Thursday, September 26

Read n' Reviewed: Dioramag Vol. 3 from Pla Publishing

The people at Pla Publishing have their third Dioramag volume out for a little while, and we thought it only right and proper to secure a copy so we could show you a little more of what is inside. See what we thought after we read it in our review...

Read n' Reviewed: Dioramag Vol. 3
From Pla Publishing
96 pages
Soft Bound, A4 Portrait format
All texts in English
15,00 €
Subscriptions are also available
The magazine is published Quarterly (4 Issues per year)
Product Link on the Pla Publishing Website
We have seen three editions of "Dioramag" from Pla Publishing so far, and up 'till now, everything we have seen is as promised in the blurb - the very best of the modelling world's dioramas and vignettes, how to make them, and visual libraries of some of the past master's works to inspire us. We looked with good favour and high hopes then, to the latest edition of this series...
Dioramag 3 in its physical form:
The magazine comes to us in the same format we have come to know from previous issues. A glossy softcover, A4 in size in portrait format. This edition contains ninety-six pages, packed with step by step articles and full-colour pictures. This edition - loosely drawn around water effects because of a few of the articles featuring dioramas that have water-filled features directly at the front of their presentation has fifteen different sections of either articles, how-to's or news sections. All texts are in English but the main thrust of this magazine and in fact this series are the excellent images of the dioramas that lie at the heart of this magazine. 
Contents of Dioramag Vol III:
3.- T-90A IN SYRIA. Choo Huang Ming
6.- NEWS
10.-DIORAMA CLASSICS. Sheperd Paine
16.- A STUDY ON SCALE. Robert Döpp
26.- SHOWCASE DIORAMAG. Kwastas Gewrgioy
32.- RECAPTURED AND SALVAGED. Kreangkrai Paojinda
46.- 1:144 A4E SKYHAWK VA 106 GLADIATORS. Dirk Mennigke
50.- JAPANESE MASTERS. Shigeyuji Mizuno
56.- BOX ART DIORAMAS. Shigeyuki Mizuno
70.- SHOWCASE DIORAMAG. Eric Gideonse
76.- SEA DIORAMAS. Kostas Katseas
82.- THE LATEST EAGLE. Aitor Akuze
94.- DIORAMA CLASSICS. Rhodes Williams

A walk through the contents...
The first article is a diorama showcase from Choo Huang Ming, who over three pages shows us and tells us just a little about his dio featuring aT-90A crossing a battle-torn Syrian urban setting with a nasty surprise in store for the tankers. A wonderful composition.

In the news section, the team features a few new helpful accessories to your dioramas, new products for street scenes from Artefakt, new resin toilets and crows from Maim, ETA diorama accessories 35th scale posters, flags and photo backdrops, Miryoko photo-etched lampshades, tools and palm leaves that all could fit into your diorama and none of these I knew about before reading this news section.

Gone but not forgotten - we see a look back into the past with Shepperd Paine's street scene somewhere in Israel over two pages titled "Diorama classics".

A "how-to?" article is next, with Marcel Ackle giving us a tutorial of how to create a weathered wall over four pages. Marcel is a very talented modeller, and the step by step process neatly laid out here makes you think about making your own scene, while it gives you some wonder at how he achieved such a great result, this walkthrough gives you a way to tackle your own decrepit building with more confidence.

Robert Döpp is next with a great twin-build article. He has taken rather a long time ( four years in fact) to create two amazing dioramas of the same subject - the ZundappKS 750 in both 24th and 1/9th scale. 

We see the amazing lengths of work that Robert has gone to in making, scratch building and detailing these two - both a Revell 9th scale Zundapp and the 24th scale Tasca kit of the same machine. Not only the bikes but the figures, groundwork and the smart, circular bases that have all seen a lot of work go into their composition and execution. Like Robert says - now you have been shown his, how about making your own?

In another Showcase, we see the works of Kwastas Gewrgioy. Over six pages we see five full dioramas in various scales and subject from this talented modeller. These sections are more of an inspiration of the mind in a show rather than a lot of telling. The showing is quite nice though...

