The Great Magazine Head to Head

AFV Modeller

This is Issue 35 of what is a bi-monthly publication. This is, of the four, the most 'hardcore'. The emphasis is on AFVs - there is only one section on new releases, you won't find a letters page, adverts are minimal and first impressions are that this is a VERY serious magazine. It sounds silly to say it, but it's a little like handling a brochure for a top of the range Lexus. Heavy paper, matt-finish cover and in this edition, almost a designer feel to it....

1)Quality of AFV-Related Articles: Again, (perhaps a touch reluctantly) the 'S' word comes into play. Superlative. There are only a few articles, but what there is, is present in absolute mind-boggling detail. This particular edition is (almost) another 'special' dealing, in two articles with the Sd Kfz 251 'UHU' - the infra-red equipped version. The first article deals with the IR equipment, the second with building a (heavily-modified) model in 1/35th scale. The remaining articles are perhaps not as detailed as the 'special' but go into their subjects in considerable depth,

2)Completeness of Reviews: Not, in the case of this magazine really applicable. However, if the build articles are taken into consideration, some pretty serious evaluation of existing kits are carried out...

3) Format: Although it is perhaps the most technical of the magazines under consideration, the writing style and format does make for an 'accessible' magazine. Graphically it IS very interesting - careful page layout captures one's attention and the attention to detail is impressive. The magazine is perhaps closer to a 'Monograph' format than a conventional magazine but, for me at least it's a format which convinces.

4) Final Thoughts: I wouldn't recommend this to someone starting out in modelling. I would however, if they required information on a specific subject. It is very much designed for the experienced modeller. The writing style, as I mentioned earlier, is good, but it doesn't mean that it's lively in any sense of the word. It's amazingly informative but VERY technical. It is the kind of magazine one would buy in addition to a more 'mainstream' publication. Hardcore armour modelling at its best... Personal Rating - 9.00/10

Military in Scale

This magazine is not, it has to be said, an AFV-Specific publication. The majority of the articles are however armour-related with the remainder covering aviation. Of the four magazines, MiS is perhaps the most lively and, following on from this, the most accessible to newer/less-experienced modellers.

1)Quality of AFV-Related Articles: Five articles are specifically for AFVs. Interestingly enough, two of them deal with 1/48th scale subjects with a third in 1/72nd scale. Quality is very high indeed with a superb series of step-by-step images demonstrating stages of construction and finishing. None of the articles goes much beyond an intermediate level - again good accessibility for different levels of modellers.

2) Completeness of Reviews: Again, taking the projects as 'assessments', this seems the fairest way to consider them. There is a Book Review section, but since 5 titles are reviewed over two pages, it's adequate rather than brilliant.

3) Format: It's a well-presented, graphically pretty interesting magazine. There are some really nice page layouts with photos a good size when they have to be - small when only an illustrative example is needed. There a loads of good adverts which are present without being obtrusive.

4) Final Thoughts: I tend to buy a magazine for a specific 'genre' I do, every so often buy an Aviation title. I'm NOT (personally) too keen in publications which have both AFVs and Aircraft in their format - simply because I don't believe that they do full justice to either.. This is a magazine that I really quite like although NOT one I buy on a regular basis. If someone wanted a magazine as an introduction with some good, practical projects, I'd definitely recommend it. I particularly liked the promotion of 1/48th in the articles in this issue.Personal Rating - 8.00/10

A year or two ago, I confidently predicted the 'down-sizing' of the Modelling Magazine industry due to the pressures created by the 'net. After all, we can review faster, you can express your opinion easier, News is only an e-mail away and we don't suffer from limitations of format. We've got bandwidth to spare, and a magazine is limited in its physical size. That was before. Now, I'm not so sure. Not all of the magazines are thriving but there do seem to be more titles than ever before. So, the question is, just how have they survived? Probably because people like a physical 'entity' in their hands or, equally likely, that not all modellers are using the 'net.

Even in this 'micro-overview' of the four magazines, only two (AFV Modeller & Model Military International) look (ahem..) modern. Not that the others are antiquated, but the format and content of these two is one I personally prefer. All are professional. Editing in all four is good, the quality of many of the articles in ALL is excellent.

Apart from Military in Scale though, there seems to be a blind spot. Just WHO is catering for the less-experienced modellers? All of us spend money (susceptible to advertising) but it seems that the 'Newbies' are getting a bit of a raw deal...

So, there you have it. Four magazines, an opinionated rant about each one. Perhaps in a future Feature I'll take a similar look at some more of the AFV Magazines - just perhaps...

About the Author

About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...


