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Book Review
Shep Paine's Modelers Guide
Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:

Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide is a tribute to the late paragon of modeling Shep Paine. Indeed, Mr. Paine's monumental contributions to the hobby span far beyond mere armor modeling, and even beyond model building. His training in art translated into model painting techniques that innovated what the modeling community has proclaimed as “the Chicago school” of figure painting.

Like every contributor for this book, my first exposure to who would become the legendary Mr. Paine was from the modeling inserts in Monogram model kits, and subsequently in model magazines and catalogues. Before he started building plastic models, Mr. Paine cut his hobby teeth with model trains. Mr. Paine once said, "I wouldn't claim to have invented super-detailing; I was just the most visible practitioner." I have wondered if he was acquainted with the equally legendary icon of model railroading, John Allen, and his exalted model railroad, the Gorre & Daphetid. Like Mr. Paine in the military modeling world, Mr. Allen is widely acclaimed as the one who raised model railroading to an art form. Model railroaders easily spotted the model railroad influence in Mr. Paine's scenery and "creative gizmology".

Published by Kalmbach Publishing, this softcover book is 144 pages of content, full of illustrations and 400 photographs, both color and black-and-white. It has the IBSN 9781627003933 and Kalmbach's code 12805. It is part of the Kalmbach range Fine Scale Modeler Books.
    A prolific military modeler and historian, Sheperd Paine shares his tips and techniques for building detailed military models and dioramas in this special guide. You'll also find a variety of projects from top armor modelers — all influenced by Shep Paine.

    Featured subjects include:

    * Doing research and assembling armor kits.
    * Creating battle damage and adding equipment.
    * Posing and painting figures.
    * And much more!

    (Kalmbach, 2016)

Kalmbach also states that royalties from the sale of this book will go to the Shep Paine Education Fund.
    Established by the Military Miniature Society of Illinois and administered by Joe Berton, the Shep Paine Education Fund has been set up to continue his invaluable work as an educator and proselytizer for the art of miniatures via classes, seminars, and other projects.*

Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide is authored by several contributors and the late Shep Paine, with an introduction by Jim DeRogatis. Mr. Paine was working on a new book, Armor Modelers Guide, when he passed away. He intended the content to be the work of several modelers and to not include any of his work in it. To celebrate his life, it was decided to include content from Mr. Paine's previous books. This book presents 18 chapters and four sections;
    The Legacy of Shep Paine, by Jim DeRogatis

    -The Basics-
    By Sheperd Paine, Edited by Aaron Skinner
      1. Assembling armor kits
      2. Doing research
      3. Detailing and advanced modeling
      4. Battle damage and equipment
      5. Painting and decaling
      6. Weathering
      7. Planning a diorama
      8. Bases and scenery
      9. Building structures
      10. Posing and painting figures

      1. Building a Leopard straight from the box AARON SKINNER
      2. Building a Tiger I JOHN MAHER
      3. The Hornet's Nest SHEPERD PAINE
      4. Roadblock in the Ardennes ROY WELLS
      5. Retreat from the Gustav Line DAN TISONCIK
      6. Downward Spiral GREG CIHLAR
      7. No Man Left Behind JOHN ROSENGRANT
      8. Operation Protective Edge ANDY GULDEN

    Sheperd Paine's Models and Dioramas Featured in this Book

Mr. Paine was not able to speak for himself in this book and yet he would not have had to. His legacy is proclaimed in these pages by each contributor. It is surprising to read Mr. Paine's own words about how and when he got in to modeling, and how that progressed and finally ended in the 1990s. I did not know that he was a sculptor for a model figure company. Readers may be amused by some of his projects that pushed the boundaries of political correctness and created a modeling international incident. Other contributors discuss Mr. Paine's contributions to teaching modeling and his unique concept of judging model shows. The text is full of interesting quips and comments. A few sidebars present short topics.

Ten of Mr. Paine's models and dioramas are featured in the first half of this book, The Basics. Most of the content is from his original books from the 1970s and '80s, although he updated some of it. One characteristic of his models that I am struck by is just how "dusty" the finish of almost every one of his models - even figures - seem to be. The plethora of paints, glues, fillers, and finishing products are presented and explored. He also examined what supplanted his "creative gizmology" - aftermarket resins and photo-etch products.

