Saturday, March 5

Read n' reviewed: "The Art of Military Figures" by Ki-yeol Yoon

Ki-yeol Yoon’s new book "The Art of Military figures" has long been published in the Korean language, but now the book is available in English, we thought it important to show just what is inside. See what we thought of the finished article in our review...

Read n' reviewed: "The Art of Military Figures" 
Master Modelling Book Series Vol. 1
By Ki-yeol Yoon
Published by Wolfpack Designs
English text
96 pages 
18 articles included 
Full-colour photographs
ISBN 979-11-96666767
Price: 18€
Acclaimed modeller and author Ki-yeol Yoon's new book "The Art of Military Figures"  has already been released for a while now in the Korean language. Now, the English language version gives a lot more modellers an idea of how he approaches, undertakes and executes his work to such an amazing standard.  

In this review, we will have a look at the book first in how it looks and feels, then at the contents and the quality of said contents now...

The book in its physical form:
A thinnish book, in softcover, with ninety-six pages. The book's dimensions are 26cm tall by 18.5cm wide. The text inside is in the English language as we mentioned in this release, and the photography throughout is of excellent quality, with some beautiful shots inside, all in full colour.
Inside these pages, you will find eighteen different articles, with shorter introductory articles and prefaces, awards and introductions along with slightly longer galleries with some text to explain the masterpieces within. Although most of these articles are just finished "showcases of his finished work, there are also some in-progress shots amongst them. The eighteen models and the other chapters showcased in this book are:

Book Contents:
Artist introduction
WWII British Tank Crew
WWII British Armoured Crew
German Sniper 1944
SS Officers LAH Kharkov
SS Sturmbannfuhrer of Artillery "Das Reich" 1944
German 6th Army Crew Stalingrad 1942
War Photographer Vietnam War
44th Regt of Foot Gandamark
Grenadier Guard Inkerman 1854
Teutonic Grand Master 14th Century
Knight with Flag, 13th Century
Pirate Fury
PMC (Private Military Company)
Farmer & His Bul
Ma.K Gustav
Photographer Diana
Page by page:
We have three single pages each at the start of the book in the form of an introduction, where we learn the vital statistics about master Yoon, and his major achievements of modelling at shows and events. A recommendation by the well known Douglas Lee and lastly his personal thoughts about his modelling on a one-page preface. Then, it is straight into the models. We will look at each of them in turn very briefly...

We start with the "WWII British Tank Crew", which is a pair of lovely Alpine Miniatures figures with the MiniArt Dingo. A beautiful piece that sold many, many figures and Dingos since then! we also see the detail of the Dingo and the scratchbuilding inside the model that most modellers would not even see unless they looked. It is good to see this detail exposed amongst the finished article.
The similar subject and named "WWII British Armoured Crew" that was made in the same year and features - yes another MiniArt Dingo (he must have liked them) and two figures, again from Alpine Miniatures, but this time in desert fatigues and in a much drier setting. Switching again to the third article, we see a lonely setting in the biting cold of the Eastern front in "German Sniper 1944". The four-page article shows a 90mm (1/20th) Andrea Miniatures figure and base with custom additions. An amazing piece and so well executed and photographed.
A chilly scene with Alpine Miniatures again in the form of  "SS Officers LAH Kharkov", where, just like the other works in this book, he describes a little of his thoughts and additions to the figures to make a scene realistic. The next work is the well-known figure set of an officer and his Alsatian called "SS Sturmbannfuhrer of Artillery "Das Reich" 1944" from Pegasso. We are shown some of the scratchbuilding work to make the railcar in bare plastic.
The next showcase in the book is titled "German 6th Army Crew Stalingrad 1942". It features the lovely Life miniatures bust of the exhausted soldier of the surrounded army on the extent of Hitler's push into the east. It is easily amongst the best work of this bust I have seen, and it totally bookends with the next work from the same company, in just as excellent a quality,  Life Miniatures "War Photographer Vietnam War".
We go back in time next, with the rare Latorre Models kit of the "44th Regt of Foot Gandamark". A snowy scene in which Yoon describes and shows over four pages the work behind the figure and chilly groundwork. A very similar scene in the cold and a similar timeframe is the "Grenadier Guard Inkerman 1854" where we see the modeller describe how the mud on the ground of the scene affected the painting and feel of the finished work. A beautiful pair of Pegaso Miniatures figures are next, with the first being this "Teutonic Grand Master 14th Century" in 1/20th scale look amazing in the full-colour photography within the book.
The second Pegasso figure is the "Knight with Flag, 13th Century" which has an earlier soldier with a far less ornamental set of gear, but nonetheless impressive as a scene and work. The author describes why he scratchbuilt the base. Another well-known figure amongst model makers is the next work "Pirate Fury" in 1/10th scale from Nuts planet. This man and his monkey are fairly recent works and very lifelike with a dynamic pose shown in these great photographs.
Next, we see the Trigger Models 1/20th scale figure called "Scouter". This is another example of his variety of subjects in the book, with more of a modern post-apocalypse figure than anything. It is accompanied almost by another modern scene of a man and his motorcycle that he called "Vagabond", which is a conversion from the 1/24th scale Zundapp from Asika Model with the Trigger models figure on a simple base.
A wonderful 1/35th scale diorama is this "PMC (Private Military Company)" that shows these two figures in the middle of a dilapidated and deserted street sometime in the present, or near future. The bonus here is the small tutorial that Master Yoon gives us to illuminate the steps of the creation of the base and background to everything you see here in this scene.
In what might be a rather personal work of his native Korea, the next work is called "Farmer & His Bull", and shows a farmer and his prized steed with a natural vegetation scene that looks so impressive from many angles in such great photos. The making of the scene, the rice plants, the water, the bull and the farmer are shown in some small detail which adds to the work's appeal here. For those fans of Ma.K is the next build, the "Ma.K Gustav", that shows the figure of a man resting at the foot of his machine and the excellent composition of groundwork and figures which tie in so well together.
The last work is the "Photographer Diana" figure from Def Model, shown here over four pages, it will be a favourite of many readers here. The final step along the way in this book is a double-page spread of an interview with Master Yoon and a list of his awards from his career.
Although we are here to review the book, the quality of this man's work is never doubted in my mind. A lot of modellers call what they do "art" with high intentions, but there are few that pull it off like the protagonist of this book does. 

The showcases here do lack a little depth, with some readers maybe might be wanting to see a little more of "how-to" rather than "here it is", but some of the works are over ten years old, and made well before the modern step by step books we take for granted now proliferate.

Knowing that many of these works are older, they do still look as contemporary as any new takes on these same figures we would see now.

An inspiring work from a true master.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Pla Editions for sending this book to us to read and review. If you are interested in purchasing this book you can find out more information and where to get it on the Pla Editions Website