Starship Modeler - The complete information source for modelers who build sci-fi, fantasy and real space subjects

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By John Lester - images & text © 2017

Type: Softcover, 144pp, full color, ISBN: 978-1-62700-455-8, edited by Aaron Skinner

MSRP: $24.95 USD (~$ 30.83 CAN/€ 21.02 EUR - a/o 09/2017) available from Starship Modeler (and other fine bookstores)

Overall Rating: 9 - a worthy successor to Spaceships of Fact and Fantasy

Years ago, the only mainstream hobby guide to building sci-fi subjects was "Famous Spaceships of Fact and Fantasy" first published by Kalmbach in 1979, and re-popped in 1996. (I have one of the first printings - which shows you how old I am… also, you kids get off my lawn! ) With articles drawn from the pages of Fine Scale Modeler, it was a good introduction to basic construction, weathering techniques and simple scratchbuilding. Though it still holds up today, scale modeling has evolved greatly in 30+ years.

Fast forward to 2017, and we have a wealth of resources in print and online - so much information, in fact, it can be overwhelming. All today's techniques, materials, electronics and such can be daunting if you're just getting back into the hobby, let alone just starting out.

Fortunately, Kalmbach is back with a new guide for the sci-fi and fantasy scale modeler. Edited by FSM's Aaron Skinner and Randy Rehberg, Out of This World Modeling features 16 projects from the worlds of science fiction and fantasy movies, TV, and comics. Ten experienced modelers - many who will be familiar to Starship Modeler readers - demonstrate construction, painting, weathering, lighting, and scratchbuilding with spaceships, vehicles, and figures from popular culture in lavishly illustrated, step-by-step guides.

Projects Include


[Airbrushing article]

Explore New Techniques, Seek Out New Projects. Aaron Skinner demonstrates the basics - construction, painting and decaling - with Polar Lights' 1/1000 scale USS Enterprise from Star Trek (TOS). 111 photos are supplemented with further information on tools, painting and decal application.

Spray On Target When Airbrushing. Aaron uses Revell's (ex-Fine Molds) 1/48 scale X-Wing from Star Wars to demonstrate the basics of using an airbrush. 113 photos are supplemented with a page on airbrush basics.

Produce Purr-Fect Plastic Figures. Joe Hudson builds and paints Moebius' 1/8 scale Catwoman from 1966 Batman. 40 images focus on basic construction and how to paint a realistic finish.


Improve And Pose Post-Apocalyptic Foes. Brett W. Avants constructs a simple Maschinen Krieger vignette with Hasegawa's 1/20 scale Vega/Altair and Wave's 1/20 scale Raptor. 26 images document the posing, base and ground work, detailing and finishing of the two machines (OK, one machine and one crewed fighting suit).

Light Up The Supersonic Dragonfly. Jeff Polizzotto walks us through a simple LED lighting project with 36 images, using Moebius' Jonny Quest Dragonfly.


Paint A Fantastic Flaptter. Aaron Skinner demonstrates some more advanced painting and detailing techniques with 54 images of Bandai's 1/20 scale Flaptter (Castle in the Sky) being built and finished.

Elevate Boba Fett To Contest Quality. Bandai's 1/12 scale Boba Fett from Star Wars is Jeff Pollizzotto's canvas as he walks the reader through building, detailing and finishing the kit in 48 images.

Sink Your Claws Into A Superhero. Tim Kidwell builds and paints Polar Lights' 1/8 scale Wolverine (comic book version) across 42 images.


Holy Simple Modeling Techniques! Mat Irvine demonstrates how basic techniques, carefully applied, render Polar Lights' 1/25 scale Batmobile (1966 Batman) a showstopper. 36 images.

Make A Viper See Red. Brad Hair demonstrates basic scratchbuilding techniques to convert Moebius Mk.I Viper from Battlestar Galactica in to a Scarlet Viper variant. 24 images.


Working With Resin Is A Ball. Aaron Skinner is back to show how to build and paint resin kits, using Skyhook Models' 1/8 scale xenomorph from Dark Star in 36 images.

Master Gundam Style. Steve Pontius super-details Bandai's 1/100 scale RX-78 from Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. 36 images demonstrate scribing across complex surfaces, scratchbuilding details, and more.

Try An Out-Of-This-World Vinyl Vignette. Aaron Skinner uses various simple airbrush, wash, drybrush and sponge painting techniques to bring Dragon's 1/8 scale Groot with Rocket Raccoon (Guardians of the Galaxy) to life. 54 images.


Replicate An Extraterrestrial RV. In the box, Moebiu's 1/24 scale Chariot from Lost in Space seems like an unholy trifecta of metal finish, vast clear parts and tedious masking. Mat Irvine demonstrates how anyone can tame this beast in 36 images.

Light And Detail A Star Destroyer. Nicholas Sagan goes all out super-detailing and lighting Revell's 1/2256 scale Republic (Venator-class) Star Destroyer. 30 images document how he used everything from styrene strips to 3d-printed parts, plus yards of fiber optics to build his masterpiece.



Start A Starfighter From Scratch. Ro Annis details how he scratch built a 1/32 scale Y-Wing based on Ralph McQuarrie's concept art for the original Star Wars. 66 images detail the process. (As an aside, I've seen this one first-hand - it really is amazing work).

So… Is It Worth Getting?

In a word: yes. The pictures and accompanying text very clearly explain how each modeler worked through their project. There's a wealth of information here, especially for the beginner and intermediate builders. Perhaps most valuably, each project presents a good jumping off point to learning new tricks - for instance, get your feet wet with simple scratchbuilding by following Brad's Scarlet Viper process, but work a simple LED circuit while you're doing it. I would have liked some further discussion of metallic finishes and using vinyl masks (especially for Aztek patterns), and maybe a project that uses decals extensively to provide markings (since most modelers I know are afraid of decals), but those are minor quibbles.


Well-written, informative and inspiring. Recommended!

Many thanks to Kalmbach Publishing and Aaron Skinner for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 6000+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.

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This page copyright © 2017 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 10 October 2017.