August 23, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: Flesh & Skin Techniques To Paint All Types Of Flesh In Miniatures from AK Interactive

All the way from San Paolo Brazil, Trench Runner Julian Conde takes a look at the latest book in the AK Interactive Learning Series- Flesh & Skin Techniques To Paint All Types Of Flesh In Miniatures (ref. AKI-241)

I am a lover of books and reference material. I have a lot of free time on flights when I'm working at my real job and love to read modeling related books. I think we in the model building business (or hobby) are 90% of the time recreating a actual piece of history. Be that in a figure, car, plane or tank. We are trying to replicate reality in scale. For that we need to know what color a uniform was, a car, a plane, a seat belt, a bullet! If we are not making 1946’s Panzers or fantasy subjects, we need to research the subject. And to learn we also need reference. I love learning new techniques, but to do it we need good reference. This new AK Learning Series Book about Flesh & Skin painting is a promising reference for us, the figure guys (i.e. the weirdos…)

First thing we notice, and talking about the book itself, is that is quite small in size, but it’s the same size as others in the series, except it has more pages and content. This is a good thing so we can have it on our bench all the time without taking too much space. The printing of the cover is extremely well done and catches the eye right away...

Let’s compare to the other AK Learning Series books...

Here you can see it’s a bigger book inside...

To make a good book comparison, I will place it next to 2 books I really love and go to all the time for reference on figure painting. The “Color Mixing Recipes for Portraits” by William Powell and the “Paint Guide For Figures of World War II” by Joaquín Garcia Gázquez. The first one is a book from by an portrait artist and it gives you a deep insight on painting faces, be it on sculptures or actual canvas. It gives us a good look into the particulars of skin tones, eyes and effects. The second one is focused on military WW2 figures, mainly 1/35th scale, in my opinion the hardest scale to make a convincing skin, eyes and flesh tones, so this book focus on the small guys...

Still looking at the size of the books and not actual contents, I see the Flesh & Skin book has almost the same number of pages as the Paint Guide For Figures and this book is about painting the whole figure, uniform, assembly, accessories, etc. So this AK book appears quite extensive on just the subject we want, Flesh & Skin!...

To go off on a side track...One feature I love about the Color Mixing Recipes book is that was made to use on a workbench or easel. It’s assembled with a spiral hinge, like school books so it lays flat on the table. The AK series and many others take another way of printing the book, so we must make some adaptations to secure the pages open, many times forcing the pages to stay put. This is a great addition to any book that is going to be used as as reference while we are working on our models. here in Brazil many instruction books for mechanics are spiral bound so it can be easy to turn a page on one hand, like us modelers... we are always with a figure in hand, or brush, etc. This is some great addition for any book and I can only dream that  publishers of modeling reference adapt this style to make a perfect bench book.

Let me illustrate the difference. I am holding a page of the AK book open...

Now, after pressing the page flat and releasing, it stays like this but begins to close by itself...

Now, the Color Mixing book...this affects the structure and manufacturing of the book, I know, but since it’s made for modelers and we are always on the bench working with our miniatures, it would be great to have ease of handling with a serial bound book...

So, with all this being said, let’s look the contents...The book is beautifully printed. The pages have a satin finish overall and it does not reflect too much, so it’s easy to see it under our nuclear powered bench lights. The introduction image is awesome!

As shown in the index, the book goes from tones, basic color rendition to techniques, shadows & light, materials used and details. Then we have a gallery of amazing works that almost makes me want to give up modeling figures...

One thing I noticed right away is that color rendition is spot on. You almost never can get a accurate color rendition on a computer screen. Unless you are a pro with Calibration Machines and a Silicon Graphics or Ikegami monitor. That’s why these books are so great...

It gives you a insight on how light affects the subject, something we need to take into account. We always like to paint on a saturated light source to see the errors and details, but once in a while you have to get away from the bench and take your painting in outside into natural daylight to see how are things going. I do this all the time and can correct many mistakes in tone, shadows and details...

Here you can see the great level of printing quality from close up...

Now we get to something I really wanted to see…EYES ! The hardest part of figure painting, for me at least…

It gives you in great detail, a step by step to paint eyes, done by amazing artists. One cool thing is that they always explain the photo in great detail, saying the color and brand of paint used. They also render a sample of the color on the side of the photo. This is simply a great reference. Below you can see how detailed they are on the colors used...

Now on to my figure painting ballpark, oils...

