This book is the tenth volume in Glenn Bartolotti’s series of finishing how-to books available on-line as inexpensive PDF files. It sets out to show the reader how to model a specific Tiger tank from Panzer Abteilung 508 in Italy circa 1944. As such, the scope seems somewhat limited, but many of the techniques are of course transferable to other projects. The one thing I found odd was a disclaimer right at the start that the author does not use dry-brushing because he feels it does not represent the subtlety he seeks in his armour models, effectively closing the door to a useful technique that has its place in the armoury of model painting if used sensibly.
The book consists of 16 pages in PDF format which can be read on-screen or printed out in landscape on normal-sized printer paper. Two title pages kick it off, but while this seems wasteful in a short document each one contains a different large-sized image of the finished model. Then there is a page listing useful painting materials followed by a page of potted history including three photos of real Tigers from Abt508 that were effectively “blended” to form the model. Next comes a page about adding zimmerit with a soldering iron, and then a page about primers and paint. Then comes a page about pre-shading and another about the base coat of yellow before a page about camouflage. This is followed by a page on decals and fading, and another three whole pages on weathering. There are two pages of pictures of the finished model and a one-page advertisement for an upcoming volume on a T-34.
Each page holds two or three steps in the process, described by a picture or two on the left and a brief paragraph or two on the right. From the outset I was a bit confused by this book, since it isn’t clear who constitutes the target audience. The paragraphs are too short and photos are too few to convey more than basic information about techniques for the true novice, and the seasoned expert will already know what to do.
However, there are decent tips worth reading even for the expert, and the author is good about providing his reasoning behind his choices. This is especially apparent in the zimmerit section, where the scary technique of using a heated soldering iron could use a lot more detailed description and close-up photography given how potentially destructive it could be, but the text does go into some depth about the nature of the real thing. Conversely there is detail about adding pre-shading but only a cursory mention of the artistic theory of shading and light sources that underpins it.
One thing that stands out is the way the history page ends mid-sentence. Either a page was missed out of the PDF file or there is an editing issue to resolve. While on this subject, there is absolutely no mention of assembling the Dragon kit or the choices that were made along the way. This may be again due to compilation errors rather than deliberate omission, but the opening sentence on the zimmerit page states that the Dragon kit was used, thus suggesting there was no preceding description of assembly. (The word “kit” was highlighted, however. There are key words in a number of paragraphs that are highlighted in pink text to suggest hyperlinks to on-line articles that could expand on the subject at hand, but these are merely coloured text and not active hyperlinks in the review sample.)
The photographs of the model are quite good and often do more to illustrate the techniques than the text could. It is a pity there aren’t more of them, from multiple angles, with close-ups. These are optimised for printing at full size, and become pixellated by the time I had zoomed in to 150% in Adobe Reader. I test-printed several pages and the image quality was reasonable on A4 paper (8.5x11.5”, or 210x297mm) for those who prefer to hold hard copy. Naturally it was limited by the quality of my printer and paper choices – glossy photo paper would have worked better than my cheap stuff.
The section on paints calls for Testors Model Master enamel paints. Unfortunately these are not available where I live, and there are no alternative paint types offered. This is particularly important since the model is weathered in oils which require an enamel or lacquer clear coat if the base paint is acrylic. The author mentions using an airbrush, but given the range of painting techniques it would be useful to have some discussion of airbrush types.
Over all I am not sure what to make of this book. It is certainly a very good record of one modeller’s painting of an eye-catching Tiger tank, easily worthy of an Armorama build feature. As a seasoned modeller I found little in it that I had not at least heard about elsewhere, but I did find some useful new pointers about techniques that I already use.
However, I am not convinced that this book provides enough detail on the techniques for those who are less experienced. Readers should buy it knowing that they will still require other information and lots of practice to achieve similar results. Still, it’s not bad at all for the asking price!
My thanks to the author (and Armorama) for the review sample.
Highs: Good photos, good arrangement of finishing process steps.Lows: Not enough detail on individual techniques, not enough detail photos to make up for it.Verdict: Recommended to German armour modellers, but with reservations.
Our Thanks to Armor Models by Glenn Bartolotti! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.