Book Review
FAQ #2: Modulation Style
F.A.Q. (Volume 2) Modulation Style, airbrush techniques DVD
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by: Pat McGrath [ EXER ]

Mig Productions, the second in this new DVD series from the company's subsidiary Night Vision Creations covers Adam Wilderís Color Modulation theory. One of the problems Iíve found with my painting of model AFVs is that the results tend to look flat. Iíve tried some of the theories out there such as Pre-Shading, Post-Shading, Filters, etc. Iíll admit upfront that Iíve been a fan of Adam Wilder since I first came across his models on Missing Lynx, so I was very interested to see how this DVD would explain his Colour Modulation Theory.

F.A.Q. (Volume 2) Modulation Style, Airbrush Techniques is a 56-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 booklet covering Color Modulation on a dark green T34 turret and a camouflaged Panther turret. The DVD is recorded in PAL format which means it can't be played on an NTSC DVD player however it can be watched on any PC's DVD player. As my wife was away, I had the pleasure of watching it on the large flat screen TV I bought for myselfÖ I mean for my family. I also watched it on my PC and the menu makes it easy to navigate back and forth between the chapters.

In Detail
The Introduction opens with a montage of images by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Goya, etc. followed by Adam Wilder dressed as a Baroque painter standing at an easel painting. He explains the reasoning behind the ďColor ModulationĒ theory and, as he finishes explaining, we see a hand on his shoulder shaking him and then dissolve to the present day where Mig is shaking him awake and telling him to get back to work painting the walls of the factory. In an aside to camera Adam says...ĒLife in Spain, itís not as easy as I was originally told it would beĒ which makes me laugh every time I watch it.

The first chapter - The Airbrush begins with an explanation of the techniques needed to explore the color modulation theory. For all the airbrushing in the DVD, Adam uses Tamiya paints mixed with a lacquer thinner. He shows how to mix with the thinner in different ratios to get different effects. He also goes into how to hold the airbrush to best effect, the proper pressure to set your compressor at, how to achieve fine lines, paint large areas, introduce gradients of color, and how to clean your airbrush. This is a good idea as for experienced airbrush users itís always helpful to review and for beginners itís great to see an airbrush being used. I feel itís easier to learn something from watching it being done rather than trying to copy from photos or from reading.

In the second chapter Basic Concepts Adam uses a Tiger II hull painted in red primer to show how the theory works. We see a hull painted using the color modulation theory and one which was painted in the traditional base colour and can see the dramatic difference between them. He then takes a fresh hull and goes through the technique so that we ca see how the effects are achieved. For me, seeing this done works much better than reading ďI sprayed it with a ÖĒ Here, on screen, we can see how far he held the airbrush from the model, how he held the paper masks, etc. Watching the piece progress as Adam adds different tones of the same color to different areas of the model emphasizes the separate components of the hull and gives depth and volume to the finished piece.

The next chapter Base colour adds on to what we learned in the chapter on basic concepts. Tackling a more complex model, a JagdTiger, we go through the same process as Adam applies an overall dunkelgelb finish. We see a lot of the painting happening in real time and this is fascinating to me since it fixes the process in the mind in a way that reading alone cannot. A monocolor model the size of the Jagdtiger is very hard to pull off, but Adam breaks up the surface using different tones and adding contrast. In a sub chapter Contrast Detail using Vallejo Acrylics thinned with tap water, he mixes different sand tones and paints all the details like grill housings, tool clamps, etc. in a lighter shade than the base coat. He then uses oil paints brushed on to add even more contrast to the Jagdtiger, blending the oils much in the same way that a portrait painter would blend the colour of clothing. This is a slow process with drying times of days required for the oil paints.

A chapter on Fading follows with the addition of up to five coats of Tamiya clear to protect the oils and acrylics from the thinners used. The fading technique is a version of the dot filter technique and again seeing it done explains the process way better than just reading about it.

Washes Here Adam uses Migís brand washes to fade shadows and add contrast to details tying the whole paint job together.

Chipping A controversial subject given the short active service life many wartime AFVs had, but there is no denying that done right, and Adams shows that here, it can make a model look dramatically better.

WeatheringAdam, using Tamiya acrylics again, demonstrates applying a basecoat for weathering. He doesnít go into the use of pigments as this is covered in Volume One (Reviewed by Jim Rae) of the series.

