AFV Modeller Publications- David Parker's Crew School
Author: David Parker
8.5 x 11.5" Paperback with 112 pages and 370 illustrations
Anyone who has ever picked up a copy of AFV Modeller knows the excellent quality of photography that is included in every issue. It is no different with the books I received in the mail from Casemate Publishers this past weekend. Normally I do my best to share the wealth and hand out more than I keep if I can help it...but with the current state of things in the world and the fact that in my normal day, I usually interact with 100+ kids and it hasn't been 14 days since I have been out of school, I am really trying to stay isolated to the best of my ability. That being said, these two books you'll see me reviewing deserve some attention, and time is all I seem to have as of late.
Have you ever seen a photo of a scene you thought might make a great vignette or diorama but couldn't locate the right figure for the scene? Or maybe you have the perfect figure, but are anxious that your current skills aren't up to the task of painting it as well as you'd like? Then I highly suggest this book-- no matter what your ability level, the techniques for sculpting and painting with the thorough step-by-step guides will help just about anyone apply the tips and tricks to create just what you need for your project.
The chapters break down as follows:
- Basic Face Facts
- Uniform Approach
- Strike a Pose
- Switching for Effect
- Creating Creases
- Factory Fresh
- Armed and Dangerous
- Holt, who goes there?
- One Step Beyond
- Working with Mannequins
- Communication Breakdown
- Panther Personal
- Charm Offensive
- Shell Slinger
- Ardennes Advance
It's evident right away that David likes to change up poses on pretty much all of his figures...and more evident than ever that doing so makes all the difference. The book opens with one of my Achilles heels-- painting faces. Not only does he do a great job in describing how to do so in 1/35 scale, he also describes the process for 1/16 and 1/10 scale faces. I certainly put the tips to use in painting my Chinese tanker for the upcoming Takom review of the Type 94 Tankette. Following this is an in-depth step-by-step of painting uniforms and camouflage on uniforms.
After this thorough overview, we get into the brunt of the book-- creating poses and positions for figures to best fit into the scene you are trying to depict. David goes into detail on cutting apart limbs and using wire to reassemble them into poses that work best for what one is trying to recreate. Adding putty to recreate armature and uniform creases and folds are shown in depth here. I once watched a great demonstration by Taesung Harmms at an AMPS convention years ago that was very similar- and this allows you to get an up-close look at the SBS in vivid detail. It certainly has opened up my interest in trying my hand at doing this with some older, less detailed figures I have in the stash.
Following soon after this section is the chapter on working with mannequins. The photos in this section are quite large and give great detail to what is going on so it is easy to comprehend. I truly wish I could do the book justice by posting many more photos, but hopefully the ones I have included give one a general idea of the quality inside. My favorite chapter was the Shell Slinger one which helps you best form a hand around an object- for all those times you've tried getting a hand to grip a gun or steering wheel or any number of objects to add more realism.
A great example of how well one can recreate a scene from a historical image
The book concludes with an Appendix including some of the materials and tools used by David to carry out the techniques. These include the type of sculpting putty used, the sculpting tools and rubber tipped brushes, and paints and brushes used for finishing the figures.
It was a real treat to see these books in the package and even more so to crack them open and start using the easy to understand tips and techniques right away. The photos are extraordinarily excellent and my only regret is that my scans don't do them justice. Even if you're hesitant to start dismembering your figures to try your hand at the suggestions in the book, be assured that you have what you need here to fix things up and create unique poses that will set your piece apart from the other ones on the contest table. This one is a great addition to the model shop bookshelf!
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders looking to up their figure game and learn some new tricks.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishers and AFV Modeller Publications for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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