Thursday, June 25

Read n’ reviewed: Aircraft Scale Modelling F.A.Q.

Daniel Zamarbide Suarez has a nice catalogue of award winning models and some very nice books under his belt. For a younger modeller he has made quite a name for himself in our communities. Also the editor of the very nice “Aces High” magazine published by AK Interactive he has now made something that promises to help all aircraft modellers from beginners to pros with Aircraft Scale Modelling F.A.Q. Let’s have a look at it in our review….
Aircraft Scale Modelling F.A.Q. 
By Daniel Zamarbide Suarez
SKU: #AK276.
380 pages
More than 2,500 images.
€57 from AK Interactive’s Distributors Worldwide

This new book that promises to cover all of your aircraft modelling questions is an all new book. Written by Daniel Zamarbide Suarez and published by AK Interactive – it is a hefty but attractive black covered tome of 380 pages (it’s a good inch thick) and with softcover in portrait format. It isn’t a small thing in any form. Not to be confused with the book F.A.Q.: PLANES: Frequently Asked Questions about Techniques used for Painting Aircraft by J. M. Villalba which was published by Andrea Press in August, 2010 – this is all new and all Daniel’s vision. Lavishly illustrated with many photos of aircraft models from all eras it is a visual feast for all modellers not just aircraft guys.
Pitched as something of a start to finish guide – with step by step (SBS) guides of the procedures and techniques you will be embarking on. It comes across to me as a sort of exercise book. Something that you can read once, tice or whatever and then it is a well you can go back to for specific help with your next step of a build you might be stuck on.

