If you have read my posts on Tony Harwood's building guides then you know I'm a fan. I love his work and I enjoy reading his forum posts in LAF and his posts on his blog. I thoroughly enjoyed his first two books and I highly recommend those if you can still find them, the print runs are pretty limited. I do believe there are copies of No. 2 still available so check Tony's website and get your hands on one before they disappear; dampfpanzerwagon
So let's just get down to it. My copy arrived a couple of weeks ago and I had a hard time finding a chance to really dig into the book until last week. This book is in the same large format that the first two guides are in and the pre-dominate color is definitely green! So it will fit right along side the other two guides and still stand out on your book shelf. Tony does sign the first 100 copies that he sells (I'm sure you can talk him into signing yours at a show in the UK if you see him though). Mine is #11 of 100. I think I may have been more excited about this book than the other two simply because its not all about buildings (although I seriously love books about buildings as well as scratch building them myself). Among the chapters in this book you will find a number of non-building related modeling projects that show off both his skill and the imagination.
There are eight projects in this book. Five are buildings and three are vehicles, already quite the departure from the other books. Of the five buildings three have appeared elsewhere either in press, on a forum or on his blog. I have no problem with that at all in fact I applaud it. Bringing everything together in a single book in an easy to read format makes these articles and posts more accessible and readable.
The Trio of Mausoleums starts off the book. All three of the different Mausoleums have appeared elsewhere either in a magazine or online. There are really no new techniques introduced here, these are pretty standard Harwood builds. But it really does show the process of how he begins his creative process and the steps he goes through to achieve them. Quite different from my own process, I'm more of straightline blueprint builder and Tony makes leaps that I wouldn't think about.
Next up we have the Horseshoe Forge. This piece appeared in the Lead Adventurer Forums as part of one of the build challenges they have there. This is probably my favorite building in the book and one of my very favorite buildings that Tony has made. He does delve into how he created the unusual shape of the door and that alone makes this a worthwhile read, not to mention a rather unique building for the table.
In the Aeronef section we encounter the first two vehicles or ships that Tony included in the book. These are Le Fee Verte and the Squidship Lilith. While I am not particularly interested in this genre I do enjoy the process of watching something being scratchbuilt. These two ships really will have you thinking about building something from the bits on your desk. Conceptualizing something like this is quite difficult for me so getting a look into the process someone else goes through is very enlightening.
Following that we have an original building for the book The Snail Breeding Barn. This project resulted from discussions around the re-introduction of the game Panzerfauste on Kickstarter. I love the concept. I'm always fascinated by Tony's use of cardboard as a basic form or shell and this is an excellent example of that technique.
Following the foray into snail breeding is the MA. K Hovertank. This appeared as a series of posts on Tony's blog. I followed it then and again I'm quite fascinated by his use of different objects to create a very believable science fiction vehicle. The basis for the hull is a small toy boat. This is a great step by step tutorial in imagineering and scratch building.
The Tealight Signal Tower was written for publication but circumstances have temporarily halted the publication so Tony included it in the book. He has an eye for shapes that I do not, and his use of something off the garden shelf, in this case a small cylinder of what turned out to be concrete, is amazing. I can work with a blank sheet of plastic but had you set that cylinder in front of me I would never have come up with this Signal Tower on my own. An excellent foray into using an everyday object to create something unique for the gaming table.
From a construction perspective the book ends with the Damaged Tower House. This is a great example of bringing all of Tony's various techniques together. Cardboard, carved foam and DAS modeling clay are the primary ingredients of the base structure. From there examples of most of the other mediums he uses are included. A delightful structure that would look good on any gaming table.
The book ends with a gallery look at some of the other buildings that have been featured in various publications. A nice way to end the book. I have kept my remarks relatively brief in regards to the various chapters, one thing to keep in mind is that each section is complete. Each project runs from concept and creation through detailing and painting. You can sit down with this book and re-create everything that Tony has done. While some of the projects are advanced in nature I see no reason why a beginning modeler couldn't pick up this book and successfully build something from it.
Like Tony's other two books I do consider this to be a must have book. I would like to see larger pictures, because my eyes are getting old, on the other hand there are plenty of pictures in the book. I'm not fond of the use of a background picture on every page (in green) but that's more personal preference it certainly doesn't interfere with the delivery of the information. Plus I love books, sure they can be a pain if you are trying to use them as reference right at the workbench but I don't have to worry about corrupt hard drives or storage issues either. The information on Tony's approach all pulled together into one place, is really quite valuable and very useful. Tony says in the forward that it is unlikely that there will be a No. 4 but he didn't rule out the possibility either. I will keep my fingers crossed for more small press books from Tony.
Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)