There have been several modelling manuals aimed at specific kits or subjects published in the past few months, but basic modelling guides have not been popular subjects with publishers. Such books are very useful to newcomers and often have useful tips for those of "a certain age" who have been modelling on and off for years. Series on modelling appear from time to time in magazines and many articles contain hints, tips and techniques but having everything together in one place is far better when you want to find them. With constant change in the modelling world as new materials and kits come along, there is a need for a new guide to be brought out every few years and few books stay in print for long anyway.
Phil Greenwood has been modelling and writing for years, having had articles in several magazines such as Military Modelling and Military In Scale. He has produced a well-organised and clearly written account, covering the subject in a logical manner. Starting with a guide on tools, which like all the chapters is fully illustrated in colour, he ranges from simple knives and files through to glues, paints and airbrushes. Modelling techniques themselves are described by taking the reader through building a series of different kits, each bringing in a new set of skills.
These projects start with a modern standard 1/72 scale Abrams tank and the older and slightly more difficult Airfix 40mm Bofors Gun and Tractor. All the other subjects are in 1/35 scale though the techniques can be applied to any scale. Examples covered are mostly tanks, with a Volkswagen Kubelwagen and an anti tank gun. Starting with the Tamiya Kubelwagen out of the box, we move on to a more complicated model in the form of their Panzer III. More complicated work in correcting sinkage and flash is then described using the older Italeri Elefant with work on poorer fit using the Skif BMP-3 which serves to show that newer is not always better quality.
After these straightforward models we are taken through individual link tracks with the Fine Moulds CHI-NU, several simple conversions and cross kitting based around Tamiya's Cromwell and Centaur kits, then correcting some of the shortcomings of the Tamiya "Early M4 Sherman" using parts from other kits and upgrading Dragon's Firefly IC using resin aftermarket items. Resin and multimedia kits and the techniques of working in them follow, firstly with the fairly straightforward Accurate Armour E-10 and then a slightly more complicated working up of their A30 Challenger using parts from the Tamiya Cromwell kits.
One chapter describes a small diorama and there is also a basic guide to figure painting, although wisely neither subject is covered in great detail as these are better dealt with in separate specialist accounts. Specific techniques described include using tube cement, cleaning airbrushes, applying decals and removing paint from old models, while various painting techniques and simple weathering procedures are also described in the various sections.
As well as this, there is a useful listing of the various scales that are and have been used for military vehicles over the years and the main manufacturers in each area. Addresses for major aftermarket and specialist suppliers are also given plus advice on pitfalls such as rereleasing older models which are not always as good as the latest new kits.
Good advice and tips are included throughout, and anyone planning to use this book as a starting point to serious modelling would be advised to read it all before starting as the ideas can be applied to different kits than those used as the examples. The author has his own preferences for tools and subjects, though he is fairly balanced with some German WW2 subjects and a couple of modern vehicles the examples used are mostly British WW2 subjects with only one American tank included. But he is describing basic principles here, most of which can be used on any kit subject.
While how-to modelling books might seem to be something you can do without, this would be a very useful guide for anyone starting to model military vehicles and well worth a look into by some of the older hands amongst us.
Page created 14 January 2003