Saturday, February 8

# 59 Military Miniatures in Review – in review…

Ampersand Publishing have taken it upon themselves to send us one of, if not my favorite periodicals MMiR  - No 59 in the series get’s a review today – we will see if this one lives up to my own high expectations for this series of mags…

“Military Miniatures in Review #59”
Ampersand Publishing
Full colour A4 Portrait softcover magazine
Get yours from Ampersand Publishing. US$9.95 + P&P and can be subscribed in the states and around the world at a better rate directly from their website

I have to say it now – but my days of reading magazines are nearly over. I am over a lot of the formats of modelling magazines on the market, and having access to the internet I really do not need to wait for them to inform me of modelling’s goings on. Facebook, forums and websites now provide instant knowledge and gratification. Not to mention price of magazines – especially anything coming from a region not near you the cost goes up for in essence “Yesterday’s news”….But…..

I do not like to read in depth on a computer screen, it does not keep my attention  - hence why I really do not do online book or magazine reviews – they just do not keep me past looking at a few pages or looking for a specific picture in a book I have on the computer. So what to do if you want to know about how to get the best from your kits in an in depth fashion?
There are several magazine’s left which do have both the in depth articles and the decent mix of non-biased comment and well finished models photographed professionally. Super model from Kagero, The Military Illustrated Modeller series from ADH, and the new series of Abrams Squad magazines. These seem to lead a new breed of magazines that do not focus on one set of products and give value for money. They are also good to read more than once.

Amongst these I must ad this series Military Miniatures in Review from Ampersand publishing. I have looked at a few of their bi-monthly mags here and usually they are pretty good. Let’s look at this new issue – number #59 to see if it continues the good work of it’s previous brethren.
Coming in the usual glossy covered A4 Profile format of 80 pages. Not too many of these are taken up with advertisements, only thirteen and three of these are about subscribing to the magazine. The ads are dispersed at the start and end and one or two between articles. I always pick this out in magazines and this one doesn’t do too bad especially in comparison to some I have seen recently.

There are seven full new build articles in this magazine which is ok – they are a few pages each. There are also two articles that include a gallery and a feature article on 3D printing. Let’s look at them and the other parts that make up this mag.

We start off with the editor’s comments which I find here are always worth a read, the good nature of his comments are echoed in the names of some of the contributors of this magazine – Kaiser Soze and the staff cooks Sal Monella and Al Dente, you know this is a mag that takes modelling as a fun subject.

There are several pages of reviews – these are usually current enough but the gap between sourcing, writing and publishing almost make these redundant. You can find these elsewhere in better detail so I would encourage the editor to make this into another build or interview feature? Something exclusive to MMiR would be nice.
The book reviews are next – enough to get hold of the outline of the book but not enough to sell them to me – I did see one or two I didn’t know about so I guess job done there.
In a section reminiscent of their Allied /Axis books next is a section called “The M48 Patton, a primer, Part One:” This covers the early tanks of the M48 series in a bunch of shots with descriptions on (nearly) all of the pictures shown. You get a variety of different vehicles in varied locations with some informative info that told me several things I didn’t know before. The pictures are very good as well.
An insightful look into our future? “An introduction to the wild and wacky world of 3D printing and how it applies to modelling.” is next. Now here is a magazine with an ARTICLE!  It is an area of modelling that more people are becoming interested in so I’m really glad someone has covered this. Basic methods of scanning and printing are discussed as are the pitfalls and potential benefits. The author makes up his own parts from a CAD design of his own and we examine the science already in use and the possibilities it brings with a look into how Live Resin makes their amazing new figure kits.
Coming to “War Pig: Creating a U.S. Special Forces LMTV with help from Pro Art Models.” We look at a super detailed and full of stowage Special Forces vehicle from the US army – well it isn’t much of a vehicle really – just a chassis as 90% of this kit is resin supplied by Pro Art.
I was pretty shocked to see just how much of this kit is indeed not the base Trumpeter kit but add on parts. The kit is so detailed it could win most best in show awards, and the article is very informative as well.

Bronco’s little M24 Chaffee tank is the subject of the next “Separating the Wheat from the Chaffee: Building Bronco’s new U.S. M-24” story. This is a complicated and really well detailed kit and the modeler has painted the interior like it would be shown although it is all pretty much sealed up. No detail is sacrificed for time in this article so it is a good guide.

It seems this kit is a little over engineered from this review – but the author to his credit does not skimp on the painting and weathering and the step by step instructions which accompany the pictures (with numbers to find that panel easily)

We take a look at a double build next with “Type 94 Times Two: A nicely matched set of the Japanese cargo trucks from the folks at Fine Molds.” These two popular trucks from the Japanese army are built side by side.
The real talent of this modeler is his painting. With the extras from Risecast and Royal models in cargo for the back of these hard and soft top hard top trucks come to life. I especially liked the weathering job this modeler did on the trays of the trucks.

 An extensive conversion of the AFV Club Churchill is next – with the help of a bridging conversion provided by Risecast - called “Building Bridges: The Resicast Churchill ARK Mk. II Italian Pattern conversion.”
Although the feature page showing the “wings” of the tank is a bit hard to read because of the impressive but splayed layout, the article is very informative. The authors go to some lengths to make this large conversion set very believable in the end product.

“Guntank! The JGSDF’s answer to the Gepard.” Shows a very nice build u of the Gundam – like Trumpeter kit with only minimal extras, it is nice to see something in these pages that isn’t with a ton of aftermarket – though the extras are always mentioned in the “recce” section at the end of each article.
“On the CUCV edge: A bevy of trucks from Miniman Factory.” Shows four M108 & M109 pickup trucks from Miniman factory in Hungary getting the dusty MERDC and European camouflages.
These 1/35th and 1/48th scale trucks in two separate articles look pretty good in the finished article. A credit to the model makers and authors for doing such a good job!

Next is the only decent figure review I see regularly in a magazine. The four pages in the “MiniMen” section show several new figures on the market all built and painted up. This way of reviewing shows the gfigures as they are and you can see the difference between the very good figures and the…not so good ones.

I like the little comments the figures are “saying” as well
Lastly we have a section called “Mine Roamin’: The Meng Minenraumer.” In which the lovely but very odd looking kit by MENG is built up and weathered, with it’s massive tracks and panels using colour modulation and rust effects. Again this is a straight build but a very effective one.
Well there you have it – I have written too much but that is very much every part of this mag. It has a definite “feel” of it’s own which I believe is down to the personalities of the editing staff that I can identify with. It’s never stuffy and the sense of humor is prevalent amongst the very nicely built models.

I liked this mag very much it is a great edition…

Adam Norenberg

My thanks to the publishers for sending this mag to read and review – check out  Ampersand’s website for this and their back issues of MMiR, other titles in their range and special offers.