How I Do It: Some Modeling Methods and Techniques from an Engineer Modeler

Published on
July 14, 2016
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
James Lyman
13 978-1530599738
Other Publication Information
Published 15 MAR 16, author James Lyman, paperback, with glossy color cover, 162 matte finish pages, nearly all pages with at least one color image
Provided by: Hill Country Hobby - Website: Visit Site
Front cover

Thank you to author James Lyman, and to Hill Country Hobby for the sample book. Thank you to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me to review a new independent, self-published book that will be a great resource for many modelers at all skill levels.

This excellent compendium of methods and techniques is produced and published using an independent (indie) publishing house, Create Space, an Amazon Company. I was unable to verify how the book is produced, but Create Space publications are often printed and bound on demand. Wholesalers often receive significant discount on bulk purchases. Modeling clubs, chapters and hobby shops may be able to take advantage of this format and discounts.

Overview and Content Coverage

Author Lyman has collected 22 techniques, from simple to complex, all described in a very engaging and readable style. I often skim a book quickly for content and fall back for detail reading. However in this case, I thoroughly read the entire book through in nearly one sitting. I discovered many ideas and ways to improve my building and got quite few new ideas. I laughed out loud reading the bluntly practical statement in Quick Fix – 8 regarding paint type. The chapter describes making zinc chromate look realistic, cheerfully saying why spend money on expensive paint when you are trying to make it look crappy? I also appreciated reading different problem solving approaches. Several chapters describe simple and practical computer applications that produce effective results after a gentle learning curve.

From using your computer to create color chips for mixing paint, to using a glue for repairing engine blocks to cast small parts and cockpits, this work presents a wide range of topics which the modeler will find interesting and useful. Chapters are organized into more extensive technique descriptions, interspersed with “quick fix” more concise segments. Some of the chapters involve sophisticated approaches, but most are very practical. The following annotated list of chapter topics has my comments in italics.

  • A Life of Building Models: a story we can all identify with.
  • Using Your Computer to Make Color Chips: simple but effective computer program use.
  • Some fixes to Monograms 1/48 P47-D Bubble Top: help for a classic.
  • DVD cases for work stands: repurposing to a bench tool.
  • Using Your Computer to Make Paint Masks: simple but effective computer program use.
  • Using Glue for Repairing Engine Blocks in Building your Models: different use of good adhesive.
  • Adding brake lines to your landing gear: good ideas.
  • Making ID Placard Labels for your Model Collection using your Computer: simple but effective computer program use.
  • A Method of Resurrecting Your Dead Paint: nice use of a rock tumbler.
  • Ignition harness for model engines: practical tips.
  • How I Use Microscale's Micro Mask to Finish Models: good application methods and a great masking removal trick.
  • Some Methods and Techniques for using Masking Tape when Finishing your Models: nice methods, that lead to stress reduction.
  • Keeping small parts together with candy cans: use those Altoid boxes.
  • Doing scale wire antennas: I always need better ideas on this detail, and the method apply to biplane rigging.
  • How to Find That Book You Need for that Model You're Building: simple but effective computer program use for a personal “database.”
  • Using Quill and Artist Inks to Detail Models: good ideas.
  • Making color lens for lights: good detail suggestions.
  • Backing Up Those Delicate Decals for Safety … Incase … : simple but effective computer program use.
  • Making Navigation Lights Inside Clear Wing Tip Cases: good detail suggestions.
  • Using model headlights: good detail suggestions.
  • Repairing the Vacuum in your Mattel Vacuform: vintage restoration of a classic.
  • A Fixture for Marking Propeller Tips for Painting: striping helper and jig.
  • Painting realistic un-primed zinc chromate primer: great painting ideas.

Overall Recommendation

I recommend this book very highly for several reasons. There is a wealth of ideas, the cost is very reasonable, the quality of the print is very good, and the indie publishing venue may inspire future authors to take on other modeling publications, a good thing for all of us.

Thank you again to author James Lyman, and to Hill Country Hobby for the sample book. Thank you again to the stalwart Reviewer Corps for your hard work in making these review opportunities happen! It is an honor to be on the team.


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