First of all I must say this is not your average “Step by Step” “How To” model book. If you have ever wanted to scratch building a model you know the challenges. There are many modelers who dive in and start putting knife to styrene or scissors to paper and just ‘go for it’. This gung-ho method yields many failed attempts and is a lesson in trial and error and patience.
This book is geared toward model builders who want to create a model from the very beginning, or someone who is deeply rooted in model design. If you want a solid foundation in model and part design - keep reading.
This book takes a different tact than many modeling books. Many modeling books approach concepts with specific projects and leave it up to you to glean techniques and methods for other projects. This book is all about techniques which arms you with the basics and lets you apply them to your situation.
This book breaks down the process into two main sections – “Creating Blueprints” and “Making Construction Patterns”. Under these are seven chapters:
- The Blue Print Process
- Blueprinting Basics and Standard Practices
- Laying Out Plan Views
- Patter-Making Basics
- Cross Sections
- Transitions and Intersections.
These are followed up by three appendix, a glossary and Related Book listings.
between the covers
Inside the book are page after page of lessons and image. Every lesson is backed up with images or pictures. The text is easy to read and understand. This coupled with great reference pictures makes learning a sure thing. I haven’t counted every image myself, but the press release claims over 230 illustrations. I believe it.
This book is genre independent. If you build rail roads or tanks or space craft or your own concept models this book does not differentiate. The examples cross all genres.
Throughout the book the author, Charles Adams, not only shows you the correct/right way to do things; he also shows you a wrong way. This is incredibly insightful. Many times this hobby is self taught and bad habits can sneak in because you don’t know any better. If you see both the right and wrong you come away with a better understanding of the process.
There are great side bars throughout the whole book. Some point out good instructional methods others are more intuitive and force the reader to think about a particular method.
When I first saw the web site announcement at Modelers Notebook
I was very intrigued with the idea of a book that lays out design basics. I am a fan of raw tools, once you know how something is deigned you can understand how it works and how best to use it. This book looked like the tool to help understand the basics.
When I first received it and started reading I was a bit surprised at the depth of coverage. This book gets down and dirty with every detail. This book is more of a College Text Book than a hobbyists’ ‘how to’ book: that is a good thing. The emphasis is on teaching you transferable knowledge.
One of my son’s has taken drafting and 3D design in school and I could not let this book be reviewed without input from him. To paraphrase my son, he said that it’s packed with information; there is Tons of ‘stuff’ in it. He also let me know that it was easy enough to read and straightforward enough to understand.
In the same vein, I have gone through the pain of becoming self taught in 3D computer design. This book could have saved me some time and energy. I did a couple of projects and designs for www.printapart.com
that involved doing 3D drawings and then ‘printing’ a 3D plastic version. With the techniques and drawing in the Transitions and Intersections chapter I could have saved myself a bunch of trial and error.
Recently I was working with a PE set and it really dawned on me that this book actually comes in handy here too. If you understand how a part is built you can deconstruct it and then reconstruct it – very much the way PE works. PE parts are deconstructed pieces that you need to bend and reconstruct. The section on creating blue prints can be used in reverse to help you figure out how to bend complex PE.
Another group of modelers that don’t show up a lot here on KitMaker are Remote Control modelers and larger scale modelers. For those builders who go a little bigger and a bit more ‘functional’ this book is almost a must. Also for builders who like to use balsa wood to create unique models; this book is a definite must have. You are walked through the design phase perfectly. You come away knowing exactly what you need to document your balsa craft.
sum it up
In other articles I’ve written, I always talk about prior proper planning; always do your research. If you spend some extra time up front, the end result falls into place (usually). This book gives you the foundation for designing your own model. This is more than an inspirational book with a few examples of techniques. This book is real deal educational material. It could substitute for text book used in a design class.
The best thing about this book is that it is Genre Independent, Scale Independent, and Subject Independent. It can be used by any scratch builder or model design.