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Essential Skills for Scale Modelers (FineScale Modeler Books) Paperback – October 28, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Aaron Skinner built his first model, some kind of racecar in white plastic, when he was 5, and has had at least one model under construction ever since. His modeling interests include armor aircraft, airliners, and science fiction spacecraft. He studied journalism and history at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and worked as a photographer at newspapers in Texas and Arkansas before going to work in 2006 at FineScale Modeler as an associate editor.
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Product Details

  • Series: FineScale Modeler Books
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Kalmbach Publishing Company (October 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890247919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890247914
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.2 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Lambert on August 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up this book for my 7 year old son (sure it's a little advanced, but it's not beyond an interested young childs grasp), who is just getting into scale modeling at the Snap-Level but is constantly wanting to learn some of the techniques that I've picked up over the years. Once I got the book in my hands, it's not come off my workbench or out of my hands. The author explores the basics and essentials of modeling in a thorough and easy to understand manner (even with a touch of humor) and shows you step by step some of the intermediate and advanced methods in the best possible manner - by example on a real model project from start to finish. Most of us who have been modeling for a while will recognize most of the methods and tricks in the book, but it's great to get a refresher and even learn a thing or two along the way. This is an even greater asset to the beginner who can get start modeling with a good base of knowledge and start dabbling in the more advanced techniques. This book certainly is aimed at the beginner, but I can't say enough for how in depth it gets at times.

I would have liked to have seen a little more work put into painting cockpits and canopies though - just saying you can buy a pre-cut mask at an aftermarket dealer doesn't cut it. This is problematic because not all models have this option available and a good number of hobbyists (especially beginners) still have to make their own masks either by cutting masking tape or using a masking solution. This hobby can be expensive enough as it is and telling beginners that they need to buy aftermarket parts or masks is an instant turn-off to many who already dropped a sizable penny on the kit, paint, and essentials. Not a big deal to an expert, but for a hobby that's not seen as "cool" as it once was, this doesn't do the book any favors.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a 51 year old, looking to start into a hobby he hasn't done since he was a kid, this book was indeed essential. I bought the first model he builds in the book and will follow his instructions. Also needed the low down on essential versus optional tools. Like most hobbies there are levels of interest from casual to obsessed, making it a little hard to figure out where to start.
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Format: Paperback
This book saved me the time and headache induced in the process of searching modeling tips on the internet.
Elegantly photographed, laid out, and written chapters will take you through the tools and trades of building models.
Each chapter covers one modeling subject (armor, car, aircraft, ship, figure) and takes the reader through the necessary steps of tackling that general area.
It doesn't have the wham-bam tutorial aesthetics of some contemporary modeling publishers, instead a quiet, gentle approach that author aaron skinner has infused the Fine Scale Modeler magazine with. I am withholding the fifth-star because this book and the related magazine can vastly improve and become indispensible by borrowing the photographic idioms of the aforementioned magazines : maximize the image sizes, and the contrast of the photography to reveal details more. Perhaps find a better printer who can reproduce such tonal depth. I think most of the tutorials could be accomplished by reducing the body text to a a short introductory paragraph and telling the story by image+caption pairings alone.
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If you are returning to modeling after years away, like many of us retirees, or if you are interested in trying out modeling, this is the book for you. Skinner takes on four basic projects: a tank, an airplane, a car, and a figure. His choices provide help with a variety of types of models to suit a variety of interests. However, each type involves some different skills, and practice with each type can help you develop skills useful even if you eventually stick to one type.

It is important to read Skinner's text, even if you are tempted just to follow the pictures and captions, for the text provides sequential instructions, explaining basics rather thoroughly. The text refers to the photos, but usually the text is not on the same page with the photo to which it refers. Given electronic typesetting, better layout is possible, but it is likely that Kalmbach's (the publisher) motive was to save pages, reduce costs, and maintain profitability. So this is one book worth a second edition with better layout choices and spiral binding (as is done with some of the Osprey books).

The book could also use a list of items used (as, e.g., Bob Steinbrunn includes in his Stuart Tank book for Schiffer). While these lists can become outdated, in this case the kits used as examples, too, may go out of production, so the book may need updating every few years anyway.

This book is worth the cost of the publisher's updating and improving, and it is well worth the purchase price for beginning or returning modelers who need a help developing skills, or even an interesting choice fore skilled modelers who are curious about the author's advice. Get one for yourself and another for a modeler buddy.
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This is an excellent guide for anyone interested in scale modeling, Illustrations and descriptions help explain many processes that will make your models superb. I rate it 5 stars because it is a very thorough book in a compact package.
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