IntroductionBuilding & Detailing the 1/350 Tamiya USS Missouri, BB-63
from Mike Ashey Publishing
is manual number 4 of the new Comprehensive Series Scale Model Ship Manual
. This manual has 86 pages and 460 sequenced color photos in an A4 format.
The book is available in both paper hard copy and PDF. In paper this publication series is unique in format - the pages are pre-punched to fit into a binder; a cover and title page are included, as is a page of spine banners to identify the book on your shelf.
Mike Ashey has been writing acclaimed modeling books since the late 1980s. Now he has entered the desktop publishing arena with his books and new titles. Let's examine why his books are so highly regarded.
COMPREHENSIVE SERIES SCALE MODEL SHIP MANUALS
This is a different approach to publishing, which allows incorporation of a lot of sequenced color pictures into each manual, at a nominal price. Each manual is printed on heavy stock glossy paper and designed to be stored in a customer supplied 3-ring "D" binder. Each manual is 3-ring punched and also comes with a front and back heavy cardstock cover to protect the manual and front, back and side cardstock inserts for your binder. The side insert has 3 different cutout sizes for 1.5, 2 and 3 inch "D" ring binders.
United States and Puerto Rico purchases can be made using PAYPAL, personal checks or money orders.
For International Purchases see the website instructions before placing an order. Mike Ashey Publishing Comprehensive Series Scale Model Ship Manuals are also now available on eBay. EBay also has manuals which are in "bundle" packages.
Tamiya's granddaddy large USS Missouri
is from the 1980s and Mr. Ashey demonstrates building and improving the kit virtually step by step. He does so while demonstrating various modeling tools and techniques for cleaning, testing, and fitting parts. Mr. Ashey often introduces tools that are not specifically model-related; some are very clever.
The fit and detail of this model is presented with pros and flaws. Those flaws he shows and how to correct them. The author is a proponent of extensive taping and test-fitting of parts to plan the assembly process, including adding strength to assemblies, and fitting of small parts. In some cases some of Tamiya's detail is not up to standard, and Mr. Ashey demonstrates scratchbuilding of some parts by machining new capstans. Another example is the kit whale boat cradles that are not up to snuff, and you will see how they were removed and replaced with aftermarket items. Tamiya simulated the portholes with indentions and the author drilled them out.
Working the styrene, resin, 3D printed, and metal and photoetch parts are covered in detail. Forming of the photoetch is demonstrated with jigs and formers. The text also focuses on comparisons and use of 3D printed parts and other aftermarket items. For readers without experience with 3D printed pieces, despruing and cleaning of 3D printings is well covered.
Photoetch parts can be very fine and delicate. The assembly of spindly parabolic radar antennas is covered with several good photos.
Another delicate process is the intricate masking required to authentically recreate "Mighty Mo's" World War II Measure 22 configuration of Navy Blue, Deck Blue and Haze Gray.
Eighty-five pages beyond the cover make up this manual and the breakdown of subjects are thus:
* 26 pages of prepping, improving, and fitting the plastic kit
* 20 pages of working and attaching photoetch, resin, and 3D parts
* 22 pages dedicated to masking and painting
* 8 pages of adding tiny parts, rigging, and installing sub-assemblies
* 6 pages of the complete model in all its glory
Okay, you got me, those numbers don't add up to 85. Some of the pages presented a mix of subjects without one being dominate.
U.S. Navy's camouflage Measure 22 was fairly simple and yet can be a laborious to model. Remember that 22 pages are devoted to masking and painting the model, from small pieces, to entire sub-assemblies. Cutting of masking tape is demonstrated, detailing the use of small strips to larger area masking pieces. This manual could be a stand-alone painting guide.
In a previous review I wrote that short of building the model myself, I don't know if there could be a more in-depth journey through the process. That also stands true for this manual.
Just as with his other manuals, Mr. Ashey is generous with his full color images. Several images have arrows to leave no doubt where to look for important subjects. Almost every page has six photographs. Photos of the completed model are larger, with two pages of two photos, and two sporting single full-page images.
The photographs are excellent, shot with high illumination and a crisp medium blue backdrop. Photographs are focused intimately close for many details, and also to show sub-assemblies. The fine masking of so many nooks and crannies is well illustrated.
I find the detail and quality of the photographs to be uniformly excellent.
I have reviewed several Mike Ashey
manuals and Building & Detailing the 1/350 Tamiya USS Missouri, BB-63
upholds the positive record of the series. It is an excellent modeling manual. Even if one does not have any intention of building this specific model, the methods and techniques, after-market supplies and processes are appropriate and useful for any modeling genre. The only detractor is de minimis - in a few captions the name Bofors in not capitalized.
The process is painstakingly documented. Each of the 460 crisp color photographs are excellent, expertly illuminated in front of a pleasing backdrop.
I think Building & Detailing the Tamiya Missouri
is another excellent manual for modelers of any genre, and an exceptional how-to for ship modelers, and an outstanding presentation of Tamiya's big battleship. Highly recommended.
Please remember to mention to Mike Ashey and others that you saw this manual here - on