Monday, April 5

Read n' Reviewed: Dioramag Vol.7 - On thin Ice - From Pla Editions

As usual with the Dioramag series, we are very keen to see what is in the latest issue, the inspiration that is a part of the promise of the creators of the series and the creative minds at display in each model scene. Today, we read and review Issue seven in the series, showing and telling you what's inside and what we thought of what is on offer...

Read n' Reviewed: Dioramag Vol.7– On thin Ice
From Pla Editions
96 Pages 
Soft Bound A4 Portrait Format
All text in English
ISBN: 978-84-122304-2-0
Price: 15€
For those of you who are not familiar with the Dioramag series, it offers articles and showcases of the best modeller's works and scenes, current and in the past, in large format photos and informative stories that go further educate and enlighten the reader as to the creator's own inspiration and methods of creation. Basically, they are windows into the minds of these creative geniuses.

Issue number seven of Dioramag has landed here and finally, we have had time to read it.

Issue #7 in its physical form...
These books come in softcover binding in the standard format of  A4 portrait format. This issue is ninety-six Pages of English text and large-format photos to go along and inform and illustrate the story. In this issue, there are eleven separate stories, and a news section - the general rundown of stories is thus: 
3 “Another Brick In The Wall” By Heiner Sander
6 News 
8 Showcase Dioramag: Nicolas Maure
14 “Nutshell Dioramas” By Matteo Battellino - Known For His Miniature Scenes Of Masterful Work, We See Some More From This Talented Guy Here.
18 “Nature Reborn” By Matteo Battellino.
20 “The Priest Is Coming” By Jiasheng Wu. 
32 “Cat Hunting” By Johan Augustsson.
38 “On Thin Ice. Part 2” By Sven Frisch. 
50 Showcase Dioramag: Lechu Villanueva.
56 “Blue Seagull” By Davide Lazzarotto. 
66 Japanese Masters By Hideo Yamamoto.
74 "Making A Birch Tree" By Lechu Villanueva.
78 “Abandoned Mediterranean House” By Andreas Rousounelis.
84 “We Never Left” By Brandon Lum.
94 “Nostalgica” By Steve Palffy.

Certainly, there are a lot of subjects in here - and only two pages of adverts in the magazine that makes up for the 15€ euro cover price, there is a lot of actually modelling content in here. Indeed one of the reasons we do not review most modelling magazines is that they are full of advertisements. The format of these is right up our street.

Let's have a look at each section now...

The first section is called “Another Brick In The Wall” by Heiner Sander. Two pages that show how to form up, create the "mortar" and paint and age bricks in a wall section. Not only finished products are in here, but "how-to's" as well!

The news section is always a toss-up for me, but not too much real estate is wasted on new product showcase. Like its sister publication Abrams Squad, Dioramag does show us the latest of helpful products that can frame and populate your diorama. Maybe you could make something like what we see in the rest of this publication with a little help from these new bits?
Over six pages we get our first "Showcase" with Nicolas Maure's many works in large format pictures including a setting in the warzone in Israel / Palestine, A downed LaGG fighter with a convoy of Germans passing the scene. Two more small scales sections with the German advance on the eastern front and an American tracked vehicle in the cold night time. Very atmospheric every one of them...
We next see two and a half pages of the “Nutshell Dioramas” of Matteo Battellino. He is well-known for his miniature scenes of masterful work that fit one side into tiny nuts. We see some more from this talented guy and his "nuttiest" diorama creations here. The next section is almost in the same these of called “Nature Reborn”, and it covers two pages of a stunning setting of an island almost stacked on top of a tower by Matteo Battellino.

