tool, as we often have to remind people.  It alone will not replace our profession.

What materials are used in model making?

The true answer is a model maker will use any material that exists that will properly get the job done.  Model makers get very creative and inventive when it comes to the use of materials.  If you are in a hurry, do not bring a model maker to a hardware or supply store of any kind as they will spend hours recording their experience with each material and keep it in the database of their minds, ready for the possibility for it to be the genius solution on a future project.  That said, here is a list of the most common materials used in model making:

acrylic (Plexiglas, Acrylite, Perspex – professionals say “no” to styrene, unless in strip form used as applied trim details)
abs (a soft machinable grade plastic used in product modeling)
polycarbonate (stronger plastic than acrylic)
PETG (best for vacuum forming, amongst others)
modeling or tooling board (Renshape, Last-A-Foam, etc.)
MDF (multi-density fiberboard – nice & flat)
plywood & hardwood (yes, you must be a woodworker, as well as a plastics expert)
paper (museum board, chipboard, etc.)
foams (rigid polyurethane foam, expanded polystyrene, soft urethane foam, etc.)
fabrics & rubbers (when fabrics are required, sometimes only fabrics will do)
hardware (fasteners, hinges, magnets, etc.)
lighting & electrical (LED, neon, fluorescent, grain of rice, etc.)
metals – sheet, rod & wire (most professional model makers work with brass, aluminum, zinc, not so much steel)
RTV silicone (room temperature vulcanization silicon used for mold making)
casting materials (epoxy, urethane, rubber, and dozens of others)
tapes & glues (the list is too long to include, but if you want anything adhered or repaired, ask a professional model maker)

What kind of background do you have to have to be a model maker?

Currently all of our model makers have degrees and experience in architecture, engineering, industrial design and fine art, but we always seek to hire and are in need of trained professional model makers first.

Since one cannot get a degree in model making in the United States except through Bemidgi State University in Minnesota (thanks Bemidgi!), training is done through internships and on-the-job apprenticeships, neither of which contributes to running a profitable business.  So technical training is very much needed for the field of model making to remain extant, especially in a tight economy.

Industrial design and architectural programs do offer a class or two in model making, but these classes barely scratch the surface of the subject.  Please do not presume, if you have built a few models in school that you are a qualified professional model maker.  If you are interested in the field, get yourself more training in all of the disciplines of model making.

Although there are some programs out there, very few are extensive and will prepare an individual to work as a professional model maker straight out of school.  Other countries, such as England, have an excellent university system for the trades, including model making.  Anyone in America in the trades has had the wish that people could go to school, as attorneys and physicians do, to become professionals in their field of interest, rather than burden companies who need qualified professional with on the job training at their expense.  Those of us in the trades continue to hope that American educators take note of this need for higher- education trade schools as they seek to prepare students for much needed jobs.  Elevating the skill level and proficiency of all trades would improve the quality and value of each one, and thus the quality of life for all of us in America.

Why do people become model makers?

We are model makers because we want to contribute to the development of the future, interpret, invent, design and make new products and new places.  We are the experienced professional communicators who just want to build it!

How do I get a job as a model maker?

Professional model makers are a rare breed.  You must be trained in it technically, have a design background, and posses the artistic talent for it to become a professional in the field.

Find the best training program you can find and get properly schooled on the subject.  The more diverse your skills are, the more employable you are to companies such as ours.  Time is money, and model making is time-consuming, so train with the constant search for the better, faster way to build it, so that you are ready to hit the ground running when you obtain a job in a professional environment.

Some model making companies are set up as mini-manufacturing facilities, with each person becoming proficient, and then an expert, in one discipline.  This is a great way for the company to make a higher profit, if the volume of work is there to support it, but the art of the profession can get lost in this environment.

These disciplines generally include: CAD, CNC machine operator, mold making, casting, assembly, finishing, painting, tree making, etc..

An internship at one of these companies will improve your expertise in one area more quickly than in a model shop that expects you to come in as a trained professional in all or most of the disciplines of model making.  You may prefer to be a specialist, which is great, too, for your employer, if you can turn a profit in your specialty and they have the work to support your individual talent and area of expertise.

To have the most value as a professional model maker, be careful not to focus your career and experience into one area.  This is not necessarily about the difference between large and small shops.  It is about your ability to move from project to project in any position on the team.  Develop your skills across the spectrum of tools and processes used in model making and strive to become a competent employable professional.

Types of Models Made by Gemmiti Model Art

Architecture and Related
City Planning
Commercial High-rise
Commercial Interior
Commercial Mid-rise
Commercial Study
Golf Course
Government Buildings, Sites & Facilities
Interior Store & Showroom
Hospital Design
Land Use Planning
Malls & Shopping Centers
Mixed Use Master planning
Parking Garages
Religious Facilities
Residential Interiors
Residential Multi-family
Residential Single Family
Residential Study
Sports Facilities
Theme Parks
Universities and Schools



Intellectual Property
Demonstration Exhibits

Point of Purchase Displays
Industrial Design Concept Competition
Trade Show Exhibits
Photo and Film Props