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Reference, Osprey Masterclass, Small-Scale Armour Modelling

October 9 2011 at 5:24 PM
Frank V. De Sisto  (Login zappa93)
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OSPREY PUBLICATIONS

Small-Scale Armour Modelling. By Alex Clark. Hard covers spiral-bound, 8.25 x 9.75-inches, 192 pages. Contains 346 color photographs and index. ISBN 978-1-84908-414-7.

In the last decade, small-scale AFV modeling has gotten a boost in popularity, with a relatively large number of new kits from several main-stream manufacturers, notably DML, Revell and Trumpeter. Likewise, the after-market folks have also stepped up the production of new items aimed specifically at small scale modelers. Support of some big-name modelers has also helped boost popularity, as has the advent of the Internet and web-sites such as Missing Links.

This latest title in the Osprey Masterclass series of modelers guides has been authored by none other than MLs own small-scale DG moderator, Alex Clark. Although I am not currently a small-scale modeler (but I was brought up on Airfix kits and ROCO Minitanks), I am in awe of some of these tiny masterpieces. In particular, I was quite impressed some years ago when I saw Mr. Clarks incredible Jagdtiger model, based on a DML kit. Therefore, it is no surprise, and a welcome development, to see Mr. Clarks name on this latest Osprey book. In fact, this is not his first book for Osprey as some of you may probably know.

Modelers how-to books (the good ones, anyway!) generally stick to several basic chapter formats and this one is no different. As a result, the chapters are as follows:

Tools and Materials.
General Construction Techniques.
Advanced Construction Techniques.
Painting and General Finishing Techniques.
Painting-Advanced Finishing Effects.
Presentation.
Gallery.
Further Reading and References.

Alexs text is clear and concise, allowing him to easily relate his modeling philosophy and get things rolling. He ably describes the reasoning behind the choice of the tools and materials that he commonly uses, while providing examples of their use. He then goes on to describe simple and advanced construction techniques, to include basic scratch-building and the creation of duplicate parts using home resin casting systems. Painting and finishing, with an emphases on various special weathering and camouflage effects is well-described, as are several means of displaying a model. Also, within the section on basic painting, small-scale figures are given the once-over.

A section deals with photographing models for internet use as well as print publication; this is most useful to modelers just starting to consider photographing their replicas. He also makes mention of how one can approach various media outlets for publication. The final section details publications that emphasize small-scale AFV modeling, as well as general references, internet sites and product manufacturers and sources.

Naturally, in a book of this type, step-by-step photographs are the expected norm. Alex does not disappoint. However, he does things a bit differently here. Rather than follow several projects from start-to-finish, in a chapter-by-chapter format, he breaks things up in a different form. His method is to use several different models to illustrate a series of related points. For instance, when describing paint finishes, he uses different models to show different camouflage and weathering techniques.

The book ends up with a gallery of the authors work. These include: Maco s.WS with 3.7cm FlaK43, DML Sturmtiger, Revell Sd.Kfz.9, DML Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.F, Academy M977 HEMTT, DML StuG.IV, Revell Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.J (L), DML Jagdtiger, Revell T-72B, UM Jagdpanzer 38, Cromwell Merkava IV, DML Nashorn, Hasegawa Pz.Kpfw.IV/70 (V), Revell/Alby Sturmpanzer IV and Revell Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H. What these all have in common is the outstanding craftsmanship of the author, which, one would hope, will act as an inspiration to modelers who choose to purchase this book.

The photographs themselves are quite competently done; they show the various methods and their results very clearly. The captions that accompany them are also informative without being overly wordy. Reproduction is fine and although none of the images are overly large, their size is tailored to the point the author is trying to make; little is left to the imagination.

Finally, while this book is more-or-less specifically directed at small scale modelers, and should be embraced by them, the fact is that there is more here than may meet the eye. Mr. Clarks techniques are virtually universal, of if you prefer, scale-neutral. They can be applied equally to any scale, which hopefully will translate into a far wider appeal amongst the general modeling community than the books title may suggest.

Frank V. De Sisto

Osprey books are available from mail order and retail outlets. They can also be acquired direct through their web site at: www.ospreypublishing.com.

Visit frankdesisto.com.

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