Book Review
S-65 City Tractor
Single Model 02 - S-65 City Tractor
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by: Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]


Michael Rinaldi of Rinaldi Studio Press (RSP) seems to know exactly what the modeling community wants. After establishing the super-popular TankArt book series, Mike recently decided to start a completely new type of RSP modeling publication: Single Model series. The idea behind the Single Model series was to show the modeling process from start to finish, with an emphasis on painting and finishing techniques... on a single subject. The subject of each volume could be just about any model on the market today, regardless of era or scale, and the series launched with the steam-punkish Fantastical Fish-Shaped Submersible. The concept proved a winner and the book received very positive reviews throughout the modeling websites.

Not wanting to lose the momentum, Mike soon published the second title of the series, this time going with a more mainstream subject, a civilian based project created from the 1/35 scale Trumpeter Stalinetz S-65 Russian Army tractor kit.


The book arrived packed in a hard cardboard box, additionally protected in a bubble wrap. Here are the basics:

Title: Single Model 02–Russian ChTZ S-65 Stalinetz Tractor
Publisher: Rinaldi Studio Press, LLC
Format: paperbound (16.5x18 cm)
Pages: 128
Color: full color
Language: English
ISBN: 978-0-9883363-5-3
Retail Price: $20

The book follows the compact format laid with the first Single Model volume and it also features the linen cover. Unlike SM01 which used eco-friendly matte paper, this volume is printed on glossy paper very similar to that of TankArt books. I feel it is a change for the better as a more reflective paper can show the colors more vividly, which is a must for modeling books. The pages are filled with large images, with dual narrative format of "how & why" visually separated using "H" (how) and "W" (why). This text format is unique to RSP publications as it describes not only the theory behind modeling techniques, but also the reason of using the techniques for achieving a particular effect.


The book opens with a short introduction in which Mike shares his thoughts on the new Single Model concept and on the subject of this particular book: 1/35 scale S-65 Soviet Army Stalinetz Tractor from Trumpeter turned into a municipal vehicle. Also, Windex removal technique, a new finishing style which Mike wanted to perfect with this model, is briefly outlined.

After the discussion on the creative color choices, Mike shares his weathering philosophy and the two terms fundamental in evolution of our modeling skills... precision and control. Being able to precisely place a desired effect with complete control of the process is what separates master modeler from the beginner. The best way to upgrade the skills is practicing, and this is exactly what Mike shows us in the chapter on technique proficiency. Along with the two techniques Mike is best known for, hairspray technique (HS) and oil paint rendering (OPR), the chapter goes extensively into Windex removal technique, a paint wear process employed to fade and gradually rub the paint off, showing Mike's own trial and error as he elevates his game in the process. In the 32-page long chapter on technique proficiency Mike finishes an old, pre-built S-65 model before actually starting with the main subject model of this book!

The rest of the title is dedicated to the second S-65 model, the real star of this volume. The assembly chapter comes first, describing the process and providing tips on working in subassemblies. The chapter on painting the model follows with Mike's thoughts on the painting concept, discussing the idea of turning the military tractor into a municipal machine and choosing the best color scheme for the job. This chapter also includes couple of pages with reference images of road engineering vehicles showing all the various paint wear effects Mike was aiming to recreate on his model. The painting includes building up several layers of colors in the correct order, each separated with a coat of hairspray which serves as a paint chipping medium. Windex removal technique is put to the test next, wearing away the paint gradually. The combination of HS and Windex removal techniques works well, offering an incredible level of realism.

Mike likes to emphasize that the completed paintwork serves as a roadmap for the final and the most important step of making a model come to life... weathering. Telling the model's story is achieved via layering the weathering techniques such as oil paint rendering and pigments, always having in mind precision and control of the process, as well as maintaining continuity with colors and achieving asymmetrical balance. Weathering the tracks and the seat, adding the last few details like the single headlight and heavy tow rope, and voila... the model is finished.

The book closes with displaying the S-65 Tractor in model gallery and a quick reference SBS images sequence.

Final thoughts:

S-65 City Tractor is the second volume in the Single Model book series released under Rinaldi Studio Press label. It follows the format laid with the first SM book, combining large images which illustrate each step in the modeling process and the dual format text which provides wealth of information (and inspiration) in simple language, to tell a story of a 1/35 scale military tractor model turned into a municipal vehicle.

The most impressive part of the book for me is introducing a new weathering technique, Windex removal technique, reiterating the mantra of practice, practice and some more practice in order to improve our modeling skills, but also showing that even Mike, one of the most talented modelers today, needs the practice on scrap models to gain confidence and master a new technique. Kudos for that lesson, Mike!

A big thank you to RSP for this review sample.
Highs: Very attractive layout with large high-quality photos and detailed description of modeling techniques. Simple yet very engaging dual-text writing style.
Lows: None.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: SM02
  Related Link: Rinaldi Studio Press
  PUBLISHED: May 04, 2016

Our Thanks to Rinaldi Studio Press!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mario Matijasic (Maki)

You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...

Copyright ©2021 text by Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]. All rights reserved.


the tractor the most efecient vehicle in the world.
MAY 04, 2016 - 02:47 AM
Very good review. Since this book introduces a new technique it sounds like a worthwhile investment. I love Rinaldi's work, but I had no real interest in the subject matter until you told me there is new information.
MAY 08, 2016 - 05:15 PM
A very useful review for me also.
MAY 23, 2016 - 11:08 PM

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