January 16, 2016

Trench Runner Review: Justin Skrakowski takes a look at AK's Tanker Techniques Magazine Issue 02

Man do I love it when things don’t stick to plan. Cause plans are inherently no good, I think it was Mike Tyson who said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face,” and just waking up is like getting punched in the face (at least to me it always has been). So things need to be flexible, we, we need to be more flexible. Like that whole “flip-flopper” thing that circulates around politicians, what’s bad about that? You mean that time changes and they took into account something different? I’m just saying that isn’t this merely being adaptable? You know adaptation, that little thing that has kept our species alive and at the top of the food chain for 100,000 years or so now? Yeah, that thing!

That’s sorta the reason I was so nervous to get my copy of TANKER issue #2, especially after having given the first issue such a glowing review, (which you can read here if you so choose), I was just ready for the sophomore slump already… I don’t mean to be so cynical, it’s MTV’s fault, I swear (or whatever the new scapegoat is these days…)!

But look at that beautiful cover right there. Right below the giant, capital-letter logo for the magazine, the word “Tanker,” and honestly, I was expecting the headline, “Anyone Ever Heard of a Tank Called the Tiger I? Well Here’s One!” but no! Look at that, right there on the cover of issue #2 and the main image on the front isn’t even a tank! How cool is that? What’d they give us instead? A badass kit mash-up thing from the apocalyptic universe of Mad Max! Now if that isn’t a way to throw caution to the wind then I don’t know what is.
And what a great way to see that (like I had predicted from issue #1) this is not going to be just another modeling magazine. And let me (as always) reiterate that I have nothing wrong with any modeling magazine of any kind, the more the merrier I believe. I mean, if it has to do with models or painting models or building models, then I am all in. But TANKER is sort of like the mean music the older brothers were always listening to in 80s movies, it’s the Motorhead (R.I.P. Lemmy!) of modeling magazines! And I mean that in every way, 'cause this isn’t for beginners either. This is for folks who are ready to get down, build a nice model, and then make it look like it’s been through Hell. From the Mad Max tribute Buick and the “Zombie Slayer,” to the “Marder on Steroids” and the “Up-Armored Krupp Prototype;” do you see the connections there? These are vehicles, whether based on real-life or that live in imaginary worlds, that are built to kick ass. And I don’t know about you guys, but I got into building models mostly because of the ass-kicking abilities of tanks and other weapons of war, and not because they look good in a showroom. And that’s exactly the excitement that TANKER magazine is all about highlighting.

Look, it’s great that there are other magazines out there that want to show the world how serious and artful building models can be, but I think we’re at the point now where a lot of us just feel like we’re done having to explain ourselves, and having to defend our hobby to the rest of the world, and we just want to break it down to it’s most free-base, even rebellious, form. If there’s anything I try to capture the most of in my writing, it’s always been a combined aesthetic of horror movies and tough music, or something I like to call “Blood, Guts, and Rock & Roll,” and no other modeling magazine even comes close to TANKER in capturing that spirit. But also, somehow, they don’t overdo it. It’s an amazing blend of new ideas, with a solid foundation of what model-building is all about. This is perfectly seen in one of the last sections “School of Techniques,” wherein they give incredible step-by-step instructions (the best I’ve seen yet) for making impact marks and cast-iron textures on your vehicles.


And even if you don’t care about any of that stuff, the variety of pictures in the magazine is drool-worthy. Extreme close-ups, and techniques so well photographed that you don’t even need to be able to read to make this magazine useful (I am not advocating illiteracy in anyway, but even if I was, the illiterates surely wouldn’t know about it, now would they?).

Look, maybe you don’t want to have a new favorite magazine, but it looks like TANKER isn’t going to give you much choice in the matter, it just is.
Hail, Hail Rock & Roll!
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