Sunday, August 7

Read n' Reviewed: DioraMag Vol.12 - Race to the Reichstag from Pla Editions...

New issues of DioraMag are always a pleasure to see - and volume twelve has just been released to the public. We have read the magazine, see what we thought about it in our review...

DioraMag Vol.12 - "Race to the Reichstag"
96 pages
Soft Bound
English language
Price: €15
ISBN: 978-84-124788-2-2
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. The DioraMag series is now up to volume twelve, and we have it in our hands to review for you today.

For those not familiar with this magazine series, they are unlike other modelling magazines. They focus just on the love of dioramas, past and present, and the whole magazine has not particular genre, the scenes are the king. It is why most of their readers keep on coming back. This series has a dedicated support base, and I can understand why. We always judge each entry on its own merits, so let's see if this one matches up with its comrades.

The book in its physical form:
The look and feel of this magazine is of a thick, softcover with page count of 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 ten articles with eight 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...

We have a round-up of the contents of issue #12 and some of the images of the models and the pages from this issue...

Pla Editions DioraMag Vol.12 - Race to the Reichstag contents:
After an interesting scene set by the Editor, who highlights the closeness of modelling with the real conflicts taking the attention of the world right now. We also get a tribute by the co-creator of DioraMag, Rhodes a Williams, who talks about the loss to our hobby and the world of Bob Letterman, one of the most influential and talented modellers of our times. Definitely important that a publication like this gives tribute to those who cannot, now, be here, but who have enriched and inspired us so much as someone like Bob did. 
In the first build article “Race to the Reichstag" - a diorama by Johan Søltoft, We see a scen of a JS-2 and accompanying tankers and soldiers in the last push, and the rush to be first to capture the capital building of the Nazi regime. A fitting cover girl for this issue, there are several small details the modeller explains in detail over the nine pages here.
I like the way that Johan freely shares the parts of the scene that he was inspired to add from other modeller's scenes. He explains not only the basics of how he constructed the scene (briefly) but goes into more depth into the painting, weathering and base work processes. 

The regular news section always gives us several pages of new kits, diorama accessories and tools to get the best from our scenes - or to fill up our stash desks for that future project. This is six pages that help diorama makers to keep informed about upcoming releases.

Next up another build SBS sequence, and in his diorama called "MIG-25 Laid to Rest”, Marco Marcato presents ICM's otherwise pretty basic kit into a scene of urban airfield dilapidation that once hosted these machines when they were at the pinnacle of aviation.
Another kit that was seen at the recent SMC in Eindhoven, this scene really deserves to be in amongst that company. With the mode already completed before the story was written (we assume) there are no construction or SBS. The modeller instead giving us his detailed recollections of each of the elements of the diorama. Woe would prefer the former, but this is still pretty good. It is still a great scene, to be sure.

Next up, we have "Cobra King First in Bastogne" - a build sequence report in which Riccardo Casati takes us back to the scenes of the breakthrough to the encircled 101st Airborne during the Ardennes offensive. The recreation of the tank, figures and landscape do bring the feel of that harsh winter climate these soldiers endured back to the reader.
This is more of the step-by-step sequences I like to see in a magazine like this. We see a lot of the construction, with three pages showing Riccardo's additions and alterations to the kit. Not only the construction, but the painting and weathering of the Sherman, the figures and the impressive base with a unique plaque are all walked through by the modeller in the most complete sequences in this issue, so far.

The talented Javier Soler is next up to bat with his scene "Back to the Eastern Front". He spends just as much time as the previous article on all aspects of the scene. Construction, painting the Sd.Kfz 247, the ground work and diorama scenes, so that the modeller really is immersed in thoughts of his choices in making the magic happen.
Successful show-and-tells explain in layers, and that is what Javier has done throughout his allotted eleven pages. It is a great piece well executed in print as well as real life.

Normally there are a few of these throughout the volumes, but in the single "Showcase DioraMag" section in volume twelve, features the works of the very talented modeller and figure painter Roman Lappat. Five of his amazing works are captured  here in a photo gallery. From the cats in a very green and moist atmosphere, to Australian Koalas caught in the midst of a horrible bush fire, to an X-wing on a rocky planet, to a car, caught just before the end of a precipice frozen in time and fauna, to a scene of Zombie Apocalypse with people trying desperately to evade a hoard in a climactic scene. Varied themes for sure. Each as interesting as the last.
In his diorama "Turn Around and Don’t Look Back", Lechu Villanueva keeps with the race to the end the war theme. In a scene of destruction after a fight on the corner of a nameless street in the eastern front. The dragon kit is upgraded with Voyager accessories and several figures, a building and groundwork in his step-by-step article.
In forty-nine steps, Lechu takes us through a brief overview of the construction, then the painting and weathering of the tank destroyer. A very large and a very valuable portion of this story is of the ruined building and street the scene is set in. extensive steps here could show almost any model builder how to do it right as he has here. About the only thing missing is a guide on how he makes his figures so well. The rest is excellent, however.

The race to the mainland of Italy is seen here in "Sicily 1943 " by Giovanni Lombardo (a native Sicilian himself). The scene is a close street with a large building backdrop packed vehicles rushing through them to cross the island as fast as possible. 
Although only an overview of this excellent work is provided in figures and vehicles. We do get a short masterclass in how the destroyed and battered building was created from barebones to such a magnificent standard in this scene of chaos by Giovanni.

In another scene of urban and military decline, Vincenzo Lanna brings us his diorama "The Factory Post-Apocalyptic" in which a workshop in Berlin is seen seemingly abandoned and derelict some time after the cold war.
Another participant in the SMC in Eindhoven, you can see why this was chosen for the magazine. The detail is excellent, and in this article you do get a lot of explanation of how he put the scenery together in those several layers of depth. The signs, graffiti, the large soviet-era truck and a bonus in the list of the aftermarket used in the scene make this a worthy inclusion on this volume for sure.

In the third part of "Season" Aron Vrbovszki gives us the next part of his four part look at the decline of an armoured vehicle in a setting. This is a great series that shows just what changes through human and natural interaction with machines of war and the spaces they inhabit.
One of my favourite scenes, I can see he has the time and confidence to show this visage in different times and under different "owners". This setting shows the people living amongst the relics of war and scavenging what they can to help their lives going forward. Nature has nearly taken the Jagdpanzer 38t over. We get a nice explanation of the materials and ways Aron made this season so believable.

Another issue of DioraMag finished - what do we think?

Well, it is a high bar to achieve, and there are traces in this magazine, like the single DioraMag showcase, that make me think that after twelve issues it really has found a niche, and found people to contribute and regular works coming in as features. It really is all killer - no filler nowadays.

A great issue - keep up the great work.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Pla Editions for sending this book to us  to read and review.
This latest issue is ready to order from the Pla Editions website...