Saturday, July 6

Read n' reviewed: "SCALE IT!" #01 from Plastic Invasion.

Today we look at "SCALE IT!" - the first in a new magazine series from Plastic Invasion. Promising the best in reference, history, recreation & figure painting for the modeller and enthusiast. Volume I in our review today...

Read n' reviewed: SCALE IT! #01
Concieved & published by Plastic Invasion
Authors: Pavel Beránek & Jaume Ortiz Forns
110 Pages
Paperback, A4 portrait format
Colour & B/W photos
Available in English, German & Czech languages.
Price: €22
Last year we reviewed a book called "Scale Modeling WW2: German Camouflage Uniforms". This was a large book (some would call it a tome) that explained in detail with photos of recreations, actual German gear from WWII and from painting workshops just how to get the most out of your figure and painting skills with your German figures from WWII. This is a great book that is a valued peice in my book collection.

Last year's "Scale Modeling WW2: German Camouflage Uniforms" is a cornerstone of my figure painting refferences, and it's style and ethos echoes in this release...
The team from Plastic invasion have not been idle since release of that book, with a new set of two figures, a full bodied 1/35 figure and 1/12 bust of Otto Degen (both in two versions a separate purchase, you will be can see these on the miniatures page on their website, & I will look at the 1/35th scale figure in a review in the next day or so).

The four model releases created to go along with this magazine. I will review the figure in the nearest days...
The book, and more in particular, these figures are designed to go with the subject we are looking at today. The first book in the new series, designed to compliment the larger book of last year. This new series is called "SCALE IT!".

"SCALE IT!" is a new series of magazines (which feel more to me like a small book) that focuses on a single subject, either uniform or a object or several peices that go together in a set) which the authors will cover in detail in photographs, historical text and of course in a detailed scale modeling tutorials. The object that ids featured in this first issue is the German WWII field grey wool uniform, with the focus on how-to create the wool effect.

The book in its phsysical form:
A4 in portrait format, with a soft, matte cover and coloured (plus some black and white period shots) are inside. You can get this book in either English, German or Czech languages, and the page count for this issue, which is a slighlty larger volume as it is the first, comes in at one hundred and ten pages (later issues may not be as many pages).
Thise pages are broken up into six chapters, with one of those setting the scene, one talking about the figures that we are painting, one for thier equipment, another for the uniform, and two chapters, each detailing how to best paint the 35th scale figure, and the 12th scale bust we have seen which go along with this book.
Let's stop talking about the feel and show you what's IN the book, page by page...

Page by Page...
The first chapter gives us some historical background to the soldier we will be meeting and his story. "Operation Bagration" features over seven pages. With black and white period photos of the battle scenes and from that time in German & Russian images. This is a good backdrop to the soldier's story that we will be introduced to next.
Enter our hero of this issue, "Otto Degen". Like in their previous book, the team at Plastic Invasion, in collaboration with the popular YouTube channel Paralight Worx, who bring a stoy based on historical reenactment to scale modeling. We have seen the moment in history (Bagration) and now we read the human story behind it. In this issue we follow the main character of the series "Dusty Faces", soldat Otto Degen. We see him and his fellow soldiers conducting anti-partisan operations in a recreation. We read Otto's story, from early adulthood to pre-then wartime, and we hear of his influences, life and his love, and his experience in this conflict. It is the teams idea to ling the readers to the soldier's gear, poses and themes that modellers can relate to.

This chapter is a five page, easy read that ties the reader to the men, thier uniforms & equiment.
The real meat in this sandwih for modellers comes at this point. Some might see the first two chapters as superfluous (and some may question their value, but I will discuss this later), but this is what we can all agree on what brings us to the series, the gear and the painting & finishing of the figures.
The large format colour photos of the soldiers and the uniform and equipment they wear are a first rate source of resource. It is hard to get these types of images in colour,but also in the several angles in which they are shown in this book. Indeed, it is just as good of a source of painting that it could also be a great inspriation to sculptors. it shows not only the gear but the peopl einside them. We learn firstly about the German standard issue woolen uniform and the regulations about them, How and in what situation they were worn. Indeed, this chapter on the uniform takes us right through the design of the feildblouse, and the reading was actually very interesting to me. A subject I had not paid much attention to earlier. 

