The origin of Pen and Sword Books is closely linked with its sister company, the Barnsley Chronicle; one of the UK's oldest provincial newspapers – established in 1858 – and one of the few weeklies still in private ownership. The first books published by the company were in response to public demand following of a series of articles published in the newspaper: Dark Peak Aircraft Wrecks told the story of crash sites in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park, and a further weekly feature on the history of two Kitchener battalions, known as the Barnsley Pals, aroused a thirst for more information. Following on from the success of Dark Peak Wrecks and Barnsley Pals books, a number of local history paperbacks were produced along with a series of battlefield guidebooks. Battleground Europe proved immediately successful, and as more and more titles were produced the company made the decision to launch a book publishing arm of the group. The company acquired the Leo Cooper military history imprint, and "Pen and Sword" was born. Leo Cooper, the husband of the famous novelist Jilly, had established a strong reputation for publishing military history titles and had some famous books in his list. With the Leo Cooper imprint and its back catalogue, Pen and Sword became established as one of the UK's leading military history publishers. With over 350 books published every year, Pen and Sword has established itself as a specialist book publisher.
Andy Singleton has been modeling and painting since childhood, having built subjects across a broad range of subjects, scales, and genres. In 2014, Andy decided to stop having a proper job and picked up his brushes full time to become professional figure painter, with his business Volley Fire Painting Service. In addition to painting legions of figures, he has worked with many manufacturers across the industry and examples of his work can be found in many rule books, magazines, and websites. Andy is also a co-host on the podcast ‘A Few Brits and the Hobby’.
Pen and Sword Books has now released five books in this new Painting Wargaming Figures series. The other four books include WWII in the Desert; Early Imperial Romans; Allied Forces in Northwest Europe 1944-1945; and Rome’s Northern Enemies. This edition is a square back soft cover includes 134 pages. The front cover features a color photograph of a Waffen SS camouflage pattern in a circle with a paint brush. The lower color photograph depicts a winter diorama featuring a tank crew. The rear cover features a color photograph of Waffen SS camouflage patterns that are covered in Chapter 3. I counted 218 color pictures and 76 AK Acrylic Color Chips.
Andy Singleton kicks off this tome with an introduction to the basic tools to assemble, modify, and paint historical gaming figures. A good example is shown on Page 11 where a multi-piece figure is shown at the top of the page. Here, Andy shows off using a toothpick to apply putty to the right shoulder of the figure to eliminate the gap from gluing the right arm to the figure’s shoulder. Gaming figures come in a variety of sizes, including 15mm, 20mm, 28mm, etcetera; but those featured in this volume are all 20mm (about 1/76 to 1/72 scale) figures.
Chapters 2 through Chapter 7 address step by step on how to paint Axis Forces present on the Eastern Front in WWII. This includes Germans, Romanians, Hungarians, Italians, and Finns. Each Chapter covers a painting progression from base coats, to mid-tones, first highlights, filters, glazes, and final highlights. Andy Singleton uses AK acrylic color chips as his reference to all paints, along with the AK Part Number and the paint brush used. Both of these can be seen on Pages 30, 50, and 71.
Chapter 8 discusses painting skin tones and covers tanned and cold skin. The previous paint progression sections and AK acrylic color chips are again utilized. Page 123 Shows off using a Red Glaze at the top, followed by the Final Highlight at the bottom of the page. Chapter 9 addresses basing with different types of foliage, rubble, of snow. Finishing up a Rubble Base can be seen on Page 132. A Dark Brown wash has been applied to the base for the photograph in the center of the page. The sections include:
- Chapter 1 Tools: Basic Tools and Modeling Advice
- Tips and Tools
- Getting Started
- Plastic, Metal, or Resin?
- Knives, Cutters, and Files
- Hobby Knife
- Side Cutters
- Filler [Page 11]
- Paint, Primer, and Spray Cans
- Paint Brushes and Care
- Painting Techniques
- Dry Brushing
- Washing and Glazing
- Assembling Figures
- Painting Guides
- Scale [Table]
- Chapter 2 Wehrmacht Uniforms: Most Uniforms Used by the German Military and Associated Camouflage Patterns
- Field Grey Uniform [Page 30]
- Mouse Grey Reversible Winter Clothing
- Panzer Black Uniform
- German Army and Luftwaffe Camouflage Uniforms
- Splinter Pattern
- Marsh Pattern [Page 50]
- White Snow Camouflage
- Chapter 3 Waffen SS: Camouflage Patterns Used by the Waffen SS
- SS-Platanenmuster or Plane Tree
- SS-Eichenlaubmuster or Oak Leaf [Page 71]
- SS-Erbsenmuster or Pea Dot 44
- Chapter 4 Italy: Italian Forces on the Eastern Front 1941 – 43
- Italian Infantryman
- Chapter 5 Romania: Romanian Forces on the Eastern Front 1941 – 44
- Romanian Summer Uniform
- Chapter 6 Hungary: Hungarian Forces on the Eastern Front 1941 – 45
- Hungarian Infantry
- Chapter 7 Finland: Finnish Forces 1939 – 45
- Finnish Uniforms
- Finnish Winter Uniforms
- White Snow Camouflage
- Chapter 8 Skin: Tips for Painting Skin Tones
- Tanned Skin Tones
- Cold Skin [Page 123]
- Chapter 9 Basing: Basing Advice Covering Environments on the Eastern Front
- Texturing the Base
- Grass Base
- Rubble Base [Page 132]
- Snow Base
I was able to read this book over four nights easily. Andy Singleton provides a clear, step-by-step process on painting these small figures. Of course, these same techniques can apply to a larger range of figures as well. Covering all the different Axis Powers on the Eastern Front uniforms provides a nice reference for future use. If you are into Historical Wargaming or doing small figures for your diorama, this guide can be essential.
My thanks to Pen & Sword Books Ltd., Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.
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