|MINIART - Norman Street|
An almost complete diorama in a box from MiniArt!
Serial Number: 36045
Price: £26.99 (ModelHobbies)
MiniArt from the Ukraine, began making plastic kits in 2003, and has rapidly made a name for themselves, not only producing vehicle kits, but also diorama bases and a wide range of figure sets, both historical and military in nature.
This set is of a typically Norman street...presumably therefore in Normandy? I have no idea how that would differ from a house in other parts of France at that time, or indeed in Europe. I have a sneaking feeling you could set this one almost anywhere in northern Europe during WWII, although you'd probably have to change the shop sign!
It seems to be a very full box! There are four sheets of thick vac-formed parts, each as big as the box, measuring 36 by 26 centimetres, and four largish sprues of grey injection moulded styrene too. The instruction booklet runs to four sides of A4.
The main structural elements, for example the road, building, roof etc., are all supplied as vac-formed parts and will need to be removed from the sheet they're supplied on...carefully. It's thick plastic, much thicker than one used to associate with vac-form, but you should still be able to snip the parts out with a good stout pair of scissors. Once done, and trimmed neatly with a scalpel blade, the various parts can be assembled. There's an instructional video on assembling these vac-form kits on the MiniArt website, and it's probably easier than you think. It consists of bracing the parts using strips of scrap sheet that are provided from the off cuts. The main base, once prepared, is 28.5 x 21.5 centimetres and in addition to the cobbled street running diagonally across the base, also has flat sections, where the various wall parts of the building are to be fixed, and detailing in the form of floor tiles for the inside portion of the building. Again, there are numerous small 'pips' over the base where the air has been removed from the mould, and these will need to be removed with a scalpel blade. They are small though, and once removed they don't even leave a mark.
The building parts, consisting of what I think is some sort of savings bank, and a house front set slightly back and next to it, are supplied in front and back parts, therefore offering detail on their inner surfaces instead of just being left blank. There are even floor parts and roof parts supplied, although for maximum detail you'll need to dress these up somewhat with beams etc.
The various doors, window frames, and shutters etc., are all supplied on the injection moulded sprues, and because of the modular nature of these MiniArt kits, and therefore the sprues, we also get a couple of railing sections for the spares box. For the pavement outside the building we're supplied with a lamp post too. Printed in full colour on the instructions leaflet there are two shop signs to choose from which can be cut out and used...or use your own of course. The choice is between that shown on the box art, which I think is a savings bank of some sort, and a cafe. In addition there are some poster that can be used to dress up the end wall, and a few signs, maybe to fix to the lamp post?
A very nice base! All you have to do is supply your own vehicle and figures. And build it of course. This is a base of a typical Norman street, as the box says, but it's not meant to represent damaged or ruined buildings, but instead two buildings that are undamaged and still in use. As such, and because we're supplied with internal detail fro the buildings, it's a great foundation for a bit of super detailing and dressing up. Love it!
My thanks to MiniArt for the review sample!