This book uses seven dioramas to illustrate several aspects of modeling dioramas and figures, such as scratch built, conversion, figure sculpture & painting, etc. They book covers several popular modeling scales such as 1/35, 1/32, and 1/24. The dioramas cover many historical periods including Roman Empire, the 17th Century, and World War II.
The book is 8-1/2 x 11 inches and printed on matte paper. There are over 450 photographs. Many are low contrast and printed against a dark background, making it hard to discern details. The color intensity is also fairly low so the colors do not pop out.
1. Elephant Down! Zama, 202 BC - 54mm (1/32)
- An Andrea Miniatures diorama of an elephant and five figures depicting the death of a war elephant. The first few pages introduce the kit and the history of elephants in warfare. The next six pages describe the painting of the elephant in 31 photos. Most of the photos are small and without captions. The text describes generally what's happening in each set of photos but it's difficult to tell what's happening in each of the photos. This section includes 42 photos of the painting of the Numidian Mahout, but again without captions on the photos it's difficult to tell what's being illustrated.
- The next two pages describe the painting of the Roman soldier and lists all of the paint colors used in the diorama. The last four pages of this section are completed shots of the diorama.
2. Teutoburg Forest, 9 AD – 54mm (1/32)
- This 19 page section is described as History You Can Model, and is more a history lesson than modeling techniques. The first 11 pages of the section describe the history of the battle that stopped the advance of the Roman Empire in Europe. Descriptions of the diorama are used to illustrate the various historical aspects of the battle. The last four pages of the section describe the composition, construction, and a listing of the paint colors used. The diorama is phenomenally detailed.
3. Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmet IV of the Ottoman Empire, 1676 – 75mm (1/24)
- This section describes the sculpting of a small diorama for commercial casting using step-by-step sculpting details of the figures.
- This 17 Page sections describes the carving of Cossack figures to be used to prepare a commercial casting. Through a series of small photographs this section demonstrates how figures are molded. The resulting diorama has been released by Irbis Miniatures.
4. Landsknechte Players – 54mm (1/32)
- A scratchbuilt setting using commercial figures showing step-by-step painting of the base and three figures.
5. Stalingrad - A Fight to the Last - 50 mm (1/35)
- How to Build a Super Diorama. This section describes and builds a large section of a factory being overrun by Germans looking for cover.
6. Resting at Karachev - 50mm (1/35)
- 18 pages describing a World War II scene with a German panzer crew at rest. The diorama includes a Dragon Panther tank and five figures.
7. The Grim Reality of War, Poland 1939 – 50mm (1/35)
- A 10-page section describing the sculpting of a figure and modeling & painting a Panzer II tank. The figure attempts to elicit strong emotions as the figure portrays a dead German on the tank.
The dioramas depicted in this book offer a broad range of eras and settings, and are sure to encourage readers to try some of the ideas. I think the darkness of the photographs detracted from the publication, and the lack of photo captions made it difficult to understand what was happening. The quality of the dioramas are fantastic and sure to inspire modelers.
Thanks to Stevens International for providing the review sample and to Mr. Black Publications for producing a quality publication.