Essential Skills for Scale Modelers

Published: February 15th, 2012     
Author: Aaron Skinner
Reviewed by: 
Dave Koukol, IPMS# 46287
Company: Kalmbach Publishing Company
ISBN #: 978-0-89024-791-4
Other Publication Information: Softcover, 96 pages, 250 color photographs
Price: $21.95
Product / Stock #: 12446

For decades, Kalmbach Publishing has given us FineScale Modeler Magazine - a virtual staple for thousands of modelers worldwide.  Over the years, we've seen hundreds of outstanding "how to" articles in FSM designed to share fundamental and advanced modeling techniques.  Often times, these "essentials" are relegated to shelves and boxes for later reference, and many times their subject matter spans multiple issues, slimming the odds of finding all applicable information years later.  What could be better than compiling all of those golden nuggets of modeling know-how into a series of books for quick and easy reference to the modeler?

In recent years, Kalmbach and its crew at FineScale have been rolling out just such volumes, with one of the latest being Essential Skills for Scale Modelers, by FSM Associate Editor Aaron Skinner.   Essential Skills caught my eye on the review list, as I have a young modeler in the household and an IPMS Chapter of talented, humble, and hungry modelers wanting to learn more about almost everything modeling.  Aaron's recent series on ship modeling especially whetted my interest in this volume, as I wish to become a ship modeler when I grow up.

Essential Skills packs the fundamental modeling meat and potatoes, blocking and tackling (insert your favorite cliche here) in one concise 96-page volume, rich with the "how-to" narrative and photos hallmark to FSM to walk modelers of all skill and experience levels through many of the timeless basics of the hobby.  Topics include basic assembly and airbrushing; aircraft, automotive, figure, and ship modeling fundamentals; and advanced skills to include basic weathering, updating older kits, and displaying the finished products.

As part of the review process, I decided to give the "Launching Your First Ship" chapter a try on the Cyber Hobby 1/700 USS Albany kit.  I'm pleased to report that Aaron's approach to Shipbuilding 101 is very easy to follow and highly effective.  Although my Albany hasn't yet scooted down the ways, she's far enough along to validate the shipbuilding fundamentals for this aircraft modeler.  Also, much to my liking, this chapter was not simply a retread of Aaron's recent shipbuilding series in FSM, but rather a complementary, one-stop-shop installment penned for this volume.

Another pleasant discovery is that the "Modeling Aircraft" chapter makes a fine companion piece to IPMS/USA's stock Adult Building Course (ABC) syllabus.  Even though Essentials features the Hasegawa kit, and the ABC stock course features Tamiya's kit, all of the elements are transferrable.

All said, Essential Skills for Scale Modelers is truly an essential addition to any modeler's reference library - regardless of age, skill, or experience level.  Highly recommend!

Thanks to Kalmbach Books and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

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