by: Andy Herbert [ ]
Originally published on:
This is a guide to assembling and painting historical miniatures by Mike Blank. The book has some gorgeous photos, and comprises a series of step-by-step (SBS) articles on painting various figures. The appeal is that Mike Blank is a great sculptor, and world renowned for making relatively plain uniforms come alive. He is famous for figures mostly in black or white (thus the title), or in other single color outfits. So, this book should help anyone paint solid color uniforms well. The most recent figure covered is Napoleon, but the general principles apply to any figures. The work with black and white uniforms would apply to German tankers in WW2, and anyone in a winter uniform!
After some preliminaries (an introduction and review of figure assembly and the tools needed) there are 6 separate SBS; two for mounted figures, and four foot figures. Two of the foot figures and the mounted figures are 54mm, the others are 90mm figures. The paint jobs are shown in various stages in some great photos, and for each SBS there is a full page color illustration showing all the color mixes used including base coats, blends etc. Mike Blank paints using all media, so you get a nice overview of how to do things with acrylics, enamels and oils.
Sounds wonderful, right! Too bad they didn't use anyone who knows how to speak English!! The text is almost unreadable in places. There are typos on top of typos on top of horrendous grammar. This series of books is published in Spanish, and some volumes are translated into English. The first rule of translation is to use a native speaker of the language to edit the text, if not to act as primary translator. This has not been done! At a MSRP of over US$25 it is not unreasonable to expect readable text! I was interested in some of the other books in this series, but I won't touch them now. The pictures are good enough to make the book useful, but you wouldn't believe how bad the text is. I read some of it aloud to my wife for a good laugh!!
The other drawback is that some of the photos have been manipulated too much using Photoshop or whatever, and the color balance is off. This is true for less than 10% of the photos, but is notable.
In the end, there are better figure painting guides for beginners (like Shep Paine's books). The pictures are fantastic for the most part, so it is a useful guide and wonderful to look at. I bought the book for about $15 on eBay which is a fair price, but I'm glad I didn't win the auctions for the other books in the series!
Recommended, but with strong reservations.
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| || ||Mar 01, 2004|
Copyright ©2021 text by Andy Herbert [ ]. All rights reserved.
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