So finally two days ago I have opened the package with long-awaited Mike Rinaldi’s new book TankArt. Having been teased by number of photos of the book pages over the past weeks and months my expectations were high (and I believe not only mine) and I was eager to lay my hands on the book…
Just a quick look will confirm one thing – even in the current market for books on the modeling subject, the book is really unique. The first impression I had when flipping through the pages is that not a single inch of space on more than 200 pages was wasted.
I am actually surprised by how much can be written about modelling. The amount of text included in the book is really higher than I have expected. This may be at least in part caused by my mental bias of comparing the book to the modelling magazines, which of course have much less space than is needed to cover topic in such a depth and scope as TankArt is doing.
Constant flow of pictures overlayed with text almost leaves you feel overwhelmed. The book itself is not very thick, but makes me feel it is perhaps the richest one in terms of the content provided. In my opinion there are few aspect, in which this book stands from the crowd:
1. It is not just a showcase of Mike’s work. To say that the book is lavishly illustrated with the photographs of Mike’s models is an understatement. There are hundreds of photos, but these themselves are not the focus of the content, it is the information contained in the text and illustrated by the photos that is the most valuable.
2. The book does not only show and tell what Mike does to achieve the quality of work he is known for – it explains HOW he does it in detail. Many other books attempt to do this, but even the best of them fail (in my opinion), mostly because they do not blend the photos and text in a way that would leave all my questions answered. TankArt is different in that it describes in the simplest words the process how the results were achieved. For example today on my morning train I have just read a section on the hairspray technique. It discusses in detail not only the usual description you might have read in number of other books and magazines, but goes into details such as what hairspray Mike is using, how does he apply it, how does he hold the model, how many coats he puts on, how long does he leave it to dry, what paints is he using on top of it, how long he lets them dry, etc.
3. The book covers use of a number of different products available on the market without a bias to any particular brand. The book is one of the very few, which fairly discuss pros and cons of different brands of products (e.g. acrylic paints, oil paints,…) available on the market.
4. One particular aspect of this book that I like is that it is not trying to claim that the methods presented are the “correct” ones. The techniques are presented as a result of author’s experience and backed up by his rationale behind them, but it is left up to the reader to make his own judgement.
Overall, there are only 5 models presented in the book, but this is definitely not a deficiency. The systematic depth of the coverage of each model is much more valuable than would be any cursory description of larger number of models.
All in all I am very much impressed by this book. The quality of photographs is first class, the way they are combined with narratives is in my opinion unsurpassed in the market. Graphic design and overall execution is truly professional.
One thing has to be said – I don’t think this book is for beginners. Modeller should have few kits already behind his belt in order to fully appreciate and understand the discussion of different techniques and approaches. So if you are just starting, go build something first and then go through the book.
There is very little to criticize about this book, apart from occasional typo (I am wondering why do I even mention it). It almost makes me feel that there is very little that I could add to the subject of armour modeling by writing this blog….
So if you’re hesitating, don’t. This book is worth every dollar of your modelling budget and should not be missing on the book shelf of any aspiring modeller.
For more information about the book, make sure to visit page www.rinaldistudiopress.com.
(Photos: Michael Rinaldi Studio)