Adam Wilder, a famous AFV modeler continues his path of creating learning materials for hobby enthusiasts. This time, he teams up with the company called MXpression
for the explanation of the methods he used to make some of the outstanding models that most of us have seen online or in printed magazines before. The DVD is called Authentic Metal and as you can guess from the title it is dealing with the secrets needed to give styrene (or resin) a metal appearance. The tutorials cover not only realistic painting of metal surfaces, but also have tips on creating weld seams and steel texturing.
The package and technical information
The DVD comes in a standard clear plastic box with a cover page and a 4-page booklet inside. On the inner fold of the booklet there is a “how to” on the speckling technique. The design of the package is top notch and the quality of the cover and the booklet is up to today’s standard. On the cover you can find all the necessary information – languages (English, German and Japanese), subtitles (English, Italian, Spanish, Dutch), format – PAL (16:9). The running time of the video is 98 minutes. Although PAL is the only format available so far there is absolutely no problem to view it on a PC with a standard video player.
When you insert the DVD into the player you see the selection of language and subtitles and after that you can either choose to watch the whole video or select your favorite chapter. The narration is very clear and supported by nice background music. While I am sure that there would be people that don’t like the soundtrack I find it appropriate and really good, I even could do modeling with some selected pieces turned on! Now, let’s look in detail on the content of the tutorial.
Here we see Adam identifying the purpose of this DVD– to widen the skills you can use for building and finishing models. Some of the models built by the author are demonstrated together with a good sense of humor. This gives you a nice start and sets a good mood.
This part is dedicated to techniques that could be used to replicate the texture of armor plates. 3 different subjects are chosen – upper hull of Ferdinand, T-34 and Sherman turrets. You will learn about various steel casting techniques used by different countries during the WW2 (raw steel, polished steel, etc.) and will get to know how to replicate that on armor models.
For example on the Ferdinand, the textures are created with the help of modeling putty and liquid glue applied with a brush and the flame cutter traces are replicated with a standard hobby knife. On T-34 and Sherman turrets more rough textures are shown and here the usage of a soldering iron and rotary tool are explained. One of the hints shown here that I especially liked was about making casting numbers out of digits that are present on sprues.
Another thing that I like about that part of the DVD is that Adam stressed several times that the examples shown here are just to show the techniques and when you are doing a model you should stick to the reference images of the vehicle you are modeling and not just do something “as you see” and “why not”.
Next the replication of weld seams is shown and here 2 techniques are explained – using the heated sprue together with liquid glue and with the help of putty. Both ways are interesting and are often required on the models when the weld seams are neglected by the manufacturer or are poorly molded, like on the Grille shown in this DVD.
This chapter is the most impressive in my opinion since it explains how the panels on the Grille were painted. I could never imagine that there were so many layers applied to get that complex appearance. Starting from Tamiya acrylic basecoat the rust tones are applied with the speckling technique followed by hairspray and layers of other paints. Later the pigments mixed with enamels create the rusty feel and the grey acrylics together with graphite provide a finishing touch. Better see it yourself!
For the machined steel another element from the Grille was taken and for the glossy metal appearance Alclad metallic paint was used. Then the steel area was masked with a Panzerputty (a product made by MXpression) and the unmasked part is treated in a similar fashion as was a side panel of the Grille from the previous chapter, with the exception of the addition of chalk marks and grease stains.
Red oxide primer:
The chapter dedicated to red oxide primer painting would be extremely useful for fans of paper panzers, prototypes and unfinished factory vehicles. The upper hull from the Ferdinand that was textured in the beginning of the video is used for that tutorial. To diversify the surfaces the oil paints and oil washes could be used together with pigments and acrylics for replication of dust, rust and chipping. Again, the speckling technique helps to create random spots and chalk marks are shown. The large numbers are created with hairspray and stencils and for the rain marks Tamiya buff acrylics were used applied in a very special way. Something I would try for sure next time I do a dusty model.
A short and clear example of making a rusty exhaust. Again, speckling technique, hair spray and sponge chipping. Simply great.
This chapter is very special and would be very useful to the fans of burnt out vehicles and old rusty cars. I have previously seen something like that on works from Per Olav Lund but I never had a chance to ask him how he did that. Now I know, thanks to Adam. Artistic foil, hairspray, Alclad and acrylic paints. Very basic components but with a required skill they turn into a realistic burnt out sidewall of an M113.
At the end Adam shows what kind of model you can do when applying the techniques explained. The finished Grille is shown from all angles and it is truly a unique model.
At the end Adam stresses the importance of practice, thanks you for watching and again demonstrates a good sense of humor. Closing titles include all the people involved in the creation and show some images of the running Tiger tank in snowy Russia.
I watched the DVD during business travel and it was a great companion during the flight. The production is excellent and the image quality is sharp, similar to previous releases from MXpression. The techniques are explained in full and I think everyone could use them straight ahead after watching. But keep in mind the references. And remember - don’t be shy with the super glue!
A video teaser: