Thursday, June 30

Read N’ Reviewed: 2nd improved edition of “Panzer Crew Uniforms Painting Guide” from AK Interactive…

A book that is concerned with the making of panzer uniforms solely is pretty specialized subject, and the use of Acrylics in the process is even more of a narrowing of focus. AK Interactive have tacked just that subject in their latest book in the learning series to be updated – “Panzer Crew Uniforms Painting Guide - Learning Series 02.” Let’s see if the book is helpful or not in our review…

Read N' Reviewed:
Second improved edition
by Roberto Ramirez, David Hernanz & Juan Manuel Vergara.
Published by: AK Interactive
SKU: AK272
80 pages
Price: 9,95 €

Written by Roberto Ramirez, David Hernanz & Juan Manuel Vergara and published in the “Learning Series” by AK Interactive, this book is a second, revised edition. Seeing that we did not see the first edition we cannot tell you a lot about the changes but we can document what is inside the book pretty accurately.

Physically, this is a smaller sized book with a glossy softcover and totalling eighty pages. The smaller size of the book is all that is needed in this instance as the pictures are all studying smaller items that don’t need large pictures to illustrate them. Small and perfectly formed is apt in this context, with very nicely shot photographs that show you just what the changes are from panel to panel.

The book is divided into eleven sections, some smaller, the five main chapters in the centre of the book illustrate the differences and how to paint the Panzer crewman figures and their clothing. These are not all by the same author, with Messrs Ramirez, Hernanz & Manuel all taking turns and showing you a slightly different way to paint these figures in step by step (SBS) fashion. This is the best way to learn from a book in my opinion and it facilitates focussed learning.

This book uses exclusively the references for the acrylic paints that AK Interactive make. It is paired with a release of the Panzer Crew Black Uniforms Set and the Flesh and Skin Colors Set that they sell, and which is advertised in the book on the inner covers, front and back. Because of the exclusive use of the AK paints, there may not be enough variation for some modellers. Some might say that it is a sales catalogue. I think, however, that if you don’t like AK paint and want to use acrylic, then just pick the same colour that applies in your preferred acrylic. There is much more information in here that a sales brochure and the processes here are more in death than something as simple as that.

Let’s look at the contents.

After a brief introduction by the editor and a small piece on the crews that are at the heart of this book, we look at a handy guide to the sidebars, arm patches and collar insignia of the Panzer Corps. Colours of the “Farbe” piping on the uniforms is shown with just WHY the tankers were in pink “Waffenfarbe Rosa” These insignias are shown in SS Panzer and Wehrmacht versions with a comparison to the regular non–panzer crews of the German army.

We then get straight into the reason why you bought this book. The black panzer uniform. This was, of course the first uniform used en-masse by the Panzer soldiers and iconic in a way, of the German tankers of WWII, especially of the earlier war soldiers which are captured here. The Step by Step (SBS) way of numbering the steps and then describing them in order is well done and easy to follow. The steps do not always separate in numbers but you can follow them ok.

We see how the modeller uses his airbrush to make the various depths of the monochrome clothing, with the settings he has his airbrush on is also helpful for people following the process. What is not shown here are the figure’s flesh tones and how they were replicated although it is discussed in other chapters.

Wehrmacht Tankers are next and the author highlight’s the Splinter Muster A. This Splinter Muster camo (splinter-pattern) is popular with modellers and so good to see here. The first thing here is the SBS tutorial of painting the face. Most people wanting to know more about painting figures will appreciate this included because it is amongst the hardest parts of painting these miniatures.

With firstly an airbrush, and then brush painting we go again step by step through the painting process. The lambskin jacket that the Panzer-man is wearing is also represented in SBS here so you also learn about how to recreate this fairly common material and clothing. There are some nice pictures in a small gallery of the very professionally finished final figures. Some great work by the author here…

We next look at the M44 late war spotted camouflage uniforms of the tankers. These are a nightmare to paint for the uninitiated and most people could do with the help I reckon! In more SBS we see the undercoat go on, the palette colours the modeller will use and the pin vice he uses to secure his figure, all of these are handy tips to those on the quest for knowledge.

The modeller might have told us just a little more about his brush choice and how he thinned his paint, as this is such a delicate camo I don’t know how he could have made it without helping out with the application method. The shading of the figure, both light and dark in appropriate areas, is helpful to have shown here also. We also look at the painting of the grey officer’s visor in this part which is again something different and helpful to the modeller.
The autumn shade of the plane tree camouflage is shown in the next chapter. After a sentence on the face we look at the forage cap for this figure with noctes on shades and the badges of his cap before we look at the camo smock of the figure. The modeller talks about how to best make his camouflages in the right scale pattern, and through this chapter he looks at the different colours of the pattern as an aside before each colour is added. We look at the uniform pants of this figure also. It’s good to see the whole of the figure covered in each of these articles in turn.

The lighter spring colours of the plane tree camouflage is next. In the same SBS methods of the others in this book we look.  These tutorials are good in the way that they encourage you to look past the result in front of you and they encourage you to stick to a process. Thankfully, a process that is easy to follow here.

Last of the similar but completely different camouflages on offer in this book. The Autumn coloured oak leaf pattern is shown here in this section. The panzer commander’s black jacket is also shown here. We look a little about how the light hits this figure in this tutorial, picking out the finer points of his grey officer’s visor.

We look also at painting the jacket and then the belt in turn before we look at the camouflage on the pants of the officer. The overlapping nature of these larger spots on this camouflage is shown again in SBS. We see ow this is finished also with streaking grime and pigments.

In something that I think should have been at the start of the book, we see the very helpful guide on painting faces. This simple guide is a real help to modellers who may need help with the more humanistic element of figure painting.

The last few pages are dedicated to the uniforms and equipment of panzer men and a gallery showing some very well-known and some not so well known that illustrate these panzer men in some good detail. For reference I think these are good, but of course we would love to see more. This book however, is a small format with a narrow focus that covers that in detail, and asides like this are always going to be on the small side.

If you want to paint with AK’s products or acrylics then I think this is an excellent book for you to either develop your skillset or to learn a new one. This book is good for research as well as a how-to guide for any figure. God knows we ALL need some practice!

Adam Norenberg

This book is available with all of AK Interactive’s other stuff right now thru their website and their distributors worldwide