Thursday, January 28

Read n' Reviewed: Mike Rinaldi's brand new series launches with "SM.01 Fish Submarine"

We have just read Mike Rinaldi’s new book. Taking a turn from his TANKART series and focussing on just one model at a time in the one book. It features his master work on the 35th scale Kitchen Foo “Fish Submarine” model. We have a look at this first book in a new series called "SM.01" (Single Model 01) in today’s review...
Read n' Reviewed: SM.01 Fish Submarine
Book by Mike Rinaldi6.5" x 7.5" softcover
96 pages, English Text.
Price $20 USD (Add A Signature $10.00)
P&P note: 1-2 SM books ship free in US, 1 SM book international only $5 USD

ISBN 978-0-9883363-0-8
Available from Mike’s Rinaldi Studio Press website

Q/ What is it? Why is it called SM01?
A/ A book covering just one model in detail - Single Model #1 book

The new Rinaldi Studio Press “SM Series” is a new book type brought to life by modeller, author and graphic artist Mike Rinaldi. This SM series is conceived to fully illustrate ONE single model project from start to finish. Unlike the TANKART books we have looked at before and liked a lot, this book is just the one subject and how Mike got to the end from the start of the process.
The subject in question is the BIG question here. A 1/35th scale resin model of the “FichtenFoo's Fantastical Fish-Shaped Submersible” is at the heart of this book. Whether you are interested in mecha, sci-fi, submarines or armour MAY dictate if you like this book or not. It is definitely a gamble to move from a bigger book covering lots of models to a smaller and more focussed volume that only covers one subject. 

In the future of this series we are promised more armour, aircraft and a wider array of subjects like mecha, Gundam, civilian trucks, and even a WWI gun focussed upon. The launch title however "perches" (sorry i couldn't help it) on the shoulders of this “Fish Submarine.”

To properly know what it’s all about we thought we would take you through it.

Physically “SM.01” is an unusual make up for a modelling book. The format size is 6.5" x 7.5” with the internals maximized to fit this space as much as possible. The book is bound in a softcover special linen stock that feels and looks so much to me like a throwback to some of the reference books you might have owned when you were young.
The wrinkled surface is almost an organic feel to it which was surprising to me and one what I really like a lot. I found out that the interior paper is an eco-friendly 30% post-consumer waste recycled uncoated stock - it looks good in print and is tactile to the fingers as you turn the pages. I am going on about the feel of the book a bit because the feel and look is like no other modelling book on the market today.

Although this book does not feature the “Lay-flat” binding you might be familiar with in the other books from RSP, it is made with classic perfect glue binding, using the best glue they could find to seal it all in there. The book opens open fully and stay fully open without wanting to close on your workbench so you can use the references without somehow having to develop a third hand. The book then closes without large creases being left on the cover also. 
Straight away when you pick this book up the texture of the cover and layout of the internal story of this book catch the eye. You can tell the author has a graphic designing past with the way the pictures are composed and shot and how everything is laid out. The clear manner of the author’s vision comes across very well here. The text is in English and the author is a pretty well thought out writer. There is a fair bit of information packed into these 96 pages and it is shared with the largest photos of the process that can be squeezed into the relatively small book. The mix is handled well and it’s an easy to follow book.
Those who are familiar with the TANKART series of books will feel comfortable with some old friends in this book. They are the “How” and the “Why” of the modeller’s process and they are the driving force behind this book. Why the modeller made the kit that way and how they did it is part of it, but WHY the original object looks like it does and how it got to look like that are just as important to the author. This is the recurring theme of the book and you will see the little “H” and “W” next to the text – explaining the thoughts of the author and modeller in a really clear manner. The circle that denotes a pint of interest really helps you see exactly what the author is talking about with his text also.
We look at two of the real main processes that drive the end effect in the author’s work. The Hairspray technique and OPR (oil paint rendering) are explained here in more than enough detail for the person who reads this book to grasp them with the little tips and tricks of the trade your need to know also added into the mix.
We start the fish submarine in the construction phase. Often not covered in such detail in books. We look at the “W” - why the model needs a certain treatment and the situation that surrounds the kit “H” – how Mike did it. These six pages are really clear and to the point, easy to keep up with and not too much info to take in.
Next we look at the painting of the kit. From the concept of the thinking behind this modern take on a steampunk model fish to the implementation of the primer and insides we see the model develop in a step by step. It’s good to see more of the interiors painted as this is often ignored in armour books. 
We begin to look at the painting of the exterior of the kit. More primer and base colour with the hairspray layers next for the author to work on top of. Again we evaluate the progress before we move forward and then covering coats and graphic colours onto the fish hull, more chipping and more hairspray sealing this all in ready for the next step. The exterior repair panels along with the next coat of green, stencils and markings are added to the kit before we go forward to weather the kit. All the time the “H” & “W” and points of interest are a recurring theme of this book highlighting the process. 

Weathering the fish is next. The author’s own Oil Paint Weathering technique is now firmly in the spotlight and we look at the reasoning behind using this process as well as the difference from this to the “dot” oil paint technique. Layering and adding the texture of the kit as well as the rust layers on the added repair panels are shown in action.
We also see the wearing of the subs “fins” which are a really important element and look great here. This is just an example of all the other parts of the kit shown from beginning to end and the process of how it got to such a great result.
With the sub all but finished we look at the all-important base that this big fish rests upon. The art of wood painting is intuitively shown here and the modeller explains his process with some paints. I like it that he goes to lengths not to champion one particular paint of brand and he shows what he uses and likes. No one likes being “sold” anything in a book they have already paid for. The other rusted elements of the scene are also described in this section of the book. 
We are near the end of the book as the author explains his thoughts about the final details that modeller likes to add, the composure of the diorama and the way it is all laid out before we see the model in a beautiful gallery of the sub and base over a few pages. 
Lastly in a welcome echo of the “TANKART” books we see the steps of the model construction, painting and weathering over two pages. It would be hard but in addition to the step numbers I would like to see the pages they are related to.
OK I have talked too much already. There is a lot riding on this initial release from RSP. The fact that it’s a single model of a submarine are a bigger risk. Rinaldi could have gone with a “safe” kit like a WWII tank but the choice of the subject does not really matter and I’ll tell you why.

The real driving force behind this book and the wealth of information is not about the particular kit. It’s about the “H” & “W” – the HOW and WHY of the modelling process and showing it all unfolding. It makes it easy for the regular Joe to follow in his footsteps and it gives you not only inspiration to try your hand at the same thing, but a guide that will instil confidence for you to at least try it on your own model – whatever it is.

This book is for all modellers; we could all get something from it. I cannot wait to see number II in the series.

Adam Norenberg

You can now get this book, and it's brother - No 2 in the series - from Mike’s Rinaldi Studio Press website - SM.02 Fish Submarine is currently at the printer and should be ready late January.