- ARRSE Rating
- 5 Mushroom Heads
Since the beginning of time, the Middle-East and North Africa have been the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in history and this makes the area a popular setting for wargamers and diorama builders. So, depending upon your period of history; Roman versus Parthians, Crusader against Saracen, Foreign Legion fighting Rif tribesmen, T.E.Lawrence's exploits during WW1, Montgomery battling Rommel or even the Six-Day war, there are possibilities for all in this book.
This really is a little treasure. Although Harwood works mainly in 28mm or occasionally 15mm scales, there is no reason why the plans cannot be upscaled to 1/35 or bigger if necessary. Each topic comes with a materials list and a useful list of paints used. The projects are photographed at each stage of development with useful captions accompanying them.
Following the books' introduction Harwood has thoughtfully given some notes on the paints used and the tools and materials used. He then divides the book into four main sections. Section One is Mud Brick Houses, with three buildings, each progressively more challenging. Section Two is titled Various Scales and covers a 15mm Gunboat, the Melik; a 15mm Mosque and a 28mm El Alamein railway station. Section three contains two 28mm African huts, one generic and one Sudanese. The final section, section four is 28mm modular terrain, containing items on how to make rough or rocky ground and an oasis scene containing a Bedouin Tent, Well and Palm Trees.
The end of the book contains a section called final thoughts, where the author gives his opinion of what he does. This is followed by a very useful Glossary of Terms and Materials, a section that answers a lot of the questions posed by the builds in the book.
When I first saw this book, I thought "Why would this be of interest to me?" However, after reading it from cover to cover and making extensive notes, I realised that this is just the sort of book every modeller needs. It is written in plain speech, making it easy for the beginner and expert alike, starts with simple projects and gives hints on what and where to obtain materials. The author is not afraid to include items that have been " donated" from other models, which I am sure most of us do anyway.
I am really impressed with this book and would certainly recommend it to others. I would add one note of caution, the author does not include any interior detail in the models. He builds them "in block". I am happy with that, but others may feel the need to add extra detail, in which case, this book will only be a beginner's guide. Most of us though, will find it thoroughly enjoyable with plenty of "now why didn't I think of thats" and "I think I can use that". I know I definitely did!
If you get the chance, buy this book and any of it's companions, they are well worth it.
Rating; an excellent 5/5