Authors: Tomek Wajnkaim and Kamil Feliks Sztarbała
Super Model International is a new hobby magazine from the Kagero Publishing, intended to be sold worldwide. Although it looks like a mag, SMI is issued as a book as it has an ISBN number.
My very first impression after quick browse of the content was nearly ... General layout of the publication is quite new for me. Although I try to be up to date with the leading and most popular worldwide magazines available in Poland I have not seen anything similar to SMI. What I noticed first was absolutely outstanding quality of the photographs, even those smallest and least important. From the other hand all the pictures are very big, especially of the finished works, as if the authors didn't care for the space needed for whole article. Photographs also shows not only the model but also tools and materials used in the building process. Authors also makes digressions or present some of their workbench techniques on the margins or directly on the pictures.
The publication content is also quite different from other known titles. Usually we can find some market news, a lot of advertisements, some brief reviews, some detailed reviews, tips&trick or build reports which covers different areas of modellers interests like airplanes, vehicles, ships, figures etc. SMI is different. We do not find any of those usual sections here, except few adverts of other Kagero books related to the subject of article. We get just five articles, all written by just two modellers. Each of these articles is a detailed build report, almost step-by-step from taking the sprues out of the box to the final gallery of the finished work.
Here is a complete content of the magazine:
Wingnut Wings Albartos D.V by Tomek Wajnkaim
Eduard Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 by Kamil Feliks Sztarbała
Hasegawa Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 by Kamil Feliks Sztarbała
Tamiya Spitfire Mk.VIII by Tomek Wajnkaim
Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero by Tomek Wajnkaim
All presented models are made in 1:32 scale. Each article is made in a bit different style but the general concept is basically the same. Only the Zero is slightly different and much shorter than other articles. I get the strange feeling that the chapter about Mitsubishi fighter is a bit like a gap-filling, although you can't see any lower quality of the presented model. The text is just few general sentences and it has less pictures, just as if author wanted to say the story using only the photographs. On the opposite end is the article about Spitfire Mk. VIII which is my favourite chapter of SMI. Many steps are shown is details including tools, materials and verbal description of the particular step. Descriptions are brief but substantial, both text and pictures complement each other. It is also the longest text and contain the largest photographs, some of them had to be reproduced on both pages.
In addition to the book we get a decal sheet with four styles of plywood. Decal, as usual in latest publications of Kagero, are printed by Italian decal producer – Cartograf. The decal is dedicated to the 1:32 model kits. Reproduced plywood varies from very delicate wood structue, nearly plain yellow to very prominent in beige and brown tones. You won't be able to decal the whole model with these decals but can be easily used for some parts, like cockpit interiors, some wooden panels, floor (like in the P-51 Mustang for example) or just for training purposes of decaling bigger panels.
What I do not like in this publication are sometimes too general and brief descriptions of the techniques used by the authors. As an average modeler I try to look as much as possible on the hands of more talented or experienced fellows so these clues would be a good lesson for me. I think I am not the only one who would like to learn as much as possible from others. Second thing is not the best possible translation of the text. Although I am not a native speaker I have found a lot of strange expressions or translations word-to-word by the dictionary, without the trade vocabulary or flexibility. Although the text was proof-readed by a modeler, as I was told, not everything was caught. If I have noticed them I am afraid that native speakers will be able to catch many more slip-ups.
I think the first issue of Super Model International is a successful debut. It's a bit pity that Publisher have focused on just one scale but as a magazine dedicated to the particular area of interests I can accept and understand this move. Presented models are a great exemplification of how a good quality kit mixed with some talent and experience of the modeler can benefit.
Highs: Great quality of pictures, popular subjects, talented modelers as authors. New quality of the modeling magazines.Lows: Some descriptions of techniques may be too gerenal, focuses on just one scale, some "strange" translations and language mistakesVerdict: Very interesting, gives a good exemplification of the "masters" workbench and techniques.
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