1/2 scale Snowy Owl
KIT #: None
PRICE:  Free, except for the paper and ink
DECALS: None required
REVIEWER: Greg Ewald
NOTES: Not the easiest of paper models, best use card stock.




The Snowy Owl is one of the largest birds of prey in the world, and of course, with it’s white dappled body, blends in perfectly to the arctic tundra where it hunts.

They fly silently , typically at dusk and just over a few inches of the ground to kill unsuspecting quarry. The large talons typically enter the rear of the brain pan of a prey animal, killing it almost instantly.

Of course, with the change in global climate, their numbers are being reduced.  Luckily, with the popularity of the “Harry Potter” series, there has been quite a lot of activity on the ecological front to save these magnificent birds.


Free paper models are nothing new. This one was built for a very dear friend who is an owl fancier (the whole house is full of owl stuff).  The instructions are very concise and clear, but it isn’t a beginner’s kit.

If you decide to have yours professionally printed, expect to pay 20-30 USD for the project. You can do it at home on any printer, using thick paper. Do not use glossy paper, it will haunt your nights.

You will need several sharp #11 blades, and a good brand of clear glue. I also recommend having the drinks of choice available, as this is NOT a quick build at all. You have to do it in stages.

A nice thick metal ruler or the like will make it a lot easier to bend the paper.


Of course, with paper models, you spend a lot of time cutting out the object.  With simple ones, you can do all of the cutting at once, but I would heavily argue to not do that with this one. The pieces sometimes look quite a like, and it is easy to screw up. (that’s why I built two)

The Body:  The foundation for the whole thing is basically a box. I used clips to hold the sections together while the glue dried. Be sure to let the glue completely set up before moving onto the chest.

Pay very close attention to how the chest attaches to the main body, test fit to make sure that the legs and wings won’t be askew. Since there really is no way to clamp the breast onto the structure, I used super glue as a “tack”, and then brushed on white glue later for a more permanent fix.

The Head:  This bit is probably the trickiest of the build, especially the bill. The head is meant to be able to rotate when the kit is finished, and I did not trust the simple paper bandages from the design, so I used medical tape and a foaming resin glue to hold everything together (gorilla glue). Yep, it is messy, but I know that sucker isn’t going to fly off. Pardon the pun.

The Wings:  While they look the most complex, the wings actually go together quite easily, though once again, you have to take your time and do it all in stages. Make sure that the glue has set up prior to moving to the next fold.

The Feet:  These can be confusing, four toes, each one slightly different, with different talons as well.  Pay close attention to the instructions !  (can you believe I actually said that?) 

I filled the legs with Urethane foam (the stuff you use for sealing doors,etc) in order to provide a solid base for the mounting screws.

I waited to put on the coverlet (lower mantle feathers) until I had attached the feet. I also did not attach the talons at this time, as I wanted the bird perched on a branch. More on that in a bit.

The Tail:  This is probably the simplest part of the build. Fold and glue, once again using spot welds of C/A glue to get everything in place, and then brushing with white glue.

The Perch:  I bought a bit of a branch at a local reptile store, and mounted it to a wooden plinth. Using the foaming resin glue again, I attached the owl feet to the perch, with large screws going from underneath, and up into the owl’s legs.  Now, it was safe to glue on the talons, so that they would appear to be gripping onto the branch naturally. As a side note, owls rarely place the talons against a perch, as it dulls them, so they should be slightly held away (1/8”).

Attaching the head: This is not for the faint of heart. The rubber band that you have glued the living heck out of will need to be stretched out over the body, and attached to the head. The instructions call for you to just simply glue it in place. Right. On what planet?

I cut the proverbial Gordian knot by using two smaller rubber bands, joined in the middle by a paper clip. Viola! Problem solved!


Since the owl is pre-marked, there really is nothing to do but apply a good clear coat when you are finished. Be sure to let the inked paper to dry for at least a week prior to spraying on a finish though, or the black will run, and you will end up with a soppy owl. L


One of the best of the paper kits I’ve built, and a very impressive model. Highly recommended.




Greg Ewald

July 2010

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