Book Review
SBS Finishing Guide
Step-by-step finishing guide Japanese Armor
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by: Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]


Glenn Bartolotti is a modeler best known at the Track-Link website. He has produced a number of Step-by-step finishing guides on a variety of subjects. You go to his website, purchase a guide (varying in price from $1-$3 dollars US) and he will e-mail the file to you. I had just built a Type 1 Japanese tank and was offered the step-by-step guide by the editors of this site to review which covers the topic of finishing Japanese armor and jumped at the chance to look it over.

the guide

Finishing Japanese Armor is volume 11 in the step-by-step series, and is available for $1.95 US. The topic is a Type 97 Chi-Ha from Malaya 1941 based on the Tamiya 35075 Type 97 Chi-Ha with 57mm gun. I received the guide in an e-mail attachment in Adobe format. It consists of 20 pages, providing tips on building and finishing the kit.

There is a page of materials used for the build. The list is simple and as he states most items are readily available. Glenn Bartolotti indicates that he does not use dry brushing out of personal preference, but as the guide is basic each modeler may add to the techniques with their own.

The brief history is the same available at most reference sites online. Glenn demonstrates two basic techniques he used to modify the base plastic kit, one to create track sag and the other adding screens for the mufflers. Both techniques are simple.

Painting starts with priming and pre-shading, followed by the base coat, using Testors Model Master paints identified by color and price. He then applies the camo, using Tamiya acrylics. What surprised me is that he uses a brush to apply them, as Tamiya acrylics don't generally brush well. The finish is uneven and blotchy, but this does replicate what I have seen on some photos of the real tanks. He paints the yellow stripe first, and the other colors around that stripe.

Glenn describes how to apply decals on a gloss coat using Micro Sol to help set them, detail painting, washes, modular painting effects, chips and scratches, pigments, metal accents with a pencil and finishing the headlight. There are clear reference photos supplied with each section to demonstrate the techniques.

The last step is to show how he modified the figures, altering head poses and replacing the arms. There are two pages showing the finished kit and a last page hinting at the next topic, a German armored car.


The guide is basic and would be very good for newer modelers, or people looking to experiment with a new technique. There was nothing specific about the topic of Japanese armor as painting was done per the kit instructions. It is very inexpensive, so someone looking for basic modeling advice can get it cheaply if they can't find what they want in the forums, or want it all in one place.
Highs: Simple layout and photos to match each technique. As the title says, it is a step by step guide.
Lows: Basic techniques, and not really specific to the topic of Japanese armor. Much of the info can be had by viewing a good online build.
Verdict: Useful, all in one package geared mainly for newer modelers, at only a couple of bucks.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: Vol. 11
  Suggested Retail: $1.95 US
  PUBLISHED: Jun 19, 2010
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

Our Thanks to Armor Models by Glenn Bartolotti!
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 Russ Amott (russamotto)

I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...

Copyright 2021 text by Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]. All rights reserved.


James, thanks for the sample and your help. These guides are very simple and easy to work with.
JUN 19, 2010 - 11:27 AM

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