Book Review
F.A.Q Vol. 1: the Pigments DVD
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by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Mig Productions have become synonymous with the use (and marketing) of pigments in a huge number of shades for a multitude of applications. Although they are widely used and available, this are still an area which raise many questions as to their application and use. The intention of this, the first of the new DVDs from the company's subsidiary Night Vision Creations, is to present a guide to using pigments for a variety of weathering effects.

Pigments can be applied for the most simple of effects from recreating dust on wheels and tracks to the more complex of reproducing rust on areas such as mufflers or abandoned vehicles. In conjunction with other mediums such as plaster or acrylic gels, more elaborate effects can be obtained which recreate heavy mud or even the after effects of fire.

It's a complex area, and, particularly for the beginner, can be daunting. A magazine or website article can only go so far in explaining, so, perhaps, a more 'dynamic' visual approach is now needed?

F.A.Q. (Volume 1) The Pigments is a 58-minute DVD which is produced by Mig Productions' Video production 'arm' Night Vision Creations, directed by Miguel Jimenez and narrated by Adam Wilder. The DVD comes in the usual DVD case and includes a small, supplementary booklet covering some additional areas of the use of pigments in a variety of different models.

In Detail
The DVD's title and credits sequence begins in dramatic fashion with some excellently chosen black and white footage from WWII. Using the menu sequence the DVD begins with some (color) footage covering a variety of theaters - simply to present the different enviroments AFVs and troops find themselves in. The 'lavishly' produced introduction (filmed on a construction site in Spain) sets the scene by reminding us that one of the greatest sources of looking at dust, mud and the effects of wear and tear on vehicles can be found all around us...

The 'instructional' part of the DVD begins with the first chapter - Products. This examines the proprietory brands vs. the simple pastel chalks. Much is made (correctly) of the limitations of the latter's composition, the need to mix together colors and the difficulty in obtaining the correct shade. This section also looks at the means of applying pigments - thinner (non-permament) and the dedicated fixer (permament).

The next chapter (Fading) looks at using pigments to lighten a base color including blending to create a light effect and a heavier application to give more depth - without losing the tone of the base color.

Section three covers a variety of techniques to recreate dust. This includes looking at where dust would accumulate in an actual vehicle. The keynote in this section is blending dark to light and creating subtle contrasts - less dust on areas which would have more wear, more on areas such as underneath...

One of the most difficult areas to reproduce (convincingly) is Mud. In this section, sand, plaster, pigments and acrylic paste are used to create a variety of different densities of mud. Heavily stressed is the differences in density of mud. This may end up being one of the most referred to sections in the entire DVD as there is a huge number of useful ideas dealing with areas such as toning and darkening.

Section five - Wheels looks at the use of piments to obtain a variety of dusty, muddy and worn effects of rubber- tired vehicles.

Tracks covers an area which is a frequent source of questions - all areas of weathering such as reproducing bare metal showing through, and the realistic build-up of mud and dust is comprehensively covered.

Another important area (although to be used sparingly) is well covered in the Rust section. This is a very detailed look at the different rust effects which can be obtained and, in my opinion, one of the highlights of the DVD. It also helps with identifiying the areas which are more prone to rusting.

The next two sections combine with the project which is used as an example - a burnt out PzIV. Ashes and Smoke are difficult to do convincingly, but both these chapters have some great (and simple) ideas to do them succesfully.

The final chapter covers an area many would shy away from - using pigments on Figures. Used in a restrained manner they can give some effects that even the most careful brush-painting cannot manage.

The final 'bonus' on the DVD comes during the end credits with a simple (un-narrated) sequence showing the application of rust effects on an exhaust pipe.

Reviewing a product of this type is not as easy as a kit or even a reference book. Therefore, I decided to take a slightly different approach and think of the (many) topics which people have brought up in the Forums here regarding the use and appication of pigments. In this, i'll stick my neck out and suggest that the areas covered in this DVD would answer the overwhelming majority of these queries. In this area alone, it gets a VERY high rating.

Another area which should be addressed, is just HOW different is this from the other 'Video' modeling manuals that have appeared? Once again, i'll say it's one of the best. For various reasons (money being the prime one) the majority of DVDs/Videos cover the entire finished product in a single release. This requires some nimble footwork on the part of the producer/director and it's difficult to get in everything that the producer wants. Therefore, it follows, thet the best approach is that taken by Mig Productions - to plan on a series of releases rather than one single disc.

Another factor, which to me is important, is to keep the DVD as 'relaxed' as possible. F.A.Q. is, and it's a strange thing to say about this kind of DVD, it is actually entertaining. Too many of these kind of products seem to be done with the belief that it's somehow 'sacriligious' to be, at moments, light-hearted. That doesn't mean that F.A:Q. is trivial - on the contrary, it's done in a highly professional and serious manner.

Another factor which always influence sales is the price. At 10 €uros (plus postage/packing and Tax) it's a real bargain. Yes, it will encourage sales of the company's other product lines but that, in my opinion makes sound business sense.

Finally, it's a very useful guide and although it will have more value for less experienced modelers who are new to working with pigments, it will also help to clarify the ideas of those who've been using pigments for years and inevitably allow them new insight.

Acknowledgements, technical details and future releases
Firstly, my gratitude to Miguel and Adam for giving the Network the opportunity to review the DVD.

Regarding the technical side of this DVD, it's recorded in PAL which means it can't be played thru an NTSC video player. However, it CAN be used in any PC's DVD player

As I mentioned previously, this is the first in a series of DVDs which will be covering all aspects of building and finishing. The next in the series will be NV 1001-08 - vol.2 Modulation Style which also ties into a new feature by Adam Wilder which we'll be publishing on the site in the next few days.
Highs: For the first time, an 'instructional' film of this type is lively, imaginative and done with real technical ability. The different techniques presented are done simply but with an impressive competence. It's also (gulp) dare I say it, entertaining...
Verdict: This deserves to sell in enormous quantities. The 60 minute duration of the DVD is used in the most disciplined way imaginable. This is an utterly professional production.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: NV 1000-08
  Suggested Retail: 10 €uros + P & P
  Related Link: Short Trailer for the DVD
  PUBLISHED: Feb 25, 2008

Our Thanks to MIG Productions!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

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