’s Sydney ANZAC War Memorial: 300 pieces of mayhem!

Here’s another blog from our Supporting Sponsor It’s definitely an interesting read on his recent development of the ANZAC Ware Memorial with stunning results.

Every once in a while I build a model that has way too many pieces to make it a fun project to build unless you are serious about 3D puzzles. My Sydney ANZAC War Memorial is such a model just four pieces shy of 300!

To my own defense, this model is almost 300 pieces not because I wanted to make it 300 pieces but because that’s the minimum I could achieve with this model while still keeping it true to the original.

Sure, I could have designed it to be built out of 100 pieces but it wouldn’t be worthwhile as it’s far too limiting on such a complex building! What I did to help the person assembling this model though was make the pieces as distinct as possible – there is nothing worse than having a puzzle where all the pieces look the same! Unless I have no choice using internal guides – which this model has none – more than half of the challenge is accurately representing something without falling into the “easy trap” of segmenting things to an extreme as it’s far easier to design straight pegs than it is to produce complex geometry.

It’s important that you review the animation – what do you notice about the base? It’s massive right? It’s the biggest I could make it given the laser bed size at the time – that along fills an entire sheet! What you are looking at isn’t just the foundation of the model, but it establishes the size of the entire model and all the proportions within. That one single piece took me well over a day to establish, that’s how important it is! Get this wrong and the rest of the model is garbage. An easy way out would be to split this into two parts with a third running through the middle joining the two extremes but I wanted a very strong base of this model as I knew it was going to be heavy and challenging to build already and the last thing somebody assembling this model wants to deal with is a base that falls apart or requires glue to stay together.

What is another thing you notice from the animation? I hope you noticed how many cross-sections I have in the base… there are A LOT of them. Again, I knew this model was going to be big and heavy, plywood is strong but some people like to use other materials like MDF or maybe some great model builder gets the idea that particle board is fine… I didn’t want the model falling down from its own weight so I did what I do with just about all my models – I wickedly overbuild them! If all you need is one peg to hold something together, a good designer will use two or even three! I use four interlocking through various axis so that the weight is evenly distributed and supported and even if two give-out, there is still two there to support it with the wastage of the two that gave way still able to do their job!

Another thing I hope you noticed from my model was that the columns are all build the same way – actually – there is a lot of symmetry. In this case, if you figure-out how to build a column, you might as well use the same path to build all the other ones. This makes assembly relatively easy as once you find the parts from your pile of laser cut pieces, building one column or ten is trivial compared to building ten that are all assembled differently. I think the role of a designer is to make things fun and easy! The ANZAC Monument is incredibly symmetrical so I followed what the original designer did though with far less pieces than him!

Whether you are designing for yourself or others, try to make things as straight forward and strong as you can – some people like building models out of identical matchsticks… I’m not one of them nor do I envision people buying files from being ones either.