Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review: IA Model Masterclass Vol One

  Am I late to the party on this one, yep, sure am.  This book was first published in 2008.  But maybe, if you're on the fence, I can help nudge you one way or the other.

  I got my forgeworld order in the other day, and there was my cool books.  I was really looking forward to getting these two master class books, as the descriptions made them sound very useful.  They are, indeed!

  The book is beautiful, as you would expect from a forgeworld publication.  You will not be disappointed with the quality of this book, from the binding to the pages and printing.  Very durable and worth the money.  But what about the guts, you ask?

  Well, here is where you get your moneys worth.  I am not going to break it down chapter by chapter, but I will overview the book.  The first thing to know, and they tell you this on the web page, it is not a "how to build a model" book, this is a master class level item.  Not to say that the techniques in the book are beyond the 'average' modeler, far from it, they teach you well.

  The first chapter is, as you might expect, about tools and equipment.  What you may not expect is that it is not the typical fact sheets for GW tools and such.  It is a good, solid run down of things you'll need, and things you never even thought about needing.  And lots of stuff not made by GW even?  (Heretics in forge world department, inquisition please report to forge world!)  For instance, they talk about taking apart a water filter to get a lifetime's supply of rivet heads, and how to use them.  Bang on!!

  They then move on to building tanks (Armour is the focus of this book... go figger).  They show a step by step build of a Renegade Medusa tank.  From bag-o-parts to finished product.  They do not show you how to build and work with resin, but rather how to doll it up and take the existing vehicle and dress it for war.  In the article they make tank tread holders from old brass sprues (never throw those away!!!!).  They also run some hydraulic lines to the dozer blades and put rivet heads everywhere.  In short, they take this chapter to give you ideas for how to take your models to the next level, how would the crew be using it, how it would look after a fight.  There are SCADS of pictures, and the keyed text is great at not just saying how to do a step, but in many cases why.  Another cool idea, hairspray to make some great use/damage effects on the plow blade.

  To be honest, a lot of these techniques are common knowledge these days, but it is still nice for me to see it in pictures with a lot of text showing how it works at each stage.

  The book then moves on to showing different types of weathering effects on different vehicles and how to achieve them.  There is a great chapter on building a diorama using an artillery piece.  The ideas in there about how to make your diorama board and how to "dress the scene" apply equally well to display boards and terrain pieces as well.  They go over some brilliant uses for your bits box items and household stuff that looks great when painted up and dirtied up.

  They finish the book off with a terrain board custom made for a siege warfare battle (The siege of Vraks).  Between the diorama chapter and this one, you'll have a ton of ideas and techniques for your scenery boards.

  The main thing here is the flexibility of the techniques they demonstrate.  With the exception of a couple of Tau items, everything in the book is from Imperial Guard.  That really does not matter, as you have to look beyond the model to the technique being shown. (And honestly speaking, nobody but the imperial guard's equipment is going to get weathered to this level anyhow.)  They are showing you extremes in almost every case of how bad the weathering can be taken.  From these explanations and pictures, you'll get an idea how to weather and dress up virtually any model you come across.  They show you how to think about what your doing.  They do not show every step-by-step detail for an Eldar Wave serpent exposed to acid rain and methane snow, but after you have read and understand the book, you could achieve just that result with the tools they give you.

  Overall, I have to say I am really very impressed with the book and it's approach to building models.  It's very refreshing to see something from the mothership that is not a 200 page advertisement for GW products.  I would surely give this book an overall A+ for the physical quality and the fantastic content.  If you're an Imperial Guard player, you'll get even more from it because it's a lot of your models used for the examples.  If you play anything else, this book is still great because they are teaching you methods and giving you tools, not showing how to build Imp Guard forces.

  Serious buy...  you need this book!  :)