by: Matt Flegal [ ]
For those who have doing their modelling on the moon for the past decade or so, Mig Jimenez is a dominant voice in the hobby, having brought many products to market, written many books and articles, and arguably being the most influential proponent of pigments, paint chipping, and extreme weathering in the 21st century. Thatís not actually the focus with the first two books in the series (more on that when I review volume 2) but I address it because we tend to think of MiG as a talented painter first. This first volume shows he is also a very talented builder.
This series consists of a planned five volumes with ~700 pages total when it ends. It will cover building, painting, weathering, and so forth. The first two are already out, with the remaining three due at several month intervals. The first volume is subtitled ďConstructionĒ and that is exactly what it covers over its 151 pages. To answer an obvious question, this is far more than a rehash of the section in 2005ís FAQ (FAQ 2 was painting only). In that volume, construction was a mere 26 pages and my complaint at the time was the captions to the illustrations, which made up the vast majority of the text, were often vague and difficult to follow. The format is similar in this new book but the captions far more frequent and contain more detail. So no issues about the format of the new book.
We start with 7 pages of information on modelling tools and materials. Fairly basic if youíve been modelling Armor for awhile but a good introduction to new modellers. References: Two pages which give a brief overview of the subject.
Part preparation: Fourteen pages here and I confess to being impressed. There are some handy tricks that many of have learned the hard way such as how to remove delicate parts without deforming them, unwarping resin, and removing impossible seam lines. It covers pretty much everything youíll need for plastic and resin part prep with good detail.
Interior construction: Twenty four pages in exhaustive detail that cover basic assembly, filling difficult seams, simple cast texture to the inner steel, floor mats, scratch building interiors, and so forth. There was a very nice little tutorial on making seats and seat cushions that I appreciated for its thoroughness of sculpting the putty.
Exterior construction: This part makes up the rest of the book and is comprehensive to say the least. It covers basic assembly, puttying, sanding, filling gaps, PE use and soldering, metal barrels, super-detailing, battle damage, and on and on. It truly is comprehensive and I couldnít find anything left out. I will provide some high points to give you an idea of the thoroughness on display. You get seven pages on battle damage covering gouges, cracks and shattered armor, penetrating hits, and even non-penetrating hits with the expended round body poking back out.
Eight pages on zimmerit covering putty, resin sheet, self-adhesive sheet, and PE sheet. Fifteen pages on welds and casting texture that goes into far more detail than we saw in the FAQ book and has a multi-step approach to the distinctive Soviet WW2 turret castings that is just exceptional. More importantly, it is easy to follow with a clear presentation. Mesh grills, both using PE and making your own are covered and all of the sections are liberally sprinkled with tips and tricks for adding detail.
I will freely admit, I learned an awful lot of excellent tricks here. Iíd never tried a fiberglass pencil nor even considered using kitchen scrubbing pads for difficult sanding areas. Now they are standards in my toolbox. Iíve tried using pigments to tint CA glue so I can better see it and it has always dried to fast. Mig points out that you can avoid this with metallic pigments and it works! For those big mold lines on cast turrets I tried his petroleum jelly trick to prevent it sticking to the metal sculpting tool. Works better than water and makes fine sculpting faster. Why I havenít been using a wire wheel in my rotary tool to clean up soldered PE until now I have no idea.