January 09, 2016

BEST OF 2015! Steve Lowenthal Reviews Adam's Armour (Modeling Guide) Volume 1 & 2

MTSC Trench Runner Steve Lowenthal takes a look at the new books from Adam Wilder...

In regard to this hobby, the Internet’s biggest contribution for me has been the ability to interact with others throughout the world who share the same passions as I do. Being primarily an aircraft builder, I was exposed to the non-aligned interests of others. Especially with armor. I had never developed an interest in building armored fighting vehicles (AFV’s),  but wound up joining a site that was predominantly these types of builds. I was exposed to dozens of modelers and their work, and I have to say, I liked them. People were doing things that isn’t done with aircraft.  I had to get involved. I started building my stash. As a novice at this type of modeling, I had to do my research before I began building. Buying videos and books. Watching endless numbers of YouTube videos. Speaking to those in the forums. It was a long and a bit tedious process. Fortunately, for those wanting to learn about armor building today, they now have a better avenue than I did. An all in one package, Adam Wilder’s,  Adam’s Armor  Modeling Guide, books 1 & 2 by AFV Modeller Publications. Presented over two volumes- Book 1: Construction and Book 2: Painting and Finishing. The books feature high quality printing and are 192 pgs. and 232 pgs. respectively.

Book 1 delves into the follow topics:
Chapter 1: Armor Modeling
Chapter 2: Gallery
Chapter 3: Choosing a Subject & Starting Assembly
Chapter 4: Working with Resin Parts

Chapter 5: Removing Segments of Plastic from Kits

Chapter 6: Cladding Large Open Areas

Chapter 7: Applying Weld Detail
Chapter 8: Zimmerit
Chapter 9: Creating Impacts

Chapter 10: Working with Photo Etched and Other Metal Parts

Unfortunately the proof reader missed a duplicate Chapter 8 labeling and the chapter numbers that follow are incorrect.

Click to enlarge sample pages

As soon as you open the book you see this isn’t the usual “How To” compendium. Adam begins with his background and what modeling means to him. From building through competition and sharing the hobby with others. You get a feel for his experience and how he became the expert that he is. In an uncommon move, the next chapter is 60+ pages of a gallery of Adam’s work. Putting this in the front of the book instead of the more common final chapter, serves to inspire the reader for what follows. His work is impeccable. It will make you excited for learning the skills that follow.  Adam has been modeling for a while so he really has A LOT of work to show off here. Probably a little too much. Personally, I think 60+ pages is more then what was needed here and you may find yourself flipping past it before you finish perusing it all.

Construction begins in Chapter 3 with the fundamentals of choosing your subject and beginning building. While this is generally a novice topic, armor building is a form of modeling unto its own. With its own rules so to speak. Basic skills like removing parts from the sprues, cleaning seams and filling ejector pin marks  are common skills among different subjects. Armor, however, includes basic skills that would more likely fall under an intermediate skill level elsewhere. Flame cut edges, texturing the hull and turret, and battle damage for example. Adam starts each section with a quick introduction, explaining the terms he’s using and explaining what he is trying to accomplish.


Flipping through the book, you quickly see how all encompassing the construction techniques are. Some examples are grab handles, wiring lights, track assembly (“rubber band”, kit supplied individual links, Modelkasten and Friulmodel).

From here he moves on to working with resin and the pros and cons of what that entails.


Chapter 8 is a good sized chapter devoted to an often intimidating subject, Zimmerit. Thoroughly explaining the varied methods of replicating it. I haven’t tried the epoxy putty method he demonstrates myself yet, but after seeing Adam explain it, I think it’s time to try. Besides, even if it goes awry, there’s still aftermarket. 

Impact damage follows and is pretty straight forward and is handled within a few pages.

Book 1 concludes with important skills to develop for someone wanting to elevate and bring more realism to their builds. Working with photo-etch and other metallic parts.  For scale thickness, photo-etch for such things as fenders and grills can’t be simulated with injection molded plastic. More realistic tow cables, turned metal barrels and battle damage to name just a few reasons to learn the techniques presented here. He also explains an assembly technique that has applications for other subjects too but, I feel is a necessary skill for armor metal work, Soldering. It’s actually easy to learn and can make joins that super glue just can’t match. He first demonstrates some basic assembly with explanations of how to use the tools properly. The real potential, and why I recommend it if you don’t yet solder, is seen in his build of a Tiger I storage bin. From a complex assembly to recreating battle damage, soldered joints will hold up better to the poking, drilling and bending entailed in creating pieces like this. Whereas, super glued joins will often pop under the stresses applied during the construction of this bin. On a side note; I would recommend Adam’s DVD, Detailing with Photoetch. Not only does he give a full demonstration of his soldering methods but also shows you some incredibly useful bending techniques. Matter of fact, after watching it, I was bending workable hinges with my first try.
Since painting and weathering armor kits is such a broad topic, it gets sole attention in Book 2.
The chapter layout is as follows:
Chapter 1 – Intro

