Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide

Shep Paine with Contributing Editor Jim DeRogatis
Item #12805

An Essential Guide for Every Modeler!
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A prolific military modeler and historian, Sheperd Paine shares his tips and techniques for building detailed military models and dioramas in this special guide. You'll also find a variety of projects from top armor modelers — all influenced by Shep Paine.

Featured subjects include:

  • Doing research and assembling armor kits.
  • Creating battle damage and adding equipment.
  • Posing and painting figures.
  • And much more!
Author: Shep Paine with Contributing Editor Jim DeRogatis
Size: 8.25 x 10.75
Pages: 144
Color photos: 400

New from Kalmbach Publishing is this interesting book , the final one being worked on by beloved modeler, author and godfather to the armor model-building hobby, Shep Paine. Shep was working on this book when he passed away far too soon in 2015, but luckily for the armor modeling community, the fallen flag was picked up by his friend, Jim DeRogatis, and the book was completed with the help of some truly notable modelers.

Something to make note of; the royalties from this book will benefit the Shep Paine Education Fund, which has been set up to continue Shep's work as an educator and champion for the art of miniatures via classes, seminars, publications and other projects.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Shep, who with his groundbreaking books such as How to Build Dioramas (like many of you, I still have my original copy from decades ago, dog-eared and paint stained...) and his Monogram tip sheets inspired so many of us. I was lucky enough to meet and speak with Shep a couple of times while assisting with Ordnance Judging at Shep's home show, the annual Military Miniature Society of Illinois show, and it was always interesting and quite an honor.
Shep's original intention for this book was that it feature the finest work and updated techniques of some of the master modelers whose work is featured in this book, and not so much about him. After his passing, it was decided to add much more of Shep's own techniques and work in these pages.

Some of what's between these covers has been seen before in the pages of his earlier works, with some of it expanded upon to add the new techniques and innovations that he'd wanted to feature in the book. Thus, this book is a blend of Shep Paine, his words, his work and his techniques, and those of some of hobby's finest artists known today.
A look at the table of contents page is quite revealing as to the breadth and depth of this book. The first 84 pages are largely Shep, his words, his creations, with some additional up to date techniques added, while the balance of the book is divided between eight of the hobby's best builders and painters ( including Shep ), strutting their stuff.
The book opens with heartfelt 4 page commentary by the editor on Shep's legacy. There was no way to do this review without including the above page scan. Respect.

As mentioned above, this book is made up of two parts, the first one of which covers the basic principles and techniques, largely in Shep's own words, photos and diagrams.
Some of the Basic section may seem a wee bit too basic to an advanced modeler, but there are a lot of timeless, solid concepts and techniques presented in these pages.
Just about every conceivable "need to know" basic modeling topic is covered in these pages, and quite a few "interesting to know" topics are covered as well.

With more and more highly focused, very specialized how-to books on modeling being produced at an astonishing rate, it's a good thing to slow it down a bit, and look back at the older-school methods of replicating certain items in miniature. These basic old-school techniques and skills are still quite handy, and every bit as useful as they were in the seventies!
The pages of this first section of the book is full of old friends..the diagrams and photographs of Shep's work that we memorized and drooled over decades ago. While it's really nice to have flashbacks of our younger selves looking at Shep's work and reading his words, it's also nice to realize that those very same things that we read about decades ago still work, and have worth.
Not to be forgotten is that Shep intended this book to highlight some of the more recent techniques and methods, and that intention is fully met as well.
The front page of the chapters in this Basic section of the book all feature a nice photo of Shep's work, or that of another modeler featuring a more recently released kit. A nice touch, I think!

Projects, the second part of this volume presents several page articles by some great modelers hand picked by the master himself for inclusion in this book.
The "Projects" section of this book has great examples of some of the recent ( and not so recent )techniques employed by some of the best modelers around. Crisp, clear photography illustrates the techniques being used, while easy to read, descriptive text ensures that the reader understands what the photo depicts.

