With the release of TankArt 4 imminent, I thought it would be a good time to have a quick look at TankArt 1, which coincidentally is on the same subject as Tank Art 4, German Armour.
The book is about 8.5′ by 9.5″, and I’m looking at the 2nd edition, which is slightly different to the 1st, but not so much that this review doesn’t also apply to the 1st edition. There are 224 pages in this softback book and the pages are what I describe as semi-glossy.
I find the best description of the contents of a book is the contents page, so here it is:
- Products & Materials
- Weathering Principles
- Hairspray Technique
- Oil Paint Rendering
- Befehls Panther Ausf. G
- Sd. Kfz. 251/22 Pakwagen
- Tiger 1 Initial Production
- Panzer IV Ausf. E DAK
- Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
- Lester Plaskitt – Sd. Kfz. 251/21
After a 2 page introduction from Michael Rinaldi we go straight into 5 pages of products and materials for painting and weathering your model. This book is all about painting and weathering so there’s not much on building, but then again I find the painting and weathering is the most important part, so that seems reasonable. This chapter goes over what products are used in the book and also includes various tips, highlighted in orange boxes throughout the book. I really like the orange boxes! The main text might say a filter was applied, but the orange box will give the things to look out for when you’re doing this – what is in the modeller’s mind almost.
Next there’s 4 pages on the principles of weathering, again with many tips and ideas. It defines the basic principles of weathering and also the main steps in achieving a realistic weather process.
There’s 8 pages on the hairspray technique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen 8 pages solely devoted to this technique elsewhere. This technique is used on all the builds in the book and is a cornerstone of the weathering processes in the book. It’s outlined in a lot of detail. In this chapter there’s little green boxes giving you the author’s thoughts on getting it right for yourself.
The final chapter before the builds themselves is 9 pages on oil paint rendering. As you can tell from the 9 pages, this is covered in detail and is another cornerstone of the techniques outlined in the build.
The 6 builds themselves are 30 to 36 pages each. They are obviously covered in a lot of detail and every step is shown with crisp clear photos, often with the area of interest circled. In these builds you will find many of the orange and green boxes giving you tips and tricks and also the author’s thoughts, which I find pretty interesting in themselves. Normally when you read about a build you just get the simple ” I did this…” instructions. In this book you get that, but you also get the tips and tricks to make it work as well as the author’s thoughts on that particular aspect as he is doing it. Why it was done in a certain way, why one spare track was made brighter than the other, for example. Needless to say, the builds are weathered to a very high quality. The last build in this book, the Sd. Kfz. 251/21, is different to edition 1 of the book and replaces a bonus figure modelling chapter. The models are all in 1/35 apart form the Sd. Kfz. 251/22 Pakwagen, which is in 1/48.
There are quite a few ‘how to’ guides for painting and weathering armour on the market now, but I find this series of books has something different to offer. Instead of being divided into chapters depending upon what part of the vehicle you want to paint or weather, it shows complete builds with their weathering being built up as one coherent package. You could almost say, with the artistic point of view that Michael brings, it makes the final result greater than the sum of its parts. For example, I read in the chapter on the Panther about spending more time on the exhaust because it was going to be a focal point. It’s this looking at the big picture that makes this book different to the others – and why I have all 3 books on my shelf.
I recommend this series of books to anyone, and at the moment you can still pre-order book 4 at a reduced price on the Rinaldi website.
If you search the internet you can still find copies of book 1 and 3 to be had at reasonable prices and you can find book 2 on the Rinaldi website.
Just to whet your appetite, or maybe just mine, TankArt 5, AirplaneArt 1 and ConstructArt 1 are in the pipeline for future publication.