Friday, December 28, 2012

Meng Model Video Reviews

Aside from building my own models, I take great interest in watching what other modelers can do. There is a lot of talent out there, and I find it inspiring and motivational. Plus, it is easier to understand a tip or a technique being described verbally, and visually on the screen, as opposed to reading text from a scale modeling publication. So I am always appreciative whenever a useful video is produced.
I have two video reviews for you today. Both are detailed build logs for two Meng Model kits: The Merkava Mk.3D and the A39 Tortoise.

Let's start with the Merkava.

Meng Model 1/35 Merkava Mk.3D Guidance Video

This video has been around for nearly two months now, hitting Youtube on Warfare in Scale's channel back in October. It has gotten plenty of views since, but has only recently endorsed by Meng Model, which isn't much of a surprise since they have only been posting videos on their channel for a handful of months.
The video is just over thirty-five minutes long, or long enough to view on your lunch break...
We are introduced to Juan Carlos Carmona, host and modeler throughout the video. He speaks Spanish throughout the video, but for those of you who do not understand the language, take heart, there are subtitles. The video does not show much of the building process, giving me no feel for the actual kit itself. Instead, Juan concentrates mostly on painting and weathering. One of the finer techniques used in the video describes how he creates the non-skid surface common to modern day AFVs.
He deals exclusively in Vallejo paints and products, and relays exactly what colors he is using for each process. I believe most newer modelers will find it useful to see a pre-shade technique in action, which Juan shows quite well here. However, his use of color modulation was difficult to make out on such a lightly colored subject. Never the less, the viewer is treated to nice examples of weathering using dot filters, replicating chipped paint, and how to produce convincing yet subtle dirt and rust streaks.
To round out the build, Juan paints the markings with a PE mask, and compliments them with some kit included decals. Finally, a wash is applied with an airbrush - a technique I've never witnessed - and finishes with dust, and spattered mud.
The only downside to this video was the sound track. Often loud and distracting, it didn't seem to coincide with what I was watching, and at other times, dead air left something to be desired to stem the awkward silence. Despite this, the video was informative, and the end product is stunning. I enjoyed watching Juan intricately place his paint and weathering with a purpose. The video concludes with some great close up shots, really show casing Meng's product and Juan's work.
I would have liked to see a bit more of the model itself, in terms of parts and detail, but overall the video was a good watch.
But don't take my word for it!
Watch the Meng Model buidling guidance video for the 1/35 IDF Merkava Mk.3D for yourself!

And now for the A39 Tortoise!

1/35 A39 Tortoise Heavy Assault Tank Video

This video was produced again by Warfare in Scale and covers another Meng Model subject. This video is fairly new, posted on December 24th while most of us were celebrating Christmas Eve. Its barely shy of thirty-five minutes, and a clean shaven Juan Carlos Carmona returns to regale us with his modeling Spanish, of course, but with the ever appreciated subtitles.
This video gives me a better grasp of the kits details, and even gives a glimpse of the instructions. Juan includes a bit more technical advice in this video, offering pointers for priming as well as replacing the kit's grab handles with bits of wire. In similar fashion to the Merkava video, we are informed of every color being used, all while more terribly distracting music is played. 
I found this video to be more visually interesting as Juan varies the color of the Tortoise using far more rust effects, and weathering techniques to replicate an abandoned piece of British armor. One can see exactly how pigments are used and placed, how a pin wash is applied, and how different aspects of weathering blend together to form a beautifully realistic model.
In the end, Juan uses Vallejo Still Water to create a wet appearance, implying a recent down poor, or morning dew, in the often rainy environment of England. He then compliments the Tortoise with a factory display base, showing how the vehicle was abandoned at the end of World War II. I would have liked to see a bit more of the detail that went into creating the base but it is understandably left out as the focus of the video is the model, not its surroundings. 
Again, aside from the weird choice in musical accompaniment, the video is informative and showcases the model and Juan's skills quite well. 

Thoughts on the videos.
I found both videos interesting, and short enough not to devote a great deal of time to watching but long enough to include enough detail. They are not necessarily "how-to" videos but they do visually relay some good points and techniques. In the end, you can see how an impressive model is made, from start to finish...just don't watch them with the sound on...

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