Michael Rinaldi, the creative force behind Rinaldi Studio Press
(RSP), initiated his TankArt modeling book series project back in 2012. The first volume in the series, TankArt1 (TA1), offered a different approach to the "how-to" modeling book concept, combining large images illustrating the modeling process in detail with the accompanying dual format text thoroughly explaining both the "how" and the "why" of each step in the process. The book was an instant success and it sold out very fast.
RSP prepared a second edition of the volume in 2014. The TA1 Ed2 revised the book significantly; it incorporated new graphic layout, new guest author chapter and got rid of annoying typos present in the first edition. However, TA1 Ed2 was printed in a limited run, and it too sold out fast.
Recently, RSP published a third edition of the first TankArt volume. The TA1 Ed3 includes 2 completely new model chapters, upgraded guest author chapter, edited and updated technique chapters… With 288 pages in length, TA1 Ed3 is the definitive version of the book and provides an enormous improvement over the already magnificent previous TA1 editions.
I wrote a review of the initial TA1 edition for Armorama back in 2013 (link
). It was one of the best and most inspiring modeling books, and after going through TA1 Ed3 I found majority of my comments on the TA1 are valid for the 3rd edition of the book as well. Therefore, I will not give a completely new review of the latest TA1 edition, but instead concentrate on pointing out the changes and improvements over the first edition.
First and foremost, the book was expanded by 64 pages to a final 288 pages in length. The expansion clearly shows as TA1 Ed3 is much thicker and heavier than the first edition of the book. The cover art was changed to match the design of the current TankArt volumes and looks far more attractive in my opinion.
The inside of the book received a major overhaul. The contents page shows 15 chapters, 3 chapters more than the first edition, also including the change in a guest author chapter:
3. Products & Materials
4. Weathering Principles
5. Hair Spray Technique
6. Oil Paint Rendering
7. Technique Proficiency
8. 10.5cm Sturmhaubitze 42
9. Tiger I Initial Production
10. Panzer IV Ausf.E DAK
11. Befehls Panther Ausf.G
12. Panzer IV mit 8.8cm Flak/37
13. Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
14. Sd. Kfz 251/22 Pakwagen
15. Lester Plaskit - Sd. Kfz 251/21
It is not only about the new chapters. The old chapters have been extensively revamped, particularly the conversation about techniques and principles. As the TA1 was originally written in 2012, the new edition is updated with more recent insights, matching the comments in the newer TA volumes. Also, the original 5 model chapters (Befehls Panther G, Tiger I Initial, Sd.Kfz 251/22 Pakwagen, Hetzer, and Panzer IV DAK) are presented in a redesigned graphic layout identical to that of the recent TA volumes.
This brand new chapter briefly delivers the rationale behind developing efficient techniques... refining, practicing and developing skills to level up the modeler's game and create more realistic projects over the course of time. It is all about precision and control - being able to precisely place a desired effect with complete control of the process is what separates master modeler from the beginner. The best way to upgrade the skills is practicing, and this is exactly what Mike shows us in the chapter on technique proficiency, as "it is not the label on the bottle that creates the final result, it is you, the model's author".
This chapter is packed with short descriptions of various finishing techniques: pinwash, blending, layers, stippling, HS chipping, whitewash chipping, mapping, pigment application and speckling. Most of these techniques were already illustrated in previous RSP volumes, however, these pages go a step further in explaining the correct and incorrect technique application, showing the process in several step-by-step images, and adding tips and tricks leading to a successful end result. Also, the chapter incorporates a very interesting discussion on coordinating research, construction and finishing efforts to balance the final model presentation.
2 new model chapters
Along with the original 5 model chapters, this TA1 Ed3 presents 2 additional models: 10.5cm Sturmhaubitze 42 and Panzer IV mit 8.8cm Flak/37.
The StuH 42 chapter focuses on repainting an older model, a topic usually neglected in other modeling publications, but very much relevant for improving an original paintjob. The StuH is freshened up with a new late-war scheme and an extensive oil paint rendering (OPR) treatment. Mike displays the OPR to its full potential, showing a step-by-step process spanning over several pages.
The Panzer IV mit 88mm chapter shows a unique field-modified Panzer IV built using post-war photo references of an original vehicle. The construction of the vehicle is shown in great detail... kit-bashing the Tamiya hull and Dragon's 88mm Flak, with the addition of numerous scratchbuilt and modified details. The painting process follows, fading and chipping the paint heavily, adding the rust and pigments, finishing the process by layering oils on top of pigments.
Guest author chapter
Lester Plaskitt's Sd. Kfz 251/21 Drilling made its debut in TA1 Ed2, replacing the figure modeling chapter written by Marijn van Gils for the initial TA1 edition. Lester's model receives a further expansion in the TA1 Ed3, matching the style of other chapters with the "how" and "why" from the author's own perspective.
I was a bit reluctant to discuss this topic in a review, but I feel I should add my two cents. Yes, the price of the TA1 Ed3 is higher than it was for the previous editions. With additional 64 pages and a total of 288 pages, new chapters, new models, heavily updated text throughout the volume, I think it was only logical to increase the price of the book. Besides, comparing TankArt with modeling books from various different publishers reveals TankArt was very much underpriced from the start. Not just because other publishers were asking more for their "how-to" books of a similar page count, but also because the quality of those books is not even close to TankArt... With a super attractive layout, large step-by-step photos paired with detailed description of the modeling process explaining both the "how" and the "why" of various techniques, and very inspirational model projects, the TankArt from RSP is definitely the best modeling publication on the market today.
TankArt1 Ed3 is the ultimate and definitive version of the first TankArt volume. The book provides an enormous improvement over the previous TA1 editions: it includes a new chapter on technique proficiency, 2 new model chapters and a heavily updated guest author model chapter, thus expanding the already magnificent book to the total of 288 pages. Also, most of the old chapters are refurbished with new discussions on modeling techniques and processes.
Altogether, TankArt1 is a must for every modeler interested in improving his game and producing more realistic scale models.