Sooner or later, most of us will want to build display bases for our models. This book is inspired by Richard Windrow's regret at seeing so many otherwise beautiful models let down by being placed in a badly made, or inappropriate setting.
The author is quick to point out that this problem is seldom due to laziness or lack of care on the part of the modeller. It's down to the fact that most of us simply have far more references for our vehicles and figures than the terrain in which we place them.
With this simple notion, the author has set himself the ambitious goal of gathering within the pages of a single volume, detailed descriptions of how to model virtually any type of terrain and settings using fairly simple methods and inexpensive, readily available tools and materials. He makes no claim to have invented all the techniques discussed - this is a collection of the many tips which he has come across over many years of modelling.
Terrain Modelling is hardbound, A4 format with 128 pages. The book isn't restricted to any particular type of modelling or scale, and while Richard Windrow's particular interest lies in 1/35 20th century warfare, the techniques shown here are readily transferable to all other types of modelling.
Chapter 1 is broken down into two parts:
First, an overview which introduces the tools and techniques used throughout. The author lays particular stress on gathering good reference material - be it modern day photographs, or period paintings and engravings. Landscapes change with the seasons and agriculture, and man-made materials change with the times, so it's vital to seek references with the same care as for your models themselves.
Second, the author covers the basics of how to plan the layout and construct a base.
From then on, the book's chapters each cover a wide range of terrain topics. The author recommends that the chapters are read in order, because although the same topic might occur in several chapters, it is covered in greatest detail in the earliest instance.
Chapter 2: Rocks, Cliffs and a Mountain Torrent. This features an incredible waterfall effect.
Chapter 3: Grass and Fields, Hedges & Bushes. This covers everything from grass and soil, to scrub and hedgerows.
Chapter 4: Modelling Tress. This shows two styles of constructing trees; the author's own generic trees and some amazing specific types created by Barry Bowen.
Chapter 5: An Autumn Wood. This covers easily overlooked things like fallen leaves and branches and fungus.
Chapter 6: Scorched Earth (Fire effects). This deals with portraying both the after-effects of fire and various ways of modelling fire itself.
Chapter 7: Jungle. Self explanatory really - the author shows how to model jungles and swamps and the different types of foliage found in them.
Chapter 8: More water effects. This covers ponds and streams.
Chapter 9: Sand & Gravel (Beach and Desert effects). 3 scenes in this chapter feature European and Pacific beaches, plus a North African track.
Chapter 10: Tracks and Roads. This deals with modelling rutted lanes and cobblestone streets.
Chapter 11: Modern surfaces. Here, the author discusses concrete, tarmac and brickwork, along with an impressive shell-crater featuring a gushing pipe.
Chapter 12: Snow and Ice. Again, several models are used to illustrate different ways of creating Winter scenes.
The photography throughout is excellent and, importantly, the models are shown at various stages in their construction. Added to this, the author includes a number of real-life reference photos for comparison. The text throughout is detailed and very "readable" - Richard Windrow really draws you into the subject with an infectious enthusiasm.
Finally, there is a list of further useful reading, along with contacts for materials and tools. Typical of the thoroughness in this volume, details of both UK and US suppliers are given.
While this is part of Osprey's Masterclass series, Richard Windrow's excellent book will be of enormous value to modellers of every level of ability. With the sheer variety of topics covered and the clear, detailed way in which they are discussed, Terrain Modelling deserves a place on every modeller's bookshelf.
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Thank you to Osprey Publishing for kindly supplying the review sample.