This is an unconventional review. Not because of its content, but due tragic circumstances. Just a couple of hours before I published this review, I received word from Mr. Ashey that Mike Ashey Publishing has ceased business. This manual, available for only a few days, is his final effort in decades of service to modelers.
I hope this review does his efforts justice.
IntroductionBuilding and Detailing the Monogram/Revell 1/48 Scale B-26 Marauder
is the fifth manual of the late Mike Ashey Publishing's Comprehensive Series Scale Model Aircraft Manuals. This manual has 66 pages and hundreds of color photos in an A4 format. This publication series is unique in format, too, the pages are pre-punched to fit into a binder; a cover and title page are included, as is a page of spine banners to identify the book.
Mike Ashey has been writing acclaimed modeling books since the late 1980s. He had entered the desktop publishing arena with his books and new titles. Let's examine why his books are so highly regarded.
I was particularly happy to learn of this manual. I am a great enthusiast of Martin's B-26 and I've had Monogram's kit since it was first released, just waiting for the time to tackle the kit. This manual alerted me to some problems with the kit and now I am ready for it.
COMPREHENSIVE SERIES SCALE MODEL AIRCRAFT MANUALS
This is a different approach to publishing, which allows incorporation of a lot of sequenced color pictures into each manual, at a nominal price. 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.
The ManualBuilding and Detailing the Monogram/Revell 1/48 Scale B-26 Marauder
does just what the title states. The primary purpose is demonstrating the assembly of this popular model. To a lesser degree it also contrasts and compares aspects of Monogramís Marauder with the 1/48 AMT Martin B-26. Mike Ashey has a Comprehensive Series Scale Model Aircraft Manual about that kit: Building and Detailing the AMT 1/48 Scale B-26 Marauder
This comprehensive series manual shows you how to assemble, detail, paint and weather the Monogram/Revell 1/48 scale B-26 Marauder in the proper sequence while modifying and correcting fit issues during assembly. The manual shows you how to use plastic strips to solve all of the gap issues especially those around the nacelle to wing attachments and the elevator to fuselage attachment. The manual also shows you how to reinforce and strengthen each assembly so that seams will not crack or split while you are working on them, and where to add lead weight to balance the finished model on its landing gear.
All of the Eduard photoetch detail sets available for this kit were used to enhance the cockpit and bombardier areas, the bomb bay and the landing gear bays. The manual shows you how to shape, reinforce and attach these photoetch parts. The kitís .50 caliber machine-gun barrels were replaced with Masters two-piece brass barrels and cooling jackets to enhance their appearance and the manual shows you how to replace the plastic barrels with these brass parts. Quick Boost resin cast engines replaced the kits engines and the manual shows you how to add push rods and spark plug wiring detail to them. The manual shows you how to fix the kitís three-piece engine cowlings or in the alternative, how to use the Loon Models replacement one-piece cowlings and modify the Quick Boost resin engines to fit into the replacement cowlings.
Interior weathering is demonstrated with drybrushing techniques and the application of pencil pastel dust with brushes. A step-by-step painting sequence is also provided along with preparing and applying Microscale decals. The manual also shows you how to fade the exterior surface colors and the decals with pencil pastel dust and makeup sponges and how to add mild exhaust, gun powder and fuel surface staining.
Opening the manual is a list of the specific individual items in each of these categories:
Tools and Supplies
Aftermarket Detail Sets
Mr. Ashey also includes WORKBENCH QUICK TIPS:
WORKING WITH RESIN KITS
WORKING WITH PHOTOETCH
3D PRINTED PARTS
Sixty-six pages beyond the cover make up this manual and the breakdown of subjects are thus:
* 20 pages of prepping, improving, scratchbuilding, and fitting the plastic kit
* 20 pages of working and attaching photoetch, resin, and 3D parts
* 16 pages dedicated to masking and painting
* 8 pages of adding tiny parts, rigging, and installing sub-assemblies
* 4 pages of the complete model in all its glory
Okay, you got me, those numbers don't add up to 66. If you have read some of my other reviews, you know that some of the pages present a mix of subjects without one being dominate.
As with his other manuals, Mr. Ashey is generous with his full color images. There is a cornucopia of clear, crisp, clean and sharp high-quality images of each step. For the "how-to" portion, six images are used per page, with two bigger images displaying the finished model. The last page shows this Monogram B-26 next to AMTís model Ė both built-up. Several images have arrows to leave no doubt where to look for important subjects. Like I wrote in the previous review, I can describe the photos to you or you can judge them by the images in this review - a far less loquacious presentation.
The photographs are excellent, shot with high illumination and a crisp medium blue backdrop. Photographs are focused intimately close for many details, and also to show sub-assemblies. The fine masking of so many nooks and crannies is well illustrated.
I find the detail and quality of the photographs to be uniformly excellent.
ConclusionMike Ashey's Building and Detailing the Monogram/Revell 1/48 Scale B-26 Marauder
is another impressive how-to manual. Even if one has no interest in the Monogram B-26, the tips, techniques, and ideas presented are valuable for any modeling genre. Okay, I admit that I am enthusiastic about these manuals. The others I have reviewed are equally as comprehensive, clearly written, and pleasingly arranged as this manual. The captions narrate the images imparting the topic without eclipsing the photos. Those photos are excellent.
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