Book Review
TankArt 2
WWII Allied Armor
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by: Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]


I love weathering books; seriously. I have over 40 painting/weathering books just in the English language and three milk crates of clipped articles, printed forum topics, and on-line articles. There is always something to learn and I will freely confess to being a weathering imitator, not an innovator. I copy techniques from more gifted modelers and, as they develop new techniques, I steal them for myself.

I still have my original dog eared Shep Paine books and the various Francois Verlinden books. In my humble opinion, the last milestone was Miguel Jimenez's first FAQ book. Not so much because it was the be all and end-all for weathering but because it was a comprehensive look at the various facets of the new "Spanish School" of finishing that put all of the information in your hands. Michael Rinaldi has begun doing the same thing for his style.

First off, as an artist his skill is right up there with anyone else you can name. Personally, I really like his style as it combines a great deal of visual richness and appeal without looking too impressionistically "arty". It also has been refined to be reproducible and uses oil mapping and hair spray in ways that are rather unique.

More importantly, he can break this information down into understandable steps for those of us who need that. So he's writing us textbooks. And I mean that literally. These books are not really ones where you can browse through and snag techniques or tips at random. They are carefully written explanations of how and why things work together where the 195 pages of text and photos build on each other. In other words, this is a reading book, not a looking book. The pictures are clear, detailed, and helpful but they are used to illustrate in great detail what the text is explaining.


This book has 12 chapters as follows:

Products and materials
What to buy, what style of brush to buy, what products to use and why. The author is giving you a shopping list detailed enough that I'm mildly surprised he's not telling you what soap he washes up with after pigment weathering. That's not a criticism, he's giving you everything you will need to try his methodology, down to what bristle type you want on your angled chipping brush.

Weathering Principles
A short section where the theory behind his finishing approach is described so you understand the terms that will be used throughout the book.

Hairspray Whitewash
This is overtly about a whitewash finish but really serves as an overview on how to use hairspray for chipping and distressed paint finishes. Read it carefully, because the author uses this technique for an awful lot of applications.

Oil Paint Rendering
Again, pay attention when reading. This is a very powerful technique but also one that I personally have been finding is very idiot friendly as you can repair poor results quite easily. What is nice is in this book Michael shows models with very minimal use of this technique so if you choose not to use it you will still get methodology from the book that you can use.

Painting Olive Drab
Six pages on a controversial enough topic that Steven Zaloga has to come out every year or so and go over his research again (and again) to demolish recurring myths like crabgrass. What I appreciate here is that it is made idiot proof again where the Tamiya and LifeColor paints are detailed. It also introduces us to a lacquer thinner distressing technique which seems very useful moving forward.

Pigment Application
I hate pigments. I rub them off, they don't do what I want, and generally frustrate me because I don't use them properly. Which is the point of this chapter as it takes stubborn modelers like me or beginners and walks them through the process step by step, including the type of paint finish you need for them to work. I'm not quite ready to give up Humbrol in an airbrush and brushing with thinner but chapters like these are starting to wear me down. . .

5 Step by Step Builds
The next section of the book covers five models in detail, exhaustive detail. The pictures are plentiful and detailed, there are step by step photos that illustrate specific points from the text, and the chapters build off each other. for me, that is the ultimate strength of these books so far. They don't show the same approach to successive models, rather each model is a showpiece for one area of Michael's overall method where you get a very in depth instructional on it. As an example you get 26 pages on a very lightly weathered KV-1 that maintains visual appeal and richness with an out of the box build and none of the crutches of using heavy chipping and rust to bring it to life. It's a subtle build and perfectly illustrates how to use this overall method on a fairly new vehicle. This section also covers a Russian lend lease Churchill III, an M-26 Pershing, a Char B1 bis, and a Sherman Firefly.

At the end of the book we get a chapter on figure painting by Radek Pituch. This 12 page chapter is the weakest of the book and if I have one criticism of these books it is this chapter and the parallel one by Marjin van Gils in the first volume. Both of these painters are masters but the section is simply too short to do justice to their skills and tantalizing tips are given without the now expected in depth coverage of how to do them. It's not that they are bad chapters and both these painters pack a large amount of information and guidance into these chapters. However, they suffer because these books are all about giving you in depth details and guidance in minute detail, then you get to these chapters on the Achilles heel of so many modelers and you get a section that you would expect in a lesser book. If I have one suggestion, it would be to give these sections the 30 or so pages that they deserve and use them to build from volume to volume as almost a serial of sorts. Sculpting clothes in one, painting a face in another, weathering a painted figure's clothes in yet another, etc.


