Friday, January 16, 2009

This week I have the pleasure of reviewing two DVD's that I recently purchased. They are produced by a combination of Mig Productions and Night Vision creations and deal with some really great techniques for model enthusiasts and hobbyists.  The first thing I have to warn my North American readers about, however, is that these are produced in a European video format and so likely wont play in your home DVD player. Fortunately they will play just fine in any computer DVD drive. I watched mine on my laptop while making dinner and doing dishes!

Now, the first thing I will say about these videos is that they are not for novice modellers. You will require at least a modicum of skill and understanding of technique before you jump into these. That being said, if you are a competent modeller looking to really bring your skills up to a new level of understanding and presentation then these would be excellent. Even as a vet modeller with 20years of building under my belt I found many new and exciting things in here that I expect will propel my pieces even further! These DVD's are very approachable in the way they have been narrated and give a very clear and well shot demonstration of the techniques discussed. I like that these are very active videos - it isnt the typical lecture about how to do it then watch a silly montage of a pro making it look easy - instead it is a close shot step by step visual voiced over with directions and tips that relate directly to how the artists is actually working. I especially appreciate the discussions on paint consistency and thinning in Vol.2 as that is often an area which people have difficulty understanding.  Overall well taught lessons with clear sensible instructions and tips.

Vol.1 "The Pigments" Specifically deals with the varied uses of pigments to create weathering and realistic ground/earth effects. From my perspective as a SF/Fantasy/Gaming modeller I have to say that this was well worth the investment. The techniques here were refreshing and, even as someone who has been using pigments for several years, there were applications and techniques that I was unfamiliar with or had not tried.  I heartily recommend this video to modellers who are interested in weathering techniques and to both beginners with pigments and those who have some experience but wish to broaden their applications/techniques.

RATING: Mig Vol1 the Pigments ->    9/10    Really an awesome resource! Something that will be new, exciting and applicable to a broad audience including most hobbyists from beginner to advanced

 Vol2. "Modulation Style"  is a much more theoretical concept but is still well grounded in explanation and application. It involves finding "new" ways to introduce light and colour differentiation effects into modelling. Again coming from the point of view of a miniature/sf/fantasy/gaming painter I didn't find this to be as earth shattering a revelation as many of my historical modelling friends have.  In my area of painting concepts of highlighting and source lighting are common use - though often in a more exaggerated form. The value in this video is that it attempts to show ways to achieve this exaggerated lighting work in a way that is more subtle and realistic - something that bridges the gap between us and the traditional historical painters. It really makes for more dynamic models and much more interesting visual realization without detracting from the realistic "artefact" look of a technical historical approach.

I also have to say that I rather appreciate the section on airbrush use, care and maintenance in Vol2 as it really helped me to clearly articulate these things to students and friends who are beginning airbrushers. The video also goes into some great additional weathering and chipping techniques which have great visuals and explanations and really put this video over the top for value.

Overall Vol2 is a great and interesting video that i am glad to own, but wont be AS useful to many miniature painters who are already comfortable with the concepts of highlighting and airbrush use - though even for me the visuals and weathering discussion was excellent and I thought the subtlety which the video demonstrates really interesting and informative

RATING: MIG Vol2 Modulation Style -> 8/10  A great resource that should appeal to many and will help many hobbyists to improve upon their technique and understanding.

Aside from the below review I would also like to plug MIG's Forum which is a great resource and direct line to both Mig Jimenez and Adam Wilder - the creators and talents seen in these videos. It can be found at and features a WIDE variety of model types from AFV to cars, to vinyl kits to miniatures. Just a great crew and a wonderful hobby forum. See Y'all Soon!James

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