For all diorama builders we need to include plants in our project. Some of us have quick access in our gardens to some of the plants we want to model. Too often we don't, we live in the states and we want to model a PTO or jungle scene. Unlike in the after market world for model kits, there aren't lots of manufacturers or distributors of these types of products. That's where JoeFix Studios and Military Miniatures Warehouse step in. JoeFix Studios makes and packages these products and Military Miniatures Warehouse distributes JoeFix Studios products (and offers some of their own).
This review will cover three different kits in an effort to give you an overall idea of the types of products you can get from Joefix Studios. I will focus on each and give you an impression individually as well as an overall impression.
The products are
1. Bamboo- JF112
Product Description: Stems can be used in groups (clumps) and can be painted in various green and yellow/tan color hues. Affix to base by drilling small holes and use superglue, white glue, or epoxy glue. Extra detail can be created by adding small green leaves to the rings (such as # JF106).
2. Fine Bush - JF111
Product Description: Vegetation suitable for forest or wooded area (also jungle) and suggested use as foreground growth to fill up front vegetation. Can be painted in various green hues by brush or airbrush and glues on with superglue, white glue, or epoxy glue. Works with virtually any scale.
3. Jungle Bush II - JF110
Product Description: Creeper growth vegetation to be used on trunks or as hanging growth on trees. Can be painted in various green hues by brush or airbrush and glues on with superglue, white glue, or epoxy glue. Works with virtually any scale.
These three kits are all compatible kits. They have rightfully been labeled as 'Jungle' plants. The bamboo is self explanatory. The Jungle Bush is long vine oriented types of long leaf plants, it would fit a jungle scene nicely. The Fine Bush kit a thick stalked bushy grass like product. Again I could see it in a jungle scene. I'm not sure I would put all three together in something as small as a vignette, but a decent sized diorama would be suitable.
This is a great product, plain and simple. It is exactly what the name says and it is a great small scale representation of it. The package you receive is a great choice too. It is a firm styrene box, this will help protect it during shipping. There were roughly 50 - 60 stalks about 14cm each included in the box. This bamboo is a very small diameter version, about 1mm. Upon close examination you'll see the classic bands that segment the main stalk.
I took pictures of these stalks with a 1/35th scale figure to give you an idea of how they will look. I think it's a nice size for 1/35th or 54mm. It would be an average type bamboo, something a 1/35th scale figures could wrap his hand around. Another photo comparison is next to a Custom Dioramics Bamboo wall from a Hut kit. The bamboo in the resin kit is more of an industrial type of bamboo. Again, just a comparison of another product out there, different uses for sure. You could use the JoeFix Studios bamboo as the industrial larger size in a 1/48th scale project.
While the JoeFix bamboo is perfect small scale bamboo its one down side is that it is a bit brittle. The stiff styrene box will get it to us safe; once you open it you must be careful.
Intriguing product, that's my first impression. When you open this one you'll see a thick stalk plant with rings of leaves every 1cm or so. The repetitive nature of this reminds me of the jungle. You could use it elsewhere as a support plant, or remove the leaves and plant them in bunches or individually. You could also use the leaves as accent leaves on bigger plants. Each individual leaf is about 1cm long. The natural color that this came with is really vibrant and will act as a nice natural base color. Add a touch of color with a wash or highlight, these plants will stand up to painting. This one comes in a stiff styrene box also, a nice touch. The individual leaves on this plant need the stiff box for protection. In the bottom of the box there were a number of leaves that had fallen off. They are still usable, so it's not a loss of product. You just have to plan your use a bit better. This box came with six sprigs in the box. Each sprig is pretty long, and varied in length.
You can see in the picture of the German engineer how they look against a 1/35th scale figure and they would work well in 54mm scenes. While this is 'billed' as any scale, I really do think it is suited for large scales, 1/48th scale would probably be the smallest I would go. Even at that scale I would want to use just the individual leaves.
Jungle Bush II
First impressing: This one's big. This one is a long vine like plant with leaves all the way along the main stalk. This reminds me of a fish tank type plant: one main stalk with smaller/shorter stalks coming off it here and there. There are six or seven clumps of vine/bush in a plastic bag. The quantity is definitely nice, there is an ample amount for an average project. There were roughly four/five main clumps of material. Each looping around, with extra offshoots. When I examined these I noticed that they are very soft and supple. This is good in that they will retain their shape longer. The individual leaves had not fallen off as with the Fine Bush. You can see the comparison to an average lichen clump. The lichen looks like - well - lichen. The fine bush looks more natural and lifelike. There are two other product comparisons: one with some clippings from my back yard, another from a Woodland Scenics tall grass product. These photos give you an idea of scale, size and compatibility with other products. I think this can be used with a really wide array of other natural diorama foliage.
My one concern with this product is its overall shape. You can see that one clump has one main stalk with other stalks coming off it. Each stalk is nice, but when you remove a stalk from the main one you will disrupt the overall symmetry of the clump and leave a gap. You'll have to consider this when planning how to use it. It's not a 'drop in and go' type product. Another consideration is if you cut the stalk midway between two 'joints'. There will be not natural tip to the plant and you'll have a crown affect. The top most leave will look like the points of a crown. The easy fix is to trim two or three other individual leaves and glue them in the middle of the crown. Outside this crown fix the individual leaves would be difficult to use as with the Fine Bush, they are just very small.
From the first impressions to now (pre use) these are really solid products. They are very appropriate, in scale, and well matched. Each has its own unique characteristics which will make you think about how to use them. Once you think about it, it will be easy to put them in a project. Each comes in ample quantities, you may need two packs if your project is large or is a dense jungle. The price shouldn't scare you away either. The bamboo is $21.99 per pack, the Fine Bush is $9.99 per pack, and the Jungle Bush II is $4.99. These prices are within industry standards for the quality and quantity you get. I checked some competitors pricing and this is comparable and within reason. If you really look at the quality and realism that you get, the price is no more than a good PE set. You'll end up using all of each one.
The products are all treated so you can go straight from the box to your diorama. All will accept paint and would react fine to a final sealer (if you wish).
Great thanks to
Military Miniatures Warehouse -www.milminwh.com
for being the US supplier of this Joefix product.