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Book Review
172
Small-Scale Armour Modelling
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by: Eddy Nevarez [ BRAILLE ]

Introduction

This is Alex Clark’s third small-scale armor modeling book. Where his two other soft cover books focus on the building and finishing of a specific type of armor vehicle – Panzer IV and Tiger II, this hardcover metal ring-bound guide covers his approach to small-scale armor modeling, from WWII to the present, encompassing the general building, detailing, scratch-building, finishing, displaying and photographing techniques and processes he uses to achieve museum quality armor replicas aimed at the moderate to advanced modeler.

About the book

Leading with an introduction by the renowned author this 192-page guide, part of Osprey’s ‘Masterclass’ modeling series of books, is divided into 8 separate chapters and an index. Written in English each of the first 7 chapters contain no less than 7 to 10 topics with several of the chapters covering over 15 topics, each fully explained with the majority of the covered subjects benefiting the modeler with an easy to understand instructional step-by-step format using captioned color photographs. Throughout the guide the author expresses his thoughts and experiences gained through his years of building giving a good account of his present approach to creating realistic and eye catching small-scale armor models.

Each of the chapters are well explored giving the reader the pros and cons of the individual subject topics within the chapters with options as to how best the modeler may achieve a desirable end result with a given method, technique, tool, product or material and the how and why the author practices his chosen way at arriving with a constant successful outcome using any one of the addressed subjects.

The Chapters

The first chapter takes a look at the tools and materials used by the author that the modeler should at least think about obtaining to aid him or her with the kit construction, painting and weathering. A detailed account on the use of each item is given and summarized with a captioned photograph.

I was pleasantly surprised to see, with the exception of one or two items that the author uses a very sensible selection of basic hand and shop tools, paint brushes and materials, that most moderate modelers usually already have acquired, to construct, detail and finish his models with. The few other pricey items such as the airbrush and compressor, photo-etch bending tool and punch and die sets eventually find a way to the workbench with the more advanced modeler. None of that, "I have to evil-bay out my other head and dogs to acquire an 8 in 1 gizmo-tool’ola" in order to add an accurate to scale dent to the plastic armor plate with heavy collateral damage to the wallet kind’a stuff here! And even without those specialized pricey items the modeler can still produce a quality attention-grabbing model using other alternatives as explained by the author.

No time is spent on the elementary building basics on the following two chapters, or in this guide, as these pages are devoted as a means of adding further guidelines, tricks and techniques that the armor modeler may find of use, I did! These two basic and advanced building construction process chapters total well over 20 separate topics, most of which are illustrated with an instructional captioned step-by-step arrangement. Starting with the simple clean up of parts all the way to unfolding the complexity of scratch-building in an easy to understand format that even a caveman, like myself, easily understood.

As I read through these two chapters I discovered new, better and easier methods by which to build my own kits. Common kit molding issues (ejector pin marks, sink holes, molded on tools, grab handles, overly thick parts, etc.) are covered here with simply explained techniques to resolve each of them. The authors approach to improving, modifying and fabricating (tracks, headlights, windscreens, rivets, bolts, tools, etc.) and working with different mediums to create, duplicate and texture kit parts (stowage, tarps, WWII Zimmerit paste, exhausts, cast metal, etc.) including a section on designing and casting your own parts, is all well illustrated and explained.

For me chapters 4 and 5 are where things really get exciting as this is where all of your previous construction efforts are covered in paint and that can either make or break your model. Here the author expresses his thoughts on painting with an interesting side note on his disaster prevention method. Color accuracy, preparation, scale lighting, single, multiple, hard and soft-edged color camouflage schemes, masking, markings, paint chips and scratches, pin washes, rust n’ dust, weathering, stains, etc., all of this and more fully explained with illustrated examples, and all on the first of these two chapters!

‘Oh, did I forget to mention that chapter 4 also contains a separate complete step-by-step section on figure painting in this scale?’ What a treat! Nothing tells a story or gives scale, life and action better than a figure(s). This is perhaps one of the most ignored areas in armor modeling especially in this small-scale where good figures are hard to come by and achieving a realistic appearance with paint is an art of its own. Here the author takes the modeler through his easy to comprehend figure painting process and shares some insight on his choices of available plastic, resin and white metal figures with a little mixing and matching of parts of scales.

The second half of these chapters deals with the more complex and advanced finishing effects and here the author examines two opposing finishing techniques in recreating both a realistic winter whitewash and a desert weathered worn and sand pitted bleached out finish using two differing masking methods and giving his take on the hairspray technique.

In chapter 6 the author looks at the few ways he goes about mounting his finished models to a plain base with a nametag to a fully illustrated step-by-step simple but practical ground work process that can be used to spring board the modeler into creating a more dynamic base in which to display his or her model(s). This would not be complete without photographing your work and here the author gives a full and detailed account on his personal set-up and method for photographing his models. Along with what camera and equipment he currently uses the lighting, camera angles and settings, digital formats and backgrounds are also explained in full detail. In fact all of the photographs in this book from cover to cover were taken by the author. Ending this chapter is a short communication on the upside of writing modeling articles. . . worth thinking about!