You see, I have developed  my own oil face painting technique over the years, and I am happy with the results, of course I'm always trying to improve. I think oil paints offer a safe painting method, in the way that you have time to correct things. They blend like no other out of the tube and in my opinion, they dry to a natural silk satin finish. It gives you a natural look and I am a guy that does not go a long way in contrast painting.

To show you my point of view, here is my rendition of a Pegaso bust, using oils. I think it looks natural, the very subtle recent shaved skin. This is my work with oils...

 Like I said I’ve never tried acrylics, but I know the results are extremely eye catching, especially in small scales, like the example below. These figures are 1/35th scale from Alpine Miniatures, painted by the master Man-Jin Kim. You see, there’s so much going on in such small space (scale). This is visually striking. There's a balance between reality and artistic touch. I use one (oils) , but love the look of the other (acrylics). Every page in this  book makes me want to buy and try out some acrylics and higher contrast painting ASAP...

The next few pages are about them, the 1/35th guys. Lets see some more of the mentioned artistic approach...

Now a great thing about this book is that explains everything in OUR language, this means we get color names, brand codes, barcode and date of birth of the paint used. This is a must so we can try out the examples exactly as in the book...  

This is how it’s done. Show me the step by step. And since AK Interactive have a whole series of colors to match the book, it's easy. They do it here with honors. Another great thing, for me is that I never know the exact dilution rate of a acrylic paint to try out on flesh tones and blending. The photos are so HQ that we can see the dilution they use for the example...This is a simple reference I have never found on the Internet nor in other books. We can say it’s a 25% example dilution, but we must see it to know where the sweet spot. We know when a paint is a good mix to airbrush, to make wash and such, that’s because we see it in examples and learn from them. Of course we can keep using trial and error, but it can be frustrating without some directions...

The book also covers some accessories painting...

Now we get to a big surprise for me at least. Artificial light on figures. You see, this is a true artistic approach 100% and it looks BEAUTIFUL…

I find this technique to be pure art. See as example the vignette that won the Crystal Brush a couple years back...This piece (forgot the artist, please forgive me) is one of the most amazing figures and model piece I’ve ever saw online. The whole painting is based on light and shadow technique and the result is jaw dropping. 

And we get that in this book...

AND...they saved best for last…Sang Eon Lee. The man. The legend. He does Life Miniatures busts and figures, from sculpting to painting. Life miniatures are some of the most amazing sculptures we have on the market, and he gives his brand name a true meaning as his figures come to LIFE. It is so great to see the step by step of such great artists. This is by far another ballgame for me at least, but I don’t get intimidated by such examples, having the right tools, the right figure and good reference, we can improve beyond anything we ever imagined...

Lets see some more of Mr. Lee’s work from the book...

Here you can see the hard to understand 'hard contrasts' of the acrylic painting method. Here we see the whole process...

The end result is awesome...

This fantastic book is everything it claims to be in the title... Flesh & Skin Techniques To Paint All Types Of Flesh In Miniatures. It is one that will teach me new techniques to painting in oils, inspire me to at long last try painting flesh in acrylics and hopefully take my skills to another level. What more can you ask from a book of this type!

You can order Flesh & Skin from MTSC HERE
Releated Article: MTSC PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT UPDATE: AK Interactive Acrylic Paint Sets: Figure Series HERE

August 20, 2017

Michigan Toy Soldier's News from The Front: Index to Product Spotlights, Tips & Tricks, Reviews, Build, Paint & Play, Toy's in the Attic & more

