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Book Review
Detailing Scale Model Aircraft
Detailing Scale Model Aircraft, Second Edition
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:

Detailing Scale Model Aircraft, Second Edition is a new release by Mike Ashey Publishing. It is not merely a reprint of the 1990 classic, it has been updated with new subjects and purged of obsolete modeling topics. In fact, Mr. Ashey admits that when he published Detailing Scale Model Aircraft in 1990, he thought modeling was at a golden age zenith, perforce this second edition has been rewritten to reflect the evolution and revolution of the past three decades of modeling.

This six-chapter manual features 850 sequenced color photographs illustrating the 184 pages of text, printed in an A4 format. It is also available in PDF - see below. This publication series is unique in format, too, designed for updating and expanding with new chapters. (The first new chapter, titled Removing & Reattaching Parts will be available in the late fall of 2019.)

Mike Ashey has been writing acclaimed modeling books since the late 1980s. Now he has entered the desktop publishing arena with those books and new titles. Mike Ashey Publishing's approach to publishing is unique and allows incorporation of a large gallery of sequenced color pictures. As such it is a great value. Each manual is printed on heavy stock glossy paper and designed to be stored in a customer supplied 3-ring "D" binder. Each manual is pre-punched for a 3-ring binder; it also comes with a front and back heavy cardstock cover to protect your manual, plus front, back and side cardstock inserts for the binder. The side insert has 3 different cutout sizes for 1.5, 2 and 3 inch "D" ring binders.

United States and Puerto Rico Purchases can be made using PAYPAL, personal checks or money orders. For International Purchases see the website instructions before placing an order. Mike Ashey Publishing manuals are also available on eBay. EBay also has manuals which are in "bundle" packages.

No room on your shelf for 184 pages of book? Mr. Ashey announces a PDF version of the book is now available:
    The PDF version of the book is password protected and you will receive 7 PDF files. Chapters 1-6 are in separate PDF files and the last PDF file has the password. Chapter 1 includes the table of contents and chapter 6 includes the workbench tips. The 7 PDF files will be transmitted to you using your PayPal email address unless you specify another email address. Due to the size of the files, you will receive several emails from us with the PDF attachments. Updates to existing chapters and new chapters will also be available as PDF files.

Enough walk-around, letís take her up into the pattern!
There is a lot of paper here Ė 184 pages - full of text and 850 photographs. Detailing Scale Model Aircraft, Second Edition is divided in to six chapters:

    1. Scale Modeling Tools and Equipment
    2. Assembly Techniques
    3. Cockpit and Interior Construction, Detailing, Painting and Basic Weathering
    4. Building and Detailing Engines and Landing Gear
    5. Guns, Flying Wires, Antenna, Bombs and Control Surfaces
    6. Painting, Decaling and Basic Exterior Weathering

Supporting sections are included such as Workbench Quick Tips:

    3D Printed Parts
    Decaling tips
    General Tips
    Gluing Tips
    Painting Tips
    Seam Work
    Working with Photoetch
    Working with Resin Kits

Mike Ashey Publishing catalogues 11 titles in his Comprehensive Series Scale Model Manuals series. This book uses examples from his books on building a B-26, P-38, P-47, and SBD Dauntless. He also demonstrates with other models he has built not for a manual, i.e., MiG-3 and Bristol Boxkite.

The first chapter Scale Modeling Tools and Equipment begins with six pages of text detailing Required Tools and Equipment, Reference and Resources for Scale Modeling, and Organization. It then illustrates the text with eight pages, each bearing six color photos of those subjects. Iíve been modeling and experimenting with eclectic tools for more than four decades and I am astonished by some of his great ideas! Dozens of tools are demonstrated upon parts of diverse size, shape, and materials. Those techniques range from novice to complex and advance. This chapter lays the groundwork for the successive subjects.

