The 29. March 2011 NZZ Sontag Style insert “Z-Die Schönen Seiten featured a great layout using paper cut out environments to promote the Watch and Jewelry show the following week at the Messe Basel. A scene created very likely in Illustrator complete with people forms was designed and laser cut/printed. Paper and thin plywood laser cutting is a good option to create inexpensive 3-D scaled scenes. It can also be a way to create the back drop for a stop animation film.
Cardboard model making goes back more than a hundred years. There are many historical and fantasy kits available online at http://www.schreiber-bogen.de
Making referential cardboard towns/churches and historic landscaped isn’t for everyone but a good way to master precise hand skills and visualize all the details of complex structures. You can also find online shops for buildings like the Sydney Opera House as well as historical churches.
For up-to-date modeling see the Lausanne based designers Schwartzberg and Pauly who posted this guide to created your own laser cut objects. «Intersecting planar pieces can lead to compelling 3D forms with applications in interior design, toy making, sculptural art, and architecture.» See the article at: http://lgg.epfl.ch/publications/2013/Planar.pdf for their guidelines. Laser cut objects and models can be made at the Fab-Lab Bern in board or plywood up to 5 mm thick.
Simple and fun are the paper models which can be downloaded free and printed for cutting-glueUp and assembly. http://www.paper-replika.com
I like the Japanese Manga models for their style and details as well as the figures characterization.
A wide variety of interesting paper models of good quality can be found at: Low-Tech