Friday, November 4

Read n' Reviewed: Canfora Publishing's “The Complete Guide to Truck Modelling”

Canfora Publishing's new book called “The Complete Guide to Truck Modelling,” is out - we read it and thought it might be interesting as not only a crossover title but as a good learning guide. Let's see what's inside in our review...

The Complete Guide to Truck Modelling”From Canfora Publishing
Author & Modeller: Jan Rosecky
ISBN: 978-91-982325-3-0
Language: English
No of Photos: 500+ colour photos
Pages: 160
Size: 280 x 210mm
Binding: Softcover
Order for 38 Euros from the Canfora Website

With all of the trucks on TV & movies in the late 70's I was a massive fan of the “big Rig”. The big black Mack of “Convoy”, the “White Line Fever” Ford “Blue Mule”, to the Kenworth W900 in “Smokey & the Bandit.” Trucking culture was BIG when I was a kit and I was very interested in making a model of one of these trucks.

But truck models and their modellers? I did not know any. I did however, blunder my way through making a model of the most famous of trucks in the 70's: “BJ & the Bear's” 32nd scale Kenworth Aerodyne Cabover from AMT. At the time I loved it, but there were not many other truck models that I knew about at the time, and no one I knew as a kid made trucks either, so I had no one to ask questions about making it, let alone share my experiences with. I soon went on to making other things, as the resources just weren't there for me in this subject.
Cut to many many years later – and I still do not see many truck modellers around..I mean, most of us know the car guys at the model club, there are even some ship guys and let's not start on those train guys that sometimes turn up – eesh! Seriously though folks, there are many modellers of trucks out there – they are just a smaller community, with much fewer resources on hand that many of us are blessed with. What is out there for them?

If there are videos and books on AFV's, aircraft and figures, then there are none I really know of on the subject of truck modelling. However, recently Canfora Publishing from Sweden has stepped into this void, and talented truck modeller Jan Rosecky has authored a book on just this subject. “A book from a truck modeller for the truck modeller!” is what is the catch line on the webpage – and I bet most truck modellers already have, or are fixing to get this title. What can the rest of us get out of a book like this? I thought I would read it and give you all a little insight to what's inside to answer that.
Physically, this book is portrait format, measuring 215mm Wide X 280mm high and about a centimetre thick. Canfora Publishing is well known for their very nice layouts and graphical works, and this softcover is of a similar vein to any of their other modelling books. A lovely truck model on the front with some silver (let's just say chrome) edging of the lettering and highlights of the front. The cover font reminds me of the lettering on the American rigs' chrome writing of the truck names. It all suits the subject and it is something that I noticed straight away.
Inside the cover, we have a book of one hundred and sixty pages. The stock is a thicker than magazine quality, with a texture that did not pick up dust or fingerprints. The book is broken up into nine major sections, I could see quickly that the author walks us through gradually, the subjects in the book making their way from basic to the advanced as we travel through the book's pages.
We start off by reading about the author's raison d'être for making this title. You can tell that he is a passionate truck modeller and knowledgeable, as he points out the good and bad about belonging to such a small niche of modelling, the challenge of this larger scale and the availability of kits and a brief history of the kits that are on the market.

Jan talks us through what is coming in the pages ahead. The fact that this book concentrates on 1/24th & 25th scale kits and that it does not deal with RC or die cast trucks will be refreshing to most modellers but a problem for and even smaller minority I think. Jan also talks about modelling attitudes, and the way that we look at our own work and other's efforts, he also discusses the ever improving cycle of after-market options and the quality of the models we have and what we want to make, not only in accuracy and authenticity and tidiness of the finished product. 
You can learn a LOT about a subject by reading the intro, and this twelve-page section told me that I do like Jan's philosophy of encouraging others, and making what you want to make to the standard you want to make it. I was eager to read on.

The second chapter is called “Plastic Kits & Accessories” and as it says in the title, this explains a little about the models out there and the companies that make them in table, and block text form. Jan talks about the evolution of the models and their release strategies and what this delivered to the modeller through time. It is all a bit of a minefield for those who are not living model trucks day-in-and-out, and so I was grateful of this “ground floor” introduction back into this part of the hobby.
In this chapter we look also at the particular quality of kits on the market, I was surprised to read that even very new looking kits that I preview here on TMN are sometimes re-tooled from erroneous kits of the past that still are suffering from the same base issues. This chapter more than anything might save a modeller looking to aim themselves into the truck modelling market.

Chapter III features the “anatomy of Trucks” in a feature about truck design. I grew up around trucks so I am familiar with their features and types, however, many people might not have been stuck in a truck yard for hours every day waiting for their dad to finish work, and this section will help those who know nothing, and those who know a little more than that understand why different trucks work and look like they do. I would like a little more truck design history, but I suppose this is a single modelling book, a not a series, so space given to a more important subject like this - how trucks function - is paramount.
Through block text explaining the truck's parts from chassis to nameplate and from pictures, close up detail shots and company graphic drawings of cutaways and cross sections Jan walks us through the systems of the truck, what it does and how it does its job. This is a lot more than I would expect from a truck modelling book, but it breaks the workings of the truck down so you can better understand what techniques you need to apply to the model later on when you are constructing, painting and weathering it. Knowing why there are stains here, corrosion and damage there is a really important part of bringing reality to our model making.
We look at the arteries of the big rig in a few pages. Materials and how to use them on your models to create the many types of lines and wiring is the focus here. We see models unpainted with the wiring installed and later how the author paints them is shown.