Listings in Bold are new or updated in the last 60 days
Meet Your Maker
MEET YOUR MAKER: Krzysztof (Chris) Obarski of VMS Vantage Modeling Solutions
MEET YOUR MAKERArmand P. Bayardi
MEET YOUR MAKERErik Trauner of Nikolai Exclusive Modeling
MEET YOUR MAKERKen Ciak of LOD Enterprises
Reading & Reference
VIEW MTSC's Modeling World War I - Reference & Researching Part 1
VIEW MTSC's Modeling World War I - Reference & Researching Part 2
VIEW Adam's Armour Modeling Guide Volume 1 & 2 from AFV Modeller
VIEW Airplanes in Scale -The Greatest Guide: Jets from Accion Press
VIEW Aircraft Scale Modelling F. A. Q. from AK Interactive
VIEW Amazing Figure Modeler Magazine
VIEW Static Modeling Manuals Step by Step by Auriga 
VIEW Britains Toy Soldiers: The History and Handbook 1893 - 2013 & Collecting Toy Soldiers in the 21st Century by James Opie 
VIEW DioramF.A.Q. Book by AK Interactive 
VIEW Encyclopedia Of Armour Modelling Techniques Vol. 1-Construction by AMMO by MIG
VIEW FC Modeltips 1 & 2 by FC Model
VIEW GI-Collector's Guides from Histoire & Collections
VIEW GI-Collector's Guides from Histoire & Collections
VIEW How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles from AMMO by MIG
VIEW How To Paint Figures With Acrylics by Julio Cabos from Andrea Press
VIEW In Combat – Painting Mechas by AMMO by MIG
VIEW Landscapes of War Vol. III Rural Enviroments from Accion Press
VIEW Modeling World War I Tanks by Frédéric Astier from Histoire & Collections
VIEW Mr. Black Publications Scale Model Handbook Series
VIEW Paint Guide for Figures of World War Two & Painting Guide for AFV of World War Two from Histoire & Collections
VIEW Panzer Aces Magazine from Accion Press
VIEW Panzer: The German Tanks Encyclopedia by Laurent Tirone from Caraktere Press
VIEW Painting Miniatures from A to Z, Angel Giraldez Masterclass Volume 1 & Volume 2 from Vallejo
VIEW Painting Miniatures DVD Series from Andrea Miniatures
VIEW Painting War Series for Painting Small Scale Figures
VIEW Painting Wargame Tanks by Ruben Torregrossa from AMMO by MIG
VIEW Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide (QUICK LOOK)
VIEW Steampunk in MIniatures from Scale 75 
VIEW Tanker Techniques Magazine by AK Interactive
VIEW The Weathering Magazine by AMMO by MIG
VIEW Uniform Painting Reference Material- German Uniforms WWII
VIEW Uniform Painting Reference Material- German Uniforms WWII


Paints, Tools & Supplies
VIEW MTSC's Painting the Great War with Acrylic Paint Sets from AK Interactive and AMMO by Mig
VIEW Abteilung 502 Modeling Oil Paints & Auxiliaries
VIEW AK Interactive Acrylic Paint Range: Figure Series
VIEW AK Interactive Diorama Series
VIEW AK Interactive Gauzy Agent
VIEW AK Interactive Learning Series no.4: Metallics Vol. 1 Book
VIEW AK Interactive Survival Weathering Brushes
VIEW AK Interactive True Metal
VIEW AK Interactive Washable Agent for Acrylic Paints (QUICK LOOK)
VIEW AK Interactive Xtreme Metal range
VIEW THE AMAZING...Abrasive Cleaning Disc
VIEW AMMO by MIG Earth Effects - Mud & Splashes
VIEW AMMO by MIG Oilbrushers
VIEW Andrea Acrylic Paints
VIEW Andrea Bases for Figures
VIEW The Army Painter System
VIEW The Army Painter Quickshade Inks
VIEW Da Vinci Brushes
VIEW Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty
VIEW Deluxe Materials Plastic Magic Box with Brush
VIEW Deluxe Materials Super Phatic! & Roket Card Glue
VIEW Deluxe Materials Strip Magic
VIEW Deluxe Materials Tricky Stick Part 1
VIEW Deluxe Materials Tricky Stick Part 2
VIEW Deluxe Materials Aqua Magic
VIEW Gator's Grip Acrylic Hobby Glue
VIEW Goodman Super Sanding Blocks
VIEW GSI Creos Mr. Cap Opener
VIEW GSI Creos Mr. Surfacer-Mr. Hobby
VIEW Hataka Acrylic Hobby Paints
VIEW Hudson & Allen Scenics
VIEW Lifecolor Liquid Pigments
VIEW Micro Stix Adhesive Tip Applicators
VIEW Mission Models Premium Hobby Paints
VIEW Panzer Putty Masking Agent by MXpression
VIEW Painting the Great War
VIEW PanPastel Easy Weathering Effects
VIEW Tamiya Masking Products + Masking Tape for Curves
VIEW Tamiya Electric Handy Drill
VIEW Wilder Modeling Products
VIEW Wilder Weathering Oils
VIEW Vallejo Game Air Paints
VIEW Vallejo Metal Color Range, Acrylic Metallic Colors
VIEW Vallejo Modular Paint Stands
VIEW Vallejo Model Washes
VIEW Vallejo Weathering Effects Range
VIEW Vantage Modelling Solutions (VMS)
VIEW Vantage Modelling Solutions Paper Shaper
VIEW Vantage Modelling Solutions Hull-Tex Air
VIEW Weathering Brush Set for Pigments
VIEW Woodland Scenic Shaper Sheet System
VIEW Woodland Scenic Dust Dabber
VIEW The Woodland Scenics Water System 