One of the larger build processes in this issue is called “The Priest Is Coming” by Jiasheng Wu - showing an M7 SPG or the "Preist" as it was called by the Commonwealth forces. It is captured in a setting in Italy, with a Preist and two Jeeps with their inhabitants meeting on the corner of a building.
Jiasheng Wu apparently spent four months on this diorama, and you can see the effort as he describes and shows the step by step (SBS) process of making not only the groundwork and house, but the vehicles and the figures also. The detail in the photos is awe-inspiring, and they make up for the lack of explanatory text at times. It sure is an amazing piece and shaowcase.
We next look at the article by Johan Augustsson called “Cat Hunting”. In contrast with the last story, there is a majority of text compared to images here. But Johan's engaging story and his thought processes bring his intimate scene to light in a very effective way. You do appreciate his thoughts behind the scene and you do learn a lot about the art (if we can use those words) in this article...
We next get to see the second part of the editor of the mag Mr Sven Frisch in the finale of “On Thin Ice. Part 2”.  completes his amazing scene of a Panther that did not quite make the bridge limits with his fat ol' Panther tank that replicates the real scene on the Eastern front. The RT Diorama bridge, Panter and the custom made, altered figures combine with an icy base and Sven's skill as a modeller to create a diorama that many will remember as his work for a long time to come.
Sven discusses his thoughts on the figures he included, he shows us the process of making the ice for the riverbed and gives us his final thoughts on the scene. This is on top of the SBS (Step by step)  build with photos and text to support the visuals and inform the reader. I am glad we got to see this over two issues as there is a lot to convey in this layered scene.
In the next showcase, Mr Lechu Villanueva gives us five pages of his World War Two dioramas that feature both Russian and German-themed scenes, some scenes with soldiers at rest, some in movement and action and another in a moment of tense anticipation as two German Volkssturm soldiers try to evade the enemy in the last days of the war...
A beautiful scene is next, with the massive portside scene called “Blue Seagull” by Davide Lazzarotto. Davide informs us on the use of Solidworks 3D computer editing to make some of the parts of his scene. That and a lot of old scale screatch-building on some parts you will never see, but he will! A truly special work and real achievement from this talented guy. 
In this issue's "Japanese Masters" section, we look at eight pages with varied scenes from another talented guy. Hideo Yamamoto has a varied modelling taste, from the cities of Japan lit up and full of life and people, to the unfinished cathedral in Barcelona - La Sagrada Familia - to Mont Saint Michel on the tip of Frans - these all show the minuscule detail and the building of the scene in real life with scaffolding and construction depicted as underway. These six pages contrast strongly with the completely different skillset of some amazing water-themes dioramas that show how really flexible his modelling skills are - wow!
DO you even KNOW how to make a Birch tree? Well, Lechu Villanueva is hee just in time to show you with his piece "Making A Birch Tree" over four pages of the sculpting, painting, foliage addition and then finishing off a tee to a very high standard. Informing the reader on another hard to learn skill that seems easy to master if you follow these steps here.
Another tutorial next, with six pages of step by step from Andreas Rousounelis called “Abandoned Mediterranean House”.  This place sure looks dilapidated - and Andreas gives us a step by step of how he created this house in the second of these house building themed articles in the dioramag series.
An evocative scene from Afghanistan next, with “We Never Left” by Brandon Lum. The centre point of this scene is a downed Mi-24 Hind that is now being used as a children's playground. The thing to note is, some of th echildren in these scene are not alive! A fascinating look into thi smodellers mind as he really opens up on the composition, the backstory and the execution of this scene that has many parents, and will mostl likely spawn other shoots of similar scenes coming from this inspiration to others. 
Lastly, and I am sorry I do not have an image of this, but  an article called “Nostalgica” by Steve Palffy is the last article in this issue. Last but not least at all, as Steve recretes a 1/76th scale diorama from his childhood into a modern modelling scene in larger and more detailed 35th scale. an excellent idea. simply and very well executed from a prolific modeller.

I really liked this issue, it had a lot of emphasis on the feelings and reasons of how and why the modellers scenes were made and the circumstances of how. Not just a image fest with nothing to tell, but as in a good diorama, an enchanting scene with a story that further draws you into the mind of these masters at work.

Adam Norenberg

thanks to Pla editions for sending this to us to read and review, this issue is available to order from the Pla Editions website at this link...