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If I have a model ship, car, aircraft, railroad, etc. what is the correct terminology to differentiate the following:

  1. a stationary model, which is inert and does nothing, for example it has no moving parts even if the real life example would have. Is that the correct name, "stationary model"?
  2. a functioning model, which is powered, and has motors etc. and for example can be remote controlled. Is it "functioning model" or "functional model", or is there a better word for it?
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"Stationary model" is pretty good for the first case, maybe a little too technical for general conversation, but in the right context absolutely correct. "Functional model" should be replaced by "mechanical model," or "remote controlled model," if it's actually that. The term "functional model," would spark for most native English speakers, a working model, as opposed to a broken model, or non-functioning model/device.

Hope that helps!

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Thanks! Can "function model" be used, or is it grammatically incorrect? The technical meaning should be actually "a model with function/functions" so not the verb it functions but the word funcion as in mathematics. In more than one language I found the correct term, and it includes the word function. Not as "it is functional" but as in "it has functions". – vsz Jun 29 '12 at 9:33
The problem with mechanical is that a stationary model can also be mechanical, it just does not have any power to move on its own. Remote control is also too specific. – vsz Jun 29 '12 at 10:31

In my opinion, stationary is not an appropriate term to use for non-functional models because most working model steam engines and many working model internal-combustion engines are stationary engines.

The term working model is widely used to refer to reduced-size but functional copies of larger items, and model by itself often is used to refer to reduced-size non-functional copies of items. If you find model by itself inadequate to express non-functional status, you can preface it with non-working, non-functioning, or non-functional. On numerous miniature-mechanical-model sites, non-working is the term commonly used; on some firearms sites, non-functioning; and on AI and neuroscience sites, non-functional. Alternately, refer to cosmetic models. As an adjective, cosmetic means "External or superficial; pertaining only to the surface or appearance of something".

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