Friday, October 16

Read N’ reviewed: In Combat – Painting Mechas

In recent memory modelling has been broadening its horizons – new influences, skills and techniques have widened people’s eyes to new ways and interests. Sci-Fi, figure and Armour modelling has led to new genres like Mecha Modelling. Let’s see if AMMO’s new book on the subject is a good learning tool or not…
Read N' reviewed:
prodcut no# A.MIG 6013
Written by: Mig Jimenez, Oishi Modeler, Luca Zampriolo, Chulho Yoo & Daniel Morcillo.
This book is in English
You can get this book directly from the AMMO store online

I have always liked sci-fi models, like the T-800 terminator chrome kit and the earlier star wars and Battlestar Galactica stuff. The recent Bandai Star wars stuff has piqued my interest for a bit of a wider audience. When I saw this book I though the premise was interesting – but would it catch the gaze of “regular” modellers used to tiger tanks and P-51 Mustangs?
…Well it seems that we are not alone in the world of modelling. In the last few decades robots and other large Sci-Fi war machines have been one of the most popular subjects throughout Asia and their popularity is catching on within the ranks of modellers now worldwide. My local hobby shop is packed with them and I have always been a little curious about these kits.  Let’s have a look at this new offering from AMMO then…

Ammo make their own sets of Mecha detailing products which are shown heavily through this book so if you need a tutorial...
The concept of this tittle is simple and in the tittle "In combat" - the want byt the publishes to show these robots not clean but used and of this world - in combat...

This is an A4 portrait format book. A glossy and very attractive softcover seals in the pages which are mostly full of well shot large format pictures with some selective text to accompany them. The text is usually in a step by step (SBS) method which shows you a picture-to-a-paragraph of writing which illuminates just what is going on before you.

There are four main builds in these ninety six pages and a large gallery section after that of twenty-one pages showing the various works of the four modellers featured in this book - Mig Jimenez, Oishi Modeler, Luca Zampriolo, Chulho Yoo & Daniel Morcillo. The models represented are all Bandai kits which is good but I would have liked to see another manufacturer in there for some variety – although each model is quite different. 
We start off our builds with Mig’s Bandai kit of a 1/100th scale Voltron–like looking robot, the RX-78-2. We see the Mecha already painted up with some skilful (whadd’ya expect) light modulated surfaces, and while this looks pretty good and it would be a proud achievement for many modellers the whole aim of this book is to go past what looks like a toy-like robot to a dirty, rusty, real-world Mecha you might see in a sci-fi movie.
This build is about thirty five pages of step by step build with a lot of good illustrated guides to show you how to get each effect you want to achieve just right. Painting scratches, chipping and rust effects, streaking, stains, pigment use at heavily soiled parts, it’s a very good way to learn each of these techniques in a short  but revealing method and I like the writing in this article – it keep it simple.
After the war on weathering is over we see the “before” & “after”  shots which really reveal how far you can take something that looks like a toy to begin with into what you might expect to see in your imagination from a mighty fighting machine like this.
Next up at bat is the Bandai kit of Oishi Modeler. This tracked gun platform of the RX-75-4 in 1/100th scale is much more translatable to my modeller’s experiences. The dull green surface, the tracks – are highlighted by some bright red to give you a bit of both worlds.
This is a much shorter article but the text is more dense – but not at all overpowering. His gun tank is shown in a lot of large pictures so you can really pick out the detail. I would have liked more fleshing out of the processes and how Oishi got there because this is a very nice finished product. The text explain how he weathered and painted the tracks is very helpful especially.
The very cool looking 1/100th Z’Gok Amphibious Mobile suit Mecha by Chulho Yoo is next. A pretty basic kit at the start – we see some more of the painting process which is great. A lot of light modulation again which makes this fighting suit look pretty – but the real work then begins by beating the suit up.
A lot of oil staining, chipping and pigment application bring this suit into the 23rd century. I liked it that this article concentrated on the “how’s” more than the gallery of the finished product.

Luca Zampriolo is up next with his rather beaten up looking Bandai 1/20th kit of the 
B-ATM-034. This is another modeller with another skillset which we have been missing till now – the building and scratch built additions of this type of modelling in action.
Seven pages of this build are dedicated to the construction and the parts that Luca has added to this kit to better detail the Mecha to make him look more detailed and lifelike. This is great stuff here when you see the difference he makes with some attention to the build.
Heavy weathering here is done with salt chipping and various weathering which Luca shows off and explains very well. As always I would like to see and be shown more as this modeller sis clearly very good at his hobby. This book allows you to peek over the shoulders of giants (the modellers and the Mechas.) 
The next twenty one pages are dedicated to the Mecha models of these very good model makers. The gallery shows just how different these models look in a variety of colours and load outs. They have no text to say how they got them looking this good – but they are very well shot and this section serves as more inspiration than education.
This book is a little more than just a gallery of robots. It really does show you how you can make the difference to your own Mecha (and other models as it all transfers to whatever you are into) - in a simple and well explained collection of SBS builds it shows you just how to try to replicate these master’s work.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the guys at AMMO for sending this book for us to read and review…