I will not try to narrate each of the 10 chapters. However, I will mention that in Painting and decaling there is an especially interesting section called Choosing the right colors. Mr. Paine offered some interesting thoughts in that section, including a personal anecdote about an experience he had in the US Army.

Posing and painting figures is mainly out of his previous books and yet it is still an excellent primer for sculpting, assembling, and painting figures. Oh, and using paints!

The second part of this book is the new book that Mr. Paine was creating before he took ill and passed away. Projects consists of the seven subjects demonstrated by modelers recruited by Mr. Paine while not including any of his work. These are modelers who particularly impressed him. Their presentations showcase their how-to's that expand his techniques and concepts with products of today. Each chapter ends with a short bio of the modeler as well as their testimonial of Mr. Paine's influence. There are actually eight chapters but one is Mr. Paine's Eastern Front diorama The Hornet's Nest, which is curious as this new book was not supposed to include any of his work.

While all seven modelers' work is exceptional, I believe the figure painting of No Man Left Behind is superlative.

The final page is Sheperd Paine's Models and Dioramas Featured in this Book. Listing the model or diorama, their manufacturer, scale, and year of debut, it is a musing time capsule. Of his works presented in this book, Mr. Paine's first creation debuted in 1972, while his finale was in 1995.

Photographs, Artwork and Graphics
Kalmbach is known for lavishly illustrating their books and Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide is no exception. I did not count each image yet there is at least one on every page except the last one. Overwhelmingly the images are color. While there are black-and-white photos of period source material, all of the model shots are in color. Some of the artwork is black-and-white but, as with the photos, many are in color.

Looking at the credits, many images are Mr. Paine's, several are by other modelers, many are updated images from Kalmbach Publishing Company, and then there are the ones specifically for this book.

I will not try to list every reproduction from previous Shep Paine books although the following is a list of particular items of interest;
    1. Parts Of A Tank: illustrated with a Panther and Leopard.

    2. Scale Conversion Chart

    3. Working With Photoetched Metal: nine narrated photos.

    4. Stretching Sprue: six narrated photos.

    5. The Road To Damascus: an explanation of elements of the famous diorama.

    6. Color Chart: High Highlight to Dark Shadow.

    7. Face Painting in 14 Steps.

The gallery of images in this title is alone worth acquiring this book.

Today there are dozens of famous modelers. Many have their own line of modeling products. Modeling techniques and concepts have given rise to recognized characteristics, e.g., "The Spanish School", the "Verlinden Way." Yet, perhaps world wide, none are so well known and iconic as the late Shepherd Paine. I will not say that he is the progenitor of the many present-day institutions of modeling and yet his influence is undeniable. Mr. Paine is acclaimed not only for his models, he is roundly praised for his willingness to teach and coach and mentor modelers of all levels of ability.

Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide is a wonderful tribute to Mr. Paine, as well as a fine armor and diorama modeling book. The text is informative and engaging. The subjects are amazing. The images are excellent. I do not think any military modeler - or modelers of any genre - can reasonably complain about this book.

I am very enthusiastic about this book and highly recommend it on many levels.

Please remember to tell vendors and retailers that you saw this book here - on ARMORAMA.


* Military Miniature Society of Illinois. Shep Paine Education Fund. [Web.] n.d.
Highs: Informative and engaging text. The images are excellent.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: I do not think any military modeler - or modelers of any genre - can reasonably complain about this book. This book is a wonderful tribute to Mr. Paine, as well as a fine armor and diorama modeling book.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781627003933
  Suggested Retail: $24.99
  Related Link: Video review of book.
  PUBLISHED: Dec 23, 2016

Our Thanks to Kalmbach Publishing Co.!
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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


Another great reference piece for both the new-comers among us as well as those more grizzled veterans of this great hobby. I personally always greatly admired Shep and his marvellous dios. I grew up in deepest envy of his abilities and miss him greatly, and this book will -undoubtedly- offer much to those of us who thought that they knew what they were doing, but simply forgot it all in the mean time.
DEC 25, 2016 - 02:05 AM
He really demonstrated the art of improvisation being before the current AM market.
DEC 25, 2016 - 02:35 AM

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