Do modelers really need another book on weathering models? The authors defend their position in the opening paragraph of the book,
“This is a book about weathering and designed with one audience in mind – the military modeler. To be sure, there are many books concerned with weathering military models available, but they all concentrate on weathering techniques – pre-shading, washes, pin-washes, dry-brushing, hairspray, you name it, it has a name and technique. This book is different; it does not tell the modeler how to achieve a particular finish. Rather, it is a reference book showing a range of real military vehicles and their components in real military environments.”
The authors go on to explain their methodology why the book focuses primarily on modern armor – they use color photographs throughout to portray the effects of weathering. World War I was before the advent of color photographs (although there are artificially colorized photos available that are open to much debate about the colors reflected), and black and white far outnumber color photographs in World War II. While World Wars I and II vehicles do exist today, they are either stored in museums where they are typically devoid of field operations weathering (these are the same weathering effects “that destroy surfaces and eat away at metal, wood, and canvas. Weathering, the term we choose to use, is a bad thing for those seeking to preserve.”
Another great point for modelers is to know the condition/situation of a particular subject before modeling. An example, before delving into the photographic majority of this book, is their comparison of modelers wishing to portray two Shermans of the 13th/18th Hussars in June and July 1944. Modeler A chooses a Sherman Duplex Drive of A Squadron on D-Day and Modeler B chooses a Sherman of C Squadron in July 1944. Modeler A’s Sherman was issued to the unit brand new in May 1944, thus didn’t accumulate wear and tear, was clean and “when our subject swam ashore on that fateful day, even if it had been loaded with some traces of mud stuck to it, its suspension and lower hull would have received the most thorough wash possible, and would not have had a scrap of dirt on it, save that picked up on the beach as it landed.” Modeler B’s Sherman came ashore with the same unit on D-Day, survived six weeks of hard combat over 500 miles of driving, and its crew had made the vehicle as comfortable and utilitarian as possible.
After the fantastic and illuminative introduction, the book continues with the following seven chapters:
- Canvas & Textiles
- Dirt and Dust
- Engines, Exhausts, and Instruments
- Fuel, Grease and Oil
- Mud, Glorious Mud
- Tracks and Tracked Suspensions
Each chapter begins with a brief introduction of the photographs to follow. While the photographs do focus on modern armor, there are representative vehicles from the beginning of armored warfare from vehicles in collections, museums, etc, photographed in color using modern techniques.
While most of the subjects in this book could be found online (from other photographers, sources, etc), it is very convenient to have all the real weathering in one book, organized logically to quickly look up and refer to while building. Armor modelers will find this book very useful and, most likely, quickly marked for reference.
The chapter Mud, Glorious Mud is indeed glorious and shows armored vehicles in all their glory in their natural element. I quickly found myself back in Germany nearly 30 years ago marveling how there could be snow, dust, and mud in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, Germany. Playing in the mud was indeed fun, especially while feeling sorry for the crunchies (ground pounders) who had to walk everywhere. It was fun, until it was time to hit the wash racks to get totally soaked and frozen, time and again until they were clean enough to return to the motor pool, or Heaven forbid, an inspection for the Deutsche Bahn.
This is a great book on weathering. It is also a great armor reference book with outstanding photographs. I am thankful to Dick Taylor, a serving British Army officer, for his photographic eye, attention to detail and looking for the minutia modelers want. There is a lot of inspiration in this book for producing a detailed scale model, vignette, or diorama. I can’t recommend this book enough.
Profuse thanks to Casemate and IPMS-USA for providing the review sample.