by: Keith Forsyth [ ]
Tech specRunning time: 138minsRegion code: 0 (region free)Disks: 2 DVD disk set
Introduction For many years modellers have brought books that profess to show you how to become a master modeller, some have been great but many in the end have fallen well short of the secrets they promised to divulge. I have always found books to be great, but never quite as good a watching a live demonstration and being able to ask questions,now with the advent of the DVD (Digital Versatile Disk) it is possible to watch a virtual live demonstration in your front room. I am only really surprised by how long it has taken for someone to realise there is a market for this.Now this is the first modelling DVD I have watched so I don't really have anything to compare it against, so will give you my true opinion on it.
The DVD The DVD comes in a standard clear double DVD box, with a full colour cover, the back introduces the idea behind the DVD and states whats on the disks. This one comes as a double DVD set (2 disks) and has a region code of 0 so is multi region and will therefore play on any DVD. The running time is shown as 138 minutes so it will be a good idea to get rid of the wife and kids before you settle down to watch it.
Disk OneThe menu for disk one shows the following:12.8cm Selbstfahrlafette 'Sturer Emil' self-propelled gunM4a1 ShermanSdKfz 251/18 Half-track The menu allows you to pick the individual subject or "play All", I elected to "play all" as I think is what most will do the first time they watch it. The DVD starts with an introduction and takes you through a list of suggested tools you will need for the subsequent builds. It then goes on to the first model, the "12.8cm Selbstfahrlafette 'Sturer Emil' self-propelled gun" which I think is from Dragon, this model is then built straight from the box, explaining how best to remove the components from the individual sprue, clean them up and then glue them together. OK this may sound like it's telling you how to suck eggs but it is a good introduction for the beginner and even those who have been building for years will find a couple of the tips useful.
Next up is a 1/48 Sherman from Tamiya again following a similar vein to the first build but explaining how to best work on small scale models. The final part of DVD one explains how to do a simple conversion on a SdKfz 251 to create the SdKfz 251/18 version, using plastic card and some templates (more of which later).
Disk TwoThe menu for disk two is in the same format as disk one with the following options:Humber Armoured Car Mark 2Painting and FinishingExtras
Again the play all is available, the first model up is a resin Humber armoured car, and the DVD explains how best to work with resin as well as a couple of safety items. I felt there was some good tips in this section and certainly a couple that I will now use. Finally the last section on painting and weathering takes you through the undercoating and painting of the 1/48 Sherman from disk one, there are some real good tip on airbrushing and weathering as well as painting with a brush here both for the beginner and the more experienced modeller.
Extras Disk two contains a section of extras, if you click on this whilst in your DVD player then you will be informed to access the extras you will need to put the disk into your PC and explore to it. What you will find once you have done this are a set of folders which contain some reference pictures of the models built in the DVD as well as a set of scale prints for the SdKfz251/18 conversion from disk one. There is a final folder with pictures of a small diorama built using some of the models from the DVD, its nice as an extra but doesn't really add anything to the DVD as there is nothing showing it's creation.
ConclusionThis is an ideal DVD for some one reasonably new to the hobby as the techniques are well presented in an easy to follow format, older modellers will also find some use from it, but for me there was not quite enough depth and could of done with a section on using after market parts, photo-etch etc. to make it a more rounded DVD, but then I think this first one is aimed more at the beginner any way. Having said that it is the first I have seen and can only go from strength to strength, I look forward to viewing more in the range as they become available. The presentation and techniques are done at a steady pace so any body wishing to follow them can do so with out having to keep rewinding the DVD. The only real criticism I have is there is not enough chapter marks so should you decide not to watch it all in one go, you can't skip forward to the bit you want, you have to fast forward each time. Otherwise I would recommend viewing this DVD certainly for the beginner and older modeller will also find parts of use.