The history of the German Afrika Korps has been one of the most popular areas of study for arm chair historians for decades now. The number of books, articles, and magazines that cover some aspect of the organization and its battles are far too numerous to ever begin to count. For modelers as well the subject has an enduring popularity that I imagine will last for as long as people continue to glue bits of styrene together.
The publishers at Acción Press
, who bring us Armor Models magazine on a regular basis, have blended these two areas of interest with an 88 page full color softcover book that features the building of four Afrika Korps models by some of the stars of the Spanish school of armor modeling in their latest publication, D.A.K. Deutsches Afrika Korps.
The four models are built and described by each of the four credited authors; Joaquin Garcia Gazquez, Mig Jimenez, Michel Perez, and Javier Redondo. Besides the four build articles the book also contains a very nice two page article on official German paint practices for DAK vehicles, the RAL numbers and colors involved and the timeframes for the inevitable changes that ensued. The article is accompanied by four color swatches, but of course they are limited by the printing process for the book itself, but at the very least they give a decent understanding of each of the colors in context.
Javier Redondo leads off the build articles with a stunning fourteen page piece on building and displaying a Panzer II F. The build is accompanied by fabulous photos that lead you through each step of the finishing of the model. If there is any drawback to the article it is that it doesn’t deal with the actual build of the kit, only the painting and finishing. I know that is the one thing that most of us mortals need help with but I did want to be fair and at least point it out, so if you are looking for some photographic assistance in building a Panzer II this won’t help, if you want to put an incredible finish on what you already have then this article will help immensely.
Following that you will see an eighteen page offering from the uber talented Mig Jimenez that shows how he painted and finished the Bronco kit of the Sdkfz 6 Diana. Again, simply superlative model, fabulous photography, insightful captions that really help to explain the process being used, and simply subliminal finish to the kit, but not so much on the actual build. That is a theme that will carry through most of the book, again no problem if you are looking for paint and finish tips.
The next article is a sixteen page treatment of the Marder III by Michel Perez. Perez has placed this beauty on a small diorama base that includes a suitably arabesque building that is suitably described. This article contains quite a bit more narrative than the previous two, interspersed with quite a bit of photography but I would guess that it amounts to about three or four pages of written explanation. This shouldn’t be construed to believe that it skimps on the photography by any means. It still contains top notch photography that provides a good look at each of the steps and techniques used.
Joaquin Garcia Gazquez:
The last article is a massive thirty-seven page effort by Joaquin Garcia Gazquez that shows how he built his superb Rommel diorama. The work contains two vehicles (a Tamiya Opel Blitz mounting a Tristar 20mm anti-aircraft gun and the venerable Italeri Horch), two buildings, and four figures. Gazquez leads us from the first “vague ideas” about the layout and the possibility of the diorama all the way through to the last layer of dust to tie everything together. He does a very nice job of describing each of the steps, even including some limited information on construction of the kits. Where he really shines is in his treatment of the figures. He uses one of the four figures to show each of the steps that he followed in getting just the right finish including an eight step photographic tutorial on the face. His captions really shine and should be carefully studied if you plan to emulate his style. Of course he also gives an in-depth description of the paining and finishing of the buildings and the construction and paining of the base.
The book is a veritable tour de force of all the most modern techniques; chipping, filters, hairspray, streaking, pigments, and oil “melting”. You can search cover to cover and I don’t think you will find even a whiff of the old style drybrushing techniques. I haven’t included much in the way of photographs, only those that can be found on the website so as not to violate any copyrights, however, if you would like a more visual review check out Jim Starkweather’s nice video presentation Here on Armorama
in his “Turning the Page” feature.
If you are a fan of the Afrika Korps men and machines, as well as looking for some real modeling eye candy to go along with some of the latest techniques, this will not disappoint. Even if the war in North Africa is not your cup of tea, you should find more than enough inspiration and techniques in this book to make you happy.