Book Review
Black and White painting guide
Painting Guide for AFV’s from WW2 to the Modern Age
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by: Roman [ BIZARRE ]


Nowadays we are overwhelmed with kits, paints, weathering products and educational books and DVDs. The process of getting the information necessary for a good model with a relatively attractive finish is easier than years ago, and generally the quality of models made all around the world is improving dramatically. However, some modellers and certain publications become milestones in modelling world like no other. This currently reviewed book is one of that kind.

About the author

José Luis Lopez Ruiz from Spain began as a classic representative of “Spanish school” of modelling that is characterized by attractive finishes with bright colours and when I first saw his models on the web 6 years ago they were an excellent example of “zenithal light concept” – a technique when we imagine that the lights falls on the model from top and therefore creates a gradient of colours. While to some it might sound similar to colour modulation idea, zenithal light appears more organic and natural. Nevertheless, José Luis pushed the whole idea even further by developing the black and white technique, more sophisticated approach to creation of complex attractive finishes.

The book

Published by the French publishing house Histoire & Collections the book has 80 glossy pages with cover. The quality of the print is excellent and I found no defects or blurry pages. The images are sharp, the font for the text is very suitable for reading and there is a sufficient amount to both read and observe on each page.
Structure of the publication is the following:
  • Preface from the author
  • Materials used in the book
  • Concepts for painting AFV models
  • Examples of models from the author
  • Additional gallery
  • Epilogue

This structure allows reader a gradual introduction into the idea behind the book, author’s concept, detailed explanation of the materials and finally step-by-step examples of how to make a very attractive model.

The section on materials covers airbrushes, primers, paints, varnishes, pigments, special products. There are not only examples of products used in the book and others besides the book are given, but also necessary hints on how to use them properly. For example, there is a detailed section on how to produce different types of effects using oils on the model which includes colour charts and thorough walk through the techniques available. The author stresses the crucial aspects of work with primers, airbrushes and paints, something that you don’t see often in the publications.

In the “concept” section the reader will get the comparison between the “old” and “new” approach for painting models. Here Jose Luis explains the benefits of his Black and White technique and shows how it can substitute the classic approach that we are mostly using nowadays. Briefly, when using Black and White approach you paint the model using a gradient of greys with black being the darkest shadow and white being the top highlight. Here all effects are created prior to application of colour scheme to the model – chipping, mud, everything! The main advantage (apart from model being very catchy) is that you can play around with monochrome model as long as you want without risk of ruining it and then when you finally apply very diluted base colour to model you only enhance already created effects.

The examples part features 5 exclusive models that have never been published elsewhere and were made especially for that edition. The diversity of finishes includes 1/48 Char B as “Beute panzer”, Soviet BT-7 in 1/35, German Tiger I in 1/35 with distinctive winter camouflage, large 1/35 modern truck M-1078 with a drone in the cargo and finally a 1/35th scale Israeli Tiran 5 tank. Different scales, eras, and subjects - the author shows full range of possible techniques and makes really attractive models. Basically, these are ready to use recipes and the readers would be able to pick up ideas straight from the text as the explanations are clear and simple. Some of these builds like the Tiger and Tiran use Black and White technique more extensively, while M-1078 is closer to earlier “zenithal light” models. Altogether, this is very intense section, packed with hundreds of images that clearly show step-by-step progress. Very inspirational!

Followed by the gallery section the reader can really enjoy other models that Jose Luis made during the last 2-3 years and if you missed them in magazines you can try to find them on the web knowing the titles from this book.


This is a really great book, but as with any publication it has some disadvantages. First – some of the images are a bit small and even if you are able to get the idea depicted on it you wish it was bigger, just to be able to enjoy it. Second – the book is “perfectly bound” meaning it is a bit rigid and can prevent or resist full opening, you will have to use a book holder (or put something on top of the opened pages) if you would like to keep it open on the bench while working on the model.
Highs: complete and comprehensive coverage of painting materials together with thorough introduction to high-end model finish. 5 exclusive models, excellent print quality.
Lows: some images are small, “perfect bound” is not everybody’s favorite.
Verdict: highly recommended
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: HIS0615
  Suggested Retail: 18,95 €
  Related Link: store
  PUBLISHED: Jun 11, 2014

About Roman (Bizarre)

Copyright ©2021 text by Roman [ BIZARRE ]. All rights reserved.


thanks for publishing the review, Darren! From what I've seen on Steelmasters facebook there is also a limited version of the book with a DVD that has live demo using a King Tiger model, but I haven't seen any further ordering info.
JUN 11, 2014 - 08:50 AM
Oh that sounds interesting. Would love to pick up the DVD version!
JUN 11, 2014 - 10:12 AM
I assume the book is not in English?
JUN 20, 2014 - 05:32 AM
You can buy English or French version from publisher. Mine was in English.
JUN 21, 2014 - 05:43 AM

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