Sunday, April 11

Read n' reviewed: "Hangar No.1 - Jet Fighters" from Joycraft Productions

A combination of the talents of a pair of top modellers, the first publication from Joycraft Productions is called "Hangar No.1 - Jet fighters". It features some of the nicest step-by-step aircraft builds currently around, so we naturally wanted to read and review it for you. See what's inside and what we thought about the book in our review...
Read n' Reviewed: Hangar No.1 - Jet Fighters
From Joycraft Productions
By René Joyal & Jarek Rydzyński
Comprising six complete builds
144 pages, Text in English
A4, 11 X 8.5 inches (28 X 21.5cm)
Hard Cover, Landscape format
Price: $40USD from here: Product Link
We had seen some of René Joyal & Jarek Rydzyński's modelling work on the "internet" recently, and seen the appeal of how both of these very talented modellers went about their craft. Surprised then we were, to find out that some of these very works were being put into print in Joycraft Publishing's book "Hangar No.1 - Jet Fighters".

We will look at the physical book, then the synopsis before we go page to page to describe exactly what is inside and what we thought of the book.

The book's physical form:
A matte finish, hardcover book of one hundred and sixty-four pages, the book is written in English, in block text and in paragraphs that support the large format photos that are packed inside the A4 (11 X 8.5 inches or 28 X 21.5cm) landscape format pages.
"Hangar No 1" from Joycraft Products promises the finest in military model jet builds from some of the best modellers around the world. These six builds are presented to the modeller in a Step-by-step fashion with large-format photographs and supporting text that describes the building, painting and finishing process.

There are seven main parts to this book, Six builds of aircraft, mostly in 32nd scale, both from René Joyal & Jarek Rydzyński as well as a special guest spot in the book with a pictorial of F-16's from Sławek Hesja Krajniewsk of Vipers from the Polish Air Force...