Chapter 7 ties all of the proceeding chapters together showcasing almost two dozen of the authors most recently built models effectively demonstrating all of the construction techniques, methods, paint finishes with photographs taken by him as described throughout the guide. Additional information is included for each of the featured models, giving an insight of the kit used and detailed summery of any aftermarket parts, modifications made and finishing techniques used, should the modeler wish to replicate a similar project.

The final chapter provides the modeler with the authors suggestions on periodicals and books containing small scale armor articles that the modeler may wish to acquire for extra reading to help him or her in building up their modeling skills with a section listing all of the sources and suppliers for the materials and references used most often by the author and included in the guide. A small communication on museums and the Internet is also included in the chapter. This area of guide is of much help should the modeler wish to seek further reading and research or add a few of the same tools as used by the author to his or her workbench.

Conclusion

If you ever wanted to take your armor modeling up to the next eye-popping level, well here it is! This guide is perhaps one of the most complete and comprehensive master-class works on small-scale armor modeling to date and a must have reference guide for any armor modeler! In a nut shell all of the methods, techniques and tools in this guide suit the entire armor vehicle scale range from 1/76 to 1/35.

Loaded with hundreds of pictures and explained techniques and methods for building and finishing your own kits with the added bonus of enhancing your own skills too – monkey see monkey do – in creating realistic looking armor vehicles, how can you go wrong? For me the figure painting and photography section alone are worth the price of admission the rest is just icing on the cake. This is one modeling guide that will sit open on my workbench for a long time to come.
SUMMARY
Highs: Easy to understand format. Well-explained, visual step-by-step approach to small-scale armor modeling. Covers all aspects of building, finishing, figures, display and photography.
Lows: None noted!
Verdict: Complete start to finish guide for the moderate to serious small-scale armor modeler. Guide completes any armor modelers’ reference library.
Percentage Rating
96%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-414-7
  Suggested Retail: £19.99 $39.95 US $45 CAN
  PUBLISHED: Nov 14, 2011
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.33%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.22%

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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.

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About Eddy Nevarez (Braille)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I started out modeling anything plastic, that I could get my hands on, back in the last century and been loving it ever since. I have been an Electronic Assembler for most of my life, but it puts food, beer and pizza on the table and model kits and accessories in the stash. My wife knows where I'm...

Copyright ©2019 text by Eddy Nevarez [ BRAILLE ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Eddy's excellent review is long, but deservedly so for a publication that packs so much information of value to any armor modeler interested in improving his game. I'm putting it on my holiday list. This review also prompts a related question: what book(s), old or new, absolutely belong on the scale modeler's shelf (or, as Eddy more realistically put it, open on the workbench)? A survey of the members might not only prove enlightening, but also be used to create a muust-read list for newcomers to our painstaking pastime.
NOV 14, 2011 - 02:37 AM
Eddy, Your review provides us with a great first look and overview of a book that has been the talk of the Braille community lately. Myself and two others from my local club had sought both the book and information about it for some weeks. As fate would have it, this review was posted to coincide with us receiving our copies. I read this review with interest as I'd barely skimmed the table of contents of my copy. Armed with the information you provided, I look forward to delving into the book's contents with anticipation. Your casual, yet informative style made reading the review a pleasant change from others. Can't wait to delve into Clark's book in more depth. Thanks, Jan
NOV 14, 2011 - 02:50 AM
@Pops53 – Fred, thanks for the comment, it is much appreciated. And welcome here to Armorama, hope your stay will be an enjoyable one. I’m sure you’ll be glad with Alex Clark’s guidebook on your workbench. I think that your question about what books belong on the workbench is a good one and I encourage you to think about creating a post here in the Armor/AFV section. It would be interesting to see what books / reference material is or has been of benefit to the armor building community here. This would also give you a good change to become acquainted with the staff, members and viewers too! Think about it? @tread_geek – Jan, thanks for your comment and encouragement believe me it is much appreciated. I believe that you exclusively build, write, photograph and post a lot here at Armorama in the Braille community as well as participate in some of the other forums and have hosted a number of campaigns and recently most of your efforts have revolved around build reviews, so I’m sure this book will be very beneficial for you. Please let me know your thoughts on the book after you’ve had a chance to read through it. ~ Eddy
NOV 14, 2011 - 06:36 PM
WOW, what a book and and an equally enticing review. I haven't gotten the book yet but have thumbed through a copy that a local modeller has. It's everything you said it was and more. Some stuff is rather advanced for me but there appears to be a ton of tips and techniques. This will definitely be on my list to Santa! Thanks, AJ
NOV 27, 2011 - 03:45 AM
Hey Eddy! I managed to finish the book the other day and the enthusiasm that you express in your review is totally justified. Alex Clark's writing style and the abundant images only add to a more than enjoyable experience. The book not only confirmed and cemented in my mind techniques that I was unsure of, but also revealed some new valuable ones for me to try and use. In fact, several of these new tips and tricks have recently been incorporated into my current builds. Let me finish by saying that anyone (Armour Modeller) reading this should seriously consider looking at, if not getting a copy. As stated in the review, the vast majority of concepts, hints and tips will apply equally to virtually any scale. Cheers, Jan
DEC 09, 2011 - 06:08 AM
   

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