RICHARD McCLINTOCK, of Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, is trained as a Latin professor but is an editor and graphic designer in his day job.
Because he had model trains as a child and can’t draw anything but letters and houses, he likes making three-dimensional objects, especially ones incorporating architectural features. (He also likes making artist books, marble raceways, and collages of incongruous items.)
His first purpose in making these kits of historic buildings was to indulge his passion for making models, while avoiding the problem (well known to potters and crocheters) of having around the house too many craft projects he doesn’t need, by setting them up so other people could make them for their own houses instead.
The secondary purpose was to give kits to the historic sites at cost, so they could profit from the kit sales, thereby letting him support them in a way he could not do with ready cash. Most of the model kits he has made were of buildings for which he nourished a particular affection, although since he began this hobby in 2012, several have been commissioned by the sites themselves (among them Poplar Forest and Menokin). He does not charge for developing the model. After it is produced, the only cost to the historic property is reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses (printing and packaging the kits). The site then gets to keep any difference between cost and sales price.
The standard kit consists of however many sheets it takes to hold all the pieces, plus an illustrated instruction sheet (and history of the building, as space and resources allow), all packaged in a resealable clear hanging envelope.
Usually it takes him a week or two of evenings in front of the TeeVee to get a model to production state, which involves not only drawing the model elements but also building the kit three or four times to tweak shapes and processes until everything works well. Making up the instruction sheet takes another week — he often finds this harder than designing the model proper, because he has to make sure he explains techniques he takes for granted but which may not be familiar to others.
He welcomes constructive suggestions about how to make the instructions clearer or the kits simpler, and also nominations for subjects of future kits.