Chapter Two, Assembly Techniques, presents the first of those application subjects. Topics include eradicating seam lines, sink holes, ejector circles, and removing fragile parts. Then the restoration of panel lines and rivets is shown. Demonstrated is the use of tape to test-fit assembly of components, and the entire model. Joining parts and filling joint are demonstrated in detail. There are some interesting bits of knowledge, such as the difference in how hard Testors regular tube glue dries compared to their non-toxic glue.

Cockpit and Interior Construction, Detailing, Painting and Basic Weathering progresses into a more mature level of modeling. Discussed is scale effect for paint and deterioration of paint. Mr. Ashey broaches the topic of accuracy and authenticity verses "model art." He demonstrates the use of photoetch and resin detail sets, rebuilding instrument panels, crew restraints, gun sights, instrument boxes and additional detailing - through 27 pages and 162 photos! Another nine pages with 54 photos present interior work. Such is the level of attention in this 50-page chapter.

Closely related to the proceeding chapter is 32 pages of Building and Detailing Engines and Landing Gear. Several pages narrate the technical aspects of engine. The techniques and concepts are generally the same although engines and landing gear have their own unique structure and accessories. Of particular interest is the rebuilding of substandard radial engines to good looking renditions.

While there are many models of airliners and civil aircraft available, I hazard to bet that the vast majority of aircraft models are warplanes. And what are warplanes without things that go "boom?" Advanced techniques in Guns, Flying Wires, Antenna, Bombs and Control Surfaces are addressed through 28 pages and 168 photos. The finesse of drilling out gun barrels is examined. Two and a half pages of text discusses flying wires and control cables. Several paragraphed detail antenna wires. A page and a half covers the rest before reaching the images. Stringing rigging wires is an amazing segment with six full pages and 64 color photos of his methods. It seems so simple! As does his handling of bombs to make their parts line up flush and round. Mounting of separate control surfaces and flaps receive equal attention. While not mentioned in the chapter title, mounting of landing or navigation lights is covered, too.

The basic component that makes a model a scale replica instead of a toy is the finish. Painting, Decaling and Basic Exterior Weathering discusses the different paint types through nine pages of text and 27 pages of images. Covered are mixing, airbrushing and other paint delivery methods,, masking and surface preparation, drybrushing, decals, and several types of weathering. A topic addressed is the construction of metal aircraft and the application of the metal sheets. Butt joints and lap joints have definite surface characteristics, as do flush or raised rivets. The concept of preshading and other types of "model art" are discussed; six closeups of real aircraft illustrating those joints are provided, with commentary about the scale size of the panel lines. Mr. Ashey's handling of decals is advanced but with the right tools, easy.

Finally, the manual concludes with for pages of the tips mentioned earlier. Some should be common knowledge and yet some are new to me.

Thus concluded a concise look at the content. I could easily have expanded on the content but I am confident that you grasp the comprehensiveness of this book.

The text is supported by an excellent gallery of photographs specially composed to illustrate specific topics. Are 850 enough? Only the modeler can judge. I can only imagine the effort and time spent composing and editing so many and find them incredible.

All are clear, crisp, clean and sharp high-quality images of each step. For the "how-to" portion, six images are used per page, with some larger images displaying finished models or detail examples. Like I wrote for his P-38 manual review, I can describe the photos to you or you can judge them by the images in this review - a far less loquacious presentation.

Like his other manuals I have seen, Mike Ashey's Detailing Scale Model Aircraft, Second Edition is an impressive publication. The expanse of tips, techniques, and ideas presented are valuable for any modeling genre and skill level. Once again, I am enthusiastic about these manuals. The captions narrate the images imparting the topic without eclipsing the photos. Photographic support is excellent.

It is impressive that this format is designed for expansion. I eagerly await the first addition Removing & Reattaching Parts. As it is this is a great value. Mike Ashey Publishing has put a great deal of effort into this manual.

I have no meaningful criticism of this product and happily recommend it.

Please remember to mention to Mike Ashey Publishing that you found this manual here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Excellent gallery of photographs specially composed to illustrate specific topics. Expert text and commentary.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: An impressive concept and format. A great value.
  Scale: N/A
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 08, 2019

Our Thanks to Mike Ashey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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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 ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.



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