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Built Review
135
Small Ruins
Small Ruins Kit
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


introduction

My wife asked me when I got back into building armor kits: "What are you going to do with them once you're finished?" It's a fair question, one that plagues most kit builders. The usual solutions are pedestals or else building your own dioramas, either from kits or from scratch. I prefer dioramas, though a good dio is both a work of art in itself, and pain to assemble (not to mention expensive to assemble the elements). Dioramas Plus offers a quick and easy solution: diorama-in-a-box kits that allow the modeler to focus on building the vehicle or figures, not worrying about what to do with it. You can literally put one of these together in less than an evening, and it's only then a question of painting and weathering the finished product. The range of dioramas offered in both WW II and Modern eras should provide most 1/35th modelers with plenty of options, both grand and simple.

the kit

The Small Ruins kit comes with two major castings in hydrocal, the "plaster" used in medical casts. It's a hard, but forgiving material that will crack if you abuse it, but takes more punishment than regular plaster of paris or spackling compound. The box contains:

2 castings of the outer facing & inner support walls
various cast piles of rubble
a bag full of loose bricks
wooden laser-cut window frames
two sheets of poly film for windows (one set of full panes of glass, the other with shattered glass shards)

The contents are packed well in a secure cardboard box, but the manufacturer promises to replace any pieces broken in shipment. DP products are only available by mail from the manufacturer, which will add $10 for first kit and $2 for each additional kit for US buyers, $25 for the first kit and $10 per additional for Canadian customers, and $40 for first kit and an additional $10 thereafter for other international buyers.

assembly

I'm not kidding when I say the kit goes together in less than an evening, though you will need to allow time in between stages for glues to set and paints to dry. The easy-to-follow instructions recommend priming the plaster parts so they don't soak up too much paint (hydrocal is quite porous). You then glue the "brick"-faced inner support wall at a 90 degree angle to the outer wall, allow to dry and you're in business. The piles of rubble and loose brick can be painted and arranged according to your creative vision. The window frames are made from laser-cut balsa wood and are adhesive-backed, allowing for quick placement of the window panes and affixing to the windows in the front of the building.

painting & weathering

The kit comes with detailed instructions on painting and weathering, and like everything about the kit, emphasizes easily-obtainable materials, not obscure paints you can only get over the Internet. Since it's a wrecked building, there isn't any correct way to do this, which releases a certain inner desire to "do it my way." The results are very satisfying, and as you can see from the photos, it looks like the name: a small ruined building hiding a Hetzer from this Armorama Feature. The kit doesn't contain a sidewalk (a glaring oversight in an urban building), so I used some leftover Verlinden resin sidewalk blocks from another dio. The only other components were some gravel from my neighbor's French drain project and a few pieces of "plaster" walls made from spackling paste remnants.

conclusion

Creating a realistic diorama can involve a lot of time, effort and expense. This kit solves those problems at a good price. If you're an experienced diorama maker, you probably don't need this kind of shortcut, but for the rest of us, it's a good way to shift the burden off of diorama-making, a totally separate skill set. My only quibble with the kit is the absence of any sidewalk; the company makes sidewalks you can purchase separately, but another small casting with a short piece of walkway would make the kit perfect.
SUMMARY
Highs: A mostly complete diorama-in-a-box. Superior execution, including shattered "glass" panes, and plenty of realistic-looking rubble.
Lows: It really needs a sidewalk or portion thereof. Shipping costs a bit pricey for all but U.S. buyers.
Verdict: Definitely recommended for any urban combat diorama or realistic place to put that finished tank.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: DP4
  Suggested Retail: $19.95
  Related Link: website
  PUBLISHED: Sep 16, 2009
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.08%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.00%

Our Thanks to Dioramas Plus!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright 2019 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Hey Bill, that building turned out quite nice in your hands! That Hetzer is the perfect size for it. Andy
SEP 17, 2009 - 01:33 AM
Thanks, Andy, for facilitating the review. I wanted to put a Panther I'm working on in there, but it was just too big, LOL! Besides, the poor Hetzer needed a home. Hopefully this will keep it from getting bashed. I'd actually like to put some peeled paint on one of the building walls. Anyone know of a good tutorial?
SEP 17, 2009 - 05:50 AM
Ill have to dig around some of my model railroad stuff and see what kind of articles i find. I know somewhere there is an online website where a master modeler shares all his techniques for building and finishing some stunningly realistic buildings in large scale.
SEP 20, 2009 - 04:20 PM
Thanks, Andy, I have found nothing on this site, and even posted a query sometime back that got no replies. Peeled paint on buildings should be a no-brainer for us, what with exposed inner walls from bombing or shell damage.
SEP 21, 2009 - 03:22 AM
Bill if you look at the miniart site and go to techniques thy show this using the salt techniques used for chipping on tanks. You coukld also play around with a sponge and some different paints on some scrap card and end up writing that tutorial yourself Good review too Bill. I like the inclusion of the wooden laser-cut window frames. I'd love to try this range out but the mailing costs from the US are prohibitive, probably the same for you guys ordering from Europe
SEP 21, 2009 - 07:00 AM
Thanks, Pat. There are several companies in Europe with interesting dio materials that, like you say, are just too expensive to ship over here. Maybe if I get back to Europe on business, I can take a day for model hunting????
SEP 21, 2009 - 07:03 AM
I'm not sure that the lack of any sidewalk can really be considered a 'glaring' weakness. After all, when a building with that kind of mass gets blown down, there are mountains of rubble. The sidewalk would be under several meters of it. Urban dioramas are much easier when you spread that rubble around and they are more accurate too.
SEP 25, 2009 - 09:46 AM
That's a good point. Except that rubble can fall in strange ways. I have left some bare sidewalk on my build to show that (and will likely put some Volkssturm figures there later on).
SEP 27, 2009 - 08:18 AM
   

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