Sunday, January 13

Could this Polish supermodel be the end of magazines as we know it?

Print media is being over-taken by the endless bounty of instant on-line media in not only the modelling world but everywhere – Is this publication "Super Model International" which looks somewhere between a magazine and a small book - a saviour or a symptom of the industry – let’s have a look in our review

BMW R75 - Przemyslaw Szymczyk
Jagdpanther - Luke Kapelski
SU-122-54 - Raphael Bulanda
T-55 - Luke Orcmusiałek
80 pages
Available from Kagero Directly for €12.56 + P&P

Question: are magazines dead?

Let’s put this on the line right now. I have a subscription to a few magazines – one or two modelling publications. Mostly mags that show models being built and are not just paid adverts or championed publications put out by the company to show off their own products.

 Let’s say im not happy with the standard of the rest of what is out there. If you live anywhere but the region that the magazine is printed it costs a fortune to buy off your local newsagent, the articles are usually full of adverts or the builds are done to a short timetable so they are basic and nondescript - and the builds themselves are often just a constant nod to the supplier’s products, affiliations are obvious and it all seems like a bit of a boys club.
Recently there has been a trend toward magazines that are more like small books or journals – with lavish pictorial style and well thought out builds they seem a lot better in all areas of quality – There is however a lot of bias still involved in the suppliers getting samples and tools/ sundries and using them. It is refreshing to see something different – and these mags are headed in the right direction. Enter the magazine I have just read - Super Model International (No 2)

Published by Kagero in Poland – this magazine still does a little double page nod between articles at their own line of books. However there are four main articles inside the book and only the double page between them of these. So you get four large descriptive builds of about 15-20 pages each with only eight pages in total of adverts. That is a lot of info on each build and I found myself reading every one of these articles, even of vehicles or kits that I did not have interest in before.
Reading through the articles there is an interesting build by Przemyslaw Szymczyk of his MasterBox kit of the BMW R75 side-car + figures supplied by Mantis Miniatures. From a slightly shaky start (not afraid to point out the flaws with the kit and how he got over them) this build looks like something you might see at a modelling show as the finished product. The painting workshop on the pictures and making process of the side-car was very enlightening – we all need help on our figures right?
The second article features Luke Kapelski’s build of a Dragon Jagdpanther in 1/35th scale. The art of detailing and chipping/weathering this tank is pretty insightful – I learnt a few things from this article alone. Using colours from Vallejo and Tamiya – and weathering process using Mig products – this article – like all of the others in this mag is detailed with what kits, tools and consumables are used in every build.
The third build is of a Su-122-54 by Raphael Bulanda. This is a scratch-built conversion that uses styrene to replicate the massive tank – only using the T-55 base as a starting point.
Raphael takes us firstly through a scratch-building, colour modulation, paint chipping and then a pigment weathering course on this build. He is indeed an artist as well as a modeller – the same could be said for all of the builders on show here – very impressive work is on display in this magazine – and it is refreshing not to know any of them before. It makes you think you could do the same. Maybe….
Lastly we have a model of a soviet made T-55 modified and painted up to be a Serbian tank called “Boyana” or warrior princess.
I loved it in the build that the man who made the model Luke Orcmusiałek said that no - it wasn’t always pleasant to make the kit – that modelling does indeed involve stress – real human emotions are evident in all of these builds.
The one thing I like about continental Europeans and the way they talk – especially people from Central Europe – is that they have a real frankness of speaking and conveying ideas – usually what you see is what you get -  and the authors all made sure they pointed out what they maybe didn’t like or found difficult about the builds. There is a “no B.S.” tone to this magazine I really like – no one is falling over themselves to be nice to a supplier – or even to the magazine’s producers who make the products - this type of bias is what is killing the print (and often the on-line) modelling market for me, hopefully more mags like this turn up on the market.

Sure the English drops on a few very minor bits - nothing problematic or unreadable at all - but instead of the usual lines you get none of the usual hang ups -  none of this usual wording from modelling mags or reviews like "crisp Lines" or "a nice touch" - which i just despise - eesh! thank goodness! I am not trying to be negative about what is out there - just complimentary for a new way of saying things that I haven't heard ad-nausea before in other places.
None of these builds looked to me like they were commissioned by the kit makers either – and no two model maker’s used the same products.  There are eighty  pages in this magazine and only eight pages showing adverts – the first modelling mag I picked up in my pile from another publisher had 16 pages – along with full page “reviews” which were more like adverts littered throughout.  What’s more I actually learnt from reading this magazine, I don't just pick up a bit or two – I learnt a fair bit. This was more of a “read” than a “browse”.

The answer to the question at the start of this review:Yes for me – magazines in their traditional forms are "dead "– to me anyway..

What you want to call this – a magazine or a “publication" – or a  small journal I don't know – but hopefully if this is the saviour of magazines, and in this form long may they live and prosper!

Adam Norenberg

These magazines are available from Kagero Directly or from their distributors worldwide – including Squadron MMD in the states, Casemate in the UK and Jantarpol in Australia