IA Masterclass contains about a dozen or so detailed models painted by some of the premier model/builder painters. The book is of course very heavy on imperial armor as suggested by the title, with few marine/xenos additions. However, the techniques explored within this book are certainly applicable to any army, so don't let that be a deterrent. The book also goes into a lot of detail on building table terrain and dioramas (one of the tables they walk thru building is the coolest 40K table Ive ever seen). They explain, in nearly step by step fashion how they also build the diorama seen on the cover (with the imperial artillery piece). While it leaves some minor details out, anyone advanced enough to tackle a project like that will be able to fill in all the gaps ( I cant wait to build a display board for adepticon 2012!).
Ive adopted a number of the techniques shared in this book when working on my razorbacks (see previous post), primarily using weathering powders and applying battle damage with a dremel, a toothpick, and green stuff (albeit somewhat bit scary the first time). While Im not going to leverage everything explored (using oil paints and thinner to make streaking stains of metal), a majority of what was explained is useful.
Now, this book is truly for advanced painters only. If you cant paint to the level I'm painting at a minimum, I would believe your probably not going to get a lot of technique out of this book yet (and not to say I'm a master painter, far from it, but I believe I have the minimum skill set needed to paint using these techniques). Having an airbrush and being comfortable with it will also get you a lot further. You will still use a lot of what your learning without an airbrush however, but wont be able to replicate some (about half) of what you see.
So, who should buy this book?
If you do simply like looking over awesome 40k models and miniatures, but aren't a painter or a good painter yet, you will still love this book... There is enough in this book to keep you drooling and admiring that I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys modeling and 40k. I know several times I have spent 20 minutes here or there just staring at the dioramas and models. Its a MUST BUY in my opinion, and at $40 it wont break the bank. If your a die hard eldar or ork player and dont care about looking at imperial tanks, then you may be the one caveat. Otherwise, its a rock solid purchase at $40, and I'm excited to see what what Volume two brings. Maybe they will get into painting more than just tanks/flyers. As someone who resells every model/codex I don't foresee using again, and even though I have many of the technique down after reading them 40 times, I'm holding onto this book for good... Go head to your local GW store and pick it up today!
Link to site with more excerpts from the book