I wouldn't disagree with you about MMiR, it's a great mag with good content. Unfortunately when it's only released once a year the rating goes way down for me. I know I'm beating on a dead horse here but I think it's just plain ridiculous that they can't keep a regular schedule. It's a good thing for them that some modelers are so forgiving that they continue to support the mag (also a testament to the quality). Mike
SEP 02, 2007 - 02:51 AM
well you might be glad to hear that I spotted a special Miitary modelling mag/book? (issue?) which features Steve Zaloga builds! Saw it an a local book store and it looks great but I cant seem to find anything about it on the web. It has quite a lot in it, including the DD sherman, 1/72 staghound(?) and a whole bunch of stuff that escapes me at the moment.
SEP 02, 2007 - 03:57 AM
Damn! I must be slipping - monday already and not one legal summons from a single Magazine editor...
SEP 03, 2007 - 05:19 AM
SEP 03, 2007 - 05:29 AM
To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed the comparison but I rarely pick up any of those on a regular basis, one I wouldn't read even if it was given to me. But then again I'm still boycotting EXXON and Major League Baseball! I do pick up MMiR whenever I see it, but have reached the point of not really caring if and when it appears any more. Nothing personal against Pat, or any of the guys that write for it as I think their work and articles are top notch, but sorry, I would never subscribe to any magazines of his, I don't believe in being the front money for what appears to be an hit or miss publication, with an attitude of when I get it out is good enough, like it or not. Has anyone ever seen Issue 2 of Extreme yet? Maybe next year, maybe the following? Maybe I'll wake up pregnant tomorrow! I do pick up MMI on a fair regular basis, OH not the one you are thinking of, That was another bad investment, pay dues to join a site- get a year subscription, and the guy disappears..... and only received 1/2 years' worth of magazines. Nice routine, and another lesson learned, another person to never do business with. Pretty simple isn't it? I do pick up Military Modelcraft International, again not on a regular basis, more on what articles are in it, nice part I can thumb through it without problems at the local B&N before I buy it. To be really cheap, I could sit there and read it and not buy it, but since I'm normally on the way to work, I part with the cash. I pick up Military Machines International, another MMI (all these MMI's sure can be confusing!), and enjoy this one, and I pick up Military Vehicles Magazine MVM, each month, as I enjoy the David Doyle and Steve Turchet columns. Not model- glue part A to part B magazines but dealing with real vehicles and restoring them. The Olive Drab War (ODW) has already been fought and decided there. On things a little larger and more expensive than a Tamyia or Dragon kit. But what would they know!
SEP 03, 2007 - 09:10 AM
I enjoyed your overview of the these magazines, and look forward to your similar treatment of the U.S.-based magazines should you decide to do one. I have a part-time job working in a hobby store, so I don't feel the need to subscribe to the magazine unless it is consistantly interesting and has information I want to keep in my personal library.
SEP 06, 2007 - 04:46 AM
Jim, What an interesting piece. It's a nice change of pace from the product & book reveiws and build articles we normally see. I've only recently begun modeling again after a 20 year hiatus. And I have to admit that it was my 10 year old son who helped lure me back into it. I live in the Midwest of the United State and happen to get all the mags you covered except MM. I also get Fine Scale Modeling as well. I have to agree with most of the comments given about the quality and "niche" (novice, intermediate, etc) the given magazines serve, but I do deviate from them on a couple of points. I like having a magazine to read. Don't get me wrong, I like using the web (this note is a case in point). In fact, the net is a great resource for background and reference material. But it doesn't replace the "intimacy" that a magazine has. For one, I can read a magazine where I want: on a plane, late at night in bed, or on the loo, where I do my best thinking. If I want to be on line, i've got to go to my computer and sit in front of the flat screen. As nice as that is, it's not as comfy as the bed, or an armchair. I also like the magazine becasue of the ads. If a website tries to use a pop-up ad it drives me nuts. And to be honest, I rarely look at the ads on the tops, sides or bottoms of a website. I may see them, but I am not "looking." I couldn't tell you the content or text two minutes from now. When I have a magazine, I enjoy reading the ads. It's my opportunity to look at the "eye candy" at my own pace and in my own way. I suspect that it is these ads that are keeping the magazine industry alive. Having said all that I do think the writing in them could be vastly improved (please keep in mind I have never seen MM, but am familiar with a number of the authors you mentioned). While the overall magazine content seems to well thought out, the writing in the articles themselves seems to be lacking. To be fair, it doesn't always happen. But in the magazine industry I would think that any kind of inconsistency would be an anathama. It seems like any given article suffers from either not enough build detail, or not enough focus on build techniques, or a lack of history behind either the prototype or the model itself (the company, the molds, the production techniques), or sometimes it's just poorly written - AFV, which I truly love, has done more to mame the english language than my two 10 year olds combined. On many an occassion, it's obvious that the text accomanying a build has been edited down to fit, but If I can tell I'm sure anyone can tell. Don't get me wrong, I will still buy the magazines, but I do think there is room for improvement in the writing. Lastly, just one question. I thought AFV was the english language version of Panzer Aces which I thought was written in Spain. Am I wrong here?? Thanks again for the though provoking piece.
SEP 21, 2007 - 07:10 AM
Scott, thanks for your comments. I also have a 'difficulty' with the style of some of the magazines. One good example of this is another of the British (print) magazines (which I didn't overview) is written in a style which I personally detest. Every article is puctuated by comments from the Editor (usually with exclamation marks) and usually along the lines of 'Great Tip!'. In fact, being honest, there is a lack of style across much of the 'Net as well. Exclamation marks can sometimes be used to good effect, when they're used in reports, reviews or features - when they appear every second sentence... I also like advertising in magazines - as the Managing Editor (News) for this Network, I find that a lot of smaller companies' Websites carry a lot of useful information and do lead to a lot of News Reports that get printed here... The reality of course is commercial. unless you have a large number of subscribers your magazine won't survive. The same is equally true on the 'Web - Kitmaker, PMMS or Missing Lynx probably wouldn't exist if it were not for the loyalty of the advertisers. They aren't simply just a 'necessary evil' either - a lot of modelers do gain a great deal from the adverts whether it be product information or simply looking for a kit, they are VERY useful...
SEP 21, 2007 - 10:53 PM
I only know AFV Modeller and Military Modelling to any extent. I like AFV Modeller a lot, MM I like as well. However some of the articles in MM are pretty uimpressive. Fe the build up article of the new Italeri LVT-2 doesn't even mention the size problems as mentioned on Terry Ashley's PMMS, it's just about building the kit... The fact that it also covers medieval figures from time to time, is a plus for me, btw.
SEP 30, 2007 - 07:47 AM
Scott, AFV is not the english version of Panzer Aces, as far as I know they are not related in any way. Mike
SEP 30, 2007 - 08:28 AM