SMHB Figure Modelling Vol 18


So SMHB is now standing at 21 issues in total, with this being Vol 18 of the separate Figure series, maintaining the same style and format as previous issues, it is a classy, high end publication and one I look forward to ever quarter, although there were some unforeseen delays on this particular release.

There are some tweaks to the layout within the articles which I will mention later and for the first time ever the SMHB are carrying some adverts. I hope this is not an indication that in this difficult, financial climate that Mr Black is beginning to struggle, they have always prided themselves on producing a bookazine with no adverts. The adverts are relevant to figure painting and for the most part restricted to the inside of the cover.

The first article is my favourite of this volume

This volume sees debuts from two more figure painters, Qianwei Shi and Roberto Ramirez Gutierrez. The book consists of eight chapter from six different authors, crammed full of tips and hints, recipes, historical backgrounds and high resolution images throughout. This is without doubt the best published resource for the figure painter and if we wish to see it continue we need to support it at every level, sharing on Facebook and social media and adding it to our library of references in our studios!


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.

painting a horse using oil paints

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.


First up we have what turns out to be my favourite article of the book, Roman Gladiator by Sergey Popovichenko, Sergey is a regular contributor and one of my favourite figure painters. He talks us through figure preparation as well as a full recipe for each element of the figure, including hints at painting freehand details to the shield and other interesting aspects before providing us with paint equivalents for his oils. This is presented in an attractive and concise column/row table which we see throughout the book, this is a new development starting this volume. At the end of the article we have a two page gallery showing the project in all its’ gritty realism.

lots of images with the “new” alternative paints index

Next up is a ten page article on a scratchbuilt Corporal Vicente Manzano, the mounted figure was built by Antonio Zapatero and painted by Roberto Gutierrez. We are shown his method fir painting horses using oils along with some information about the oil palette.

There are lots of images clearly showing the step by step for painting the mount and figure, backed up with an in-depth explanation. This is all backed up with a list of paints used along with the equivalent paint from Abteilung 502. There are some very nice, full size gallery images at the end of the article.

This is followed by a short but concise write up by Qianwei Shi on painting the various elements of the Sir Winston Churchill bust by Life Miniatures, talking us through the “why’s” behind the various decisions he made regarding the facial skintone painting in particular.

qianwei shi discusses at length his skintone technique

Mike “the kiwi” Butler created an insightful 8 page article on a 54mm WWI German Ace from Wings Cockpit. Mike talks us through some background information and then describes his process for creating a wet palette. Mike then focuses on a couple of elements of the figure, creating personality in the face using different colour tones and techniques and how to recreate fur and leather textures using acrylic paint.

He finishes off his article with some insights into his photography skills, having recently bought a DSLR he states some of the key points he has learned during the process of his first couple photo shoots.

Stelios approach is slightly different, there is much less informative writing in this article and relies more on photographs and a series of colour recipes for the various elements of the figures. The figures of this article are from Model Cellar Productions (MCP) depicting German Pilot and Mechanic in 54mm. At the end of this volume Stelios has another short article in the same format, this time it is another figure from MCP, a 75mm WWI British soldier.

A six page article by Toshihiro Sano, the main focus being on painting black leather and black Panzer uniforms, using oil and enamel paints. There are lots of images accompanied with annotations of the various steps. He also discusses certain aspects of oil paints and talks us through the various steps of constructing a display base. Finally he also writes an article on Hawk Miniatures large scale bust.

Neo has a less expansive feel to his articles

It depicts Edward Mannock otherwise known as Mick, a British flying ace. We are provided with some historical background, followed by ashort explanation on how he painted the bust using enamels and the new W&N Distilled Turpentine. It also features a step by step gallery of the face painting process with annotations.


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.

toshihiro sano paints black leather in oils


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.

another short and concise piece by Neo

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

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