David Knights' Weblog

May 5, 2014

Book review: Roy Porter’s Model Buildings Masterclass

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 3:26 pm
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Book review: Roy Porter’s Model Buildings Masterclass
128 Pgs
Publisher: Windrow & Greene 1997
ISBN 1 85915 063 2

Review by D. M. Knights IPMS/USA 17656, IPMS/Canada C6091

I’ll be honest with you.  Most modeling books I’ve read have not impressed me much.  They are either too basic, too short or not detailed enough.  However, I can say that this book is none of those things.  It may well be the best book on any aspect of modeling that I’ve read. Each of its 128 pages is packed with information such that even though it is only 128 pages, it is not a short read.  The author goes into great, sometimes painstaking detail on each aspect of construction of different types of buildings for modeling all types and eras.

The work is well illustrated with many photos of “in progress” shots as well as finished buildings, mostly set in diorama settlings.  Some of the photos have a bit of a yellow cast which detracts a bit, but not much, from the amazing modeling they illustrate.  This book is almost 20 years old and I suspect that if done today with more modern digital photography and printing techniques this would not be a problem today.

The only other criticism I might have of this fantastic book is also related to its age.  Because of the fact that the book is 20 years old, the author uses some “old school” techniques such as using different types of paper and cardboard for some of his construction elements.  Some of this is by choice as he thinks that these materials provide some advantages in modeling the appearance of stone and slate in some uses.  However, if the book was written today I suspect that there would have been more use of resin casting, photoetch and possibly new technologies such as 3-D printing.

The author clearly loves his subject and along the way you learn not only about modeling techniques, but a lot about actual building construction methods, as an understanding of these is necessary to proper representation of the subject in a small scale.  Subject covered are too numerous to list in full, but a partial listing includes brickwork, European timber and plaster buildings, creation of war damaged structures, and cast concrete fortifications.  This only barely touches on all the subjects covered.

The author has made the masters for numerous resin castings and he mentions a number of times the company that he has done this for, Thirtysecond street castings.  I was unaware of the company or the products.  Sadly a Google search failed to find the company so, I don’t know if the products are still available.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  While I do not know if it is still published, it is readily available on the secondary market.  Amazon lists it from several sellers in the $30-40 range.  I’d like to thank Rich Guetig for lending me his copy.

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