Rinaldi Studio Press is a relative newcomer to the publishing of “how to” guide books of modelling created by internationally renowned armour modeller Michael Rinaldi. His first series of books TankArt are incredibly well written and have proven to be very popular. When I saw that Michael was creating the “Single Model” (SM) series covering diverse and unique subjects, I saw an opportunity: that Michaels’ knowledge and expertise in armour modelling and weathering could prove particularly useful and inspiring within our own genre, as we all look to develop bigger and more expansive projects. When I spoke with Michael it was pretty evident that he had a desire to merge genres and crossover into other aspects of modelling and painting within our community. When I first read his TankArt vol1 last year it was evident throughout that merely describing techniques was not enough. His books showcase the hows and (more importantly) the whys of the various processes he undertakes. This coupled with his desire to create art and his background in design, result in books that are like no other!
My book arrived securely within a tight fitting, thick cardboard sleeve inside a solid grey coloured waterproof outer casing, meaning despite my postmans’ best efforts, no damage was caused. SM01 Fish Submarine is an A5, 96 page book crammed full to the rafters with high resolution pictures, boasting a stunning and clean design over ten chapters.
The concept behind the series is simple, to combine Michaels’ artistic view of light and colour with his expertise in armour modelling and weathering, to create one book per one model, explaining the hows and whys throughout each process. In this first volume, Michael will be tackling the Fish Submarine kit from Industria Mechanika!
DESIGN AND LAYOUT
The first thing you notice is the solid and clean graphic design of the book, lots of fresh open spaces, use of multiple fonts, the page numerals (reminiscent of squadron markings on armoured vehicles), the bold chapter heading pages and the use of the letters W and H. The second thing you notice is the high resolution digital photographs, the whole book is awash with them. Again incorporated into the clean design of the book, most have no borders but are elegantly fitted around the explanatory text. Finally, once you start reading, the third aspect one notices is the passion of the writing and the clear, concise instructions on the how and why behind the many processes. Michael explains also the sizing and design of this new range:
“The new size is 6.5″ x 7.5”, traditional perfect-bound, with a minimum of 96-pages in length (some editions will be longer in page length). Each book is wrapped with a special linen stock that is completely unique to the hobby world for a soft-cover publication, and the interior paper is an eco-friendly 30% recycled stock that gives these new books a great tactile feeling”.
There has been an explosion of painting and weathering tools and materials as the hobby of modelling has seen some kind of renaissance in the last few years. Whether you are a figure painter, a diorama builder or an armour modeller, I firmly believe in building and developing your skill set as each of these processes and techniques are equally important and transferable across all genres. This series of books aims to tackle such diverse subjects found within civilian, military and science fiction genres utilising some key elements that Michael has developed within all his books, that is to offer the reader an insight not only to the how (H) but also the why (W).
Michael begins with short chapters on products and paint selections prior to briefly describing the weathering philosophy of in-scale effects and layering. He touches upon technique proficiency using two very powerful allies, the hairspray technique pioneered by Phil Stuchinskas and a procedure very much his own: oil paint rendering (OPR). The majority of the book covers painting and weathering although there is a concise chapter regarding the submersibles’ assembly. Then we are in the nitty gritty and here Michaels’ ideas for the book series are very much on show.
From what I can gather nothing is left to the imagination. Even before the kit arrived at the workbench he talks us through his ideas and preparation regarding inspiration, references and colour choices. He explains that sometimes the broad, free licence given to science fiction subjects can sometimes almost shackle your progress and using real life references can help to reign in our imaginations and help us to plan the project. As we read on Michaels’ passion for sharing knowledge becomes apparent, no stone is left unturned as he explains reasons for colour choices, the order of steps in construction and or in the various painting stages. He discusses the importance of evaluating the model at each major step to help ensure consistency and explains the step by step process of painting even taking into consideration at which point to add decals etc as they would impact on the layering and chipping.
The real joy of the book can be found in the weathering chapter where Michael takes a quirky, sci-fi project and yet somehow makes it all totally believable through his careful application of OPR. He explains importance of having a game plan, choosing the right weathering tones for the various surfaces and how to decide how much weathering would be necessary to finish the model, a lot of the time his mantra is “less is more”. He also reinforces several times throughout the importance of control and accuracy.
He then discusses how the painting and chipping processes have created a “road map” for how to approach the concept of weathering. The author takes an interesting approach here, which I appreciate the reasoning for doing so. I struggle to keep motivation during early stages of any project, base coating and shading large areas etc, yet the author completely weathers one small section before moving on to the next. Thus giving a sense of achievement even after the shortest paint session and it affords you the opportunity to continuously evaluate the model and make changes where necessary. “Developing the weathering as you go can add a real sense of motivation and gratification”. He discusses creating balance, visual interest and building rust effects, faded paint, bleeding colours and using colour to define shapes and volumes.
Another key factor that I appreciate is the relevance of the photographs to the text I’m reading. I have read articles or books where what is being described has no baring on the illustrations, this is really frustrating. The pictures, crisp design and excellent write up go hand in hand to really hammer home the techniques and bolster your learning. One more point to make here is the chapter on “Base construction”. The author opted for an out of the water presentation (no pesky water effects here) and so devised a dock side/repair/derelict concept and he discusses at length and in quite remarkable depth his techniques for painting the various accompanying components in a realistic manner best suited to complementing the model. He covers the painting and weathering of wood, fuel drums, base creation and finalising all the details.
At the end of the book, the aim (with some fine tuning as needed) is to create a strong visual balance, in-scale chipping, realistic weathering and a project that embraces both the skill sets of the armour modeller along with the artistic licence that accompanies an understanding of colour theory and light. Mission accomplished!
EASE OF UNDERSTANDING
This is a book that is so well designed and written that it is easily understood and also an interesting read. The pictures are relevant clearly showing the various stages of each technique. The text boxes for HOW and WHY that accompany the general write up also adds immeasurably to the experience, adding reasoning to the step by steps to ensure the reader totally understands the author throughout.
SM01 is not only a coffee table Artbook, it’s beautifully designed and attractive but it represents so much more. It is a manifestation of one mans’ passion and desire to bring artistic licence and scale modelling together under one banner, a unique and refreshing stance in our community. The book will be clearly of massive interest to scale modellers but will undoubtedly add new admirers too, who wish to develop their own knowledge and transfer some of these new skills to their own genre of modelling.
In addition to this, $20 for a book in my opinion is a bargain especially when you consider you’re also buying into a concept and get a chance to share Michaels’ ongoing journey.
AVAILABLE FROM HERE
NO of PAGES 96 Pages
How did it fair?
In my opinion, the design, layout, techniques described, high resolution, relevant photographs, interesting subject matter and the ultra competitive price point make this book a must have resource for all modellers and figure painters!