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Author showcase: Glenn Bartolotti

Glenn has been writing feature stories for FSM since 1988. Here's a look at his stories.
By Mark Hembree
Published: January 26, 2011
Glenn's March 2011 FSM article, "Finish a figure and base," is the latest in a long line of feature stories he has been contributing to FineScale Modeler magazine since 1988. The subjects are often World War II German (although Glenn branches off from time to time), but his true trademarks have always been innovative groundwork, masterful painting and weathering, and a knack for narration in composing scenes that tell of times and events connected with the models. So, we don't just see scale figures and vehicles — we see what they are doing, what they've been through, and their part in the action around them. As we are drawn into each story, the models become more realistic with subtleties that are based on logical conclusions about the subjects.

And that is the heart of the hobby — an accurate and admirable representation in scale.

The following is a list of Glenn's feature stories since 1988. Back issues can be ordered here, or by calling Kalmbach customer service at 800-533-6644 (262-798-8776 international).
  • Feb. 1988, "Modeling foxholes and trenches"
  • Nov. 1989, "Figure painting with oils"
  • Sept. 1990, "Scratchbuilding a Civil War siege mortar in 1/24 scale"
  • Jan. 1993, "Making wall fragments for figure displays"
  • March 1993, "Modifying and improving Historex 1/32 scale figures"
  • March 1994, "Detailing engines for 1/35 scale armor"
  • April 1995, "Simple groundwork"
  • Jan. 1997, "Converting a SdKfz 251/1C to a 251/9C"
  • Sept. 1999, "Afrika Korps armored assault gun"
  • Nov. 2008, "Vignettes: Scale storytelling"
  • May 2009, "Vietnam U.S. Navy Seal boat"
  • Sept. 2009, "Lost in Austria"
  • Oct. 2009, "Backdate an Opel Blitz"
  • May 2010, "Tank techniques & tips"
  • October 2010, "Model a German soldier with a bicycle"
Plus: "Building a German pillbox diorama" in FSM's 2009 special issue Essential Techniques for the Model Builder. You can order Essential Techniques for the Model Builder here, or by calling Kalmbach customer service at 800-533-6644 (262-798-8776 international).
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Now that we've all gone digital, this Sept. 1999 FSM feature by Glenn is the earliest we still have on hand. He converted a 1/35 scale DML StuG III Ausf C/D for action in North Africa, installing scratchbuilt sand filters, five extra road wheels per side, and jumbo jerry can racks. "It was an interesting and simple conversion," Glenn says.
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Although Glenn kept modeling and sending photos to us for Reader Gallery, he took nearly nine years off from writing feature stories. Upon returning in the Nov. 2008 FSM, he showed he hadn't lost his touch. He dodged a poor set of tracks on his Mirage 1/35 scale Renault UE light personnel carrier by leaving one run incomplete in modeling a disabled vehicle. Here, Glenn "rehearses" his scene with a Dragon mine-detector figure as a stand-in. The diorama base is an acrylic box frame from a crafts store.
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Glenn finally decided on a different Dragon figure to lend scale — and a story — to his diorama. A wary German foot soldier tells a tale of freshly conquered countryside in the aftermath of Germany's invasion of France in 1049.
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Fast forward 48 years from France to Vietnam: In the May 2009 FSM, Glenn veered from WWII armor to build Dragon's 1/35 scale SEAL boat, adding two Ford V8 engines and enhancing the craft with scratchbuilt details. He modified the pose of the figure and replaced its head with one from Hornet. Envirotex Lite two-part polymer mixed with Tamiya olive drab formed Mekong Delta waters for the boat.
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Back to WWII Glenn goes, building a section of Austrian architecture from sheet styrene and basswood on a Styrofoam base. Later, he would coat the wall with a mix of white glue and tile grout for stucco.
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Italeri's 1/35 scale SdKfz 234/2 Puma, enhanced with spare parts and sheet-styrene doors attached to cut-out storage bins, occupies Glenn's Austrian base at the end of the war. Note the shaded stucco and heavily weathered vehicle — both bear Glenn's distinctive finishing touches of artist's oils and powdered pastels, detailed in his Sept. 2009 FSM article.
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A few easily executed changes backdated Tamiya's 1/35 scale 4 x 2 cargo truck to an early-war Opel Blitz. Glenn used tissue paper from a shoebox for the canvas cargo cover, and again weathered with artist's oils and pastels. His down-and-dirty German truck was featured in the Oct. 2009 FSM.
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In the May 2010 FSM, Glenn demonstrated fundamentals of armor-building techniques on Italeri's 1/35 scale Carro Armato L6/40. He solved a difficult suspension by cutting the drive sprocket teeth to produce an easier fit.
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Like any good FSM author, Glenn never strays far from being ready to shoot a work-in-progress picture — absolutely essential for "how-to" articles. A writer can only explain so much. That's why there are pictures in the dictionary.
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The Radfahrs are coming! Uh, don't worry — it's just bicycles. The Germans mounted some infantry on bikes, giving Glenn something to do with a 1/35 scale Warriors Waffen SS figure. Dappled camouflage on the soldier's smock was a complex painting project, but the tricky part was melding an Italeri bicycle with LionRoar photoetched-metal parts to give it a finer, more in-scale appearance.
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In addition to his feature articles for FineScale Modeler magazine, Glenn wrote a story for FSM's special issue Essential Techniques for the Model Builder, demonstrating his groundwork techniques on an unusual subject: a Panzerturm, an earth-mounted tank turret. Extensive research uncovered the details for one of these German defensive gun emplacements.
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Acrylic frame box, great groundwork, artful composition, masterful painting and finishing, and an intriguing subject — must be another Bartolotti build!
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