AK Interactive | Aces High Magazine Issue 4: The Mediterranean Theater of Operations
Reviewed by Kevin Futter
Spanish firm AK Interactive has, in a relatively short space of time, become quite well-known for its finishing and weathering products, of which it sports an extensive range. In 2014, the company branched out with the launch of its own aircraft modelling magazine, entitled Aces High. Here we examine issue number 4, dedicated to The Mediterranean Theater of Operations.
The magazine itself is very stylishly produced, with the covers printed on light card stock, and the contents on heavy, glossy paper. The design is busy, with lots of stylistic conceits that occasionally interfere with readability.
The body of the magazine consists of five major build articles, plus two bonus rounds at the end:
- The African Eagle-Owl - Hasegawa 1/72 Beaufighter, by Fernando del Pino
- Deadly Desert Friedrich - Hasegawa 1/48 Bf 109F-4 trop, by Javier Lopez de Anca
- Libyan Eisenseiten - Eduard 1/48 Bf 100E, by Tomás de la Fuente
- The Shark-Toothed Hawk - Hasegawa 1/32 Kittyhawk Mk 1, by Tomek Wajnkaim
- Maltese Warrior - Tamiya 1/72 Spitfire Mk Vb, by Manuel Gil Garcia
- Mind the Gap - The Ground Section - 1/18 Hans-Joachim Marseille figure, by Roberto Ramirez
- Mind the Gap - The Ground Section - ICM 1/35 Ford Maultier, by Martinez Rodriguez
Each of these builds is truly exceptional, with fantastic detail and meticulous paint work, with the focus of each article placed squarely on the finishing techniques employed. It's fair to say that, being a Spanish magazine, the finishing style of each model belongs to what is colloquially known as the 'Spanish School' - a stylised approach that exaggerates certain elements of the finish to create a dynamic impact on the viewer. When used judiciously, this style can produce truly wondrous results, but when taken to extremes, the resultant model can look like a caricature of the subject.
The models featured in this magazine all tend toward the extreme end of the spectrum, especially with regard to panel line highlighting, as evidenced by Javier Lopez de Anca's Bf 109F-4 trop build.
Judgements of taste aside, there's no doubting that there is much to marvel at and learn from in the pages of this magazine. Even those finishes our personal aesthetic my deem overdone, offer insight into the techniques used to create them, and these are still eminently useful in creating a more restrained result on your own models.
The two smaller, non-aircraft articles at the end of the magazine round at the content. The article on the Hans-Joachim Marseille pilot figure offers a useful primer on painting pilot figures, with some very useful hints and tips. The build of the Ford Maultier vehicle feels a little more like filler, and I recommend that the Aces High team considers dropping this segment from future editions.
It's worth noting that in all cases, the photography is clear and crisp, with each image supporting the explanatory text nicely.
It's not perfect, and the featured finishing style will not be to everybody's tastes, but the quality of the modelling on show transcends such subjective considerations. I'd like to see more varied approaches and styles, however. Still, there is much to admire and learn here, and the impressive production values make it a visual feast. What's more, the centre pages consist of a bonus poster, featuring a piece of artwork by Luis David. Recommended!
Thanks to AK Interactive for the review sample.
© Kevin Futter 2015
This review was published on Friday, May 22 2015; Last modified on Sunday, January 03 2016