We have all seen the photo of all of the German field grey blouses - this issue explains a little of the changes and conditions that made them so.
The next chapter takes us through these soldier's eqipment, with fifteen pages decoted to close up large format photos of these soldier's gear, from helemts, boots, belts & webbing,bread bags, flasksmess tins,entrenching tools to zeltbahn. Not only do we see these claer photos, but detailed text explaining the use and how, why and when these were used. The crossover with the re-enactment crowd really help here, with that type of in-depth knowlege through ise and actual experience of this gear being an invaluable resource to the reader. These guys know so much about the gear that most modellers wouldn't ever think about. Trust me on this - I learned a LOT from reading this chapter.
Some of the more personal items of a soldier, his  weapons, the MP40, Walther P38, bayonet, to the beages and medals - the Infantry assault bdge and wound badge, that (highly sought) tank destruction badge are all featured here. We learn a lot in a short period from the photos and the insightful text that accompany it.
We get closer to modeller;s hearts not with two chapters driven by master figure painter, Jaume Ortiz Forns, who has created fantastic tutorials for painting the field grey uniform - shown here on both the 1/35th scale figures and 1/12th scale busts that Plastic Invasion has commisioned to go along with this first edition.
If you have seen Jaume's work before, you know he is one of the best figure model painters on the planet, and his tutorials get the message through in a fairly natural way. His step-by-step (SBS) text and photo tutorial steps are easy to follow (but of course they will take a LOT of practie to master). The undercoating, basecoat, face painting (including the eyes­čĹÇ)  then the helmet painting, we learn first of all some of the hardest apspects of figure painting. 
We move on in the same style to the field grey uniform, with the blouse and then the trousers, with Juame talking us through in short but helpful text his examples. The blending, detail and also paint shades used here are shown. They are Vallejo of course - but this isn't a product placement exercise in my mind, as many modellers indeed use these for figure painting as a first choice. 
The leather and cloth of the accessories is included in the tutorial, with the shades and wear on the gear and uniform all explained in the tutorials. Entrenching tool flask, water bottle mess tims entrenching tool and zeltbahn are shown in the painting processes. While the steps are all shown in a uniform format, some of the pages contain only three or four images. Maybe some of these could be enlarged in these instance to better show the detail in the photos. It is only these that are ont he smaller side. The rest of the phtos in the other chapters being a large format. 

"Hey - it's free real estate" - maybe make some of these phtoos a little larger next issue if possible?
The re-enactors tie in here  as the people and gear are the inspiration to the figure, as well as the instruction for the painting, by using natural light from showing these guys in the "field" we see how the painted has ties them into his work. Creating great fidelity with the real thing in his figure work...
Jaume next takes us through his process of painting the 1/12th scale bust. The same ingridients are available to the modeller/ reader here in this chapter, with the raw bust constructed, then (more closely as the figure is in a larger scale) the face, helmet, uniform and equipment are shown in step-by-step (SBS) fashion in a detailed tutorial.
The face is a real feature of the bust, much more than the smaller figures, and so a lot of images are shown with the SBS style, enohg for anyone pretty much to follow, but of course, results and milage may vary between each modeller. Practice is the key here.
Jaume explains in block text some of the work, like the tunic, and the apporaches he takes to certain items. Like the full figure in 1/35th, we look at the helmet, leather straps, the shading of the tunic and that tank destruction badge we saw earlier (now THAT's helpful ­čśë)
The layers of each peice, be it cloth, wood, leather or metal, are explained, with the items shown earlier in equipment, tools and uniforms coming in great help here as great refference. Simple items like the wear on leather items and the wear and shine on metal machine pistols are easy to get wrong, and a little easier to get right with the correct refference and good tutelage. It is here in this first issue.
We have a gallery of how the figure looks next to the inspriation in a few pages of galleries. There are extra pages here showing the refferences used, thanks and a great images of two German soldiers working on their boot-making and sewing skills!
And that my friends - is all they wrote for volume #I...What did I think?

The book - or magazine, as it feels more like a soft cover book to me - it is a surpise, and a pleasant one at that. Having read their large book on a much similar vein last year - I thought there would not be much to come from more of the same. 

But this book does not feel like that. It does feel like a bit of a new adventures, and you can tell that the team at Plastic Invasion has put their hearts into this. The knowlege inside that is conveyed from not only the historical, the gear and equipment that is shown by re-enactors and the figure painting by the master, it is all familiar, but still inspiring. A new adventure it is indeed!

A great way to start the series. More to come hopefully!

The figure will be reviewed here in a day or so, stay tuned...

You can pre-order this magazine and the figures from the Product Link on the Plastic Invasion website

What we can also tell you is that the team at Plastic Invasion has been busy with a new set of modelling heads, called "EMOTION"
These will be additional heads of many different armies and units that capture exactly the types of facial expressions that will fit your projects. Whether it's action, relaxed or neutral. Since Plastic Invasion have a few other new releases coming with the Fallschirmj├Ąger theme, they decided to dedicate the first EMOTION set to these units. You can get these from the Website also... (but not yet - we will let you know when these go live.)