Figures Pre-painted
VIEW Black Hawk Toy Soldier Ride To Glory: On the Trail to the Little Big Horn
VIEW Morgan Miniatures: The New Kingdom Armies of Ancient Egypt
VIEW Morgan Miniatures: The Mexican Adventure and the French Foreign Legion
VIEW Morgan Miniatures: The Tuaregs
VIEW Two Trees Zinnfiguren
VIEW W. Britain American Civil War Range
VIEW W. Britain Clash Of Empires range
VIEW W. Britain Napoleonic Wars British range
VIEW W. Britain Wrath of the Northmen range
VIEW W. Britain WWI Germans 1916-18 range
VIEW W. Britain WWII range


Scenic & Diorama
VIEW The Army Painter Scenic Tuft Range
VIEW Magic Water
VIEW Scenic Factory- The finest scenics on the planet!


Figures 1/72nd Scale
VIEW Airfix 1/72nd scale Diorama & Gift Sets
VIEW The Last Outpost 1754-1763 French & Indian War & Battle Set from Italeri + the Battle Set Range
VIEW How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles from AMMO by MIG


Figure Kits
VIEW Andrea Miniatures Eisernes Kreuk WWII Series kits
VIEW Andrea Miniatures True Cowboy kit ref.S8-F60
VIEW Master Box Models 1:35th scale WWI Range of Figure Kits
VIEW Perry Miniatures American Civil War 28mm Plastic Figure Set Range

Model Kits
VIEW Meng Models WWI 1/35th Scale Armor Kits
VIEW Takom WWI Model Kits 1/35th Scale Armor Kits
VIEW Tamiya's WWI WWI British Mk.IV Male + WWI British Infantry Set

VIEW Across A Deadly Field from John Hill & Osprey 
VIEW Flames of War Great War, World War One Battles of 1918.
VIEW Flames of War Open Fire!
VIEW Perry Miniatures Battle in a Box Set American Civil War
VIEW Perry Miniatures American Civil War 28mm Plastic Figure Set Range
VIEW The Great War & Tank Expansion by PSC 
VIEW An Overview of the Warlord Games Historical Gaming Systems
VIEW Wings of Glory: Giants of the Sky
VIEW Zvezda Art of Tactic Tabletop Gaming System


Collectible Armor & Aircraft
VIEW Wings of the Great War: 1/72 scale Armor Collection
VIEW Wings of the Great War: 1/72 scale Aviation Collection

Trench Runner Reviews

VIEW Abteilung 502 Modeling Oil Paints Part 1 by Charles Oldaugh
VIEW Accion Press Vignettes A How-To Guide  by Farley Mitchell
VIEW AK Interactive's Extreme Reality by Justin Skrakowski
VIEW AK Interactive's Learning Series no.4 Metallics Vol. 1 by Steven Lowenthal
VIEW AK Interactive's Learning Series no.5 Metallics Vol. 2 by Steven Lowenthal
VIEW AK Interactive's Ultra Matte Varnish (UMV)
VIEW AMMO by MIG Encyclopedia of Aircraft Modelling Techniques 2: Interiors and Assembly by Justin Skrakowski
VIEW Ammo by Mig Camouflage Masking Putty by Charles Oldaugh
VIEW How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles from AMMO by MIG by Farley Mitchell
VIEW Landscapes of War. Vol.II (Accion Press) by Matt Koltonow
VIEW Mastering Oils 1 - Oil Painting Techniques on AFVs by Abteilung 502 by Farley Mitchell
VIEW Modeling World War I Tanks (Histoire & Collections) by Farley Mitchell
VIEW Molotow Liquid Chrome by Julian Conde
VIEW Mr. Black Scale Model Handbook WWII Special by Justin Skrakowsk
VIEW Painting Miniatures from A to Z, Angel Masterclass Vol. 2 by Charles Oldaugh 
VIEW Painting War Volume 8 The American Civil War by Matt Koltonow
VIEW Perry Miniatures 28mm Plastic Agincourt sets by Nathan Hutchison
VIEW Scale 75's Steampunk in Miniatures by Steven Lowenthal
VIEW Scale 75's ScaleColor Acrylic Paints by Nathan Hutchison