Each project is presented in several pages ranging from five to ten pages each, and the projects themselves range from vehicle builds to full dioramas including structures, vehicles and figures. Photo sizes range from half page down to eighth page or so, with all of them being well composed, bright and clear.
Above, a page scan from the project done by the master himself, Shep Paine. The layout for each of the eight project articles included in this book are well paced, and logically laid out.

In many cases, the modeler explains his intentions as well as the technique, and the photography illustrates how he got there. The products used are frequently mentioned in the captions, which do a nice job in describing what's going on in the photos.
In my opinion, a very nice touch in this book is the inclusion of some biographical information on the modelers whose work is highlighted by these project articles. In addition to the biographical info, these gentlemen share their thoughts on how they were personally influenced by Shep Paine's work.
The techniques shared in the Projects section of this book range from figure work (including conversion and sculpting ), to diorama planning and execution, landscape work and structure techniques, to all facets of vehicle construction and short, just about everything.
As a reviewer, I had a hard time selecting just a few pages to scan for this review, as just about every turn of the page shows interesting techniques well displayed in the photographs!


This book is really two books in one, the first book a nostalgic trip down memory lane, with the sharing of all the great highlights of Sheperd Paine's old school methods and techniques, expanded upon and adding some more recent methods, and the second book; a high speed, high-tech look at how some of the best of the new generation are envisioning and constructing their work.

As I mention above, there is still terrific value in the old school techniques and methods that Mr. Paine so wonderfully shared with us all decades ago. It's great to see that information shared again, and expanded upon, as many of those ideas and methods are timeless. The blending of the old and new as presented in this modestly priced book is done in a very effective and respectful manner, this book will be read and re-read.

The combination of the Shep Paine classics and the terrific, informative articles by some of the best builders around make this book an instant classic, well worthy of shelf space right next to Shep's earlier books in your hobby room reference shelves!

-Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland.


Reviewed by: 
Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378

The Introduction is appropriately named ‘The Legacy of Shep Paine’ written by Jim DeRogatis. These four pages offer a wonderful view into the late Sheperd Paine’s life’s work and modeling history. Many of us older modelers first became aware of Sheperd’s work through his tip sheets that came with select Monogram kits of the 1970's then later with Tamiya kits during the 1980's. Shep was also an avid military historian and collector of military artifacts.

The book's contents are divided into two sections, 'The ‘Basics’ by Sheperd Paine and ‘Projects’ featuring eight projects by different modelers. The ‘Basics’ covers all the bases from the fundamentals in chapter one of ‘Assembling Armor Kits’ including a helpful ‘Parts of a Tank’ tutorial.

Researching the subject, its uses, its environments are explained by Shep in ‘Doing Research’ chapter two. Shep also addresses working with scale drawings and evaluating conflicting references.

In chapter three, ‘Detailing and Advanced Modeling’ Shep shifts gears and goes all out with photo-etch, resin and good old fashioned scratch building.

In chapter four, ‘Battle Damage and Equipment’ Shep tells all. He covers what’s right and what’s wrong and how he makes it work with his own proven techniques.

Chapter five, ‘Painting and Decaling’ from the master himself. Lots of awesome tips and information come from here.

Chapter six ‘Weathering’ and seven ‘Planning a Diorama’ are Shep’s very useful and insightful uses of restraint, balance and symmetry. All laid out in layman terms.

‘Bases and Scenery’ are covered in chapter eight including techniques for modeling water.

‘Building and Structures’ is the focus of chapter nine.

Finally, we come to chapter ten ‘Posing and Painting Figures’, this is one of the most detailed chapters offered and includes a comprehensive step by step face painting tutorial.

The Projects

This half offers insight into a wide range of applied techniques by eight renowned authors including Shepard Paine. Each captivating project is effectively presented and unique.

