The “Aces High” series from AK Interactive is a series of interest to us here at TMN. The driving force behind the magazine is Daniel Zamarbide and he has the knack of bringing good subjects together with great modellers to make them. Let’s see in our review if this special edition of the magazine highlighting the new metal paints from his publisher make a good read or not…
Read’n Reviewed: Aces High Magazine 07 “Silver Wings”
A4 portrait format with glossy softcover
The “Aces High” magazine, produced by AK Interactive is already 7 issues old now. And we have reviewed a few of these here on TMN. The driving force behind these books is the very talented modeller and author Daniel Zamarbide. He has a team of modellers he uses to create these excellent looking aircraft in step by step (SBS) style- articles which are low on filler and usually pretty killer. From the information we have before taking a look at it, we see that his is a “special” edition of the Aces High series that is made to illustrate the ways to use AK’s new metal paint range. Let’s take a look to see if it’s more than that.
The magazine is a familiar format to Aces High readers. There are eighty-two pages with an A4 portrait format with a glossy softcover and nice quality paper inside. The quality of the images throughout is very nice with great photography and as we said the writing style is a format of – short intro – SBS builds – gallery. This is by far the best I think for modellers as each step is clearly shown in both pictures and a written caption. This gives those who learn from a more visible content or those who learn more from text to both learn in a way more rewarding to them. The intro is short and sharp. I like that cos we do not have time in this format to waste on the modeller’s backstory to the build.
One thing I have noticed about the book is that it has the equivalent of five pages of adverts in it (including the inner covers). The price of nine euros eliminates the need for lots of advertisements which is great. I would say that the editors should put these adverts in between stories to keep the flow of the articles happening. Maybe next time? On the surface though this is a very good looking magazine
Let’s look at the articles to see more about this edition…
The first article shows off Hasegawa’s 1/7nd scale B-26 Marauder built by Fernando del Pino. This little kit looks so much bigger in these photos than it would in real life, it’s small size at 72nd scale is displaced by the skill of the modeller and how he finished the kit in such detail.
For my tastes, he does give this model a little too much credit. He shows here how much he has done to detail it and still calls it superb, I think he has done a lot fo the real polishing here and not the base kit. Speaking of polish, the all metal high shine finish that was achieved thru the use of AK’s “Extreme Metal” paint. He has done a great job here with not only the construction, of which we see a lot of (great!) but also the sanding, painting and finishing of this kit.
Next, we look at the 32nd scale Mig-21 (heavily modified) by Bera Karoly. This, by the admission of the modeller himself, this is a pretty flawed kit. We do see a lot of the kit-bashing here which to me is really important as the modeller mentioned how much he did to get it up to his expectations.
The kit sure did need a bit of work, but the additions are worth it and the modeller’s skill is shown here in construction, painting of the new metal finish and the wreathing of the aircraft. I like it that we are shown the way the modeller faded the decals just enough to make it realistic.
The models in this magazine more often are displayed at the end in a gallery walkaround format.
We get quite a long build next. The Tamiya 32nd scale P-51D Mustang made up as the yellow-nosed “Jasper Joker” (one of my favourite schemes) in a detailed and well shot build SBS. This is a very detailed kit, so I am glad that we see a lot of it here.
The use of Montex masks and AK Extreme metals and washes kind give this a dull aluminium finish, and with the other pigments and chipping this it looks like a war-worn Mustang that to me looks pretty convincing for the scale and kit that has been used.
Controversial… that is what many people see the inside centre spread of PYN-UP is – this time is done in an illustration from Romain Hugault. This guy has real talent, and to me, this is much more likeable than a girl in a bikini. It is done in a classy way if you would say that in this context. Some might just say it’s wasting space for models, but I like it a hell of a lot more than two pages full of advertisements. It’s up to the reader if they like it and ill leave that up to you. I like this guy’s work so I like it here.
The boss is next, with the editor Daniel Zamarbide’s F-9-F Panther from the same Korean war era that the previous Pyn-up illustration is from. It’s well placed in here, and the Fisher Model Pattern 32nd scale kit is the top of the pile so what better to see than this not often, shown off kit. I was interested to see how this one turned out.
I really like the detail and the skill that Daniel has used in painting the cockpit and the way that he shows off the steps in painting the pilot. The latter we get into the build, the more we get a bit discombobulated by the layout of the build. Where to look, what way the steps in the article take, unless you are really paying attention you get side-tracked by reading the wrong steps next. In all of the builds in this magazine it happens, so I would say that it could be laid out somewhat simpler on some of the pages whereas sometimes it works really well.
In the wash-up, though, this article and the build are really top of the class, It’s my favourite here and it’s great to see this kit built up.
Lastly, we see the Kittyhawk 48th scale F-101 Voodoo built up by Jordi Lario. There has been a lot said about this kit in the past and not that many built, so it good again to see someone take it on. The sleek look of this airframe lends itself to the all-metal finish that is here achieved with AK’s extreme metal paint.
I think this is this modeller’s first build article, and he has done a pretty good job of it. Some of the pictures could be cropped tighter to show you more in this format, but the build itself is well done so he’s done well here. Especially the painting of the tail and the faded colours on the aircraft make it look worn in just the right degree.
Lastly, we see a tutorial on the use of extreme metal. This is kind of a “how-to” in the use of this paint. Shown on the simple canvas of several drop tanks in a different scale, we see how to paint, weather and detail these small parts in such a way that it can translate to your own kit. It’s a good guide to using the paint that is shown right thru this magazine.
The showing off of these new types of paint, like in this drop tank article, are the reason of the special edition's being, some might say it’s a lack of diversity on the publisher's part, and I can see their point. However, I would like to see how this paint works on models, so this magazine with great builds is a way to help me evaluate whether I should try the paint for myself.
I like this magazine and I found it well put together, the subjects are smartly chosen and the skill is on display in easy to follow SBS. If you want to see this paint in use and like aircraft like these, you will be interested also.
This magazine series is available with all of AK Interactive’s other stuff right now thru their website and their distributors worldwide