Tuesday, February 16, 2016

REVIEW: FAQ2 - A brilliant resource for Modellers!

In honour of one of my favorite artists/modellers - Mig Jimenez - coming to Canada for HeritageCon
(March 20th 2016 in Hamilton Ontario - HERE is a link to their site) I have decided to post a review of one of his books - the really cool and incredibly useful FAQ2.

I love to read. I love books, magazines, websites -just about anything I can lay hands on - doubly so when the material is hobby related and can offer me real challenges and insight. First let me say, I would consider my self primarily a war-game miniature painter though I do and have really started to explore more historical subjects.

Having often looked at historical models on the internet or in magazines I was greatly inspired, particularly by the work of Mig Jimenez, Mike Rinaldi and a few others to try this and that out and look to combine the realistic effects I see on models with the creative freedom allowed by SF and Fantasy subjects. Amongst my "go to" resources for techniques and inspiration - Imperial Armour Model Masterclass Volume One by Phil Stutcinskas  and FAQ2 by Mig JimenezThe book (first released about 4 years ago now) has sold thousands of copies worldwide and even went to a revised second run where MIG had taken the advice and critique of modellers around the world and made some further improvements to the book (mostly size of pictures, flow and text tweaks) to ensure that this book is of the utmost quality. 

Just before Christmas 2015 AK Interactive put the English edition of this amazing book into a third printing!

From their site:

"The third edition of our best-seller, first published by AK four years ago, and available in a limited edition for this Christmas. Considered as the modelling bible for military vehicles, containing all the modern techniques that you need, to raise your modelling to the very highest level. This title is suited for beginners and the advanced modeller alike.
The book has 320 pages, more than 1500 colour photographs."

In the opening of F.A.Q.2, Mig does such a fantastic job of describing what exactly this book is, that I’ll just let him do it here:
“...this book is like a technical manual used by a car mechanic. You take for granted that the mechanic already has the skills to do the job, the manual only helps to solve more difficult technical problems. However, the manual on its own will not turn you into a mechanic. If on the other hand, you are an experienced modeler, with plenty of finished models under your belt or have even won some contests, then you have found the perfect book that will help you take the next step on your journey.

This is technically the sequel to his highly successful “FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions of the AFV Painting Techniques” (published in 2005 by Andrea Press, but now out of print for some time) but is very much a completely new book as well. It covers a large gamut of techniques not seen in the previous incarnation of F.A.Q.  such as modulation style, Streaking effects, Salt weathering and the "hairspray" technique pioneered by Phil Stutcinskas.  Each section is an involved step by step explaining the application of mud, rust, chipping, fuel stains etc.

On page 19 of the book Mig states,
"The present book is not exactly the second part of the book I published years ago,  as much as an update of that book. It is possible to say that FAQ1 is now obsolete, because things have changed so much."

Unlike the original FAQ, there is essentially nothing on construction at all. The large focus here is on finishes and weathering though it also features some REALLY COOL chapters on composition in dioramas and vignettes.  Also Featured are chapters on composition in dioramas, terrains, vignettes and much more.

Sections include:
  • Priming: a proper section with meaningful advice and discussion of various types of primer and application methods
  • Base Colour
  • Colour Modulation: OK, this is a big section (which makes sense considering that Mig and his former MIGProductions partner Adam Wilder are the two key figures in putting this technique in the spotlight to begin with!) This is an excellent guide, very comprehensive, offering several examples with differing degrees and purposes of modulation. Some very nice photos.
  • Panelling: briefly includes outlining techniques and also using masks and modulation type methods.
  • Washes and Filters: two sections, relatively brief
  • Streaking: covers in some depth both grime streaks as well as running rust streaks. Rain comes later.
  • Oil techniques: quite interesting that Mig sees oil paint as a medium that has gained increasing significance for AFV modelling; here he explores some techniques with AFVs that relate to those used with figures, such as shading and highlights.
  • Rain Marks: essentially more streaks but watery and subtle.
  • Hairspray and Chipping Fluid. One of the happening techniques of the moment, and it gets over twenty pages with detailed techniques and variations explained. No-one will be able to resist trying it out after reading this section.

  • Chipping: lots here too - principles; with a brush (8 pages on that!); sponge; more hairspray; salt.
  • Rust/Dust/Mud: all cool stuff.
  • Oil and Fuel: “Theory of oil” – nice explanation and source photos, though mostly concerned with how to use AK Interactive products specific to this purpose, not more generic materials – more on that later.
  • Tracks: goes into painting finishes with acrylics, acrylics-enamel- pigments, Blacken-It, and painting spare links.
  • Special effects: a section mixing metal effects, leaves, transfers, headlamps, wheel masks
  • Painting Accessories:  big step by step photos with less text. Four pages on oil drums alone, three on jerry cans, then ammo boxes, helmets, buckets, guns, sacks etc…. awesome starting points for learning
  • Simple dioramas: 45 pages starts off with some quick techniques using DAS clay and then goes into really quite a lot of theory about the composition of elements within a diorama, using lots of arrows and circles. This is something I have taught extensively on at conventions etc. and it will be a nice addendum to what I usually do.
  • Gallery: another 45 pages, and you know what to expect here; high quality models to admire and be inspired by, some of which I recognized as having seen before, while others were new to me.
I still love this one....

This is an amazing book for any AFV Model Builder.  Although I consider my personal skill level to be a little better than average, I think this book has helped me to set my goals ever higher and has definitely helped me to achieve many - it inspires as well as teaches.

As to cost, this book at 57 Euro (approx. $63 USD/$87 CAD) isnt super cheap  BUT compared to what I have spent on magazines ($10-15 for 60 pages and half of it being ads) this is a DEAL - high quality paper/ beautiful colour, and sharp images! Whats more is that the second and third editions of this book have greatly edited text to make the translation and description much more clear than in the first edition. (my copy is a first edition sent to me by Mig that I treasure greatly but having flipped through the 2nd edition I had to admit the text was somewhat an upgrade!)

Do Yourself a favor, click on AKInteractive to check this out. Thank me later.

See ya soon!

James K. Craig AKA TKKultist


John Stiening said...

I strongly agree with your assessment. FAQ has been indispensable to me.

Zab said...

Oh man, i think i will attend this show. I think more hobbyists need to use mig and ak products. they add a layer of detail that really makes things pop even on fantasy and scifi subjects.

TKKultist said...

I agree Zab - they have totally changed the way I work.

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