|MODELART - Panzergraph18 Winter 2010|
A look at the latest issue of this magazine from ModelArt of Japan...
Softcover, 128 pages
ModelArt of Japan produce a range of various titles and products aimed primarily at the Japanese market, but slowly making inroads to the western market, in no short measure due to the quality of their products. This 'Panzergraph' series is a quarterly publication that centres around a set number of showcase dioramas and their construction each issue.
Although this is the Winter 2010 issue, it's the current one, since of course it's Winter in
Although principally in Japanese, these titles are so photographic in nature, they're still hugely interesting. The Japanese armour modelling fraternity have their own unique feel about their models and dioramas, and the overwhelming majority of there work until quite recently, reflected western finishing techniques of 15 to 20 years ago, and yet consisted of levels of detail in their construction on a par, and sometimes exceeding those from the west. I've been receiving Panzergraph for some years now, and there has been a definite development in Japanese finishing techniques, with their models drawing closer to how they're finished in the west, this being reflected in some of the models within this issue.
The magazine...more a book...always follows more or less the same format. Around the main features are their regular columns, such as 'Director TAC's SFX Studio', which being in Japanese is largely incomprehensible, and centres around how to use Photographic software to place your models on realistic backgrounds and achieve special effects such as movement blur, explosions, smoke etc.
This quarter's issue has a number of interesting features, beginning with a full build of Tasca's 1/24th scale Panzerkamfpwagen II Ausf.F by Suyama Tatsuyoshi. This featured article is quite lengthy, and again, although it's in Japanese, you would be surprised at how easy it is to follow the general idea. The modeller also scratches as full inside for the model, and included in the feature are a series of black and white period photographs, along with a walkaround of a museum example, and some colour plates depicting different marking schemes. Helpfully, in every issue of Panzergraph, there are usually English translations of four or five of the main feature articles. Although somewhat condensed, they're nevertheless very helpful.
Next up is a build of the Dragon Jagdpanzer IV L/70(V) by Shimawaki Hideki. Unfortunately there's no English translation for this one, probably as a result of it being a short feature compared to the previous Pz.Kpfw.II one. It does again though, include some period photographs, as well as a short walkaround and a lot of colour plates showing different marking schemes. The feature ends with a series of photographs showing the model in a diorama setting.
The next article I found most interesting of them all, and happily there is an English translation for this one. The modeller here, Kaneda Katsutoshi, has built the Cyber-Hobby Flakpanzer T-34, but used the insides of an AFV Club T-34/76 to enhance the model. The results are superb, although the main emphasis of the feature is on the painting of the model rather than its construction.
A feature by Sanada Kenichi is unusual, in that he attempts to 're'-build a diorama originally produced in the 1981 by the editor of Panzergraph, Keneko Tatsuya. The diorama features a JSU-152, fro which he uses the Tamiya kit, and the ruins of a tall building next to it, with some civilian figures. Photographs of both dioramas are shown for comparison at the end of the feature...and I have to say, if I didn't know, the 1981 version could have been built yesterday, being far superior in finish to the new production.
There are some features in the book that I must admit to not being able to make head nor tail of. One of these appears to be some sort of travel monologue of a party of Japanese re-enactors. A photograph of a group of Japanese dressed up in German WWII uniforms looks odd somehow. Also, not something I would have expected to see in this magazine, which I had always thought of as an armour modelling title....Panzergraph...is a feature towards the end of a Supermarine Spitfire in 1/32nd scale? Nice photographs though.
I really do like this series of books from ModelArt, even though I still wish they would produce a full dual text issue or at the very least translate more of the features....especially the regular ones. Four of the features are translated into English in this issue. However, there's still lots of great step-by-step's and great photographs to pour over that need no translations and well worth getting. Recommended.
My Thanks to ModelArt of