Book Review
TankArt 1
TankArt 1: WWII German Armor
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by: James Bella [ C5FLIES ]


During the week and a half that I've had this book in my possession I've sat down numerous times to write up a quick review of it, and failed each time. The problem is every time I pick up volume 1 of TANKART, I end up engrossed in the contents and the time set aside for the review vanishes. Hopefully I'll be able to get an overview of this new book by Michael Rinaldi done at this sitting.

Rinaldi Studio Press is a brand new publisher that plans on releasing a whole series of TankArt volumes that will include WWII German Armor, WWII Allied Armor, Modern Armor and who knows what else. This first volume concentrates on WWII German Armor, a very popular subject and a great choice for a debut.

208 pages, softcover, gluebound using quality paper and printing.


Foreward & Introduction:
A short foreword by Mario Eens and Introduction by Michael Rinaldi sets the tone of what this book is all about.

Products and Materials:
In this six page section Mike not only relates what finishing products he uses, but also some pro's and con's, descriptions of what these products are and what purpose they serve. Covered here are primer, paint, airbrush & compressor, filters & washes, and finally pigments. This is also a teaser of what to expect further on...Mike's easy going writing style & photographic prowess, page layout, the orange tip/thought boxes, etc..

Weathering Principles:
The mindset of weathering. Tanks are dirty, modeling dirty tanks is knowledge & art. Knowing the direction you want the finished model to end up in, using the layering concept, keeping things in scale all play a part. A general outline of steps is included here for a starting point.

Hairspray Technique:
Countless questions have been asked on this subject and this eight page chapter is the definitive guide on using hairspray not only as a chipping/worn paint medium but also for something that I never thought about. Excellent tutorial, 'nuff said.

Oil Paint Rendering:
Rendering, a word that I just started hearing more about in the modeling world. Mike's technique of OPR is visually stunning and leaves the modeler in complete control of the finished product. This ten page chapter delves into this very deep subject and walks the reader from start to finish. To quote the book:
"I believe OPR to be a 0-100% type of technique, and it has true untapped potential."
Exciting, plain and simple.

Befehls Panther Ausf G:
A worn, whitewashed Panther that uses the HS technique multiple times. Mapping, one of those mystery subjects for me, is covered very well here. The Panther gets very good use of OPR and was the subject used in the previous chapter.

Tiger I:
A two-tone grey camo that really brings this Tiger to life. Techniques that are covered in detail in this chapter include finishing Friuls, pigments, chipping with thinner and micro-chipping.

The painting of the disc camo is well discussed, including color choices to represent scale after weathering. Pin washes, painting exhausts and hand chipping by brush is detailed in the Hetzer chapter.

Mr. Rinaldi changes scale here and downsizes to 1:48 to show a heavily weathered/abandoned Dunkelgelb halftrack. Fading and OPR are both covered here to enhance the monotone paintjob.

This battle worn Afrika Korps Pz.IV showcases quite a few techniques and concentrates on rusting exhausts, worn paint effects and finishing styrene indy links (aka Magic Tracks).

General notes on the five AFV's:
Each one of the previous chapters covers about 30 pages, allowing Mike to go into a lot of detail on each subject. Some of the chapters concentrate more on certain aspects, (such as the Tiger I with pigment application, Friuls and chipping), so it's well worth it to digest each and every page.

Mike also shows each project in its "naked" stage, and outlines the important parts of the build that are relevant to the weathering that follows. Many of these are built out-of- the- box which shows that proper paint and finishing can really enhance the basic kit details.

The orange boxes scattered throughout the book include Mike's thoughts at certain stages, and tips that go into further detail than the main text. These make it much easier to go back to a certain area and use as a refresher course. They also list the paints used for each project.

At the end of each chapter is a 24 photo quick reference SBS which provides the paint and technique stages for each project.

Figure Modeling:
The final chapter is a ten page spread by Marijn van Gils which concentrates on highlights and shadows for figure painting. Step-by-steps are included for general face and clothing which lists Humbrol paint numbers and approximate time for each session. The SBS photos show exactly what is going on at any given stage.


TANKART Volume 1 is an impressive book that goes way beyond the standard step-by-step in other publications. With large, high quality photos, clear & easy to understand sequences, and thoughts on the "why" behind the "how". From a winter whitewashed Panther to a desert duty Pz.IV, and everything in-between, this book covers a lot of ground. At about $30 this is a steal (although, don't let RSP know that!).

Cliff Notes Review:
If you have it...you'll enjoy it. If you don't...buy it!
Highs: Easy to read and understand, high quality photos, very involved explanation of each technique used.
Lows: None...well, ok, a few spelling errors that do not detract from the book at all.
Verdict: The definitive book on the subject to date, this is a must have. Very informative and highly recommended.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: TA01
  Suggested Retail: $29.95 US
  Related Link: RSP Webpage
  PUBLISHED: Feb 18, 2013

About James Bella (c5flies)

My main interest is 1/35 scale WWII armor, Axis and Allied, and will occasionally branch out into other areas. The builds I have done so far have been pretty much OOB, and considering what most newer kits include, that is usually more than enough for me. Even though my projects do not always end up ...

