An awful lot of armour modellers don't include figures with their finished models because they feel they can't do them justice. Books such as this are treasured by armour modellers for this very reason, but they should be read by figure painters as well, since we can all learn something, or indeed need reminding of the basics sometimes.
The format is exactly the same as all the books so far in the modelling series from Osprey, and if it works, why change it? The author Mark Bannerman, has authored two other books in this series, Modelling the Matilda Infantry Tank, and Modelling the Churchill Tank, and so this is his first foray into writing about figure painting for Osprey.
As said above, this title follows the usual format in that the book consists of an Introduction where Mark discusses the various tools you should have at your disposal in order to be a successful figure painter, no surprises here, it even includes the tools necessary for preparation of the figure as well as brush types and sizes needed for various scales etc.
There is a short section on getting started, which amongst other things, discusses choosing and preparing a figure, which I suspect will only be of use to the modeller who has never painted a single figure, covering such basic points as washing the figure to remove mould release agents, and clean up of seams etc.
The third section is likely to be of most use to modellers trying to improve their skills in the area of figure painting, covering as it does shadows and highlights when depicting uniforms. Mark confines this section to depicting a Panzertruppen, around 1939, wearing a black uniform, going into great detail on how to achieve a realistic appearance. His paints for this are mainly Humbrol enamels, although usefully he does not confine himself to these for all the projects in the book, but uses enamels, oils, and acrylics.
A good range of figures are covered, and although Mark is the author of the book, unusually, all the projects covered are not his, but include a selection of some well-known and some not so well-known modellers. Included is a DAK figure from Brian Wildfong, and a Sturmartillerie from Denis Allaire.
The book also contains an increasingly useful section on painting small-scale figures, which in this case is defined as 1/48th scale and smaller, and also a section on 'Special techniques' which covers painting flesh and faces, camouflage patterns, and how to weather clothing. I found these sections a bit short considering the areas they try to cover, but then again, that's the format of the series and you get what you pay for.
For those that wish to take their figure modelling to the next level, there is even a section on sculpting a Panzer crewman by Taesung Harmms of Alpine fame. Now whilst nobody can doubt the Taesung's skill, this section is all too brief and offers little help for the beginning sculptor. I really wondered why it was included at all, it would have been much better served in a title of it's own, offering as it does, the briefest glimpse of how to model a figure.
18.5 cm x 24.8 cm
190 colour photographs
7 B&W photographs Contents:
Painting black uniforms: highlights and shadows
Painting Afrikakorps Panzer uniforms
Painting the Sturmartillerie two-piece denim
Sculpting a Panzer crewman figure
Painting small-scale Panzer figures (1/48) & Special techniques
Kits and accessories
Further reading and research
For the modeller who has attempted figures and is not happy with them, then this title could be for you. It will help you bring your figures up to scratch. It can only serve as an introduction though, and if you really need to get to grips with your figures, you will need to dip a toe into the 'further reading' section! Recommended.
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