  1. Building a Leopard straight from the box. Aaron Skinner.
  2. Building a Tiger 1. John Maher.
  3. The Hornet’s Nest. Sheperd Paine.
  4. Roadblock in the Ardennes. Roy Wells.
  5. Retreat from the Gustav Line. Dan Tisoncik.
  6. Downward Spiral. Greg Cihlar.
  7. No Man Left Behind. John Rosengrant.
  8. Operation Protective Edge. Andy Gulden.

The Bottom Line

Shep Paine was a true pioneer in the modeling world and this book is a testament to his legend. Thanks to: Fine Scale Modeler, Kalmbach Publishing and IPMS for the opportunity to present this unique book.



Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide is a tribute to the late paragon of modeling Shep Paine. Indeed, Mr. Paine's monumental contributions to the hobby span far beyond mere armor modeling, and even beyond model building. His training in art translated into model painting techniques that innovated what the modeling community has proclaimed as “the Chicago school” of figure painting.

Like every contributor for this book, my first exposure to who would become the legendary Mr. Paine was from the modeling inserts in Monogram model kits, and subsequently in model magazines and catalogues. Before he started building plastic models, Mr. Paine cut his hobby teeth with model trains. Mr. Paine once said, "I wouldn't claim to have invented super-detailing; I was just the most visible practitioner." I have wondered if he was acquainted with the equally legendary icon of model railroading, John Allen, and his exalted model railroad, the Gorre & Daphetid. Like Mr. Paine in the military modeling world, Mr. Allen is widely acclaimed as the one who raised model railroading to an art form. Model railroaders easily spotted the model railroad influence in Mr. Paine's scenery and "creative gizmology".

Published by Kalmbach Publishing, this softcover book is 144 pages of content, full of illustrations and 400 photographs, both color and black-and-white. It has the IBSN 9781627003933 and Kalmbach's code 12805. It is part of the Kalmbach range Fine Scale Modeler Books.

    A prolific military modeler and historian, Sheperd Paine shares his tips and techniques for building detailed military models and dioramas in this special guide. You'll also find a variety of projects from top armor modelers — all influenced by Shep Paine.

    Featured subjects include:

    * Doing research and assembling armor kits.
    * Creating battle damage and adding equipment.
    * Posing and painting figures.
    * And much more!

    (Kalmbach, 2016)

Kalmbach also states that royalties from the sale of this book will go to the Shep Paine Education Fund.

    Established by the Military Miniature Society of Illinois and administered by Joe Berton, the Shep Paine Education Fund has been set up to continue his invaluable work as an educator and proselytizer for the art of miniatures via classes, seminars, and other projects.*


Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide is authored by several contributors and the late Shep Paine, with an introduction by Jim DeRogatis. Mr. Paine was working on a new book, Armor Modelers Guide, when he passed away. He intended the content to be the work of several modelers and to not include any of his work in it. To celebrate his life, it was decided to include content from Mr. Paine's previous books. This book presents 18 chapters and four sections;

    The Legacy of Shep Paine, by Jim DeRogatis

    -The Basics-
    By Sheperd Paine, Edited by Aaron Skinner
      1. Assembling armor kits
      2. Doing research
      3. Detailing and advanced modeling
      4. Battle damage and equipment
      5. Painting and decaling
      6. Weathering
      7. Planning a diorama
      8. Bases and scenery
      9. Building structures
      10. Posing and painting figures

      1. Building a Leopard straight from the box AARON SKINNER
      2. Building a Tiger I JOHN MAHER
      3. The Hornet's Nest SHEPERD PAINE
      4. Roadblock in the Ardennes ROY WELLS
      5. Retreat from the Gustav Line DAN TISONCIK
      6. Downward Spiral GREG CIHLAR
      7. No Man Left Behind JOHN ROSENGRANT
      8. Operation Protective Edge ANDY GULDEN

    Sheperd Paine's Models and Dioramas Featured in this Book

Mr. Paine was not able to speak for himself in this book and yet he would not have had to. His legacy is proclaimed in these pages by each contributor. It is surprising to read Mr. Paine's own words about how and when he got in to modeling, and how that progressed and finally ended in the 1990s. I did not know that he was a sculptor for a model figure company. Readers may be amused by some of his projects that pushed the boundaries of political correctness and created a modeling international incident. Other contributors discuss Mr. Paine's contributions to teaching modeling and his unique concept of judging model shows. The text is full of interesting quips and comments. A few sidebars present short topics.

