SMHB Figure Modelling Vol 16


The Scale Model HandBook, the brain child of Stelios Demiras is now in its sixth year of publication and there are now 19 volumes in total: including two on Diorama Modelling and a special WWII issue. My issue arrived quickly and safely, securely packaged so no damage was caused during shipping. This volume sees eight in depth articles across fifty, A4 pages crammed full of high resolution photographs. Guest figure painters are Javier Gonzalez, Adrian Hopwood, Igor Kordyokov, Sergey Popovichenko, Ernesto Reyes Stalhuth, Juanma Vergera and with his debut article Jason Zhou.


The design and layout of each volume is well considered and easy to follow. The photographs are relevant, the step by step pictures in particular are numbered and clearly show the progress of each step. In my opinion this is THE publication for figure painters and although it is more aimed at historical figures, all genres are represented and each volume is great value for money.

Not only do we get the step by step process but more importantly the authors regularly divulge some tip or nugget of wisdom that frequently helps to piece everything together and aid us on our personal journey of development.


Here I would like to provide a summary of the eight articles.

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Sergey Popovichenko

First up is a six page article by the prolific and inspirational historical figure painter Sergey Popovichenko. The subject is a 1st century Roman Legionary from Pegaso in 75mm. The kit is a collaborative sculpt between two masters; Yuri Serebryakov and Andrea Jula. Sergey takes us through assembly and a nice tutorial on creating battle damage to the legionaries shield using nothing more than paper and glue.

There are some nice techniques discussed through the painting process of skin, armour, tunic and shield using oil paints from Maimeri Polycolor.

Colours are discussed for the base, shadows and highlights of the skintone and for the other elements along with short step by step breakdown on how to paint the complicated freehand pattern. I really like Sergeys’ gritty realism and look forward to his regular articles in Mr Black SMHB.

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Ernesto Stalhuth

Ernesto Stalhuth
then talks us through a very interesting project, a 90mm knight hospitaller from Pegaso Models. A brief history is provided in his notes on assembly and then we are shown with the aid of photographs and in-depth writing how he painted the various elements. Something I regularly read about regarding painting metallics is to forego the primer and paint acrylic or oil washes straight to the bare metal. Then scratches, scuffs and other damage can be replicated by chipping away paint, with use of cocktail sticks, sculpting tools and sand paper, from raised and exposed areas.

He gives pointers on how to create a leathery, sunburned skin-tone and adding expression and contrast to the face. Painting black is one of the more difficult colours to paint correctly, so i was very interested to see how he would paint the hospitallers tunic.

I am currently using the technique explained to paint my Eternal Crusader from Michael Kontraros Collectibles. We are also treated to how he approaches metallics, leather and reproducing heraldry.

Igor Kordyokov then talks us through a step by step sculpting a Viking figure “Descendant of Odin”, which will become a commercial casting for Irbis Miniatures. over 120 pictures accompany the informative text as Igor discusses basic modelling, detailing and creating the various elements such as the helm, chainmail, weapons, braided hair etc The piece though aimed at sculptors still remained an interesting insight to me a figure painter. Seeing the project come alive over all those steps was quite an eye opener.

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Jason Zhou

My brother and one of the leading lights out of the Chinese figurine community, Jason Zhou made his debut in this issue with his stunning Hannibal Barca bust from NutsPlanet. Jason discusses his technique for painting realistic texture effects for facial skin and other elements.

He talks us through his process for traditional painting prior to outlining some key pointers regarding the stippling technique. Next we are walked through the metallic components, leather, leopard skin, helm crest and scarf. For each part the intention goes beyond just painting and towards recreating a realistic, textured and beautifully detailed bust.

Juanma Vergera outlines in a six page article his distinctive stylised approach to painting a 1/10 bust of the most respected German tank ace Otto Carius. We begin with an historical introduction prior to to the painting process beginning with his technique for painting the eyes.

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Juanma Vergera

This is done over eight clear and concise steps prior to moving on to the skintone. Then we move on to the Panzer uniform, cap, thread, trim and grey shirt. Colour recipes are provided for each step accompanied with a selection of photographs depicting the various stages at different angles.

Ernesto’s second article in this issue tackles the rather ambitious 200mm (1/9 scale), Ensign of 28th Foot at Waterloo bust. We are walked through his approach to paint the particularly expressive face sculpted by Carl Reid for Stormtrooper Miniatures.

The shake and red coatee are up next and finally what Ernesto describes as the most challenging part; the regimental colour. Yellow is a particularly difficult colour to use as it is a primary colour that is complicated to illuminate and darken. Ernesto shows us how he achieves this with some interesting insights.

For those seeking a fantasy fix, look no further than Javier Gonzalez aka Arsies article on how he painted his superhero project Rhino and Spiderman. The conversion and build of this project can be read about in his other part to this article in Vol 15. He give us the low-down on choosing the correct colour of primer depending on atmosphere and effect we hope to recreate. Textures, lighting, tonal variances are all discussed.

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Ernesto Stalhuth

Finally, award winning Adrian Hopwood talks us through some of the techniques he uses to paint his project “Twitchy Mary” from Andrea Miniatures.

This is a 54mm, sci-fi female that he has made a few alterations to. His approach to writing is more informative and organic than some of the other articles and regularly talks about the whys as well as the hows to certain elements of the paint job.


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Javier Gonzalez

There are different approaches through the book as it is written by a variety of artists who have their own skills and techniques and indeed their own way of putting across the information they wish to share with the reader. Some of the articles are more step by step and concise, others are informative and insightful but they are all relatively easy to follow and understand.


The SMHB series from Mr Black Publications is without doubt the leading reference for figure painters around the world. For me it has become an invaluable reference to my painting and is also a major highlight when the post man delivers the next issue. The design, photography, writing, editing and the quality of the collaborating artists makes this a must for the serious figure painter looking to develop further along their own painting journey.


PRICE                            14.95 €

No of PAGES                50