Wednesday, November 16

Read n' Reviewed: Static Model Manual# 12 "Dioramas Inspiration"

Today we had a read of the short but sweet instalment from the Static Model Manual series. This one is the 12th in the series and it is targetted in on dioramas. Let's see if it made a scene for us...

Read n' Reviewed:
Static Model Manual# 12 "Dioramas Inspiration"

By: Simon Antelmi & Alessandro Bruschi
Dual English/ Italian text
84 pages
Softcover A4 Portrait Format
-Full color
Price: 23 Euro upwards depending on your location (price includes P&P)

We have read a fair few of the "Static Model Manuals" from Auriga Publishing over the last few years. They are usually pretty good, with great models and skills on display. Every book in a series is different however, and when you are your twelfth edition things can change – so we are always happy to get another book to read, and to hope for the best...
This book – no#12 in the series of Static Model Manuals, is dedicated to the groundwork, the bedrock, the brick, mortar earth and soil (and water) of modelling. There are eighty-four pages in this book. A size of A4 in portrait format with a soft cover is the format. Our copy had a slight issue on one fo the first few pages on the seam on the spine but that was the only page we found with a split. That page is however secure and we think it might just be a glue issue on that page.
There are four chapters in this book. Each dedicated to a pretty different diorama arena, Europe in the rain, Iraq in the bleak sunshine, a Jordanian underwater environment as well as a Belgian paddock surrounded by cows. These subject are from far and wide which is great for learning, and the writers of the book Simon Antelmi & Alessandro Bruschi have chosentheirr subjects well.
This new book follows the outline of the earlier Static Model Manual series, with the author guiding us through basic techniques, followed by the skills of a more medium difficulty, and then ending with the harder to master skills all in each story. The builds are portrayed in the fashion of a short intro, and then a step by step (SBS) build article, in both the English and Italian languages, the English being in bold print, so easy enough to follow.

An interesting titbit of this issue is that every one of the four dio's in the book are inspired by real photographs which are included inside the book. These gave each of the modellers featured the stimulus for their works of art.

Let's stop talking about the book and have a look inside....

The first of the four builds sees a collaboration between Vincenzo Lanna & Alessandro Bruschi. It recreates a real scenario of a photograph of a Sd.Kfz 251 Ausf.D with a massive T-34 rocket launching tubes 9 the calliope-style) being welded to the top fo the vehicle by a metal worker or mechanic.
A hell of a lot of work was put in by the modellers with this rocket launching tube set taken from an Italeri kit, and added to a model of a Pak 40 which you can see also on the photo of the real thing. The rocket electrical work was not forgotten, and you can see the wired carefully added in the build section of this article. A heck of a lot of scratch building with plastic card on the inside of the halftrack is also added, but we do not see enough of it i think. The painting and weathering of this vehicle is seen over several pages. With the combination of different colours of the combined parts put together gives the chance for an interesting mix of hues on this vehicle. We see a lot of painting techniques and ageing/ fading in process here.
I like the art of making a diorama, and the fact that this book has that word on the cover made me interested. We see the author make the base from DAS clay, and the extras like the workbenches and figures from Roberto Reale's excellent range of metal workers to add to the photo-realistic aspect to this diorama. Everything is beaten, rusted and dusted to jus the right amount. The only thing not included is the rain in which the original photo was taken in.
The next diorama i think I had seen one picture of before on line, but nothing like the detail which was shown in this book. Alessandro Cozzani & Simon Antelmi have teamed up to make this Operation Iraqi Freedom (pt.II) scene in Fallujah. It recreates a scene in a square in front of a high rise building, while a US Marines APC has stopped in front f a minaret. The eagle-eyed amongst you will see from the photos that the soldiers are attempting to rescue the soldiers of a Kiowa helicopter which has crashed on the roof.
All of these complex and very detailed elements make for a large diorama and the largest part of the book. About thirty pages of this eighty-four-page book are concerned with this dio and gee it is worth it. The scratch building of the city building, the minaret and the other scenic and essential groundwork is a massive project, and we get to see it all in pretty good detail. The modellers have taken a lot of photos of those details being made from scratch and painted and dirtied up. It is an inspiring dio for most modellers out there to read, and hopefully to emulate.
Not only the ground work, but what came from the air is shown in SBS detail. The crashed helicopter is seen, and it seems a shame to crash it all up, but this difficult process to replicates is walked through with the story. Everything about this story from the APC to the crash barriers and coke machine elements, the figures and everything else that could fill the scenario in real time are considered and shown in this chapter.
Next we go to the desert heat of Jordan's coastline. A well-known picture of a rusted hulk of an M42 Duster under the water with a lovely lady diver plunging down to have a look at the wreck. The wonderful Verlinden set has detailed this tank up really nicely, and we see the extras added properly to make this tank look as real as the real thing might have been. Then the painting and weathering – more like rusting – is seen in SBS fashion. Powders and pigments, plant like reconstructions and all types of lumps and bumps make up the algae and the sea fauna and flora that cling to the tank and the surrounding seabed.
A royal model scuba (skin) diver is seen inside the next step of the diorama. The large step of filling a fish tank with a really interesting liquid that is NOT resin. You can see the pictures of the completed build that the scene does look like it is in a tank filled with resin, but i was very surprised to see the "solution" that made this dio look like a real place under the sea. Amazing finishing work.
The last diorama is a scene of a crashed F-104G starfighter in the middle of a Belgian cow pasture. The residents do not mind much that Alessandro Bruschi's model is parked between them as they go about their business of simply being cows. Again we see the original picture (wow) of the crashed fighter in the middle of the paddock.
We see an SBS of the 32nd scale jet being made, and then partially demolished with ejector seat taken out and the internal wing structure exposed. We then see the base being made from the simplest of materials and groundwork added. Cows are lastly added to the scene to bring it all "down to earth" in this shorter but very cool peice.
So that's it! Short and too the point, with plenty of learning. There could be a little more of this book to be honest, as each of these dios are so full of interesting bits that you would love to see in person, but the closest thing to that is having them to read and re-read in here.

Good news is that there is a second edition – no#13 – again on dioramas, that has just been released. We are hoping to see more of that in the future if it is anything like this one.

Adam Norenberg

You can get your own copy of this book by ordering directly from Auriga Publishing International...