by: Scott Lodder [ ]
Digging into the boxHeavy duty is what you get with this packing. With plaster kits you always worry that they will arrive broken. Custom Dioramics (CD) does everything they can to ensure a good delivery. They use a heavy duty cardboard box on the outside and plenty of packaging material inside. The resin pieces are in a tight ziplock bag separate from everything else. The plaster pieces are well packed with layers separated by bubble wrap and any dead space is filled with packing peanut foam. My kit arrived in good condition.
what you getYou get ton of possibilities. This, to me, is a very creative kit.
The basics are, you get 11 pieces, four resin, seven plaster. There is a short tip sheet included to give you help dealing with plaster. There is a bonus in this kit that I think is becoming more of a standard in the diorama world – a ‘sign sheet’. The poster sheet is a paper sheet of French Business signs.
The pieces are easily figured out with nothing more than the box art. So assembly won’t be complex. I have already test fit this kit and it was very easy. The final product will be approximately 7” high with a 8.5” wide by 6” deep foot print. The roadway/archway is about 4.25”wide.
The resin parts are clean with just a bit of typical clean up. Nothing major as far as resin blocks or thick over-pour. The plaster parts are nicely done. The sculptor, Dave Pomeranski, does a great job wit this piece. There is a great mixture of textures and interest points all over this kit. The bricks are uniform and nicely sized; the rock details have a very convincing texture as well as the stucco on the second floor. The walls are thick but not to thick, the brick construction duplicated warrants the thickness. You’ll be pleased with the plaster itself, it’s hard and strong. I accidentally put the arch piece through a 12” to 14” ‘drop test’ – it passed! There is a bit of over-pour clean up but it’s nothing to be concerned about at all. There are a few bubble spots on some corners of the building details. A bit of putty will be needed to fill these in.
Beyond the physical pieces and parts CD offers you a plethora of options with this kit. The creativity starts on the outside of the box with Bob Letterman’s complex multi-color paint scheme. From there you are limited by your own ideas. This kit can cross eras. It is geared toward a WWII time period and the European theater. The signs are printed in French. The architecture is a match to France, Belgium, Germany, Austria etc. If you leave off the signs provided, or purchase a different set, you can get away with putting this kit in a modern setting in the Balkans.
On top of the era spanning you can do, you are not limited in scene. There are lots and lots of buildings on the diorama market and the majority offer very similar scene layouts. Most are a ‘flat front’ or an outside corner. The buildings that get noticed are the unique ones that break the mold. This kit does that. If offers three-in-one; an outside corner, a flat front and an architectural detail in the arch. The back wall is two stories tall catching viewer’s attentions and drawing them into your project. At the same time you have a mix of interest points in the arch, mixed textures and locations of buildings. You can tuck a sub-story in the back alley and have two stories or have the main subject bursting through the entrance arch. A small detail you can add is a simple flag draped over the archway. This gives color interest and story. The possibilities are expansive and all in one kit.
final thoughtsMix equal parts of; quality raw materials, quality manufacturing, creative design, solid execution is a recipe for a great kit. This kit has all of these ingredients, mix this with a little inspiration and elbow grease (supplied by you) and you’ll have a winner. CD is keeping up with the industry by including a sign sheet, instructions, and quality. Is there room for more, sure there is. The sign sheet is a lightweight paper, not traditional heavy paper stock. You can always nit pick that there are no windows included and point at a bit of clean up.
It’s refreshing to see a unique kit hit the market and bring life to line of kits. This is one of those kits and I would recommend it to anyone thinking of doing an urban street diorama.
My Thanks to the VLS Corporation for the review sample.