Chapter 2 – How to Approach Painting AFV’s

Chapter 3 – Apply Basecoats & Camouflage

Chapter 4 – Color Modulation

Chapter 5 – Filters

Chapter 6 – Applying Markings & Insignia

Chapter 7 – Applying a Winter White Wash

Chapter 8 – Washes

Chapter 9 – Fading and Adding Shadows
Chapter 10 – Painting Chipping Effects
Chapter 11 – Painting Exterior Components & Details

Chapter 12 – Painting Mild Steel Surfaces & Rust

Chapter 13 – Adding Earth Tones & Effects

Chapter 14 – Painting Steel Road Wheels

Chapter 15 – Simulating Oil, Grease and Spilled Fuel
Chapter 16 – Exhaust & Smoke Effect
Chapter 17 – Painting Impacts

Chapter 18 – Simulated Worn Painted Steel


Adam starts by explaining his philosophy of painting and why creating contrast between the details is so important. While some people may not agree with how he goes about this (more on that later). I too subscribe to the same school of thought as Adam.

After a brief primer on airbrushing, he covers the basics of painting a primer coat, primer red in this case and then laying down a simple camouflage.
He then moves into several modulation methods. Demonstrating both a basic and advanced method of the style. The next part may be controversial to some. What he calls, New Modulation. It leans more toward an artistic style of painting then a simulation style. It allows for more personalization then other modulation methods do. I’ve read online how some people feel modulation is too unrealistic and don’t care for it. Sometimes vehemently. As the approach you take to painting is personal, you should decide on your goals and not worry about others. Are you looking to achieve a realistic representation of an AFV or is you goal more artistic? Looking to paint the lights and shadows to create a mood much like in an illustration.  I don’t believe there is an argument here and you should just build what you like.

To demonstrate his New Color Method, Adam paints an LVT 1. That he uses throughout the rest of the book. He paints it using multiple shades of blue to create the contrast he’s been talking about by painting individual panels with their own highlights and shadows. It’s a pretty dramatic paint job at this point, but follow along as he adds washes, filters, fading, shadows and other weathering techniques. By the end of the book, you wouldn’t guess how it began.

In the section on painting and finishing tracks, he addresses each track type individually with hints and suggestions. For instance, did you know Modelkasten tracks are particularly fragile to work with? You’ll learn about this and how to avoid damaging them while you work.
The subject of chipping takes up a large chapter. Several methods of achieving scale chips are discussed. Sponge, brush and hairspray, over several parts of the AFV. Sides armor, the hull, zimmerit, etc.. He brings back the LVT I and demonstrates using a brush to create large chipped areas. You can see how his chipping is starting to tie the contrasting panels together.


Through many of the weathering methods, Adam uses a technique called speckling. Loading the brush with paint and/or pigments and flicking your finger over the bristles to spray the model with the chosen medium.  He has clearly embraced this technique as you see him use it again and again in a variety of ways. Many of which, I haven’t seen used before in the way he does.

It seems no aspect of AFV modeling is overlooked. Painting spare tracks, lights, periscopes, exhaust pipes. Too many for me to list. Once again, he uses the LVT 1. Demonstrating painting rubber road wheels, dust and rainmarks, thick layers of earth, layers of wet mud and spilled fuel. By time you reach the end of the book, you will be impressed with how he transformed the model.

The book is laid out in a logical working order that is easy to follow.  It has a step by step methodology but with a slight difference. Instead of the more common way of explaining what is being done with an accompanying photo format, Adam describes what he is doing and indexes it to several photos that illustrates his comments. I like how Adam not only explains the techniques but often he’ll talk about why he’s doing it. Unlike many other books, you get a feel for Adam’s thought process as he works.

Those who are less experienced with AFV modeling will benefit the most from the book set. While the advanced modeler will find Book 2 has more to offer them. These books are as essential to your modeling tool set as are an X-Acto knife or extra thin glues. My enthusiasm for Adam’s Armor Modeling Guide, with its good detailed descriptions and depth of subject matter, is rooted in the time and effort I spent researching what is now available in just two books. With them, you will be able to get to building quicker, with more advanced results, far quicker then when I first started out.

To Order View Our Site Listings HERE

DYK?
Last year we added the Wilder  line of modeling products to our offerings and they quickly became one of our best selling ranges. For those of you not familiar with Adam Wilder he is considered a world class modeler who has published countless articles in every major modeling magazine. A fixture at shows around the world this talented and affable one-time employee of MIG and AK Interactive, has branched out to produce his own line of finishing products and tools where each product in the range has been researched, developed, tested and chosen personally by Adam.
To Order View Our Site Listings HERE

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