Hi and welcome to the first ever review on my website. Today we’ll be looking at GPF Book 1 – Panel Line Technic.
Panel Line Technic is a book focusing entirely on scribing, written by Thai modeler Anupong Channarong (also known as nuNunu or Nu Gundam Factory). Let’s see what it has to offer!
The first thing you’ll notice about Panel Line Technic is the quality. It is beyond excellent. I love good print, own couple hundred books, and this is one of the most impressive ones I own. It’s certainly the nicest book on model building in my collection. The covers are nice, matte card stock, with glossy, slightly raised text. Pages use a thick, satin paper. Colors are vibrant, text is sharp and easy to read. Interestingly, book includes both English and Thai translations. The photos are just as good, though there are two or three exceptions, which look like they were scaled down in MS Paint. Overall though, as far as quality goes, only a few art books and hardcover editions in my collection can compete.
The layout is somewhat unorthodox. Rather than traditional walls of text and some captioned pictures, Anupong opted for something more visual. Blocks of text mix with big photos and clearly drawn schematics. Big headings bring our attention to the most important points. All in all, each page feels like well designed leaflet, rather than something that came out of Microsoft Word.
As a pre-order bonus I also received the so-called “Book 1.5”. It’s a small, 20-page booklet, which covers the basics of priming, painting and designing color schemes. This one is standard magazine quality, similar to The Weathering Magazine.
Now that I’m done drooling over the print quality, let’s talk what Panel Line Technic is all about.
The book consists of 130 pages, split into 9 chapters, which throughly cover most aspects of scribing. Author starts with the very basics – how to properly hold the chisel and guides, later on also mentioning guide tape, which he doesn’t seem to use much. From there, he takes us through some exercises, from scribing and joining basic lines to combining multiple thicknesses.. The practice section is not as extensive as the one in Scratchbuild Revolution (another popular scribing/detailing book), but it should serve you well on your first journey into the world of scribing.
In the next, rather short chapter we move on to actual scribing. Nu shows us the process of adding new lines and the explains the order we should do them in. Finally, we take a look at the proper cleanup, which ensures our panel lines look sharp and blend well with the surface of a model.
Stepping It Up
Chapters 4 through 7 focus on designing panel lines and are, in my opinion, most valuable.
First, we get introduced to a couple basic patterns, commonly used when creating new panel lines. Next, Anupong shows us how to combine them into well-balanced designs. He also takes some time to show us some common mistakes, such as bad alignment or scribing way too many panels.
Later on, he steps it up with a grid system. We learn how to create a mesh of lines, parallel to the part’s edges and how to use them for designing panel layouts. Author includes multiple scribing variants for the same part (in this case RX-78 shoulder), which are sure to inspire.
He also dedicated quite some time to creating simple bases for our kits. A bit too much in my opinion – a total of 18 pages. As interesting as the designs are, it quickly starts feeling like filler content. I feel there are better ways he could’ve used the space – such as section on making notches, which he doesn’t mention at all.
In addition to all the schematics, book also features quite a few impressive kits. Created by various modelers, these serve as great examples and inspiration.
These chapters are great reference that I’ll definitely keep coming back to.
Section on DIY tools is another great resource. If you’re on a budget, you’ll surely appreciate these simple recipes. Nu shows us how to create homemade chisels, edge scrapers and other useful gizmos, using nothing but spare hobby knife blades and some plastic.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though.
You might have noticed that book’s title – Panel Line Technic – doesn’t exactly sound right. Sadly, this is indicative of the entire publication. English translation leaves a lot to be desired and is definitely book’s weakest point.
Various typos and grammar errors are quite common. It didn’t cause me any problems with understanding author’s point, but reading felt quite awkward at times.
Still, I can’t blame Anupong too much. One-man publications like these usually don’t have the budget to pay someone for proofreading and corrections. I’m sure he did his best, as someone for whom English isn’t primary language.
Panel Line Technic does a great job explaining its subject matter, although it doesn’t exhaust all the techniques and possibilities – like the notches I mentioned earlier. While the price point of $40-$50 shipped puts it in line with other Gunpla books, it doesn’t include as much content. A bit bloated section on bases and text in two languages slightly raise the page count, though well designed layout limits the impact of the latter.
Still, it’s the best scribing resource I came across so far. Considering overall quality I find it well worth the price.
|Where to buy: Nu Gundam Factory, USA Gundam Store|