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Book Review
Basic Scenery
Basic Scenery for Model Railroaders, Second Edition
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
KitMaker Network

Introduction
Do not be put off by "...for Model Railroaders..." if you are not a railroad modeler. Scenery is essential for dioramas and dioramas are a major part of many modelers' joy. Kalmbach Book's book Basic Scenery for Model Railroaders, Second Edition, by scenery master Lou Sassi is timeless and invaluable for any genre of modeling. Mr. Sassi has demonstrated his exceptional work with his legendary Boston & Maine West Hoosic Division HO layout through books, articles and features - and video - for decades.

Cracking the cover
Kalmbach Book's book Basic Scenery for Model Railroaders, Second Edition, ISBN: 9780890249468, is a softcover format measuring 8 1/4" x 10 3/4". It is 96 pages packed with 300 color photos and 20 illustrations.

Updated with recent techniques and new products, Mr. Sassi wrote the book with beginning to intermediate modelers in mind. Some new additions in this second edition demonstrate creating foam scenery and pouring of concrete roads. The book extensively introduces the modeler to creating terrain, add varieties of ground cover, how to build trees, and add details such as rocks, dirt and paved roads, water effects, signs, and more.* Text and step-by-step photographs and illustrations show the process of creating a miniature world of great realism through 96 pages of 20 chapters:
    Introduction

    Chapter 1: Foam base for scenery and track
    Chapter 2: Modular frame with a foam base
    Chapter 3: Adding basic ground cover
    Chapter 4: Making conifer trees
    Chapter 5: Realistic deciduous trees
    Chapter 6: Super Trees and Super Sage
    Chapter 7: Ground leaves for a forest floor
    Chapter 8: Turning trees into a forest
    Chapter 9: Rock formations from Foam Putty
    Chapter 10: Creating wetlands in four easy stages
    Chapter 11: Making a mill pond
    Chapter 12: Pouring a mill stream
    Chapter 13: Stone walls and barbed wire
    Chapter 14: Making a farm field
    Chapter 15: Building a dirt road
    Chapter 16: Gravel roads
    Chapter 17: Ready-mix concrete streets
    Chapter 18: Utility poles and lines
    Chapter 19: Creating safe grade crossings
    Chapter 20: Details make a difference

    Appendix: Suppliers and manufacturers
    About the author
    Acknowledgments

Esteemed as Mr. Sassi is in the scenery world, he freely shouts out to those to whom he credits his inspirations and knowledge: masters Davy Frary and Bob Hayden, Bob Hamm, et al..

With his experience penning articles, Mr. Sassi's text is very clear and wonderfully organized. It has whimsical parts that keep even the easily distracted focused. Those practices and techniques are demonstrated through the book in a unique manner: Mr. Sassi uses them to create a town in a 2' x 6' diorama layout for his O scale - 1/48 model railroad! Many of the processes in this book were once articles in Model Railroader. One of the articles I preserved decades ago is now in Chapter 7: Ground leaves for a forest floor. It shows how to take real leaves, endear yourself to your wife by pulverizing them in a blender, then drying it and using the detritus to make the most realistic ground cover imaginable. Another series of articles now in this book demonstrated how to use natural and artificial supplies to model trees - even realistic winter deciduous trees. The creating of swamps, marshes, and watercourses is demonstrated "in depth". Furrowing plowed fields is farmed to the great Rich Cobb in Making a farm field.

This book packs an incredible amount of excellent how-to's into a mere 96 pages.

Photographs, illustrations
The photography is superb! Many of the diorama scenes are shot out of doors with real life as a backdrop. In many images it is almost impossible to tell it is a model.

The photos include the materials and tools used in each chapter. Each product is identified in the sidebars.

Many clear illustrations fortify the photos and text.

Conclusion
OK, I admit it, I am absolutely impressed with this second edition of Basic Scenery! Even if there were no text the graphics impart the processes wonderfully. I think the book is worth having for the photographs alone.

I can not find anything worth meaningful criticism.

Mr. Sassi has been a standard bearer of expert scenic modeling for decades and this book clearly demonstrates why. Military, figure, sci-fi, civil, automotive, and even nautical modelers can benefit from the wealth of knowledge and expert presentation of this book. It definitely has a place on any modeler's bookshelf and I heartily recommend it!

Our thanks to Kalmbach Books for providing this book for review here on KitMaker Network!
______
Source

* Kalmbach Books

All images courtesy of Kalmbach Books.
SUMMARY
Highs: The photography is superb - I think the book is worth having for the photographs alone. Text is very clear and wonderfully organized.
Lows: I can not find anything worth meaningful criticism.
Verdict: This book packs an incredible amount of excellent how-to's into a mere 96 pages. Military, civil, figure, sci-fi, automotive, and even nautical modelers can benefit from the wealth of knowledge and expert presentation of this book.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 12482
  Suggested Retail: $19.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 29, 2014
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 93.31%

Our Thanks to Kalmbach Publishing Co.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


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