by: Tim Sloan [ ]
Dioramas Plus was formed in the fall of 2008. The owner, Randy Pepprock, has been in the hobby industry for over 15 years manufacturing architectural miniatures for model railroaders under the “Downtown Deco” banner. Before that he worked as a scenic artist in the movie industry in Hollywood California. Randy designs, casts, packs and ships each and every order personally.
That quote being said, taken from Randy’s website, I’d like to show you one of his creations. With the economic slump, and rising prices of model kits, diorama builders both new and experienced will appreciate the kits offered from Dioramas Plus. Well detailed and packed with enough goodies to start a nice scene for a price that's less than most 1/35 armor kits.
Though the kit is titled 'Government Ruins', it doesn't depict any particular building scene, or time period for that matter, giving the modeler a wide range of uses for this.
The seven main parts are made of plaster including three for the building and four for the sidewalk. The kit comes well packed, the main parts tightly wrapped in plastic, it arrived with only one building section broken. But, considering it is a 'ruined' building, after repair it will only add to the detail.
With that you also get 16 window frames and one door frame with two nice detailed main entry doors. These are all laser pre-cut, needing only to separate them with a hobby blade. You also get two sheets of thin clear plastic, a small sheet for intact glass panes ,and a larger one with damaged/broken glass panes. The wood parts have an adhesive on the back of them for attaching the glass parts, simply peel the backing off and stick on the appropriate section of glass.
There is also a small bag of rubble which includes sections of broken crumbled walls and even individual bricks and particles to scatter about the ground. There's plenty provided, but if you choose, you can easily add more rubble by mixing up some plaster, allowing it to dry and crushing it up to make even more rubble. The photos will show the nice detail on the building sections (I brushed on some diluted paint for the photos), however, there is no detail on the inside of the building.
The seven page instructions come in typed form with no drawings for assembly, however, with the detailed and easy to follow text, assembly won’t be a problem, even for a beginner. There is also a painting guide, which includes a 'how to' description and some colored photos to help you in painting the building and the rubble, as well as describing how to mix and cement the rubble on your base (the base is not included). On the last page there are a couple of (German) posters and signs printed that you can add to your scene as well. Once assembled the building measures approximately 12 inches x 7 inches.
No longer will you need to throw hundreds of dollars into a large dio building. With the numerous offerings from Dioramas Plus, there’s a nice range of choices at reasonable costs. This one, being his second release, is one I’m happy to have. Modelers will need to provide a base to mount it on, a simple plywood section will do.
Working with plaster can be a little tricky if not careful. It’s easily broken and can be a pain when trying to mount it to the base. Assembly will require the use of a two part epoxy glue and some two part putty to fill the seam at the sections joint. Other than that, some paints, figures and maybe a tank or two..and a little imagination will take this to a very nice scene.