The Airfix Book of Scale Modeling

Published on
September 13, 2011
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Jonathan Mock
Other Publication Information
176 pages, color, black & white, photos and illustrations

Always on the lookout for a good book on my favorite hobby I stumbled upon this book in my local Barnes & Noble and purchased it right away, as the new logo colors, photography, and use of the rich “painting”-like illustrations drew me in.

The latest regeneration of Airfix has brought about not only great new tooling of kits, but also reissues of classics, a full line of paints, tools and finishing equipment, and now the resurrection of publishing efforts. First, they brought us Airfix Model World on a monthly basis, but now we have their first new book, “The Airfix book of SCALE MODELLING”, by Jonathan Mock. This book weighs in at 176 pages chock-full of color photos and state-of-the-art CAD paintings just like those in the new Airfix magazine.

The book has 8 chapters featuring 6 builds to demonstrate different building techniques described in the text. The builds cover a variety of models, including a car, a tank, a jet, a submarine, a figure, and a diorama. This book is not just for beginners, as it covers a variety of advanced subjects not just by definition but also by building examples with a large number of photographs. Topics include filters, washes, highlighting, metallics, and figure painting. The mysteries of these advanced topics are described and well illustrated, with the author pointing out the need to practice, take your time, and have patience. Then. success will be yours.

To bring the modeler up to speed, a brief history of model building and how models are manufactured are presented, a process I find fascinating and one that has changed only by the use of computers but still requires human craftsmanship to make a mold correctly. Next, the modeler is walked through the process of selecting his or her first kit and the supplies needed to start with, and supplies to look for as your skills progress. An aspect of the book I liked is the approach of starting by picking out a more affordable model with a skill level that makes sense. Starting with a high parts count, skill level 5 kits will not be a good introduction to modeling. As you work your way through the skill sets, additional tools and paints are introduced as to where and why you would use them. Since the book is Airfix-branded, the use of Humbrol (Airfix brand) paints, etc., is featured throughout. Not to worry, though, as other brands such as Testors, Tamiya, Mr. Surfacer, Micro-Set, etc., are also reviewed.

Chapters include Decals, Painting, Conversions, Figures, and the book finishes with a good article on dioramas using Airfix resin buildings. Having shied away from armor dioramas, I’m confident after reading this chapter that by using these resin buildings and 1/76 armor models I could make a pleasing scene that is easy on the wallet and my limited display areas. The book finishes with a nice review of available resources: websites, hobby magazines, and a nice glossary of modeling terms.

Pros: Very good read, chock full of information with written and photographed examples. Step-by-step builds are a great idea for a book like this, as a picture illustrates and simplifies what can be difficult to understand just by reading. Reasonable price.

Cons: Only one – the first part of the book has illustrations with “figure numbers” to correspond with the text, but the text does doesn’t include the corresponding figure numbers. Not really a big deal, as it’s easy to match up the illustrations with the text.

I’d like to thank IPMS for the opportunity to share this review and Airfix for a book well done.


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