In-Box Review
Steppe unwatered
Steppe unwatered Grass Mat
  • combostepp

by: Scott Lodder [ SLODDER ]

In recent products grasses have gone to the mat: literally. The newer products come not as loose grass or clumps of grass like 'stuff'. Now they are coming as a composite sheet of grass adhered to a thin layer making it like a carpet.

Model Scene is getting into this market with these two products. Military Miniatures Warehouse distributes these products.

In the box:

This is shipped in a large flat stiff clear styrene blister pack with a heavy card backing. It should arrive safe. Opening it is a bit of a question: should you slide or pry? Should you slide the backing up or pry the styrene back and lift off the card. I opted for the pry method. I didn't want to damage the product by catching it and pulling the grass backing. End note: after realizing that the grass matting is a foam based material and the card is smooth, you should not have to worry about damaging the product when opening it.

When you look at the Steppe grass the first thing you notice is that there are gaps in the grass exposing the ground. This really adds a great deal of realism to the product. For an unwatered area this really represents nature well. The color of the grass is a bit more on the brown end of the spectrum. The gaps represent the struggle the grass has to grow. The color and cover in the gaps is great too. The color is very brown and dry looking. The cover is non uniform and quite natural, it has small pieces of natural debris and weeds and things. It is very nice.

When you pull the matt out the first thing you notice is the soft supple nature of the whole thing. The matt will fold and roll very easily and the 'use factor' is high. No matter the ground level/elevation of your project these matts should conform very well. As I mentioned the matting material is a foam type of substance, in some of the thinner areas you can see through it a bit. I would highly recommend that you paint the base a complementary color (brownish) so there is no white showing through. I believe scissors will be all you need to cut this product into shape.

Size will be something to plan around. Both come in a mat measuring 7 x 11. These aren't hard measurements, mine came in at a bit over. That's a good thing, there is a bit of a size cushion for cutting and extra. A 1/35th scale Wirbelwind model would dominate this matt. You can get a nice small vignette with one vehicle and a couple of figures. If you plan well and add hedges or a road or something that won't need grass you'll be fine with one sheet. If you are doing a wide open field as in Kursk: plan ahead, you may need more sheets.

This is the first time I have used this type of product and it reminds me of the first time I used latex rubber road surface products. The ease of use, the uniform coverage, the quality and natural appearance really bring the diorama up a level.
These are project changing products. These are must have products.

I know a 99 rating is really high, I also know that this type of mat will change the way you cover your ground with grass. If you look at adding a $10 metal barrel to your tank on top of a $12 PE fret to update your tank, why not add $14 to ground to give it the attention it needs to stand up to the super detail of the vehicle.

Model Scene supplied the kit to their US distributor Military Miniatures Warehouse who graciously sent them to me for review.
Highs: Great Detail, really natural looking, time saver, good color
Lows: A bit pricey but worth it.
Verdict: Build process changer.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: F5333
  Suggested Retail: $14.99
  PUBLISHED: Feb 25, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Czech Republic

Our Thanks to Model Scene!
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About Scott Lodder (slodder)

I modeled when I was a teenager. College, family and work stopped me for a while. Then I picked it back up after about 12 years off. My main focus is dioramas. I like the complete artistic method of story telling. Dioramas involve so many aspects of modeling and I enjoy getting involved in the ...

Copyright 2021 text by Scott Lodder [ SLODDER ]. All rights reserved.


Hi Scott, Thanks for the review - that looks like a very interesting (and useful) product. However, I have to ask: not everyone may want to use the mat in its entirety, how easy is it to cut or tear the mat into smaller pieces? And how does it hold up through such action? Thanks again for the review Rudi
FEB 25, 2009 - 05:17 PM
Its a foam matting material that will be very easy to cut. I wouldn't tear it because it's very integrated and the rough action of tearing would result in way to jaggad an edge. But scissors will be fine.
FEB 25, 2009 - 11:05 PM

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