“Styrene Modeling”
by Evergreen Scale Models

ISBN 0-9678369-0-5
88 pages; illustrated with many black-and-white and full-color photographs.


Reviewed by Ward Shrake




I feel this book is one of the best general-purpose scale modeling books around. It’s one of those few “must have” how-to’s I wish I knew about, years before I first discovered it. It would have saved me much time and effort, if I had the book right from the beginning; rather than finding a few random tips here or there, from other sources.

The book covers a lot of ground: from a short introduction explaining why styrene is one good (but not the only good) type of material to build with; to the tools and safety items of a well-equipped styrene workshop; basic techniques; working with styrene kits; kit-bashes and conversions; scratch-building basic boxes; detailing; basic and advanced painting and finishing; on through to seeing aspects of various major projects, built from scratch by several well-known professional scale modelers. All useful, well-done stuff.

The many excellent photos and drawings are a visual treat; and very informative. The text isn’t overwhelming -- it’s relatively light, and is there to support the pictures. I felt the overall mix of pictures and words was admirably done. (Bob Hayden of “Fine Scale Modeler” compiled the volume; with contributions from many professionals.)

The pros, while having much to say, managed to come across as quite human: they (and the editor) demystified various aspects of styrene modeling, and made me feel like “Why didn’t I think of that?” – in a good way. (Fans of David Merriman’s work, but not necessarily his aggressive writing style, will sigh with relief at the editing. If you know David, you can probably guess what he really said -- but they toned it down.)

It makes sense that the Evergreen Scale Models company would compile such a useful book on this subject: while their core business isn’t publishing, they clearly hope to convince you of the utility, ease-of-use, and low cost of the various types of styrene plastic that they manufacture for sale to the general public, via their retailers. In other words, to get you to buy their products, they tell you plainly how easy and fun it is to put those products to use. The book isn’t one big advertisement, however: I feel it’s more of a “call it like it is” scale modeling how-to book which just happened to be commissioned by a plastics supplier. At no point did they denigrate or bad-mouth competing products. I guess I’m saying that it’s a very low key, “soft sell” – and it’s easy to look past all that.

The scale modeling subjects are mostly limited to vehicles or buildings. Aircraft and armor models are seen throughout: as they’re the largest demographic chunks in the vehicular modeling hobby. Ships and boats also got their due – much more than in some places, such as monthly magazines of a general interest nature: or so it seemed to me. I enjoyed the model railroad coverage, too. (Only one spaceship model; no cars; and no figures -- though they sort of snuck a few of those in with the model railroad coverage.)

Tips from any one of these genres could easily be applied to most if not all of the other genres. I feel the book has much to offer, from a number of important angles – and all the more so for people just starting out, in the scale modeling hobby -- and is well worth the asking price. I found all sorts of useful tips and tricks, throughout the book.

$14.95 USD; Available through http://www.evergreenscalemodels.com/ (which also supplies free PDF downloads of selected chapters.)

Highly recommended.
Thanks to my wallet for the review sample.

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