The old Dutch Masters are familiar to art students all around the world. Rembrandt and Vermeer have become, over the centuries, virtually household names and synonymous with great art. And now a new crop of artists has arisen; artists who work in the medium of plastic, paint, and pigment. While it might be a bit of a stretch to put this newest crop of artists in that same lofty company they have, in a very short time, made quite a name for themselves.
The publishers of AFV Modeller
magazine have produced a new book, Made In Holland, A Portfolio of Dutch Master Modellers
, which, just like the title says, provides a portfolio of some of the best and brightest Dutch modelers all together in one publication for the rest of the world to enjoy. The book is a soft cover, 168-page affair with color throughout. It is divided into eleven different sections with each of the sections featuring a different modeler. The sections each provide a small introduction to the featured modeler in which they outline their particular philosophy on modeling as well as a bit of their personal history, particularly as it pertains to modeling. Each of the modelers presents anywhere from one of their masterpieces up to the most prolific who presents eight different works for us to drool over. Each of the dioramas and vehicles featured provides some narrative to give an idea of materials, thought processes, and how it was constructed as well as any issues that might have been confronted along the way - which is nice as the photographs have no captions to speak of.
If you want a more visual review check out Jim’s feature on the book in his episode of “Turning the Page” here
The Masters, listed in the order in which they appear:
Axel presents a pair of dioramas for us. The first, “Baptism of Fire”, is set in a Stalingrad factory and features a SIG 33B constructed from the old Dragon kit and a scratch built factory. His second featured work is “By British Standard”, a Tunisian scene of a broken-down British Quad that has been captured and pressed into German service towing a PAK40 75mm AT gun.
Bas provides a pair of vehicles for the book; first a BMP in Finnish service, and secondly, a massive Vomag that carries an impressive 88mm Flak 18/36.
Warrink also forgoes the diorama route to present a trio of models. His first is the Plus Model offering of the Russian aerosan and the second is the ubiquitous T-34. The T-34 is the 1941 version as kitted by Dragon. His third model is a superlative what-if effort that gives his imagineering of what a British jagdcromwell would have looked like.
It’s clear that Eric really likes those dioramas that highlight recovery and maintenance. He presents four different works, all related to this one central theme. His first is a Berge Panzer on a Mk III L chassis in some very cold conditions. He follows that up with a small, but very atmospheric, diorama entitled “Eisig”. The diorama features a very well done Sdkfz 11 in what could only be referred to as blistering cold conditions. His next diorama is an Opel Maultier that has been field modified to carry a 1.5t lifting crane. No snow or ice here, just a nicely done field of tall grass. His final presentation is a very well worn Italeri SWS halftrack hauling a load of engines for various vehicles, once more winter has rolled around again with this one.
Luc, whose Sdkfz. 251 graces the cover, provides a pair of dioramas. Luc also has a diorama gallery with five of his beauties featured, and a figure gallery with a further seven that have been presented. The two dioramas he has included both feature halftracks; one of them the aforementioned 251 and the other a Sdkfz. 250/8. Both of these vehicles are stuffed full of German soldiers and he includes the only “in-process” photography included in the book. As it would be impossible to find figures that would pack that tightly and naturally, Luc has had to resort to sculpting his own figures. As such it is this sculpting which provides the subject for his step by step photography. These are both superlative works, and with all due respect to the other modelers featured, these may be the most impressive works in the entire book.
Marcel du Long
Marcel contributes only one model to the portfolio, the Tamiya 8t halftrack mounting the 20mm flakvierling in the Sdkfz 7/1 combo. Like all the others models featured this section features some outstanding model photography.
Marcel von Hobe
Our second Marcel brings in one model as well, although he also has a gallery page of several of his other works. The one featured model is a Royal Australian Centurion which makes a nice change of pace from the large number of European Theatre themed models throughout the book. I particularly liked the Michelin man, Marcel!
Not one, not two, but three Marcels in a row! Obviously, a very popular Dutch name. Zwarts provides us with a beautifully done British M4A4, which I think may be my personal favorite of all the models in the book. He also contributes an unusual combo that he calls “The Grandparent’s Bike Project” which features two standard bikes; one for men and another for women. These are no frills bikes from the 40s, of the type that a grandparent might tool around town in, hence the name, and very well done. He follows this up with a pair of Market-Garden dioramas; one set outside of Westerbouwing and the other in Oosterbeek, both are great studies in the use of foliage and vegetation in a diorama.
Robert may be the editor of this edition; at any rate he contributes three of his dioramas as well as the book’s introduction. His first diorama is titled “City Limits” and is an action-packed urban scene featuring a StuG IIIB. His next offering is a small in size (but packed with detail) whimsical diorama, “The Thieving Magpie”, which features - you guessed it! - a thieving magpie (are there any other kind?). He finishes up with a very nice, detail-laden, Berlin 1945 diorama, “Life in Ruins”, which features a T-34 and a family in their ruined home.
Roger is the most prolific of all the Dutch Masters presented here with seven fabulous offerings for us to check out. The first is a knocked out T-34 and the panzerschreck team that did the beast in. The second is a very well done Pz IB command tank being lifted onto a transport for the 1940 invasion of Norway. A couple of his models are not on a diorama base, but are well done nonetheless; a Pz IV J with a couple of infantry onboard, and a well-crewed Sdkfz 251 kitted out with night vision equipment. The more traditional dioramas include a pair of works that feature the Dutch SS in the retreat to Narwa and the subsequent retreat out of Narwa. I like this pair as together they tell quite a story; in the first they are retreating in an Opel Maultier, while in the retreat out of Narwa they are reduced to retreating via a horse and cart. His remaining contribution is a 1943 Tiger I E in the Ukraine set in the snow and ice; oddly enough it is the only ‘big cat’ in the entire book!
Roy is our last, but certainly not our least, contributor, he provides us a look at five of his masterful works. His first contribution is another of the whimsical dioramas, “Labor of Love” with an old kettenkrad being used to pull a plow, you can guess out of the old farm couple who is driving the ‘krad and who is ‘manning’ the plow!
He follows that up with three dioramas that tell ‘end of the line’ stories; the first “End Station” which features the downward tumble of a Mk IV in a late war urban setting, the next an Opel Blitz carting away a statue of Lenin after the fall of Mariupol in 1941. Makes you wonder how many of those “town square” type statues were melted down and fired back! He next contributes a nicely done piece, “Rocket Man” with a pair of GIs inspecting and posing in an abandoned Sturmtiger. Who knew that one GI would fit perfectly into the business end of the 38cm bruiser!
His final offering, and the last feature in the book, is a very well executed North African street scene featuring a Panzer II F (from Cyberhobby), some very nicely done architecture, and an Arab woman who is probably going to end up in a world of hurt after a bit of cheek with a pitcher of water(?).
Well, that’s it. A 168-page trip through some of the finest that Dutch modelers have to offer. Superb photography throughout, thirty-four different dioramas and models, to say nothing of the extra galleries that run from the very, very good to the sublime. Great if you’re looking for some inspiration or just like to check out another collection of some of the world’s finest plastic modeling around. Will this book signal the beginning of a new ‘school’ of modeling to compete with the Spanish and Scandinavian? Only time will tell, but this could well be the first step.