Friday, 22 May 2015

Colours of War review

A few other blogs have recently done a review of this book but since I picked it up the other week I figured I would say a few words on it.

I'm sure regular readers of this blog know that painting for me isn't something that comes naturally. Unlike some of the bloggers I follow (who's work stuns me on a regular basis - check out the 'who I follow' tab on the right), painting is more of a chore. If I am happy with something I have done it's only through practise and repetition rather than any innate skill. Which is why products like Colours of War are useful.

I've focused my review on the British sections of the book - sticking with my normal theme!

The book itself I purchased through the FOW Digital app. A nice quick way of purchasing products, even if it means I don't have a hard copy. The download was, I think, £13.49. I thought this was a little bit steep for an electronic copy - but I suppose at 96 pages (11 of which are front and rear cover, intro to flames of war and advertising for products and new paints) that's not too bad. I do think a price point of around £10 would have been better value for money.

Production values are very high on the .pdf version. As an odd personal issue the fact it scrolls up and down on the Ipad and not left to right like Wargames Illustrated does is a little odd and takes a bit of getting used to. There were a few moments of 'wtf!' the first time I tried to flick through it.

I'm not planning on posting too many images, as I (obviously) make no claims on the copyright and am only posting the images for the purposes of the review.

First up, an idea of the contents. The book it split into various sections that starts with the very basics of cleaning flash and mounting models for painting. It talks about tools required, getting models out of plastic sprues, putting together resin and metal models, undercoating, light and shade, painting techniques, using washes, etc.

Each section has lots of step by step pictures showing each stage in the process. One issue I do have with the digital version is that the pictures are not particularly zoomable. I have an older style Ipad, but the screen resolution is still better than the zoomed in image quality. The ability to see bigger versions of the pictures would have been nice. Obviously this wouldn't apply to the paper copy. 

One of the articles I will give more attention to personally is the painting faces and 'advanced' painting faces section. Again, step by step with reference to the new FoW paint colours, it looks like a pretty good guide.

When it comes to the various national sections, each of the main 4 nations are represented. There is a separate section on 'The Desert War' focusing on desert painting.

These sections include time lines showing paint schemes throughout the war.

As you can see from the picture above there are also sections for each component of the vehicles, which are split down to make them easy to find. The British section also included info on tactical signs and some of the more common Divisional markings and AoS markings - although I quickly spotted that the AoS listed for the infantry divisions have some errors, specifically things like the machine gun Battalion being listed as white 57 on a red background (every other source shows it as a white 64 on a black background).

Infantry painting is also covered in some depth. Again, colours are listed and step by step pictures provided. Sections like painting weapons and webbing are treated separately, so it just becomes step by step guides for the individual parts of the model. I like this approach as it keeps things nice and simple, as well as letting you home in on areas that you personally might need more help with (like me and my faces issue!).

I should note that the British painting guide gives info on painting airborne camo uniforms, and the German section has a large amount of info on painting German camo on infantry and vehicles.

One section I was pleasantly surprised to see was a little bit of focus on my favourite tank (although it was in the American section). Specifically info on painting Sherman tracks - nice to see these being treated differently from the Russian and German track guide earlier in the book.

The book includes a table of all the new colours and their main uses. One of the things I was a bit annoyed to see missing in the book was a direct comparison chart with the Vallejo colours. Thankfully this has been included on the FoW website (and linked in the Breakthrough Assault guys blog post, which I will borrow as much as for my own reference).

Comparison chart (Vallejo)

All in all I was quite please with my purchase and hope that my painting skills will benefit. Definitely something more for those with more basic skills than anyone who already knows how to paint. The purchase price was a little higher than I would have liked and the Vallejo comparison/number chart should have been included in the book in my opinion. I also was a little annoyed at the number of pages given over to purely advertising, I felt that most people buying the book are going to be FoW players anyway and devoting so much space was a bit of a waste. In the digital version it would have been nice to have seen some of the functionality that Wargames Illustrated has, where images can be enlarges or even spun.

But a good effort by Battlefront, I'm glad I bought it and look forward to using it over the next 6 months with the start of the 6 Months Mountain Reduction Painting Challenge on the 1st of June.

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