Airfix Model World: Basic Guide to Modeling
The hobby of modeling has been around for almost as long as mankind, perfected in the later centuries by sailors aboard ships, who occupied free time by building ship models. In the twentieth century, with the development of airplanes and motorized vehicles, modeling expanded, with the appearance of kits made of wood, plastic, metals, and other materials. With this amount of activity, modeling became a popular activity, and publications and organizations began to appear throughout the world. The development of plastic kits probably began in England before World War II, and the use of models for military recognition training gave more people experience with the activity. American high school students build model airplanes for the military from plans provided by the military, and other models were produced of ships and vehicles for those services. Boys of that generation all built models of one kind or another. It was just part of growing up .The military use of 1/72 scale made this scale very popular, although I recall building wooden models in 1/48 and probably 1/32 scale just after World War II. They were available at most dime stores and hardware stores.
In any event, modeling of all types is now an established institution, and much has been published on the subject throughout the world. Airfix Magazine, produced many articles explaining the skills and materials required for good model building, and this book is a collection of articles published in the Airfix Model World magazine.
This book contains a series of articles on various aspects of modeling. It is really aimed at beginning modelers, although there is enough information contained here to help experienced modelers improve their skills and accumulate more effective tools. In covers the basic topics, but does not go into excessive detail. One feature that I found very effective was the photos, which explained the basic problems associated with plastic modeling, and showed how these could be overcome through more advanced techniques.
The book contains articles on modeling tools, parts separation, coloring and painting, weathering, decal application, scratch building, and research required for accurate modeling. A glossary is also included, with explanations of some of the terms that newer modelers may not understand. Be aware, however, that the book was written in England, and some of the terms would be confusing to the average American. For example, devices known in England as “cocktail sticks” are mentioned often. For us Yanks, they are “toothpicks”, something I’ve used for years in my modeling. The writer also describes some of the research required for accurate color schemes and markings, and also explains that there is a huge amount of material available on this subject in book and internet form. He even states that it doesn’t hurt to go places where airplanes, tanks, of ships, can be examined in their real form, experience which really helps in creating the modeling attitude. I have found that being around airplanes all my life certainly helps when I am building a model of a particular airplane.
For beginning modelers, this is a very good reference. For advanced models, most of this information will be already known to them, but there are always some facts or ideas that will be new. For the price, it is probably a worthwhile investment for anyone who builds models. I would recommend it.
Thanks to Bill O’Malley and Phil Peterson for the review copy.