If you are looking at doing more than basic weathering with an overall wash and drybrush and you like the finishing style that today's masters such as Michael Rinaldi uses, this is the best English language book out there. If you're choosing between the 2 volumes pick this one if you model Allied, volume 1 if you model German. There is enough overlap where you will get what you need from either book. However, each book goes into different details, tips, and applications so if you want a truly comprehensive instructional you should buy both. Personally, I am extremely excited about this series as it promises to be a graduate level course in weathering. The only thing I can think of in the modeling world like these are Reverend Romero's 6 book practicum series on building the HMS Warrior. One book building on another with a consistent approach and vision? Yeah, I think I can scrape together $30 every few months for that. . . I pay $10 for a magazine with one 8 page article I like and here for 3 times that I get over 20 times that.
Highs: Detailed, methodical, engaging text Excellent and plentiful photos of all steps and stages A user friendly and comparatively goof-proof method
Lows: Several typos in the text Figure section not up to the detail of the rest of the book
Verdict: Buy it. Seriously.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: TA02
  Suggested Retail: $29.95
  PUBLISHED: May 25, 2013

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About Matt Flegal (ninjrk)

Copyright 2021 text by Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]. All rights reserved.


Agreed. As a beginner to model building, these books are invaluable in my efforts to get better at painting and especially weathering.
MAY 25, 2013 - 08:12 AM
For me this is a must buy also, as is the first volume. It surpasses the Mig books in that Rinaldis books are more thought out in explaining how to do the techniques. I agree about the comment on the figure chapter, specially as there are photos missing so the numbers in the text do not match the discription, a pity on an otherwise flawless book.
MAY 25, 2013 - 11:58 AM
Thanks for the great review Matt! I appreciate your candor and insights, there is always room for improvements on any product and I appreciate the reviews for their clear unbiased opinions. On the matter of the final chapter by the guest authors, there are few factors in play that collaborate to create the basis for that material. Would I like to give the 30+ pages - absolutely, but there are multiple elements needed to get there. They are the images (both size and quantity) and unique text I'm after, plus I asked the first two guys to supply material on rather short notice, and I needed subject material specific to the book's subjects. The crux are the graphics, which have a very specific style and it takes time for another author halfway around the world to get me a full article to the 30-page level with images I can use and edit and fit seemlessly into the books. So in the end it's a real compromise, and any publishing editor will tell you the same thing when working with other source material. But...my goals match your guy's thoughts, they always have. Eventually as I have now had a good 6 months of development work on the books and can present my requirements a lot easier to the guest authors and say "Here, this is how I want to illustrate your chapter...etc." I am also ahead of that curve now, and new guest authors will have an easier time supplying all that is needed so I can fully flesh out those last elements on their chapters. I have new authors already working to supply material well into 2014. That's the plan anyway, and the one in Vol. 3 Modern Armor will indeed be a full-length chapter. Thanks for the feedback guys! Best, Mike LINK LINK
MAY 28, 2013 - 05:00 AM
I bought both of Mike's volume 1 and 2 as a combo and can definitely tell you I'm enjoying every minute of the first one now. If I had to change anything about these, I would change the background color of the 'further thoughts' sections on almost each page to a color that contrasts better with the white text. That red/orange color with the white text is a bit hard to read in my humble opinion. Great work, Mike. Keep them coming! Rob
MAY 28, 2013 - 06:04 AM
You dont always get what you pay for but in this case youre getting a lot more than your moneys worth! Mike has saved me a bunch of time, money, effort and frustration in getting to where I want to go with the finishing on my kits. Seriously for less than the price of one armor kit per each volume I get a superb 1st rate guide on painting and weathering techniques that will take me further faster and cheaper to where Id like the completed finish my models to be. The plus side is that anyone of us can build on these techniques to suite your own personal taste. I now have both volumes but have only started reading through the second book; the first one is still packed away from moving. For sure these volumes will stay on the bench as ready and handy reference during the painting and weathering phase of my builds. Thanks Mike! ~ Eddy
JUN 05, 2013 - 09:41 AM
I am about half way thru Vol.2 and am enjoying it a lot. While I have yet to try Mike's techniques I have found things that I want to try. The books have given me great ideas now it's up to me to take some theses techniques and put my own twist on them, not copy what Mike has done. Great printing too ! Thanks Mike and put me down for Volume 3 !
JUN 05, 2013 - 05:54 PM

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