Ten of Mr. Paine's models and dioramas are featured in the first half of this book, The Basics. Most of the content is from his original books from the 1970s and '80s, although he updated some of it. One characteristic of his models that I am struck by is just how "dusty" the finish of almost every one of his models - even figures - seem to be. The plethora of paints, glues, fillers, and finishing products are presented and explored. He also examined what supplanted his "creative gizmology" - aftermarket resins and photo-etch products.

I will not try to narrate each of the 10 chapters. However, I will mention that in Painting and decaling there is an especially interesting section called Choosing the right colors. Mr. Paine offered some interesting thoughts in that section, including a personal anecdote about an experience he had in the US Army.

Posing and painting figures is mainly out of his previous books and yet it is still an excellent primer for sculpting, assembling, and painting figures. Oh, and using paints!

The second part of this book is the new book that Mr. Paine was creating before he took ill and passed away. Projects consists of the seven subjects demonstrated by modelers recruited by Mr. Paine while not including any of his work. These are modelers who particularly impressed him. Their presentations showcase their how-to's that expand his techniques and concepts with products of today. Each chapter ends with a short bio of the modeler as well as their testimonial of Mr. Paine's influence. There are actually eight chapters but one is Mr. Paine's Eastern Front diorama The Hornet's Nest, which is curious as this new book was not supposed to include any of his work.

While all seven modelers' work is exceptional, I believe the figure painting of No Man Left Behind is superlative.

The final page is Sheperd Paine's Models and Dioramas Featured in this Book. Listing the model or diorama, their manufacturer, scale, and year of debut, it is a musing time capsule. Of his works presented in this book, Mr. Paine's first creation debuted in 1972, while his finale was in 1995.

Photographs, Artwork and Graphics

Kalmbach is known for lavishly illustrating their books and Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide is no exception. I did not count each image yet there is at least one on every page except the last one. Overwhelmingly the images are color. While there are black-and-white photos of period source material, all of the model shots are in color. Some of the artwork is black-and-white but, as with the photos, many are in color.

Looking at the credits, many images are Mr. Paine's, several are by other modelers, many are updated images from Kalmbach Publishing Company, and then there are the ones specifically for this book.

I will not try to list every reproduction from previous Shep Paine books although the following is a list of particular items of interest;

    1. Parts Of A Tank: illustrated with a Panther and Leopard.

    2. Scale Conversion Chart

    3. Working With Photoetched Metal: nine narrated photos.

    4. Stretching Sprue: six narrated photos.

    5. The Road To Damascus: an explanation of elements of the famous diorama.

    6. Color Chart: High Highlight to Dark Shadow.

    7. Face Painting in 14 Steps.

The gallery of images in this title is alone worth acquiring this book.


Today there are dozens of famous modelers. Many have their own line of modeling products. Modeling techniques and concepts have given rise to recognized characteristics, e.g., "The Spanish School", the "Verlinden Way." Yet, perhaps world wide, none are so well known and iconic as the late Shepherd Paine. I will not say that he is the progenitor of the many present-day institutions of modeling and yet his influence is undeniable. Mr. Paine is acclaimed not only for his models, he is roundly praised for his willingness to teach and coach and mentor modelers of all levels of ability.

Shep Paine's Armor Modelers Guide is a wonderful tribute to Mr. Paine, as well as a fine armor and diorama modeling book. The text is informative and engaging. The subjects are amazing. The images are excellent. I do not think any military modeler - or modelers of any genre - can reasonably complain about this book.

I am very enthusiastic about this book and highly recommend it on many levels.    by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


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