Finally Adam recaps the whole application of colour modulation to the Jagdtiger. After the credits, which includes a dedication to Marinj Van Gils for his pioneering artistic approach to modelling, there is a montage of images and video clips from the Saumur Tank Museum.

The booklet shows two photo step by steps, one uses the theory applied to a Dark Green T34 turret and the other to a three colour camouflage Panther turret.

I really liked this DVD. Iím a visual learner, so I learn best by seeing things done. Things that appear cryptic to me in writing and even photo step by steps suddenly become obvious when I see them actually demonstrated. Of course there are techniques covered here such as filters, washes, and the oil paint dot filter technique that will be familiar to modelers but the real benefit of the DVD is that it ties them all together into a unified theory that, if followed, produces great looking models. In the end I suppose the techniques a modeler uses and how he applies them ultimately are a matter of taste but this DVD thoroughly shows you how to achieve this style of finish .

The DVD has high production values and is very easy to watch and Adam Wilderís matter of fact delivery of the narration is also easy to listen to. The dream sequence intro is very funny and Mig and Adam are a sad loss to the silver screen. Personally, I would rather have seen the three colour camouflage turret covered on the DVD as opposed to the booklet as the only, albeit small, disappointment.

Highs: Very watchable and also an interesting approach to finishing an model.
Lows: Both Models on the DVD were finished in one color schemes, I would have preferred to see a two or even a three color scheme tackled.
Verdict: This is a valuable resource for modelers wanting to take their armor models one step further. Recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: NV1001-08
  PUBLISHED: Aug 16, 2008

Our Thanks to MIG Productions!
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About Pat McGrath (exer)

I served three years in the Irish Army. Then I studied fine art for five years. Acted professionally since leaving college (Look me up on IMDB- Pat McGrathIII) Interested in Allied Armour 1942-45 and German SPGs. Other interests are figures and Sci Fi models

Copyright ©2021 text by Pat McGrath [ EXER ]. All rights reserved.


This really sounds helpful !!! As you said it's one thing to read it in print,pictures like Mig's FAQ book are helpful too,but nothing beats seeing the described procedure happening in real time right before your eyes. I am in the US but I ordered mine fom a company in the UK called Historexagents,for a total of $30.54 including shipping.I had earlier picked up vol 1 for a good price too.they list on ebay or you can go right to their site. I can't wait to get minr later this week !!!
AUG 16, 2008 - 06:41 AM
I have played this DVD for about 5-6 times, maybe more, and I believe that this is a very inspirational technique to try on. Maybe it is not supposed to be called Modulation, instead Push-Shadow method since the entire idea of the technique IMHO is to manually draw and push every possible shadow up to surface. Even at it's infancy stage, I believe the modulation method is very useful to bring a more realistic finish to the model. Just one comment; I wish that the airbrush chapter be placed under extras or something, but not in the main program.
AUG 17, 2008 - 04:44 AM
good review Pat looks like another interesting one to get, cheers Keith
AUG 17, 2008 - 08:22 AM
Good review Pat. I have the first and can relate to the format ..... also the comedy bit at the start ..... the building site, dust and mud .... and Mig sending him back to work. Very funny and great way of introducing the subject!! Sounds very interesting and something definately worth picking up!!
AUG 27, 2008 - 03:51 AM
Well, I received my copy yesterday and although I have not watched the entire 'film' I surely enjoyed what little I saw. I truly also like the fact that Adam and MIG put a little comedy into all this making one remember that modeling is about having FUN! Great second DVD guys and really looking forward to the third one! Rob
AUG 27, 2008 - 03:57 AM
Great review Pat. I was waiting for it. I have the first DVD and will sure buy ASAP the 2nd. Can't wait to put my hands on it. A great numbers of extraordinary advice and ideas from a master class modeller. thanks
AUG 27, 2008 - 04:05 AM
Thanks Pat. I'll be getting this one I think. The first one was good value. Paul
AUG 31, 2008 - 08:58 PM
I also purchased the first Vol. Thanks for the review, as another visual learner it helps to know if the product will be a bonus when shelling out the cash. I will be after a copy cheers Thomo
SEP 04, 2008 - 10:18 PM

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