VIEW Why Use Scalecolor by Scale75..Our Painters Opinions

VIEW Wings of Glory WWII - Battle of Britain
VIEW Vallejo's Rust & Chipping Techniques Book by Bruce Davis
VIEW VMS Airbrush Thinners & Cleaners by Steve Lowenthal
VIEW VMS Spot-On-Pigment System by Julian Conde
VIEW VMS 5K Flexy CA by Julian Conde

Tips & Tricks
VIEW Using Abteilung 502 Modeling Oil Paints Part 1 by Charles Oldaugh
VIEW Tips & Tricks: Build a Simple Spray Booth
VIEW Tips & Tricks: Using Vallejo Smoke To Create Leather & Wood Effects
VIEW Tips & Tricks: Making a Simple Cloud Background by Charles Oldaugh
VIEW Tips & Tricks: Making a Simple Cloud Background with Treeline by Charles Oldaugh
VIEW Tips & Tricks: Converting Plastic Figures with Deluxe Materials Tricky Stick
VIEW Tips & Tricks: Stop Knock Overs!
VIEW Tips & Tricks: Primer for Soft Plastic Figures
VIEW Tips & Tricks: 1 Hour Tank Weathering Using the Vallejo Weathering Effects Range by Charles Oldaugh
VIEW Converting Plastic Figures using Tricky Stick pt. 1
VIEW Converting Plastic Figures using Tricky Stick pt. 2

Tutorials/Builds/How To/SBS
VIEW Build, Paint & Play The Perry Miniatures ACW Box Set pt.1 w/Matt Koltonow
VIEW Build, Paint & Play The Perry Miniatures ACW Box Set pt.2 w/Matt Koltonow
VIEW Build, Paint & Play The Perry Miniatures ACW Box Set pt.3 w/Matt Koltonow
VIEW Build, Paint & Play The Perry Miniatures ACW Box Set pt.4 w/Matt Koltonow
VIEW Build, Paint & Play The Perry Miniatures ACW Box Set pt.5 w/Matt Koltonow
VIEW Build, Paint & Play The Perry Miniatures ACW Box Set pt.6 w/Matt Koltonow
VIEW Build, Paint & Play The Perry Miniatures ACW Box Set pt.7 w/Matt Koltonow

VIEW Build, Paint & Review The PSC Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box pt.1
VIEW Build, Paint & Review The PSC Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box pt.2
VIEW Build, Paint & Review The PSC Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box pt.3
VIEW Build, Paint & Review The PSC Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box pt.4
VIEW Building and Painting the Master Box 1/35th scale WWI Hand-to-Hand Fight by Charles Oldaugh
VIEW Using VMS Spot-On-Pigment System by Julian Conde
VIEW Using  5K Flexy CA by Julian Conde

Toys in the Attic
VIEW Aurora Confederate Raider 1958
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 1- History
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 2 'The Aurora 13' Frankenstein
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 3 'The Aurora 13' Dracula
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 4 'The Aurora 13' Wolfman
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 5 'The Aurora 13' The Creature
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 6 'The Aurora 13' The Mummy
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 7 'The Aurora 13' The Phantom of the Opera & The Hunchback of Notre Dame
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 8 'The Aurora 13' Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 9 'The Aurora 13' King Kong & Godzilla
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 10 'The Aurora 13' The Bride of Frankenstein
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 11 'The Aurora 13' The Witch & The Forgotten Prisoner
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 12 Famous Monsters of Filmland / Aurora Model Contest of 1964
VIEW Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 13 Gigantic Frankenstein aka "Big Frankie"
VIEW Aurora NFL MIniatures Model Kit 
VIEW Civil War News Trading Cards
VIEW Comic Book Soldiers - Defending Truth, Justice, And The Plastic Way Of Life Part 1
VIEW Green Army Men - Defending Truth, Justice, And The Plastic Way Of Life Part 2
VIEW Ideal Battle Action Combat Playsets
VIEW Johnny Reb Cannon
VIEW Johnny Seven OMA (One Man Army)
VIEW Kenner Building Sets
VIEW Mattel's Vac-U-Form
VIEW Operation X-500 by Deluxe Reading
VIEW Remco's Hamilton's Invaders Playset
VIEW Remco's World War I Playsets
VIEW Revell Beatles Model Kits
VIEW Soakies Monsters from the 60s
VIEW The Rattle & Hum of Tudor Electric Football
VIEW The Wacky Wonderful World of Weird-Ohs