I’ve never really been proud of my wood painting techniques. I’ve tried to paint beat up wooden truck beds and pioneer tool handles, but the results have been marginal at best. So I was really excited to see AK Interactive’s new book “Realistic Wood Effects”. I ordered it quickly and it arrived today. It was sitting on my desk all day, calling my name, but work was getting in the way of cracking the cover. So when the work whistle blew the call for the end of the day, I grabbed the book and settled in to read cover to cover and then get to practicing!
So how did it hold up?
This book is exactly the right concept with exactly the right content direction. The choices of what the authors focused on was something every level of modeler could appreciate and learn from. The pictures are gorgeous and the results of the modelers are stunning. There are 15 different chapters, each focused on a different project and technique. And all of this at a price point that makes it an easy purchase.
I read it cover to cover in one sitting, with the full expectation that I’d need to go back and consume in detail over time. But by the time I reached the end of the book I was simply frustrated. The English translation (I have to assume this is all translated) is horrible, and the way techniques are explained seemingly would only make sense to the modeler himself. The grammar and the editing were simply unacceptable. For example, there’s an entire chapter with “I” isn’t capitalized!
Sure, the reader can work through these issues, but reading this book is a true chore. Beyond these obvious (and easily fixable with proper editing before sending the master files to the printer), the biggest problem is trying to understand most of the image captions that describe each technique.
* “We set up a palette with dark oil paints which will be melted in order to provide the box with a dirty look” (page 18)
What the heck is “melted” in this context?? It’s certainly not explained as a technique anywhere!
Or when reading about painting pioneer tools, the entire chapter is so thin on details, it’s nearly impossible to understand what’s going on. And what little content there is sounds like this:
* “Next we paint in a darker color focusing on the irregular shape joints” (page 13)
Great. But what do I *do*?? What do you mean focus? What do you mean “irregular shape joints”? I seriously don’t know what to do in this step or any other.
At the end of the day, there’s enough good in this book at a relatively low price point to make it worth picking up. It’s terribly sad to see a product with such potential, end up missing the mark so badly based on easy to fix issues. I truly hope they do a second edition with even a basic amount of proofreading and some beta testing of the content with people outside the author base. They are so, so close to awesomeness! A necessary, high relevant book that every modeler would love to have. Sadly, it falls short in the content development department which makes it a highly ineffective book.
Highs: Beautiful images, perfect subject matter.Lows: Extremely poor text content.Verdict: A solid attempt at a good book, that simply falls short of being an awesome tool on every modeler’s bookshelf.
About Jake McKee (communityguy) FROM: TEXAS, UNITED STATES
I built a ton when I was in high school, won a number of awards, and had a great time. I dusted off my equipment a few years back and have been building quite a bit. I even paint things sometimes!
German WWII armor is my main focus, but I have started doing WWII Allied and some WWI subjects. I'm...