Also the real thing is given to us in several detail pictures with accompanying text. A great reference of many different trucks for the modeller.
We get into making the whole model next with a “Medium Level Project” of the Revel International Prostar kit. I suppose none of us think of our models as beginner's efforts, so this makes sense. This is where the book transfers from theory to practical. The mode is block text accompanied with smaller pictures accompanied by text in the step-by-step (SBS) fashion showing more in detail what the modeller is talking about in his block text. This fashion is adopted for the rest of the book.
I really like it that we go from the very start to the finish in this build. A lot of books and magazines are just like paint catalogues nowadays, but this book show and talks about his construction all of the way through. Jan uses many tools and materials we all are familiar with which makes the subject more relatable, and his continuous explanation of the development of the real thing is always helpful to make you understand the “how and whys” of the model – something great to see that other top modellers like Mike Rinaldi focusses on in his books.
The build of the International in this chapter is not at all skimped over in detail. I learnt a lot from the fashion and span of these thirty-two pages of this pretty much “in-box build.

Those who want more from their kits will be ready to step up in the next chapter “Detailing your model – The first level.” THIS is where the aftermarket starts to come in. Although the base kit is the Iveco Stralis Active Space kit from Italeri, the list of materials provided in the table (just like all of the kits here) would be daunting to the uneducated. We not only learn to use photo-etch and white metal parts but also how to best scratch-build the parts we need for our model.
Jan shows us how to make modifications to the wheels, with SBS process, and a comparison with the original and converted kit part, he then takes us through detailing the chassis, fuel tanks and wiring before looking at the lighting and plumbing it all up with wiring and tubes. This is the beginning of detailing a kit, but I can see already how much of a difference it makes, and I suppose how easy it is to add these details with a good guide like this to work from. We do not stop there. The engine is painted and weathered, the detailing of the cab, and all of the clutter in it, along with everything attached to the truck like indicators, air-horns, mirrors and signage are added to the kit to make it something quite impressive, and something to aspire to making yourself.
Ready to move ahead again? Well the next chapter takes it up a notch. In “Passion for super Detailing” we look at what looks on the box to be quite a basic kit – the Heller Scania LB 141. The engine of the truck is a massive part of this super detailing process and that's a good thing with a tilt-cab design. Jan's work on the adapting of the engine block and cylinder heads, the adding of scratch built bolt detail, and the wiring and plumbing, followed by the painting and weathering of the power-plant would be inspiring work on any model. This is such an eye opener because I really did not think that truck modeller's work was so involved and detailed, and so bloody good!
The short-wheelbase Scania's chassis is next to get the super-detailing treatment, with a lot added to the model that was not previously there or that was in need of upgrading. The internal cab interior also is furnished in the trappings of the everyday truck so realistically it almost looks real. There are several other insights before we look at the advanced methods of painting, shading and weathering that Jan affords this truck.
We go slightly left field for me next – as I am not used to calling these “trucks,” but the MENG model of the Ford F-150 is up for attention next. The “Light Commercial Vehicles” chapter is a fairly short one, but it shows us a lot about detailing this newly tooled kit. Because this kit is a pretty good model in its own right, we just see an in-box build, but the results are very impressive and match the quality of the other builds in this book. I would have put this chapter a little earlier in the book perhaps, because after all of that high-level model making this is a pretty by the numbers (but still a top quality) model tutorial.
The last chapter of the book goes into the black world of “Advanced Resin Conversions” - something I thought truck modellers were free of – but it appears that the need to make something different is not limited to AFV and Aircraft guys. The subject is a flat nosed KFS TQ Scammell Crusader transkit, and in just under ten pages we see how to take on a truck model that is even more of a challenge. The detailing of the metal grates, the wiring on the brackets and chains attached to the kit are something of beauty. The parts improvised to make this kit and the extra detail added to the resin are where the real skill and the art comes into this particular build. Not a lot on painting and weathering here, more on the model and the sum of its parts. A great way to top off the book.
Lastly, we see six other models in a gallery of two-page spreads, some lovely (and a downright weird looking truck) are the subject here, and it's a nice way to top off this volume.
Well that is is – This book is called “The Complete Guide to Truck Modelling” - and COMPLETE it is, even a light commercial vehicle in the form of the F-150 is included. I would like to see a rigid body truck included, maybe even in the place of the F-150 article, if only 'cause I am still not used to calling that a truck.
Minor foibles like what I call a truck aside, this book is a wonderful book for not only the small but passionate truck modelling circle of modellers but any modeller looking to upgrade his skills and those who want to break into (or back into) the truck modelling genre. It shows the pitfalls of some of the kits and the kits to look into investing your time and effort in, the ways to improve your model, and, with practical knowledge of how trucks work and the tips and tricks shown here, how to then further upgrade your skills to a level you might not have thought possible before reading this book

Authored by an educated and passionate modeller who knows a lot about the subject and how to convey that knowledge, this is a really worthy title for any modeller's workbench.

Adam Norenberg

The book is currently on sale for 38€ from the Canfora Publishing's Website. Thanks to them for sending us this book to read and to review for you.