Kreangkrai Paojinda is next, with his twelve-page article of a scene on a busy road in North-west Africa during WWII. The Scammel tractor and trailer, Dingo scout car and Matilda tank are all featured in a roadside scene littered with figures and even a camel. The build follows a logical sequence of steps laid out in the writing that accompanies most every picture, and although the pictures are not noted with the numbers to match they are usually right under or over the text. The impressive build sequences are shown with models from the major construction point upwards, and I like to see some of the construction of the models in such a large story as there is room for it here.

Not only the building an painting of the vehicles, but the figures, composition of the diorama and groundwork are all shown in this sequence in the middle of the magazine by Kreangkrai. Occasionally he says things like "You must use this" but does not tell us why - so maybe better revelation of why he uses such materials could be a welcome addition. However - a very talented modeller's work is the main focus of this impressive piece that opens the brain to exploring one like this for yourself one day.

Next up we have a 1:144th diorama of an A-4E Skyhawk with a very large (high) side deck section scratch build of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid during the Vietnam war period from Dirk Mennigke. These four pages show you reference and the end product, with no in-progress but a fair bit of explanation from the modeller here. He is a great scratch builder and a very nice composer of the art of diorama making.

Over eight pages in a section called "Japanese Masters" we next see the amazing works of Shigeyuji Mizuno. In both a section of five pages showing the wrecked  1/16th scale diorama of a wrecked tank factory, the "what-if?" scenario of an E-100 passing a wrecked T-34 of the road in "Another Piece of Meat", then the "Panzerbunker" scene of a Panther being used as a pillbox in Berlin. All of these scenes are amazing works, but the two box art replications of Tamiya's recently kitted Easy Eight Sherman and AMMO's 1945 King tiger boxing both put you almost in the scene that the box art covered - wow. 

Some of you may have seen Yoshihiko Tanaka's breakthrough work on using running and moving water in dioramas, he gets twelve pages here of expositional story showing just how he gets these amazing results. With models of the Type 16, the M113M48A3. All of these are shown driving through water, but the art here is at what speed the diorama is presented to the viewer's eyes. Not in real-time, but in faster speeds like 1/5000 or 1/50 that give the impression of a snapshot of life, and it is these effects in a scene that he replicates with his models.

Yoshihiko explains his craft while pictures of the work and materials sit next to it for both visual and explanation. He shows us how he uses a camera to aid his research in capturing water moving at high speed. He shows us the use of water in different states, meaning water falling from vehicles, being splashed gently and at full speed as not one, but several vehicles next to each other interact and splash up against each other. Showing the Japanese type 16 at a high speed dashing through the puddles of water (as in the cover image) and showing how he makes this from beginning to end is about the most valuable part of this magazine - masterclass that is easy to understand and follow. No promises you will get it right first time though!

In another diorama showcase, we see seven different really beautiful scenes from Eric Gideonse. Colonial US, WWI & WWII is shown in these seven scenes in one or two pictures each.

In five water-themed dioramas, we see the work of Kostas Katseas as he takes us through many scenes of big ships at sea, at port and at anchor in these five works of art. He is a great ship modeller, and not scared of different navies as he shows us by bringing us scenes of navies from all around the world in great detail and believability.

 Aitor Akuze is next with his almost famous diorama "The Last Eagle" showing a captured Jumkera Ju 388 in a deserted hanger sometime shortly after WWII somewhere in German. Aitor's work is always evocative, and although I have seen this before in a few places it is a great inclusion in this magazine and something that elevates the standards of the others in the magazine by its presence (this could be said for most of the work inside this issue).

Over eleven pages Aitor shows us from the beginning of his base work and planning stage through to the detailing of the aircraft, the staff car and tractor and the five figures of the diorama. This work is one of the modern classics and nothing but the opportunity to learn a lot from a master gives this inclusion of this work in this magazine adding to it a touch of class.

Lastly, we have one more diorama classic - showing the work of Rhodes Williams and his undersea/overwater diorama of a German AFV swimming tank over a sea wreck that the soldiers are diving on to. A great scene well executed to show both of the models in detail once finished as well as the illusion of seeing the wreck underwater also.

That is all for issue three of "Dioramag" - I can say without hesitation I enjoyed this magazine a lot, I learnt from reading it and I can recommend it to any of you lovely rascals out there that want to improve your craft.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Pla Editions for seeing this book to us to read and review for you. This magazine is available in single issues or as a subscription, and you can see more of their books at this Link on the Pla Editions Website