Rinaldi Studio Press- Tankart 3: Modern Armor
Author: Michael Rinaldi with Andy Taylor
9.5 X 8.5 inch Softcover, 288 pages jam packed with excellent color photographs
There are names that stand out in the modeling world that are renowned for their work in scale modeling and their techniques are often attempted to be replicated by many of us. One that stands out not just for his work, but for his effective means of teaching and sharing is Michael Rinaldi. I mentioned this in the City Tractor book review- but you step away from the book with an education- not only in art theory, but also more importantly in the Why and How he does what he does. Hair Spray Chipping (HS) and Oil Paint Rendering (OPR) are now common techniques done by many in the current world of modeling-- but picking up his books helps one realize how we all got here. This is the 2nd Edition of this particular book and adds more photos and work done by Andy Taylor to the now 288 pages. He mentions it in the book, but I first came across Michael's OPR technique watching his instructional video he did from Hornet Hobbies in Toronto and when I saw his books were becoming available again through Casemate, I jumped at the chance to review them-- this book in particular looks at Modern Armor.
In theory, after the Foreword and Introduction, the book has ten chapters. But to me, I see it as two halves-- the first half is centering on teaching and explaining technique-- with the four chapters in this half being Products & Materials, Weathering Principles, Combining HS and OPR, and Pigment Application. Michael goes in depth into the materials he uses (he is not tied to any one company but like all of us, has his go-to's), as well as priming, oil paint preparation of letting the linseed oil bleed out onto the cardboard, and brushes and the like. While pigments are part of his process, he uses them sensibly and aligned with the oil paints to get the results he seeks on each project. I have attached a couple of scans of the pages from this half to illustrate how effective the photos in this book and all of his books support the adage that all writers try to follow- Show Don't Tell. The thin white circles present in the photos help focus the caption descriptions so the reader can better see what Michael is explaining.
The rainbow effect on the gray caption blocks are not present in the book-- but instead occurred when attempting to scan the pages
The second "half" of the book are the six model projects that Michael uses to show the techniques on post-WWII armor. Five of the builds are his, and the last comes from Andy Taylor. The first project is Varja Miniatures 1/35 resin D9R Armored Dozer. Michael mentions his joy at learning that Meng was to be releasing this kit in styrene form, but he was committed to trying his techniques on an all resin kit and decided on a Gulf War USMC dozer. As all the projects do, we start with construction, and in this case- scratch building to bring the detail up to par. We move on to priming, hairspray chipping and rusting and painting in alternating steps, then OPR and pigments. While each of the projects follows pretty much the same formula, there is a different focus for each-- in the case of the dozer, Michael emphasizes the work on the dozer blade and recreating the cracked mud that is typically evident on these sorts of vehicles.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the subject of the second project. Meng's French Army MBT AMX-30B was my first foray into post-WWII armor years back when it first came out. I had joined an MBT group build having no idea about them since I was relatively new to armor- but I remember thoroughly enjoying that build. His excitement at building this tank as an abandoned piece brought back some fond memories for me. I found the section on using the Windex technique for the gun barrel particularly fascinating. Each project ends with a two-page Quick Ref SBS of the entire project which I have included one page of here...
The third project is another all resin kit in Accurate Armour's FV221 Caernavon. With the recent increase in popularity of 3D printed kits, the techniques from the D9R chapter and this one should be a timely addition to your skill set if trying out the 3D market. In each of the chapters, we get paint call outs of the paints used in the painting and weathering stages which I feel is quite helpful. This chapter in particular had me ordering the Lifecolor Rust & Dust Diorama Paint set to try for myself. Each project approaches track preparation and painting and weathering differently and that is something I can appreciate as tracks have always been a challenge for me.
Trumpeter's 1/35 T-62 mod.1972 with MIG Productions T-62M1 conversion set is up next. Michael used an example from the extinct Kabul Graveyard in Afghanistan as a reference point for this build. The construction phase of this project is a bit more in-depth due to the work with the conversion kit. The anti-radiation panels on this tank were of particular interest and Michael spends some time showing us his progress on the work on these.
We continue on with another Russian tank build-- this time Tamiya's tried and true MBT T-72B mod. 1989. There was much to be done to this kit to bring it up to the standards that were soon to be coming (at the original release of TA3 back in 2014) in the Trumpeter kit- and Michael spends some time here going through that. He also decided on changing up his normal prep and painting procedure here (who among us hasn't done that?) switching to all Vallejo products including their Surface Primer, Chipping Medium, and Model Air paints. However, when it came to the chipping phase, Michael encountered a hiccup with the too opaque layer of paint not chipping. I appreciated the admission and his immediate fix to the issue- using Tamiya X-20A Thinner to wear away the paint and get the results he was after. Great stuff Michael!
The final project is Andy Taylor's work on Skif's 1/35 Iraqi Army MT-LB- it was the most common APC found in the Iraqi inventory. The Skif kit is soft on detail, but Andy took the usable parts from the kit and jerry rigged the rest through loads of scratch building, supplemented with aftermarket resin bits from Armo, an MG barrel from Tahk, Masterclub wheels, and Friulmodel tracks. The markings were hand painted and the extras like tarps, blankets, and water tank were scratch built as well. Andy's work is definitely up to the same level as Michael's, rounding out the excellent book.
It is amazingly good to see Michael's books revamped and available again through his website and through Casemate. The new editions add more content to the already excellent work inside and reading through the text has got me updating my oils and brushes to give my finishing work the step up it needs. I really enjoy Michael's writing style and really feel enriched with some new thorough knowledge. I eagerly await the arrival of TA2 again, as well as the new books he has coming down the pipeline. Without hesitation, this book is Highly Recommended for builders at any level looking to improve on their painting and weathering skills.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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