Friday, February 24

Read n' Reviewed: Scrapyard Armour.Modelling Scenes from a Russian Armour Scrapyard

A lot of you have probably heard of the authors of the book we reviewed today – Mark Neville, Andy Taylor and David Parker... These three modellers have been plying their trade for a long time, and know how to write, take photographs and most importantly turn out a good model. So when they teamed up to make a book that features the wrecked tanks from a Russian scrapyard we were hoping for the best. See what we thought about their new book "Scrapyard Armour.Modelling Scenes from a Russian Armour Scrapyard"

Read n' Reviewed:
Scrapyard Armour.Modelling Scenes from a Russian Armour Scrapyard
by David Parker, Mark Neville, and Andy Taylor
Publisher: AFV Modeller
Softcover A4 Portrait Format
ISBN Number: 9780993564604
Price £22.95

We were looking forward to seeing this book arrive in the post. With all of the recent Russian medium and main battle tanks from the cold war being moulded in plastic, and all of the research and photos exposed by modellers to create interest in this particular topic. We think that this book is particularly well timed, either by good luck or good management, who knows – but this book IS well timed.

The synopsys of this book is the combining of three top class model builds, the three being tied together by visions, and in this case a series of photographs included in the book, of a Russian scrapyard full of busted, broken, cut up and scavenged tanks, left to the elements and scrap collectors.

Physically the book is an A4 Softcover that features a matte finish kinda like thick card. After reading the book I found a little crease in the spine, but nothing that would not come out after it goes back on the book pile. The paper inside feels thick enough to feel just about right between your fingers. It is stiff, and it feels nice to the touch. The writing inside the book is nearly all Step by Step (SBS) with a picture or two to a caption below it. This is my favourite way of reading knowledge books like this one.
The one hundred and sixteen pages inside the book are filled with full-colour photographs, both of models and the vehicles that inspired the models. The book reminds me more of a working tool or inspirational piece than a coffee table book like David Parker's "Super King" book we reviewed last year. I think in the most part, not because of content but the smaller size and soft cover.
The book is broken up into four chapters, I will walk us through them briefly without trying too much to replicate what is inside, this is a review, not a recital. The first chapter is from the main driving force behind this book, David Parker.
Trisected T-62 - by David Parker.
This build is the largest part of the book. Taking up forty-seven pages, it is a complete build, with lots of the construction phase shown, and I for one am so glad of that. Mr Parker talks us through his inspiration (shown in the book) and the conception through to construction and then painting, weathering and the inclusion of figures and ground work to re-create the whole scene.
The build starts off with a donor kit and the addition of just about every kit aftermarket set for the t-62 you can think of. Verlinden, Photo etch, sometimes as a guide, and sometimes for the detail they afford straight from the box. There is a LOT of scratch building that has gone into this kit. The modeller often opting to make his own detail after the aftermarket maybe not matching up or him needing something different.
The real difficulty of displaying this model is the reality that you need to add to make the parts sit together. The cutting of the hull with oxy torches, the upside-down turret and parts either cut off or broken off. The reader can see a lot of thought has gone into the conception of the parts even before the kit was first cut. It is a great thing to see all of the plastic and all of the metal and scratch built parts in action before the paint goes down.
Next for the colours. The upside down orientated nature of the wreck turret is weathered interestingly, just as it would be in nature, receiving rain and dirt debris from the modeller while exposing all of the details and gun to the elements. The study of pictures dictates the way the modeller has weathered some parts of the interior opposed to others. To me, it's great to see this interior come to life with so many details. The trisecting of the fuselage is a scary and a big job I would think. Here we see how David has tackled it. The details of the ammo racks, the fan, the seats and electrical components are all shown here in raw plastic and in paint. The author shows us his first failed attempt at chipping, and then the drybrush approach he then used to create the micro abrasions of time, and then the accumulation of rust on the hull and it's accessories.
The torch cut edges of the cut up T-62 are thought about, and then fabricated rough edges are made with modelling tools, then the leftovers – the molten pools of metal are even depicted int he ground work in this build. This detail, along with the gathered parts of photo etch that make debris in the wrecked and picked over hull are all great additions that create the reality and elevate this to looking much more like a picture than a model.
We look at the ground work, the mechanic looking into the hulk, and then at the whole scene in a photo walk around after the model is made. The crewman looks like the reader in a way – pondering over the parts of the tank, cut into three in this diorama.

Scrapyard, by Sergey Buyanov.
Next, we have a large photo walk around of the Russian scrapyard in the town of Ussuriysk. This is a section of forty pages, no writing or captions are included, but the images are the real thing here. Just lots and lots of pictures of the inspirations of these kits.
You can see the trisected T-62 in here in several pictures. The real thing is just as interesting in this case after you have seen the model and all the trouble that went into making it. This is the best walkaround of a scene like this that I have seen in print, on line – anywhere. Priceless for modellers of these era Russian tanks.
Green around the Gills – by Mark Neville
The second model, by another noted model maker Mark Neville is next up. Mark's T-62 is seen already constructed, and we have eleven pages of the stages from construction to completion of this model. The pictures and text are in the same SBS fashion of one or two pictures to a caption the subject of what Mark is talking about obvious from the photos.
His model displays just as much exterior wear as some of the tanks in the walk around gallery section. 
The smallest detail in the finished product, a missing fuel cap, the terrain blended into the wheels to show the passage of time since the tank was set there and the wall and diorama setting that this derelict tank is found in add to the realism of the scene and the believability of the concept.
Georgian T-55, by Andy Taylor.
Last but not at all least of this bunch is a twelve page expose of a Georgian T55 from Trumpeter shown in a really derelict state. More by nature than the hand of man, this tank sure looks like it has seen some action and even more wear and tear from the weather and elements. The inspiration of this model was from a scene in the backyard of the tank factory in Kharkov in the Ukraine.
This tank is seen in a kind of "walk around" of the model – nude without paint – showing the pointers to just how Andy got the kit looking like he did. This is a lot less detailed than the Trisected T-62 but still pretty effective in the shorter pages dedicated to this build – it is still helpful to me.
The rusty shade of base red oxide, the light faded greens and then the weathering process is described and shown by the modeller in some light but sufficient detail. This is just enough to let us know what he has done without showing us in detail. The last few pages are a gallery of this tank and the trisected T-62.
Well, there you have the sum of parts of this book. The model builds are top informative, educational and inspirational, the composition of the models and scenes they are in is just right, and the gallery of the many soviet tanks included here is priceless to cold war soviet armour fans.

The second and third builds of Mark and Andy's could be expanded on (which means we would want to see more which is good) and David Parker's build at the start is another masterpiece in a great deal of detail. This book kind of flew under the radar for me until now, but I am sure you can work out the quality of the book, from what you see and what I have said here, that it's a great modelling book.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to David Parker and the team at AFV Modeller who sent this to us to read and review