The publisher Auriga Publishing International is not well known to the most of us even though this Italian company has dedicated attention to the publication of specialized literature about our hobby. The historical as well as the technical aspects are getting a lot of attention these days and Auriga is part of that. While their books are mainly written in Italian and sometimes bilingual (English – Italian), Auriga Publishing International consistently spends a lot of attention to the graphical aspect of its publications so there's value there even if you aren't able to read Italian. The subject of this review contains 170 pages, 240 photos of 110 different models and all text are in English.
The latest publication of the Italian Auriga Publishing International concerns a book that’s very interesting for modellers from the Benelux areas but also for the international builder. In ‘The Belgian School – Flemish Masters’ (title that relates to the Flemish Masters like Rubens and Jordaens from the 17th century) all the attention goes to the Flemish top builders of today. At first sight, you might be surprised that an Italian company dedicates an elaborate publication to modelling in Flanders, Belgium. But it’s not that surprising at all. Flemish modellers have already been recognized for decades as belonging in the top classes of the international modelling community. To name one: Francois Verlinden.
The book is a kind of portfolio of a number of top builders from Flanders and 18 builders are represented, many of whom will no doubt be easily recognized by name:
- Marc De Greef - Bart Desseyn - Mario Eens - Eyckmans Frank - Hendrickx Philippe - Marcel Jussen (Nederlander, aangesloten bij KMK) - Hugo Luyten - Rudi Meir - Marc Mercier - Gino Poppe - Kristof Pulinckx - Staf Snyers - Pascal Tognon - Danny Van Beneden - Thierry Van den Bogaert - Marijn van Gils - Wim van Hool - Patrick Winnepenninckx
The book is the result of the collaboration of four modelling clubs: KMK, Lier, Moveleo, and MCM. Marijn van Gils acted as chief editor and wrote the foreword. Photos were taken by Mario Eens and edited by Pascal Tognon and Rudi Meir did the logistics. Some names are very well known in the international modelling community while others are less known but deliver very nice models that will surprise many. Each modeller gets a short introduction, after which a numerous amount of photos are shown. The quality of the photos is excellent and many models and dioramas presented have also been shown on many competition-tables and in print magazines. Nevertheless there are many new models that are worth looking at as well.
As already mentioned above, the quality of the photographs is stunning. Overall pictures are varied with very sharp and perfectly lighted and clear close-ups. All these pictures are attractively placed on colourful backgrounds with very original fonts. It’s obvious that Auriga dedicated a lot of attention and energy to this aspect especially considering that the graphical aspect of modelling publications has a significant importance. When the photo isn’t well taken, the model doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. In ‘The Belgian School – Flemish Masters’ though, the photo (printed on glossy paper) accentuates the masterpiece!
Is everything perfect about this book? In my opinion, they should’ve spent more attention to the cover of the book. The paper of the cover is a bit thicker then the other pages, although not strong enough through which the back of the book is very weak making the book (and it certainly is) feel more like a magazine. Handling the book a few times, there are already appearing some folds at the cover. This cover is also printed on glossy paper and it gets a ‘used’ look pretty quick and isn't so durable that you can take this book on the train, backpack, to travel, etc. without risking damage. That’s a shame for a publication that costs more then 30 euros and I believe it would’ve been better to choose a thicker, stronger cover. Despite this, this book is highly recommended. Not only international top builders are represented but also lesser known modellers present their masterpieces. The only downside is the cover of the book. But the stunning photos and lay-out compensates this minus point.
Highs: Design, quality of photos, attractive lay-out, subject of the book.Lows: Fragile cover and back. Verdict: Very nice book, great reference material of international top builders.