Mustang was always among favorite subjects for modelers and aviation historians. A plane designed for a tad over three months during late WWII, and yet still one of the most capable piston engine fighters ever made. It is self-explanatory why any modeler would like to have as much information about it as possible, especially when it comes down to building it. That is because, in historical terms, the plane is described thoroughly and actually, with many still flying nowadays and in private hands, its quite accessible for the interested parties. However, modeling-wise information is always welcomed. That is because there are many different manufacturers, different modeling approaches and ideas times more than modelers involved. Some, as we are about to see shortly – very successfully implemented.
There are plenty of new toolings from the last couple of years on the Mustang subject. We have two of the quarter scale in the last two years solely. Completely redesigned as well – one of them doesn’t even require glue to be completed! But since it is WWII warbird, the best way to approach it is always in larger scale. The square footprint of prop fighter planes of the Second World War is somehow generous towards our limited /well not for the lucky ones/ modeling space, thus we can get bigger models!
In 32nd scale there are three distinctive releases. Tamiya, which is a state of the art kit and my favorite, Zoukei-Mura, which gives different approach towards the model and lately, Revell as well. Latter one is the cheapest, most acceptable and last but not least, the reason for quite a few heated arguments between me and fellow modelers. It is the one that you can get easier than the rest, because it is available in many toy stores, while in the same time getting Zoukei-Mura can be a challenge. Tamiya, on the other hand has a hefty price tag compared to Revell, so that pretty much answers it for many modelers out there.
That was forming my opinion that Revell is some sort of a second-grade kit compared to the other two and I strongly opposed any attempts from the fellow modelers to compare it to Tamiya. Zoukei-Mura, as we all know is a whole different animal. Anyhow, KLP Publishing changed my mind about Revell. It might sound weird, but actually seeing the whole process arranged and followed thoroughly, revealed the kit in different light and highlighted its potential.
The book that KLP made for the Mustang is, as per usual in electronic format. KLP Publishing are working that way. And I can share a lot of my thoughts about how cool that is, but let’s stick to the facts and be objective as much as possible.
First, there is no paper with this book! You can have it only as a ebook. And if you ask me, that is superb decision. In a World that we consume times more than we have on our hands, this is the best way to go. Not only that, but it gives you plenty of additional options to work with. Recently published article about the Mini PCs in our modeling room might help you get the idea.
KLP Publishing did it in very neatly arranged and logically presented format, starting with the description of the kit, slowly introducing the reader into the subject. Then on, with a smooth transition, it leaves you in the hands of the modeler that is the guest-star of the book, if I might say so. The book is about one single plane – true. However it is not a sole deed of the modeler, but rather a team work that helps the building process to shine, thanks to talent, work and clever forming of the information presented.
Many might think that this is similar to any of the magazines out there and there are plenty of builds that one can refer to. So why KLP? Well, there are many reasons, one of which is, that in reality this book has little to do with any magazine. It is really a book, even though in electronic format only, but is far from any of the magazines that you get on a regular basis out there. Maybe because it is about a single subject and the devotion was greater, or maybe because it is designed to be a proper book from the get go – whichever it is, this product gives different feel. It reveals small and intricate details, that you cannot get from a magazine. Somehow engages you with what’s in the builders head and reveals the whole building process as if you are being a live witness to it all.
Details, complimented with high-res pictures are thoroughly described, leaving no stone unturned and are somewhat eye opening experience. At least for myself, a guy who was very skeptical about Revell’s Mustang, KLP Publishing did the job. But as the old saying goes: “You cannot learn what you think you already know”. Well, Mustang book from KLP proved me wrong. I really never knew. But now I do. Revell kit deserves respect.
Being KLP’s customer
Something very interesting about KLP Publishing has to be mentioned here. Something that almost nobody does nowadays. That is giving your client more than you promised. As once quoted: the best business model is – under-promise, over-deliver. KLP Publishing are the living proof of that moto.
How it works? Well, if there is an update on any of the products mentioned in the book, any reference or anything that is worth mentioning, KLP Publishing updates it in the book and then…
updates the existing customers for free.
That is right. Free. In other words, you don’t have to buy a new book every time it gets upgraded. Try and find that with any other publisher.
That is done solely thinking about the customer, but not from a business stand point. Since KLP Publishing is a product of modelers and is designed for and targets other modelers, nobody wanted to exploit the product to its maximum. Just the contrary. Everything that was done from KLP Publishing was with the idea to over-deliver especially with the format.
The truth is, that many of the modelers are hoarders to some extent, that includes me. And in a material world, having a brick of a book on the shelf is an achievement of a sort. Knowing that, KLP did their best to justify their decision to go paperless, although for me this is already a sold idea. Just look at the Australian fires that are still happening and the extreme loss of life there. That would be enough for any human being to stop and think about it. How can we be more effective and more modest in our consuming? For one reason, not using that much paper is the way for me. And good luck with any of us recycling your modeling magazines…
That is tricky, considering the fact that each KLP book features different modeler, which means different photographing skill set. However, for the Mustang, our subject in this review – it looks superb. The pictures are clear and everything is visible. From my standpoint – a true skeptic on the Revell Mustang idea – pictures told a story that I will never forget.
The focus –not literally – is pointed at the exact spot and gives you that “picture worth a thousand words” feel. The thing that did it for me was the contrast I got from what I saw in the review section with that dull Revell-looking plastic and the finished product, especially ones that show the spinner of the Mustang. That revealed so much information and emphasized on the end results, which contrasts with the kit contents a lot. And even though we all know that is a result of hard work and talent, the whole thing was presented by KLP in a way that made it unforgettable for me.
Information at the end
Every time I start a project, sometimes even before I purchase the kit itself – I do a thorough research of its weaknesses and potential for aftermarket. Alongside with that I gather as much information as possible on the subject and arrange it in a package, that in my eyes will give me the best result possible. That is often time consuming, especially if there is no completed builds showing how other people did it.
I’ve seen plenty of copy cats, for example many tanks did exactly as Michael Rinaldi described his process in the book, or Adam Wilder suggested in his works. I’ve seen it with planes too. But that is not the correct way to approach modeling. At least in my opinion. In the same time, knowing what you can do with your kit with all the aftermarket is almost mandatory nowadays with so much stuff out there.
KLP Publishing understood the importance of that and embedded all that information in the book. Mustang release end with a plethora of products, that will help you find your way to perfection. And that is the information that get updated when the creators find it reasonable to do so.
That in my eyes is priceless. Because if you have such book for every kit out there, this would be the very first thing to purchase. And if you think I am exaggerating, think again, only after checking out the prices of the books in KLP, which by the way are in dollars, Australian…
As a continuation of the last paragraph, I must add that if it wasn’t for the rest /which was great/, that last info with all the books and the aftermarket at the end of KLP’s Mustang release would’ve done it for me. For a fraction of the expenses that one must do when starting a project, you get a map that outlines many potential ways of dealing with kit’s strengths and weaknesses. And as we all know, every kit has them.
Bible, would be a word too strong for that book, but the only reason for that is that if it was a bible, it would’ve contain plenty of projects, not only one. But this is definitely a well described chapter of Mustang’s story in 32nd scale. And if we gather all the releases from KLP, we can easily start an Almanac of Large Scale modeling. One, that is contemporary and one that you can easily bring in your pocket on your high end mobile device. While in the same time use it on your large TV screen in your modeling room. Try that with a paper book. Let me know how it works.
Very highly recommended, especially for Revell nay-sayers like myself.