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Book Review
EiC # 2 : Frozen Hell
Elements in combat # 2 - Frozen Hell. Snow, Ice & Winter Camouflage
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by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Originally published on:


This is the second volume in what is becoming an increasingly invaluable series. The first which dealt with water and effects in a variety of settings had some incredibly useful pointers, this, the second, deals with Ice, Snow & Winter Camouflage. Both of these areas are difficult to do convincingly and both are areas where many modelers are frequently reluctant to tackle. So, perhaps its useful to see these books as more than simply 'Guides' - see them instead as a means of boosting confidence!

The Book - the bare bones

Elements in combat # 2 - Frozen Hell. Snow, Ice & Winter Camouflage is a soft-cover, 96 page book which has recently been published by the Spanish Publisher, Xtreme Modelling. The book is a series of step-by step builds of NINE very different projects by 9 different modelers.

The Book - In Detail

To give a little more 'depth' to this Review, I'll use this section to cover the contents of the book and the next section to look, in more depth, at a particular project.

The book is seperated into three sections:

White Under Olive Drab
White Under 4BO
White Under Dark Grey/Dark Yellow

The first section presents 2 projects covering whitewashed schemes for U.S. subjects. The second covers 2 more builds concentrating on Soviet Armor (4B0 is in reference to Soviet AFV Green) in whitewash. The third subdivision contains 5 projects which cover a variety of German vehicles & figures in a variety of time-frames.

The nine build-projects are executed by 9 modelers who have all gained excellent reputations in a variety of publications and have won a considerable number of awards between them.

All of the projects begin with a highlighted box showing the Models, Conversion & Update sets which were used in its execution. An extensive text accompanies each build explaining the process which was followed to get the diorama to the point the modeler wished. Inevitably, a large part of this book covers the application of winter camo and the fact that virtually all the authors of the sections have a slightly different approach, this adds enormously to its utility.
Of course as all the models are presented in a diorama setting, much is made of groundwork, positioning of the various elements and any other features which add to the interest of the setting. Not all of the Dioramas feature a 'solid' mass of snow or ice. Some have a light' dusting of snow, others slush and others represent frozen ground.
The quality of the photos in the book (and there are a LOT) is excellent - smaller images cover the step-by-step parts, larger images showing the diorama as a whole or areas of particular interest.
Now, let's look at a particular project:

Case Study - 'Breaking the Ice'

Of all the projects in the book, 'Breaking the Ice' by the Swedish modeler, Jonas Dhalberg is perhaps the one which transmits an extraordinary sense of both movement and panic. The situtaion represented, takes place during the 'Winter War' - the conflict between the U.S.S.R. & Finland. A soviet T-26, while crossing the ice of a lake or river, falls through forcing its crew (and accompanying infantry) to make a rapid evacuation of the vehicle and the proximities of the disintegrating ice. The central vehicle (the T-26), is a heavily updated model of the Mirage kit and the figures are a mixture of MiniArt, Tamiya & DML with some scratchbuilding. In 9 pages, Dhalberg takes us through the building of the diorama. He begins with the adaptation of the AFV, in considerable detail using a series of step-by-step photos (and accompanying text) and then the figures. The final part is a detailed guide to the construction of the base and, in particular, the materials he uses to produce such convincing ice. As there is also water present in the Diorama, some useful pointers are also given on this..

The contents:

White Under Olive Drab:

Shooter Down (M4 Sherman) - José L. López
In God We Trust (M24 Chaffee) - Antonio Martín Tello

White Under 4BO

Breaking the Ice (T-26) - Jonas Dhalberg
SU-76 M "SUKA" - Michel Pérez

White Under Dark Grey/Dark Yellow

Lost in the Steppe (Munitionsschlepper Panzer I) - Ricardo Merino
White Hell (38 (t) ) - Javier Soler
Time for a Break (Sd.Kfz 234/1) - Ignacio del Corral
Ground Threat (10.5cm Flak 39) - Patrick Dorn
Captured T-70 - Abilio Piñeiro

Final Conclusions:

When Xtreme Modelling published the first of the books in this series, it was pretty obvious that this was going to be the start of something pretty special. With this, the 2nd book, that is absolutely confirmed. There are a few points which, in this section, is worth considering:

Firstly, the decision to use a 'Team' of modelers is absolutely spot-on. Nine modelers, given a broadly similar brief, will inevitably look at the situation from different perspectives this gives the reader a variety of techniques to choose from and use (or adapt) that which fits their needs the best.

Secondly, the 'WWII theme' of the book should NOT exclude it from those with an interest in other time-periods. Those who build Modern subjects will find plenty of material if they're working on a diorama in Korea or Kosovo, Yugoslavia or a NATO exercise in Germany in the 1970s. Snow and ice are pretty universal, so many elements will have a commonality - no matter the period of time.

For 'newer' modelers or even the vastly-experienced who want a fresh prespective on this kind of terrain, the book is crammed full of fresh and original ideas.

Somewhat obvious, any book which is full of useful techniques is only as good as the finished project. In Frozen Hell, the finished dioramas are absolutely superlative.

The next point, like many other areas such as water or sand, concerns the 'Fear Factor' which many have when considering snow or ice as an element. The quality of the text, the detail of the progress photos and the originality all helps to boost confidence. When any complex task is broken down into simple stages - the 'Fear' does tend to evaporate!

A superbly useful book and as an added bonus, it's incredibly good value for money - VERY Highly Recommended.
Highs: The editing, the step-by step images but, above all, the way it explains a difficult series of techniques in a straightforward manner.
Lows: None which are notable.
Verdict: This is rapidly turning into one of the most useful series on the market. Equally applicable for AFV, Figure or Diorama moders.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: Elements in Combat 2
  Suggested Retail: 21,95€
  Related Link: Item on Publisher's Website
  PUBLISHED: Dec 29, 2008

Our Thanks to Xtreme Modelling!
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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the look-see Jim. I've some projects planned which will definitely benefit from this book
DEC 28, 2008 - 01:33 PM
The subjects look great. From what I can see of the SBS it looks easy to follow. Thanks for the review.
DEC 28, 2008 - 11:37 PM
Excellent review, Jim, this looks like a must have for my bookshelf
DEC 29, 2008 - 04:45 PM
Looks like a very usefull book if you want to expand more into dio`s. Steve
DEC 30, 2008 - 07:19 AM

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