Modeling magazines, like magazines in general, have found the last few years "challenging." In 2008 alone, over 500 magazines of all stripes went belly-up. Modeling magazines have done a little better, with several of them thriving and sometimes a new one (AK Interactive) popping up, even if its purpose is to shill for the company's products.
In the same vein is the German publication known as Der Maßstab
("Scale"). It is now in its 32nd year according to the cover, supported because of the Herpa Car Club
. Much like the old "Book of the Month Club," subscribers are sent the magazine and either a 1/87 scale car, truck or both.
This review is about the magazine, and not the model cars & trucks that come with it as part of a subscription. So determining its value will be based entirely on the quality of the publication, not the combo effect of getting a steady stream of new vehicles.
The magazine's format is a combination of new car & truck model announcements, photos of 1:1 versions of same, some coverage of the company's activities, and a bit of modeling "how to." The first thing you notice on opening the magazine is the heft of its pages: in an age when most American magazines have both gotten smaller in format and now use cheaper & cheaper paper, Der Mass:Stab
has the "feel" of an expensive book.
Despite the nice look & feel of the paper, I was disappointed with the photographs. They are for the most part, nothing special. But with scores of them, I guess cost reared its head at some point. Each section of the magazine is devoted to a Herpa Car Club offering, and the "articles" are nicely laid-out, often with a photo or two of the real life vehicle to excite readers about the smaller version. And based on the sample issue sent to me for review, the company isn't afraid to tackle unusual items.
The Liebsherr Reachstacker, for instance, is a container forklift with an immense crane and sliding gripper attached. The Herpa version (and the real thing) allow the claw to extend 3x the length of the base vehicle, providing an impressive model. There are also smaller editorial bits about upcoming releases that mirror Armorama's "News" section: short, punchy and easy-to-peruse.
There is also an article about modeler Thomas Rutzenhoefer's conversion of the Audi A5 to the sport model. Not a lot of information is provided, but it's a small vehicle and the photos pretty much tell it all.
I'm a little unsure how to conclude this review, as I can't recommend the publication to the average modeler. The cost of joining the car club outside Germany is high, and it's strictly for car & truck modelers in a single scale (1:87). Nevertheless, for what it is, it's a good value.