Monday, February 17

Finally some art we understand - we review the Art of Modelling's first printed English language magazine

Art of Modelling: For a long time one of the best magazines available on the hobby. But until up to now only available (in hard copy) in Dutch, French & German. However now the English speakers are in for a treat as we have the first volume of the English version of this mag up for review – how does it fare? Well read on to find out if it is indeed art we can appreciate…


ART of Modelling Issue I 
English version reviewed here
(Also available in Dutch, French & German)
January-February 2014
66 pages
A4 portrait format
Available directly at their website

TO be honest I really dislike reading texts on screen, and books with no pictures really are THE last straw when it comes to reading electronically. Now magazines I can COPE with and reference books are ok when scrolling thru to help you learn as you model – but the fact that the “Art of Modelling” series was available on PDF form really didn’t float our boat. Then we found out it was available in “engrish” and in physical good old fashioned print we had to have a look see!
This is one of the new breed of magazines. Typified by others like Kagero’s “Supermodel”, Ampersand’s “MMiR” and the new Pla editions “Abrams Squad.” These are magazines of limited release and availability (it seems) littlered with good quality pictures and helpful text with little or no advertorials which make up the cost by a few "ducats" more on the price.

This magazine – the first in the printed series of English language mags ticks all these boxes. In an A4 portrait format this is has surprisingly thin paper that has a matte feel which I am not sure I like or not – it doesn’t take anything away from the content inside though.

Some great model photography, top quality models and quite famous modellers litter the pages of this mag. Adam Wilder, Pierre Pla are here and are joined by modellers who should be as well known by the look of the work they do.
There is a theme for this magazine and two ways to read it. One – to look at pictures and read the steps which accompany them. These include pictures of materials used. And the other way – to go through the regular block text and then read the captions. Both ways lead to the same place and one way doesn’t often tell much more than another. So you kind of get the duplication of some of the texts which is understandable as there is usually only one person telling the story. Part of me thinks this is a helpful way of doing things and the other half thinks this is just double the reading. It cannot hurt though. Different people learn in their own way.

Ok ill stop waffling on and tell you about each of the main sections.

We start of with something I have gone on the record before with as a waste of time for magazines – “What’s new” and a “reviews” section is a waste of time in the 21st century – the lead in time and space allocated is just not helpful to magazines. I know this part of the mag feels like it needs it almost – but I would urge all magazines to drop this as it offers only cursory interest for most readers and here it is four pages better left to a build or technique. Most modellers have the “internets” and already know this information from online resources.
The real showcase for magazines however are model builds – and we go into them next…with Adam wilder and his VERY nice build of the paper panzer Bär 30.5cm L/16. This is a several part build and we pick up the story in the second part. (the first  six parts were in the previous electronic only version if you want to read it)
Adam casts his own parts from resin, shows us some of his soldering techniques and more than anything you just soak in a lot of knowledge from just reading how this guy goes about his modelling. This is a very interesting part of the magazine and my favourite article.
But there are others here just as good – Hugo Luyten shows us his lovely build of the union jack clad Wessex Hu-5 helicopter. Hugo went to great lengths to detail the inside and make it something you want to peek inside to see after you have taken in the exterior The lengths Hugo went to on the riveting and rotor folds are impressive but more little “how-to’s” would be welcomed here – e.g. how he used “Rosie the riveter” as it is such a feature of this build.
Next we have an interesting build of a lopsided CyberHobby T-34/76 STZ Model 1941 from Kristoff Pulinckx.
The is a very good article with many pictures of step by step action showing most of the kit made up in steps. There is even a stand-alone part showing how to make up the Fruil tracks modellers like so much and why.  The only thing missing is the picture of the tank from the book that inspired this model. I suppose copyright an all that jazz…

A departure from armour is most welcome and this build of a camouflaged soviet era MIG-21 PFM from Eduard in 48th scale is very nice as well.
Again we have the editor Kristoff making this kit making the best out of the “Brassin” sets from Eduard (along with some comparisons with the original kit parts) – all shot with very good photography and the impressive layout which is featured through this entire book.

I am surprised he has the time – but Pierre Pla takes a break from modern armour to make a winterised whitewashed version of the SKP Models Cromwell MK.VI CS in his very nice build.
Pierre includes a nice figure with lots of canny wreathing in this article. I was very impressed with how he shows the use of enamel and weathering pigments to create dust and the use of whitewash and chipping to create the distressed upper hull.
Next we are shown the second in the series of  modelling tutorial in two small scale models how to recreate and paint and weather buildings by Emmanuel  Nouaillier.
One scratch built gate and a kit are shown from start to finish with both wooden but mainly metal rendering techniques in Thirty nine steps (isn’t that a movie in this?) on just how to recreate your own replica in small scale. Transferable in larger scales of course this is a great tutorial and more like this is much welcome.
Lastly this mag feature’s a reader’s article – a sci-fi setting of a battle on a modelling desk – Pascal Tognon takes us through his recreation of a battle between a space marine and a giant Machienenkreiger mecha robot.

This “David V Goliath” battle on the modelling cluttered workspace included a paintbrush and several sprues and parts – some nice lateral thinking in the creation of this and good skills in modelling in the making of the vignette. A great way to get your name and creation in print and I must take my hat off to Art of Modelling for giving novice modeller a chance.
Well that is all she wrote – and it was in a language and format I understand! I am really glad this magazine is out in print in English and I reckon the circulation will go way up now the rest of us lazy linguists can read it too. The models are top notch as is the photography and the writing. The news section can go and we need to find a better solution to doubling up text but the rest of the magazine is top shelf and a worthy addition to your workbench downtime.

I must add you can get this electronically if that is your bag from their website and the app stores.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the Art of Modelling for sending us this mag to read and review..