Sunday, March 6

Read n' Reviewed: Dioramag Vol. 10 from Pla Editions

Dioramag volume #10 is with us. We sat down to have a good ol' read and a short dream about the works inside. See our reflections on the contents of the book and how it made us feel in our review today...
Read n' Reviewed: Dioramag Vol. 10
From Pla Editions
96 pages
Softbound, A4 Portrait format 
All texts in English
Price: €15
Dioramag is a bi-monthly magazine that features the very best in modelling and the masters of the craft's works in showcases, how-to's and galleries with some amazing scenic works, figures vehicles and subjects from every genre and time frame of the modelling world.

Each volume is almost an event for model fans like myself, with only the best modellers getting a turn to show their works. The magazines in my experience are a real example of just what you can do if you use your skills, practice and listen and learn from others in the hobby who, like these modellers, know their stuff and are willing to share the process with us.

The book in its physical form:
More of a feel of a thick magazine than a book, Dioramag is a ninety-six page, glossy softcover of roughly an A4 Portrait format (297mm x 210mm) filled throughout with colour photos and English text. The layout is smart, intuitive and schmick looking. There are eleven articles with ten modelling showcases/step by step (SBS) articles as guides. 
We will now look at the contents of the articles page by page to give you a better look and feel of what is inside...

Abrams Squad Dioramag Vol.10 Contents:
After a brief but welcome introduction by the Editor, we kick off with an article called  “Jean Bart” by Nikos Kosmadikis. This diorama involves the making in a step by step (SBS) fashion, a port with a crane and a 1/200th scale Heller Jean Bart Tugboat at its centre. 
Not only do we see the final thing, but in an SBS build we great a whole lot of how Nikos made, adapted and customized his boat and scratch built the while port structure/s. The "oil canning" (wrinkling) effect is shown, the small additions to make the creator's vision were all explained over the eight pages of this article. The little errors that can be transformed into an appealing aspect of a diorama with some forward thought are also expressed. I love seeing a diorama in action from start to finish, and that is just what we have here. Bravo!
In the usual news section, we have six pages of new product reveals, with diorama accessories from several different companies' wares. I kind of think this is a wasted six pages that could go towards more dioramas. As the news is often old by the time this goes to print (like every magazine - ask me I run a website). Magazine's strengths are in the unique material that people can go deep on, not the soft stuff that is news one day, fish and chip packet wrapping the next. Still, each of these products is great and deserve to be seen.
A momentous journey is celebrated next, with the "Apollo 11 Recovery" scene by Dirk Mennigke. We see over seven pages of a scratch-built (almost) scene complete with figures, a Sea king chopper and a complete section of the lower side dock of the USS Hornet when recovering the capsule of the returned spacecraft. Dirk takes his time with a smart SBS article laying out his steps with some nice photography and exposition throughout. This is a 1/144th scale diorama and sometimes you forget that as it looks so good.
One of the more famous road signs in history, the “Pripyat” sign scene is taken on by Štěpán Los next over seven pages. The resin sign was customised, added with a base, a figure, flora and accessories in another SBS article that shows the steps as the modeller progresses. He makes it all look a little too easy here, but we know that a result like this isn't a fluke. Great skills on show from Štěpán.
An interesting concept is next, over four parts, Aron Vrbovszki is bringing us a diorama affected by each of the four seasons. The first, fittingly called "Seasons Part 1". It will take the modeller making the same scene four times, with only the current human occupants, the weather and the circumstances of how they affect the flora and machine changing. we see a brief hint on the four scenes on the first page, but then, the start of the journey, with Aron going into mass construction mode. The first season shown is Winter, and we see how the tank is deserted by her crew and on the run, with ice, whitewashing and snow elements all sharing place with an otherwise unmolested vehicle, It will be as interesting to see this completed as the first part. I am looking forward to the passing of the seasons...
The first "Showcase Dioramag" with six pages of the work of Marek Zindulka. The scenes are all from WWII and in 1/72nd scale, and they are very convincing for a small scale scene. I would be as proud of this in 35th scale let alone 72nd...
In the first of his builds for Diramag, Michael Schneider's scene called "Krieg der Bilder" - Photo War occupies a large sixteen pages in the centre of the book. In another SBS (Step by Step) article, this one sees us start at the build of the house and progress to show us all the steps along the way.
The very detailed house is seen in construction from the smallest part of the gutter to the texture on the walls, roofing tiles, guttering and window/ door frames shown in how-to's. We see the base and the foliage and everything apart from the panther and the many soldiers that make us the scene are shown in construction in easy to follow steps if you so desire or just to be inspired by. If I was to say one thing I would like to see more of it is the soldier's painting and the tank. Nothing really is seen of these until we get a (lovely) gallery of the scene at the end, recreating the war photographers (of the title's) image. 
The second "Showcase Dioramag" is next, with eight pages of some of the best naval modelling I have seen. Mr Dong Il Yeong's scenes are only lacking a black and white filter to look just like a WWII image. The smoke, water and dynamic nature of these ships and the people on them really speak to the viewer. They must be even better to see in person.
The "Japanese Masters" series is present again with the "Master of water" as I call him, Yoshihiro Tanaka. The most notable of his dioramas use the clear glue effect replicating spraying water were a big talking point after they were first seen a few years ago. I was blown away when I saw them in Japan at a show. His other works are also here over eight pages.
I will say it again for the record, but one of the nicest guys in the hobby is featured in the next "Showcase Dioramag". Calvin Tan shows us just how simple it is to create a whole scene with as much atmosphere as you would need with a single figure, or with a few soldiers and some small accessories. The work he does is some of the best I have ever seen anywhere. The fact, he's happy to share his knowledge in videos and things like this showcase enrich every modeller and the hobby on the whole.
In a large hangar scene, we have the "Legacy Brothers" by Ming Wim as our last article. The scene of a Horten 229 captured and presided over by a resting RAF pilot in a dilapidated hangar is impressive. Although the scene is excellent, we do not get an SBS here, but block text describing the scene instead. I like Step by steps as you will know by now...
Well, that is it for this issue. I can say that at ninety-six pages and a very low count of adverts it is worth every cent. The learning and more so the inspiration that I get from these magazines is really not equalled by many other magazines on the market at this moment, and I love to see how these works that I might have seen online are achieved and executed in detail from the authors themselves.

Inspiration, education and a little bit of envy on my behalf make this a great issue to own...

Adam Norenberg

This issue is almost ready to order from the Pla Editions website...