Monday, June 15

Reviewed: Static Model Manual Volume 9 – "Figurevolution"

Figure modelling. At best it is amazing - and at worst…. well its “interesting” – we all want to get better at figure modelling and now Auriga Publishing has a new book released just on the subject of betterment of your figure making, painting and conception skills. We have read it, now see what we think in the review…

Read ‘n Reviewed: Static Model Manual Volume 9 – "Figurevolution"
From Auriga Publishing international
Author: Aleks Michelotti
Duel English/Italian Languages
Full colour throughout
81 pages Full colour photographs throughout
€ 22.90 + P&P Directly at this link

I am a bit of a fan of the Static Model Manual series. We have read and reviewed quite a few of them here at TMN and although they are not your typical type of modelling publication this is just the reason why we like them. No BS – just modelling skills displayed in a really forthright and typically European manner.

To explain what I meant when I said about the books being written in a “European manner” - I meant that often countries who use English as a first language get a bit fancy with their motives and explanations. Often they are a little contrived and often they seem to follow each other a little closely and you get a lot of books and magazines that sound too much alike. I have found that the Euro zone writers are more forthright while at the same time more honest in a nice way. I hope that explains the way I feel about the writing in this series. 

The books in this series are in A4 Portrait format with a soft glossy cover and colour pictures throughout. The dual text is great if you speak English or Italian and I suppose it costs less to print. Sometimes you do get lost in the captions and often you must concentrate pretty hard to follow the book’s flow. This isn’t an easy book to read and follow at times. Rewards sometimes aren’t easily gained and there is more to this book than the quick glance or quick 5 minute read will afford you. There are a LOT of topics to take in.
The book is eighty pages and several small chapters meander into each other without much fanfare or separation. chapters could have been broken up a little clearer in some parts as sections just seem to flow from one to another. You can cross from one topic to the next without realizing it and sometimes you lose the story-line along the way. 
This particular book was written by Aleks Michelotti, who is a well known painter for Pegaso and a renowned figure maker as well. The way Aleks takes us through this book is pretty unconventional (like I was saying) and he spends quite a while at the start ruminating about the how’s and whys of figure modelling. The text challenges the reader to think about the scenario and how the figure relates to it’s surroundings and the environment in the setting it is placed in. 

What the modeller can achieve against his/her talents and when to try to progress with the talents you acquire and when to keep practicing. Learning from a master like this is an opportunity and his very frank thoughts on modelling and the hobby are worth the layouts that sometimes making it a little hard to follow 

Aleks takes us through the tools and materials he uses to paint. Discussing the techniques he uses for the sometimes tricky us of oils and tips for his best airbrush use practices. How to profit from mistakes and how to refine your skills. Lighting and how it greatly effects the figure and colours you use is talked about as well. Colour and lighting theory is “enlightening” to us, the readers, and a lot more than what I thought goes into these works of art.

Shading and the practice of detailing to an amazing degree are shown here in depth. Some of the patterns are incredibly intricate and I would think that a LOT of practicing would go into getting this good. The flesh and physical features of figures are important to the finished product and these are tutored as well. Eyes, lips ears and the tones of skin are not so easy to replicate in a realistic way and this section will really help most modellers. Even if they think they have the technique down pat already. 

The texture of surfaces is the other side of the figure sculpt and paint, and this is explained next as well as the art of freehand designs. Again this is all about practice again and again and the author gives his explanation on this.

There is a large and handy section devoted to photographing your model next. Often photography for different types of modellers requires a different skillset – and with figure modellers they do tend to have less to shoot but they do tend to do it the best. Aleks shows how he gets the best results with a lot of text and some very nice comparisons and troubleshooting in his guide. Only with great photos can others see your own masterpiece and this is so very important now-days.
This book isn’t easy to read in parts. It isn’t broken into clear sections like a lot of flash publications are nowadays. The dual text sometimes makes you have to fish for the picture you are talking about…


The writing is honest, the skills of the author are undeniable, and the insight gained with you simply just paying attention to this book and reading it will be a real pay off to you. I liked it very much and I can say I am now quite a follower of Alek’s work.

Especially for figure modellers and then for anyone interested in making their own figures better this book is a great aid. It’s a great little book.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Auriga Publishing international for sending us this book to read and review.