Saturday, February 23

Rinaldi Studio Press show us the TANKART of WWII German armour in our review..

There are a few “How To” books on the market now with the chief concern being the weathering and fine art of finishing of models – Micael Rinaldi has created the first in a series of eight books to better illustrate how you could achieve the results of the best modellers on the market. He is known to be a "bit of a fan for scale detail - so how does this – a new publication from his Rinaldi Studio Press -  called “TANKART” make its mark? Let us show you in this review….
Format: 8.5W x 9.5H
208 pages
Colour photographs throughout
English Text
ISBN 978-0-9883363-1-5
Shipping: (single book orders) US $4.95/$7.50, Canada/Mexico $12.95, and International $16.95.

Rinaldi Studio Press is a new publishing business set up by a very well-known modeller called Michael Rinaldi. Michael is best known for years with his work for magazines and Toni Canfora’s excellent books, so I was very happy to see him going into business for himself. Michael has created a large body of work here in just this one publication, and there are lots of facets to this publication so let’s get the physical side of the book out of the way.
This book comes in an almost square format of 8.5inches wide x 9.5 inches high and is printed on lovely satin/glossy stock. The book is flooded with as many pictures in a good quality that you could ever need to illustrate the text. Often these are showing the way that the author is manipulating a product or a paintbrush so that in a similar way to a video you can see HOW he is making the model come alive. 

I can say I am immediately very impressed with the way that this book is presented. It feels weighty and I challenge anyone to have already read it (in the time it has been out which is only a week or so) as there is a lot of information to take in. It has taken me three days of non-stop reading to finish the 208 pages. Though there are a lot of pictures the text is informative and engaging – reading this book was never a chore I can tell you. The author engages you like you are listening to a friend talk about his modelling. He just happens to be the best modeller you know, so by reading it is like listening to a friendly (but incredibly informative) chat.
Michael has a background in Industrial design, and you can tell he knows a lot about working out an eye pleasing structure when you look at this book. This skill of understanding the natural order of thing shows in a helpfully devised layout and the attractive looking colours used in the book as well as the understanding of the structure of the real vehicles with the models he is using. From the text, you can tell Michael is a modeller who thinks hard about the model he is making and why it may look the way it does. Clear also he has some independent thought when it comes to devising a way to create the effect he desires to show off on the model and he has written this book to share his ideas with the modelling community.His modelling ethos is best described with two subjects repeatedly brought up in his work – Firstly the question  of “Why?” and also the term “Artistic Scale ism” – but first, let’s look at the “why?”

Ever model something and think – “OK time to undercoat, then main coat” and never thought why- or even if that vehicle need to have that done? - Ever thought “I’ll put down some hairspray so I can do some chipping” and never even thought about whether you needed to do it – is it just a process sometimes you feel you should follow because some of the “best” modellers do it? I know I have followed a routine blindly before in the past to come up with something I feel other modellers like without even looking at reference for a guide. I have often tried to replicate what the best have achieved whilst not thinking WHY they might have done it?
 The orange breakout boxes right through the book are the "how" and "whys" of the author’s thinking at certain parts of the build. In these small pointed sections, he points out what he was thinking and tries to show you with little circles in the pictures the points he is making in the separate text. By reading this it really engages the reader in a much more interesting way which is more than “Do this, then this then this.” I think the author is trying to challenge people in this book to think for themselves and to use maybe a different way of looking at why their subject looks a certain way. The conditions the vehicle was in to make it look like it did and how you can go about replicating this effect…. Which brings us on to the second real driving force in this book
“Artistic Scale ism” - is what the author is coining as his individual approach to the hobby – he explains in the book his personal philosophy of modelling and sticks by it – right through the books chapters we see Michael recreating each part of the model in scale, piece by piece. This is a longer process no doubt for any modeller – but if you do aspire to achieve these types of results you better get readin’ this book!
This book is divided into an introduction by the author and the description of which paints and sundries he uses in his modelling and why, as well as the effects and pros and cons of using each of these products - some are better suited to certain applications and the chemical breakup and advantages these bring is explained in brief but never boring detail. 

