In recent years there has been a slow increase in the number of vacformed diorama bases and kits. For those modellers new to the term or the technique this is a production method that is quite different to styrene injection moulding. This technique is not new to the modelling world and it does capture detail exceptionally well. Phoenix Models
may well be a new name to some and they have a number of quite different releases.
Inside the a sturdy cardboard box complete with a number of illustrations of the box contents the modeller will find:
- 1 x base sheet in grey plastic
- 2x sheets for road sign and posts
- 1x sheet for crash barriers and posts
- 1x instruction sheet
The box appears to be quite empty with all the sheets contained inside a single plastic bag. The smaller components will require separating from the carrier sheet and this is best completed using an awl. I have tried other methods but I have found that a carpenter’s awl to be the best tool. The components are scored repeatedly and once free of the backing sheet the modeller will need to clean them up using a sheet of abrasive paper. It is better to use a sheet of abrasive taped to a flat surface and then to use a figure of eight motion to prevent an uneven finish.
The base is well moulded and depicts a section of a road with a tarmac surface the roadway features a straight section with an exit/entrance road/ramp. The surface shows wear and the typical marks seen on this type of surface. The road sign must be assembled from two identical halves. Once these halves have been separated from the backing sheet they can be sanded and glues together, it will prove advantageous if small tabs are added to aid alignment. The large panels that make up the sign boards are also in two halves. The rear has a grid pattern that replicates the support frame seen on this type of sign. My only observation is that this sign is a little thick for a road sign. Unfortunately the actual sign is not included and the modeller will have to provide their own. The crash barriers are constructed in a similar manner but it may be easier to replace the crash barrier supports with styrene tubing.
Painting the base will be up to the individual but replicating the tarmac could prove tricky. There are no decals provided and the modeller will need to add the required road markings. The modeller would be well advised to look at photographs on the internet to check the colours required as not all countries use white line markings. The modeller will also need to check what side of the road is in use. As pictured the box top is misleading as in Iraq they drive on the right, not the left as depicted.
This is a welcome release from Phoenix Models
it provides the modeller with a simple and effective diorama base in a modern setting. It has the advantage of being quite light and will keep costs down for those modellers who order models online. There is the issue of removing the components from the backing sheet and this may put some modellers off. There are no actual road signs included and this may seem unfair to some as they are featured on the box top. There are other sets available and this enables the modeller to increase the actual size of the diorama base to produce quite a large feature.