Something different this week in the form of the Encyclopedia of Figures Modelling techniques Vol.0, Quick Guide to Painting from AMMO by MIG Jimenez. You'll find no talk of mould lines or joins so grab a tea of coffee and get comfortable.
This has been sent to me with the purpose of reviewing along with the Painting Secrets for Fantasy book so you can expect a dive into that one soon. But I feel that writing about this mini book with it's 48 pages first as it feels like a good starting point for modelling as you will see throughout this review.
Lets take a look
This volume is written and photographs taken by Rodrigo Hernández Chacon who's name doesn't instantly click in my mind (really sorry), but that is no bad thing as it has left me without expectation of finding out the deep dark secrets behind his signature painting style like many other widely/ commercially known painters.
Of course I've not photographed every page within the booklet because that would be disrespectful (and also breaking copyright too) so I've tried to cherry pick some interesting parts.
Before the contents page you're greeted to a prologue giving a bit of insight into Rodrigo and why he paints miniatures. He has an interesting viewpoint about swapping techniques between modelling genres which I completely agree with so I'll be looking for more of his work.
As you can see from the Contents page, nearly half the booklet covers topics which aren't even painting. Now you can really see why I decided to write about this title first.
It's interesting to see a section from the digital sculptor of the figure which will be the focus of the prep and paint process. Alejandra Munaz Martin takes you through a simplified version of what he did to bring the art of Pedro Nunez into a 3D figure. I do find this sort of thing interesting though it would've been nice to see the concept art too.
Section 2 gives a good rundown on things we all take for granted once we've been painting for some time, but for novice and some intermediate painters reading about lighting, different brushes (not everything needs a pointed round brush), making a wet palette, and things like having a plain background colour to your work area to ease eyestrain (yup...I hadn't thought of that one at all) are useful tips.
Assembly and preparation!!! Honestly, I'd gladly see a dedicated and in depth volume around this alone. Seeing a mould line or gap in a join on something which has been lovingly painted has me pulling my hair out (and there isn't much hair to pull).
I do wish that it also covered ways to deal with lines left from 3D printing with it becoming more popular and accessible. Also as that large image under the contents has many print lines on the arm (print lines drive me a bit nuts in case you hadn't noticed).
Every miniature painter has some understanding that priming comes between assembly and painting, unless you're new to it of course (of manage to pick up a can of primer when varnishing). Even cleaning is mentioned in this section. Good touch.
Obviously there is a nice bit of product placement but that is to be expected from books coming from companies with products to sell. No fancy holder though, good solid wood block.
Preshading and lighting are briefly touched on and could easily be expanded upon in much more depth but this is classed as a quick guide so written to give you the basics really and get you going.
On to the painting with acrylics section and I need to warn you. If you are the type of person who cherishes your brushes, washes them regularly, never lets paint go past two thirds of the hair...this section may feel like a slasher horror film. Rodrigo doesn't buy into that. You can tell that brushes are his tools to apply his paint where and how he wants it. Which is a refreshing change to how guides in this hobby seem to go.
Tips in this section include colour gradient technique (or layering in many other guides), brush handling (yup, you don't just have to paint everything with the tip), painting fabric and basics on glazing. All with photos and a brief explanation. You even get a couple of pages on airbrushing but it's really basic as it'll be looked at in more depth in another volume.
You'll be unsurprised to find that non-metallic metal is covered given its popularity, but this is a very different method from the usual grey or yellow brown methods. More of an old dirty gold look.
There's also a few other interesting methods shown for creating interesting material textures to give some variation across the figure and make things a bit more interesting.
To finish up there is some details on varnishes for finishing and a few large images of the finished miniature with some close up pictures showing some areas that were covered in the guide.
Tricky one to be honest. Quality wise this feels like a a good product with its glossy cover and satin pages. All printed in high quality with just a couple of photos which could've been at a higher image resolution. Tricky to check though while photographing a painting process.
14.50€ for 48 pages feels a bit high when compared to some of their full books. One being 31€ for 160 pages for example.
Now don't get me wrong; the content is good but in places it feels like could or should've been expanded on, or saved for a later volume. Perhaps even reducing the painting section to solid explanations on basic core skills that every painter needs. Things like paint consistency for example. An expansion on the prep part would've been ace too. But these are of course my thoughts as I do sometimes get the feeling that getting the basics nailed is something we're actually not really good at as we strive to reach those standards shown by incredible box artists and award winning painters.
There are some great tips and useful information in here, and it does set a good launching point for other volumes to come. But I'm still left wondering if perhaps less areas covered maybe might have been more and it could've been a good entry guide for novice to intermediate painters.
Where to buy?
You can buy a copy direct from AMMO by MIG at https://www.migjimenez.com or from one of their official stockists. This title is only available in English unlike many of their other books.
AMMO by MIG is also on social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and has their own channel on YouTube. So check those out for more information on their huge range of modelling products and guides.
Thank for reading my ramblings and you can expect my review on Painting Secrets for Fantasy soon.
Stay safe and happy hobbying.
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