Copyright 2021 text by James Bella [ C5FLIES ]. All rights reserved.


My only critique with the book is the white circle outlines on every image; it would be nice to see a few images of his work without them. I also think that it's one of tge priced books on the market. Kudos to Mike for a job well done.
FEB 20, 2013 - 02:54 AM
The short version (I'll get more verbose later) is that it is an exceptional book and a great value. My only negative is that his local post office blows, it sat there for a week before they finally shipped it to the East Coast. Not his fault, but something to be aware of if you're wondering why it hasn't made it to you yet. The one thing that I will say is I hope that these books build off each other instead of presenting the same general information again and again. I would dearly love a series that focuses on needing volume 1 to get the full use of volume 2 and so on in the series so that by volume 3/4 we were in really advanced or specific territory so we could really wring Mr. Rinaldi's mind dry. . . Matt
FEB 20, 2013 - 06:41 AM
Thanks guys, Yah, I think we had some terrible timing on the USPS side of things. We went in-stock the day after the big changes, and from my previous shipping experience which is fairly extensive with USPS for the last 8 years to what I'm seeing in the last 3 weeks is the only thing that makes any sense. We are not getting kickbacks or damages, or customs issues of any kind and there is approx. 10-20% of orders lingering for unknown reasons. I'm not sure it is a Media Mail issue for US orders, but International is tough because no one gives us a straight answer. We call almost daily to inquire on some of them, but man... We did have a word with the local PO as well, that issue has since been solved and we have a specific daily USPS pickup for our orders M-F from the fulfillment house now. It has been a lot better since. I think we were just new and had overwhelmed them in that regional office. As to the writing. Well, it's a lengthy answer and something I gave considerable thought too. The first three volumes because of the subject breakdown will cover some duplicate material out of necessity. There are simply buyers of Allied that will never touch a German book, and same with Modern. So stuff like HS Technique will get covered more than once. With that said it most certainly will not be a cut and paste operation. I am writing new text for every new book, every chapter. I want no stone unturned and making a focused effort to cover as much new territory as possible with each new title. But whereas HS was explored with German, I will also explore it with Allied and Modern to an extent, but cover new ground and build upon the earlier discussion so those of you buying the series will get a massive amount of information, with little duplication, more reinforcements than anything. Plus the conversations I have now moving forward help to shape the writing as I go. The more feedback I get the better they will be. That's my goal anyway. Of course, some steps are repetitive and we see this in all model publishing, but I am trying to create new ways to present ideas, concepts, thoughts and tips and all of that throughout. But what I am doing is adding new technique chapters moving forward too, so Allied and Modern have specific chapters for them as well. Such Olive Drab Painting chapter in Vol. 2 I just finished. I really do think you guys will be happy and well covered in almost all areas. The first three books set the foundation. Then with Vol. 4. I'll ramp it up considerably through to Vol. 8. There is reason I am doing this as an encyclopedic series vs. one massive tome. You will indeed wring every drop of info I have... wax on, wax off... Best, Mike http://www.facebook.com/RinaldiStudio
FEB 20, 2013 - 07:27 AM
OK, I can live with all of that. And i will certainly continue buying the volumes! The one thing that I would pleadingly request is that in one of the volumes (second German one, maybe) is to cover how to add visual richness to a tank right off the factory floor. I have grown so dependent on dust and pigments and rusted mufflers and a slight chipping that guidance on how to pull this off with minimal dust, no rust, no chips, etc is an area I am ever so weak on. Matt
FEB 20, 2013 - 10:44 AM
Thank you Matt, I don't think I can fit that into Vol. 4 since it's basically blocked in already, but perhaps I can discuss it as a technique chapter at that point to describe weathering factory fresh subjects. Vol. 7 WWII German still has room and will give it consideration as a full model chapter, or something along those lines for sure. It'd be a prime candidate for OPR as the basis of the finish and certainly makes me think about it already. Best, Mike http://www.facebook.com/RinaldiStudio
FEB 20, 2013 - 06:59 PM
Got mine yesterday, absolutely stunning book, so easy to follow, brilliant layout, can't wait for the next one's Andy A very happy bunny
FEB 20, 2013 - 09:13 PM
Darren, 19.95 from historex plus 3.65 p&p Hth Andy
FEB 20, 2013 - 09:20 PM
I just received this and I've flipped through the book a few times. First impression are beyond what I was expecting, even after reading the reviews and feedback here. Will be reading through the book later tonight, but I've already decided to buy the rest of the series. Excellent work, Michael!
FEB 23, 2013 - 03:16 AM
Thanks so much, I really appreciate the comments. Work on Vol. 2 WWII Allied Armor is going very well and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you guys soon. On our Facebook link below, please check out some other new reviews that have been published online. The feedback has been tremendous, and most encouraging for a new company like ours. Best, Mike http://www.facebook.com/RinaldiStudio
FEB 23, 2013 - 06:55 AM

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