The author then explains the principles behind his modelling and the steps he usually takes to achieve his “Artistic Scale ism”. We are then treated to two chapters of his favourite techniques – and how he makes them best suit his models - first he describes the well-known “Hairspray technique” and then the important and newer skill of oil "paint rendering".
I have no doubt there will be more chapters dedicated to specific techniques in this series of books – but these two different skills are definitely two of the most valuable you could pick up. All of the way through this section on these two important skills and indeed all of the book are his personal thoughts on the subject in the orange breakout boxes. These need not be read at all but they help you better understand someone else’s perspective on the subject, and I can say learnt a lot from these little info boxes. 
There are six other chapters in the book – each goes through a different vehicle with an alternate type of paint scheme which shows off most of the colour schemes you will model in WWII German armour.
The first chapter captures a panther Auf G that was highlighted in both of the hairspray chapters and the oil paint rendering chapter - all of the way through this chapter we get the personal insight of the modeller and at the end of this chapter on the panther’s painting and weather process (a good 32 pages) - the author is good enough to give us a little quick reference of where each of the skills he used to paint the model were in the book in this and in all of the model feature chapters in this book.. What a great feature this is - a step by step guide of how he did it with a picture of the details of each step to help you learn the processes – it is easy to find something you need to catch up on by a glance at the end of each part. Smart thinking and very helpful.
In the Tiger I initial production in panzer grey – The author explains how he finished his on again – off again Dragon Tiger I which he actually re-did all of the weathering for after it medalled at Euro Militaire – it is nice to see that even champs have self-doubt! There is an excellent section on using Fruilmodel metal tracks and blacken it that I learnt something from especially. I like the insight into what he thought the kit would be to how it blew the much loved Tamiya kits out of the water. The author isn’t afraid to say what he likes in the hobby – never in a way that defames anyone else’s product which many do – often to prove their point of view.
 An excellent chapter in the tiny  Jagdpanzer 38t Hetzer, in which the author gets us primed by talking of the duality of having such an easy kit to make but with one of the most complex paint and finishing jobs of any WWII Tank. Using LifeColor paints this time and Mig pigments and washes the author takes us through his version of making the perfect “ambush” scheme for this little tank.
A half track SD.KFZ 251/22 7.5mm PaK 40 is next in the book - this venerable of the German army is modelled here in a very chipped and worn Dunkelgelb with lots of oxide showing underneath. This build is challenging as it isn’t like the others – it is 48th scale! Michael takes us through the work he did I the open interior and exterior to bring his brand of “Artistic Scale ism” to this AFV. This is a smaller scale and so harder to achieve this effect realistically. It will please many of the smaller scale modellers to see this vehicle modelled in this book.
The mainstay of the German panzer force the Panzer IV Ausf E. is next. This is a heavily weathered Afrika Korps vehicle in a sun-bleached Dunkelgelb with a lot of worn Panzergrau coming out from underneath.  Beaten by the harsh conditions In Afrika the author goes about telling us how he went about replicating the damage to this vehicle to create a correct scaled effect. The author even points out his own mistakes as he takes us through this book, it seems we all have something to “hide”.
The last section of the book is a special bonus figure modelling chapter by world renowned modeller Marijn van Gils.  He is the fellow responsible for one of my favourite models the box model called “Busted” in which the model is set in a framed box in two different scales giving a perspective of the viewer looking into a room and out on the balcony. I digress, though – as this chapter is FULL of one of the skills a lot of modellers lack – the skill of painting figures. Step by step this modern master of the brush talks you though his technique with one of his models in an “SBS” style which show you each change and how he got there. Again he is making each object in scale – maybe there is something to be gleaned from this “Artistic Scale ism”???
This book is just as valuable to me as my much-treasured copy of FAQ 2 – and that is high praise! I learnt heaps about modelling and more importantly proper FINISHING from that book, and this title, although smaller, is written in just as helpful language and in an improves on that title with the author's easy and engaging manner when explaining things.
I like the fact that you can pick out what type of scheme you want and go to the end of that chapter and find the page on which the skill you want to brush up is right there. The layout, feel and look of the book are first class. I can say the only thing I did not like about this book was I made me want to get off my “bott” and start modelling before I had finished reading it! Not a bad thing I guess - this book is a truly inspiring title for modellers and an essential workbench tool or treasured reference.

There are eight parts to this series – both on modern and older vehicles from all of the main AFV protagonists in this century – I am looking forward to the next one as much as I am looking forward to re-reading this book.

Recommended without hesitation to all modellers – not just AFV fans.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Rinaldi Studio Press for sending us this book to read and review