|1/35 Diorama w/ Ruined Church|
|Kit Number: #36030|
|Reviewed by Jason Cameron, IPMS #29007|
[Editor's Note: see also a review of the base church kit.]
I wanted to review this kit as I am both a plastic modeler and a model railroad enthusiast. It's my opinion that most armor models really look a lot better on some type of base. I'm not sure why as other models seem to get by without it. I was looking to see if this kit could provide me with a great base that's unique, attractive, easy to build, and fun to construct. I'm happy to say that yes, I was very happy with the building of this kit and what I ended up with in my display cabinet. The finished product measures 10" x 8" and is an impressive 9" tall. Due to the prominent building and wall, larger models won't fit very well…find your Jagdpanzer another place to park!
In the box I found a minor surprise…this was a vacuform kit! For some reason I was expecting molded parts and I had mentally braced myself with dealing with the occasional sinkhole and flash. However, I had to change directions by performing a lot of cutting and sanding and fitting of parts. The major walls and ground are sheet styrene with great details in the molding. The moldings are covered with a lot of tiny little bumps but they sand off easily. You get a large tree of injection-molded parts including window frames and metal fencing and a very large lamppost not used in this kit. There is also a huge door but it must be in 1/16th scale and unusable for this model. As a bonus, in the box there is a Dragon German Infantry figure set with machine guns and grenades that looked great and is probably worth $12 all by itself. Missing from the kit were the wood frames for the pointed windows on the side of the building and the metal gate for the rock wall.
Building the Kit
Assuming I knew how to assemble this kit sans instructions, I managed to make a terrible mess of things and totally gacked the corner section; you know, the most visible part of the kit! I added several details not found in the kit. To hide the building seam, I used a trick many ship modelers may recognize: I glued some stock styrene to the corner of the building to hide the gap. In this case, I used a 90 degree "angle iron" shaped piece of styrene. This covered up the gaps nicely while (hopefully) not being too noticeable or otherwise removing from the beautiful kit's contents. I also glued a brass tube to simulate a power conduit, complete with three power lines made out of solder wire. This took just a few minutes and I feel that it's a lot of additional detail for very little effort or cost.
Painting and Weathering
I started painting the entire building by airbrushing acrylic Polly Scale Model Railroad Colors "Mineral Red" on all of the building pieces. I then picked out individual bricks by using different colors such as German Grey, Special Oxide Red, and SP Daylight Orange using a small brush. For the interior plaster, I used Polly Scale "Aged Concrete". The roadbed and rock wall were painted various shades of grey and white.
After much experimentation over the years, my favorite "mortar" color is "Aged White", thinned and brushed over the entire building. The mortar paint is not a wash…rather it is thinned about 50/50 with water. Once that is thoroughly dried, I take an old t-shirt, dip it in alcohol, and wipe the excess away. I don't try to get all of the white paint off of the bricks…just most of it. I continue wiping until the t-shirt starts to lift some of the brick colors off. You end up with a wonderful look of a very old building already weathered. I followed up with a few applications of pastels here and there.
I applied some "dio debris" that I picked up about twenty years ago that contains little red and grey bricks and some crushed debris. I scattered these parts around the inevitable seams between the building and the base and on top of the debris piles. I then made a mix of 50% white glue and water and liberally soaked the debris. As expected, the glue dries fast and completely flat. A few chunks of green material adds color to the base. Finally, I bent a few window frames and metal fencing to give it that "distressed" look. Adding these details is what modeling is all about and it's a lot of fun to boot. My base was done!
This was a very fun kit. You get to weather it as you please and there are enough extra pieces in the box to customize it to many variations. The price of this kit is amazing for what you get. I recommend this kit for everyone, even if you never have tried a vacuform kit before.
A very big thank you belongs to Dragon Models USA for the kit and making it available to IPMS for review.