the models in this book are:
Project I: Revell 1/32nd scale Panavia Tornado ECR from Jarek Rydzyński
Project No 2: 1/32 Polish AF F-16D Block 52 by René Joyal
Project No 3: 1/48th scale Su-24D Fencer by René Joyal
Project No 4: 1/48th scale F/A-18+ Hornet by Jarek Rydzyński
Project No 5: 1/32nd scale F-4F Phantom by Jarek Rydzyński
Project No 6: 1/32nd scale Cf-104 Starfighter by René Joyal
Project I: Revell 1/32nd scale Panavia Tornado ECR from Jarek Rydzyński
The first build of the book is performed by Jarek Rydzyński. This 32nd scale Tornado from Revell with Aries cockpit and nozzles, Master Models pitot tube and some custom made decals. This build was moved from the rear to the front of the book since we previewed it, and it is a good article to introduce the reader to the style of what is to come.
Over twenty-six pages of Jarek's photos are the main driving narrative. Indeed I could do with more text to describe what is going on, even numbers and pictures tagged to match them would better explain what the photos are showing. The reader has to guess sometimes as to what is going on here. It is good that Jarek does not stick to one paint or material brand, and we do get to see some of the kit being built and sealed before the painting process. To many modelling, books do not show this so it's good to see it right throughout the articles in the book.  The painting process is described in block text, but that would be better placed nearer the (excellent) photos of the work in progress. Finally, in the weathering section, we see the book in SBS (Step by Step) mode, which suits this format the best.
In every one of these builds, there is a final gallery of several pages of these models from every angle, some exposing details one might not see at a modelling table so they are quite beneficial and nicely put together. 
Project No 2: 1/32 Polish AF F-16D Block 52 by René Joyal
The second build is from the other author of the book René Joyal. He is a very talented modeller, with several works that I had seen before but again, did not know they were coming to print until I saw this book. This F-16D Block 52, originally an Academy Sufa kit in 32nd scale, has its issues, and René has added to the quality of the kit with a Wolfpack Productions cockpit, KASL wheel well and exhausts and most importantly after being inspired by photographer Sławek Hesja Krajniewsk some Techmod decals to transform this kit into a modernized Polish Viper.
I'll say it a lot, I like to see how the model is built, modified and sealed before the painting starts. René also takes the time to show us the comparisons between the kit parts and the aftermarket - again excellent show and tell. A detailed SBS (Step-by-Step) tuition of how he painted and weathered his cockpit, the body work of the kit with all of the re-scribing & remodelling (plus a cheeky bit of sprue doubling as a part on the kit) the wheel well, missile and canopy work that is needed to make this Academy kit shine is all told here with great pictures and text close to it to inform the reader just how-too.
The creation of the dappled and distressed looking surface of the Viper is shown in photos and told in words, and weathering processes are described as the modeller approaches the final hurdle of the most important finishing steps. Again we get several pages of this finished Polish F-16 that looks so very good from every angle. 
A special "guest appearance" is next. Aviation photographer Sławek Hesja Krajniewsk indirectly inspired the previous model's Polish markings, so why not feature some of his excellent photographic work here in this book? Some excellent photos of Polish vipers in action in the air. Sławek describes his feelings while taking these photos, his motivations for them and a little about the subjects and their pilots in this small but well-chosen addition to the book. Normally I am not a fan of diluting the main message, but these photos are so darned good they are totally worth the real estate. You can see more of Sławek's work (he also has some great photography bookson his Hesja website.
Project No 3: 1/48th scale F/A-18+ Hornet by Jarek Rydzyński
It is 1/48th scale time next, with the Kinetic F-18 "Blue Angels" kit getting the "Aggressor" treatment as a VFC-12 aircraft - those familiar with "Top Gun" will know what we mean here. This is a perfect choice and it will have many modellers interested in just how Jarek made this aircraft in this scheme.
It is good that Jarek shows us a photo montage of the construction process, any setbacks or parts that need a filling or extra detail. Without these steps the completed model would not look so impressive, so I am really glad that all of the builds in this book feature the kit being built.
For a model of such contrasting colours, weathering is an important part of the tutorial, and we have some block text to describe this (and all of the other processes) of the build of this model. The book could well do with numbers on the photos to show exactly what the author is talking about at which precise point, that or make these articles larger with a caption to each photo which would be best (SBS method).
Project No 4: 1/48th scale Su-24D Fencer by René Joyal
Another 48th scale kit next in the form of an Su-24 Fencer "D" from the Russian Air Force (Военно-воздушные силы России) just before its posting to Syria for operations. "White 26" is a good choice for this kit and we see the model from conception, construction, to aftermarket additions of an Aries cockpit and a master Pitot tube. The time is taken to improve and re-rivet this kit is readily apparent in the end product.
René has his mix of text and photos just right in this article, and I always felt informed about what is going on and when. The build process is explained very well, and the painting and weathering here really is just about right without going over the top. It is an interesting read and the completed gallery at the end shows in detail just how good this kit can be if afforded the labour shown in this story.
Project No 5: 1/32nd scale F-4F Phantom by Jarek Rydzyński
This is the first build of his I had ever seen previous to the release of the book, and a reason I was a fan of his work before I even knew this book was released. Naturally, I was very interested in this article and finding out all the information I could from it.
Jarek explains his technique of "mixing effects on layers" as he likes to call it in this build. It is an interesting method and the explanation of how he achieves this is very out of the box thinking that a lot of good modellers use nowadays. The whole aircraft's build, from the addition of too many to mention aftermarket parts for the 32nd scale Revell Phantom, to the addition of photo-etch and extra details in scribing and re-riveting, primer then surface painting (with those layers a prominent part of the process) decalling and then final weathering is explained mostly in block text. There are more than enough photos to show, but the tell in the text is a way away from the photos so you have to flick backward and forward a little to fully take it in. The end model really is one of my favourites that I have seen for a long time. 
Project No 6: 1/32nd scale Cf-104 Starfighter by René Joyal
The final build is another 32nd scale kit from René in the form of the F-104 Starfighter, which we find out has a family link for him. The build of the kit is added to again with everything but the kitchen sink in resin and even a wheel well, wheels and sensors for the Canadian version that René designed and 3D printed himself. It is great to see talented modellers adding these details themselves. 
The camouflage pattern and painting is enhanced with the ubiquitous FX masking sets that so many people are using recently, and we see weathering with pigments and washes, decalling and a handy addition of a Canuck decal sheet add a lot to this model. We are treated to a pretty nicely put together article of the whole build, albeit with a few things that could be re-jigged to make the article flow more easily for the uninitiated modellers out there who do not know how to do it all of this without help. This book certainly gives more to the advanced modeller as this is the language that these fellows are using and speaking with here...
...and that is all they wrote folks!

I do think this book could do with a few small changes to greatly improve the readability and to improve the learning quality herein. Placing text closer to the photos and outlying what products, tools and colours the modellers are using right before a process and adding text or a number relating to close-by text would be the main thing I would encourage the authors to do next time.

However, when it comes to the quality of the models being made, the images, the earnestness behind the writing and love for the subjects, it is all at the top of the pile. This would be an excellent book to start off a new series, I have heard that maybe WWII aircraft title in this series might be next, and that would be highly anticipated by modellers almost more as this one. The photo file in the centre of the book also adds a lot to this title.

A great book full of good learnings and lots of inspiration packed into a nice presentation. Well worth anyone's 40 Euros in my opinion. Well done on a great first title!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the publishers for sending this book to read and review - If you like what you see, you purchase this from the Joycraft Productions Website.