Review by Mike Mende
I am always on the lookout for any products that may enhance all kinds of displays from small vignettes to the largest diorama. I tend to work almost exclusively in 1:35 scale and that is where the market continues to expand at an ever increasing rate For many years companies like Black Dog, Plus Model and Reality in Scale dominated the market with their superb resin and printed offerings and there is no doubt that they truly enhance any display in which they feature, but injection moulding manufacturers have caught up.
You can, for instance, buy MiniArt styrene kits for as little as £10.99 and I give you four examples of what can be found if you look carefully.
Let’s take the MiniArt kits first. They both contain some of the best styrene models of 1/35 chairs, tables & desks that I have come across.
The moulding on the leg and base of the cafe table are a particularly good representation of the actual cast iron base and the office desk has been moulded in such a way as it can be painted as either a wood or a metal construct. In the cafe kit you get 2 tables and four chairs and the office kit has two desks and two chairs.
In addition, both kits provide a host of extras. The cafe kit contains plates, cups mugs and beer & wine glasses and a generous supply of beer and wine bottles in green, brown and clear plastic. As well as those, you get a sturdy sheet of paper with a selection of coloured cafe awning parts and shop front signs, all in perfect registration. The office kit contains virtually all the items, mostly of German type, you might need including standard and field telephones, several fire extinguishers, a filing case, oil lamps with glass chimneys and decanters. A printed sheet is again included, bearing a large wall map and wall poster. All in all great value for money and enough in each kit to supply items for several dioramas.
Turning to the Diopark kits, this is not a manufacturer with which I was familiar but, if you look them up on the internet, you will find that they almost exclusively produce styrene diorama accessory kits. The Cooking Ware kit has a plethora of Field Cookware which, from the box top art, looks to be for a Russian WWII Field Kitchen although most items are sufficiently international and timeless to be displayed in any environment. It contains a large table and benches, a host of cooking pots, plates mugs etc as well as some of the most exquisite knives, forks spoons and cooking implements. Just have a look at their kettle alongside the MiniArt oil lamp.
The lamp is in 2 parts and the kettle in 3.
I now come to the undoubted champion of the four kits, the Diopark Factory Tools Set 1. I urge you to look out for it and acquire as many boxes as you can as it has a multitude of uses, both military and civil and is almost completely timeless as most of it can be used anywhere from the late 19th century through to the present day. Just take a look at the fabulous workbench, it not only looks right but every single drawer is completely workable.
You will benefit from a careful glance at the sprues. They contain a splendid cross-section of all the normal tools you will find in a typical commercial or military workshop including saws, spanners, bolt cutters paint brushes and even a set of dividers.
What about vices, shears, wire brushes, pliers, cutters, files and even, the star of the show, adjustable spanners with the company name clearly stamped on them!
I was also impressed with some nicely moulded pipe valves but what excited me most was the detail on the tiny accompanying hand wheels which could go in the spares box for all sorts of applications.
As a final pièce de résistance I urge you to look at the top of the kit’s box back where you will find a cut-out card model of a Russian KV2 tank in what appears to be scaled down to 1/35 of the kit environment which I calculate to be a scale of 1/1225.
If any of these items appeal to you, even if you have no definite project in mind suiting these items; go out, find the kits and add them to your stash as soon as you can because some of them seem to be in short supply.
Whenever I spot anything of similar content I shall be sure to let you know through Geoff and this great magazine.