MrBlack Publications is a fairly new company that publishes several series of Hobby Modelling and History books and magazines. This Scale Model Handbook series covers figures, but other series are devoted to other areas; i.e. armour, aircraft, dioramas, etc. This book includes a unique collection of work that is aimed at all levels of modelers. This issue features eight well known artists who describe their techniques for sculpting and painting their figures or busts. The book itself comes in a nice clear re-sealable cover for protection. The 52 pages include the covers. The inside covers and the last two pages are devoted to figure advertisers. If you visit the product web site, you will find additional photos of the contents.
The cover subject is a scratch-built vignette by Sergey Popovichenko for a private collector. In his article he covers a lot of the detail and provides construction and painting steps to complete the finished product. The impressive part is that the vignette base is constructed entirely of natural products to depict the vegetation.
Juanma Vergara’s painting of a 200mm Maschinengewehrschütze MG34 provides a step by step guide utilizing a combination of Vallejo acrylics, MiG oils and pigments, Ammo washes, and Tamiya paints. I found the pointillism technique to represent the texture of the wool blanket quite interesting. Isaac Jaramillo Sama presents a short (4 pages) recap of his 54mm figure of Napoleon Bonaparte, resplendent in his coronation cape. Louis D’Orio’s two page recap of his 180mm Greek Hoplite bust provides some insight on how he represents the metallic finish on the figure’s helmet, armor, and shield.
Stelios Demiras demonstrates his painting techniques with a step-wise progression on a 150mm 93rd Highlanders Private bust with an emphasis on the feather bonnet, beard, and face. A guide to creating British Army red is also provided for enamels, acrylics, and oil paints. The 90mm Seige Giant is a collaborative effort between Ju-Won Jung and Sang-Eon Lee for a dip into fantasy figures. The final article is by Daniel Milosevich on a step by step tutorial on oil painting a 75mm Hospitaller (Medieval Knight).
The Table of Contents includes the following sections:
- Ambush! - 54mm - Scratch Built [Page 12]
- Maschinengewehrschütze MG34 - 200mm - Jeff Shiu Miniatures [Page 19]
- The Coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte - 54mm - Masterclass Figures [Page 27]
- Greek Hoplite - 180mm - Young Miniatures
- Private, 93rd Highlanders, Crimea 1854 - 150mm - Stormtroopers [Page 34]
- Colour Guide For ‘British Red’
- The Siege Giant - 90mm - Galapagos Miniatures [Page 40]
- Hospitaller - 75mm - Pegaso Models [Page 45]
This volume is truly inspiring and is an excellent guide to the art of figure modeling. The photography is well done, but I did note that consistent with the publisher, MrBlack, the photography backgrounds are somewhat dark. This does emphasize the figure colors and imparts a certain mood as the flesh-tones and clothing colors really stand out.
I think that all modelers can learn something from this book even if they don’t do figures necessarily and apply these techniques to their model. The focus is on painting and textures, and this book easily demonstrates how both can be utilized to produce a great model. My thanks to Stevens International Hobby Distributors and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.