Every once in a while, a book comes along that opens your eyes to a whole wealth of new finishing techniques. So it was for me with Daniel Zamarbide's new volume on building the 1:32 Heinkel He 219 “Uhu” from Zoukei-Mura, for if ever there was more to a book than the title suggests, this is it.
Printed in glossy A4 softbound format and spanning 96 pages, the book begins with a brief over-view of the ZM beauty before covering each stage of construction in intricate step-by-step detail. Daniel does add some small extras to the standard kit, but this book is more a master-class in his state-of-the-art finishing and painting techniques than a heavy-duty “cut here” and “sand there” narrative. The contents break down as follows:
1. Accessories and decals
3. ZM upgrade parts
The fact that the book is focused primarily on the ZM kit needn't necessarily deter you if you don't have it - you could use Daniel's build as inspiration for the Revell 1:32 kit too (although that kit doesn't include anywhere near as much internal detail (as you'd expect in view of it being so much cheaper)), or even if you're building the “Uhu” in a smaller scale.
In fact, I'd say treating Daniel's book as a “How-To” for this specific kit risks entirely missing its true value; I prefer to see it as a detailed explanation of the author's finishing techniques, using the “Uhu” as a canvas on which to display his art. Working through the list above, you will learn Daniel's methods for tackling bare and corroded metal, faded and scratched paint, leather, mud... there's something for aircraft modellers from every genre to learn from within the pages – and if the He 219 only had fabric-covered control surfaces, I'd go as far as to say the book could serve as an encyclopaedic study of state of the art finishing techniques for aircraft of any era.
The photography is exceptional and the layout clear and engaging as it leads the reader through each stage of the build.
Without giving the game away (you must buy the book to learn the author's secrets), I have to caution that patience and attention to detail is essential if you hope to achieve anything resembling the author's results – with multiple layers of base-coats, varnishes, washes, highlights, blending and detail painting, it's certainly not a quick process. For instance, Daniel devotes 11 stages to painting the tops of the fuel tanks, 15 stages to the main undercarriage legs and 9 to finishing the plain RLM 76 spinners. And of course, those are only minor tasks, and when you get to major sub-assemblies such as the cockpit, the count goes through the roof, with around separate 45 stages!
Some of the results are simply mind-blowing (the exhausts and gun blast-tubes stand out particularly for me). While the heavily used look that Daniel favours here will not appeal to those who prefer “factory fresh” finishes, but the beauty is that you can choose which techniques to try, and blend them into your own style. The important thing is that it shows what can be done with time, patience and an extremely large dollop of skill.
Is this an essential accompaniment to building the kit? I'd have to say “no”, but it's value goes far beyond that limited scope. In fact that the book's title might sadly work against it, because while the ZM “Uhu” is undoubtedly a gorgeous kit, I think it's fair to say the majority of us will never own one and so may overlook this book. That would be shame because although we may not chose to adopt all the techniques illustrated by Daniel, I think we owe it to ourselves to be aware of the possibilities they present. I've found the book a real inspiration, and it's got me itching to try adapting some of the finishing effects for my own style of building. I might never match Daniel's results, but it will certainly be fun trying. Highly recommended.
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Highs: A superb step-by-step explanation of the author's exceptional finishing techniques with hundreds of clear colour photos of every aspect.Lows: The focus is very much on painting, so anyone looking for a Blog-style warts and all account that deals with pitfalls in the kit may be disappointed.Verdict: Whether or not you intend to build Zoukei-Mura's He 219, you will find much to inspire you in this veritable encyclopaedia of state-of-the-art painting and weathering.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...