It’s a big book so instead of just summing it all up in a few paragraphs I thought we would walk though each chapter and show you what the book entails…
After some thoughts from the author in chapter I we get straight into what we need to get going with your model in chapter II. He takes us through a visual inspection of his toolbox. Showing tools and consumables he uses and he talks about the pros and cons of each of these, even the ones I feel he probably doesn’t use. You can see a bunch of stuff here that you maybe didn’t know about. 
Simple techniques that people often mess up are discussed here in this first part of the book. Riveting and sanding puttied seams, vacuum and resin canopy techniques and wiring of engines is shown. We learn how to separate flying controls on your model, as well as rigging and bracing on biplanes and lastly some scratchbuilding supplies that might prove useful to your model builds. Many that you might not have thought about using before. It’s a great start…
Chapters are separated with pretty cool looking graphics that represent an aircraft fuselage… 
In the third chapter we look at the paint you will use on your aircraft model. Several different types of paints from a bunch of brands (not just AK) are seen here. We see and talk about the difference between Acrylics, lacquers and enamels with not just the top coats but a guide on undercoats as well as finishing oils and watercolours are shown here as well as a roundup of the different primers to use and paints to create chromatic effects as well as finishing sealants. 
We start to go deeper when we talk about the airbrush with a few pages of discussion and some nice illustrative shots. The paintbrush is of course included in this round up of applicators. I think a few people might need some more help on the airbrush and we could have had some more pages dedicated to this subject.
Swiftly we move on to Chapter IV – the Techniques we all need to master and probably one of the most important parts of this tome. The techniques you see the best modellers taking on and that some take for granted are a mystery to some of us, and so here it’s great to see several step by steps on the many types of camouflage. From mottle to soft edged as well as meandering squiggles. We also see some tutelage on panelling and pre shading as well as making light and shades in panels.
Next we look at the basic but sometimes understood art of decaling in several step by steps before we get into the very popular techniques of panelling, washes and filters as well as the application of the rust, chips, scratches and the layering of these steps.
The dust, smoke and streaky layers of use are also talked about in this section. Pretty much all of the finishing effects you need to finish your kit. It is all there in great pictures of models and the real thing for you to replicate with informative text added to the shots. 
Chapter V is next and we kind of go backwards. Meaning that we start at what most aircraft modellers would start at and that’s the cockpit. Danny has an unusual method of making up cockpits but one that looks pretty good to me. 
He paints them up like an AFV - all together and painted in minute detail and gets some great results. Some of those I have seen of his works in the past are here in this section.
The handy thing I have noticed here is that Danny has seen the differences between the shades used in WWII Japanese, German, US and British cockpits and then the further differences of the modern jets and then the NATO and eastern bloc jet cockpits, Most of these within their blocks however are similar. The simple SBS guides to shading each are pretty helpful here as they are separate and a bit of a one stop shop for each type/era.
Seats, instrument panels, are shown in isolation and together with their pilots sitting IN their seats – unusual but helpful and different. The fighters are not the only internal structures shown. We look at scratchbuilding figures to go into a lovely kit of the Avenger and how the author made the figures fit and again how the structures of these aircraft can be populated as referenced on two He-111 internal airliner structures. Very neat modelling and photography is displayed throughout.
We go back outside next with chapter VI – the Exterior details of the aircraft, is next. 
We start small but very importantly with the wooden and metal props and spinners, dirty ol’ wheels of the aircraft seem to be in vogue and these are seen and explained in all types.  The landing gear and their housing bays as well as the jet exhaust are detailed and painted in SBS versions which point out the literal high and lowlights of each type and method. We look at ordinance and what they hang off in several helpful build sequences as well.
Some of the detailers tricks are shown next with the finer arts of making aircraft walkways, and the art of masking with both canopies and lettering and national markings are next.  This is becoming more popular and people need to know more about using masks so well placed here. 
The finer art of detailing both inline and radial engines is then explained. Jet engines and the detailing of cowlings and some very heavy weathering and wear is also explained in this chapter.
Next we get even more colourful with the exterior and camouflage elements of model aircraft. Thoughtfully every type of finish you could imagine is here. From canvas and wood (maybe some of the wood tutorial should be in the cockpit section) to burnished metal surfaces are shown. 
We look at some of the more popular schemes over time in SBS sequences. The WWI Lozenge, the WWII RAF, US Navy and Japanese green (heavily chipped) and the USAAF olive drab as well. 
German schemes from mottles fighters to jets and squiggly lines are on display and also described are all types of modem jets from 1950’s NMF and Vietnam era jets, light grey schemes, desert and camouflaged birds as well as cold war and modern Migs. Most types of colourings you could conceive are here in almost exhaustive detail. The number shown and the SBS style really suit this approach. It simplifies and shortens the books by just the right amount. 
Hold on we are near the end! Chapter 8 is dedicated to the special finishes on certain schemes and aircraft that many people cannot replicate so easily. Step by Steps of burnt iron and afterburners and heat treated metal combine with checker board and striped masks along with other invasion stripes and markings.
Featured again with a very nice looking shark mouthed P-40 (Wow!) is featured alongside some metal weathering and the shading of control surfaces in a neat chapter that adds a lot.
We end the book proper with chapter 9 which features short SBS tutorials to help you create from scratch your own airfield diorama bases to resemble wood, tarmac and metal of ship decks.
The scratching of a jeep into a couple of aircraft tractor is also a good addition to the book as is the process to make a concrete and desert runway.
At this point im exhausted from just telling you how much this book has inside it’s covers – lucky for me the last addition to the book is several glamour shots of the aircraft in this book that the techniques were largely showed on all painted and weathered up. A lovely bunch of pictures showing you how much this fellow really knows his stuff. Maybe we should all take notice?
There is a lot of writing in this book, also a large amount of photos and modelling demonstrations so the considerable weight of the book comes at a fairly reasonable (though not cheap) price. Opening up the book you soon see where the cost has come from in the effort displayed inside the book and the process of making all of the models for the publication.
In fact it’s so large the only real negative I found is that if you handle the book poorly you can get a crease on the rear cover. If that’s the worst you can say about a book so big - well it must be worth a buy…

Danny has indeed made a great publication here and if you are just getting back to modelling aircraft especially it should be first on your to buy list. Then again if you aren’t a novice and aren’t even an aircraft modeller you will still love this book – it’s a work of modelling art.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the people at AK Interactive who sent out this book for us to read and review.