AK Interactive | Aces High Magazine Issue 6: The Battle of Britain
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 6, dedicated to The Battle of Britain.
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 index page is a good example).
The body of the magazine consists of five major build articles, plus three bonus rounds at the end:
- Der Adler Tag - Revell 1/72 Heinkel He 111H, by Fernando del Pino
- Death & Glory - Hasegawa 1/48 Hurricane Mk I, by Anis El Bied
- Devils in Yellow - Eduard 1/32 Bf 109E-1, by Juan Villegas
- The Trumpets of Jericho - Hasegawa 1/48 Junkers Ju 87B, by Mario Gabás
- Live to Fly, Fly to Live - Tamiya 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire Mk I, by Miguel Morales
- Battle of Britain Then and Now - Revell 1/48 Typhoon FGR4, by Istvan Michalko
- Mind the Gap - Andrea Miniatures 54mm Pilot Vignette, by Roberto Ramírez
- Mind the Gap - Tamiya 1/35 Austin Tilly, by Francisco J. Martínez
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. And while I'm not a particular fan of this style, that's a reflection of my own personal tastes, and not in any way a criticism of the considerable skill with which all of these models have been finished.
Istvan Michalko's Typhoon FGR4 model is a special bonus article, featuring four pages of his finished model, depicting ZK349, the aircraft painted in Battle of Britain-era camouflage to commemorate the the battle's 75th anniversary. This model is in a much cleaner, less affected style than the others, as befits the subject matter.
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 RAF pilot offers a useful primer on painting pilot figures, with some very useful hints and tips. The build of the RAF Tilly vehicle feels a little more out of place, but is an interesting article nonetheless.
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. 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 Romain Hugault (from Pin-Up Wings, Volume 3). Overall, I think it's a great effort, and will only improve in subsequent issues. Recommended!
Thanks to AK Interactive for the review sample.
© Kevin Futter 2016
This review was published on Sunday, January 03 2016; Last modified on Monday, January 04 2016