by: Scott Lodder [ ]
This is the first review for this company and maybe the first introduction to some of you, so I am including a bit of background on the company too.
Smith Military Modeling (SMM) is a web based retailer that started from a lack of diorama products on the market. The owner came from 25 years of modeling and not having the ‘right’ pieces readily available. Like many of us he thought of filling this void by making what he needed, unlike many of us he turned it into a full business.
SMM offers a wide range of resin products that are designed to be interchangeable and modular. This allows the customer to ‘pick and choose’ the pieces they want for their specific application.
Since SMM offers component pieces this review will cover a few of the road oriented pieces. This review will focus on the product and its potential integration with other road pieces from this line.
Look for other reviews of the line(s).
what will arrive
SMM ships its products in nice sturdy cardboard boxes. The size and strength will go a long way to ensure a safe arrival. Inside the box you’ll find your products safely tucked in bubble wrap. You will also find a brief descriptive write up on the item. This is not really instruction, more of a usage type of document. On the outside of the box there is a picture of the item fully painted and complete. If the item is small, or there are multiples, they will be shipped in a zip-lock type bag.
The road surfaces I am reviewing are:
1. Standard Layout brick road - #SMM_00110 - 10.5x8"
2. Herringbone Layout brick road straight section – Item#SMM_00100 - 8.25x5.5"
3. Standard Layout brick road straight section – Item#SMM_00101 - 8.25x5.5"
The first thing I noticed about the road was the size of the pieces. These are big pieces, definitely adequate for medium size dioramas. Combine a few and you’ll build a massive diorama.
The next thing I noticed was the ‘feel’ of the pieces. The weight and texture of the resin is very substantial and comparable to the resins you get from Verlinden and Custom Dioramics. All the pieces are comfortable to handle and are strong enough to be handled a lot. This size equates to heft, these pieces feel sold and well cast.
The roads represent well worn urban roads. On the standard layout you’ll see that the pavers are uneven and have chips and nicks in them. This shows that they are for a well used older road. The Herringbone layout represents a less worn uneven surface, so it’s a bit newer or less traveled. Both convincingly depict an urban road that would be found in any number of countries and in a wide time range too.
The detail in the molding is very nice. The bricks in the road show good texture and aren’t just rectangles butted against each other. The standard pattern bricks are 10x5mm and the herringbone version has 9x4mm bricks.
I researched pavers and found varying sizes for modern pavers. These particular versions scale out to between 10 and 12 inches in 1/35th scale for the larger standard pattern pavers. I compared this with other manufactures that I have on hand and these are within industry standards for streets.
One interesting detail that you can see on some of these pieces is a “component integration edge”. The interlocking pattern of the bricks is extended all the way to the edges. You can see this on both sets of brick patters. On the positive side this makes combining the kits a seamless process. The end result should be a well integrated road base. On the flip side, the dry fit was a bit off so you’ll have some work to do with your file or sanding stick. This design feature is found on the sidewalk sections too.
In addition to the roads there are:
1. Sidewalk corner section that comes with the street section - 5x4.25"
2. Sidewalk combo corner/straight sections – SMM_00105 - 4.66x4.5 & 4.75x1.5 "
3. Detail pieces of extra cobbles and step – SMM-00055 - 1.75 " long
The sidewalk pieces are made in the same manner as the road surface pieces so they share the same ‘feel’ described above.
The pieces are made to work with the road surface pieces and dry fitting the pieces together was good. There will be a touch of cleanup to do, but overall the surfaces met well.
The height/thickness of the pieces is very consistent. The sidewalks are appropriately thicker than the road so they will be a bit taller when placed in your diorama. The pieces with the small cobble gutter system are quite unique. The gutter is molded in and it too is appropriately sized.
The sidewalk pavers are a square style measuring 10x10mm. The size works well in any scale, as there are no standards for sidewalks as with bricks.
I have used a few road surface products and also made my own and in a review of all of them - SMM items are quite nice. The detail and texture of all of these items is very good. I like the thickness and clean edges. The component nature of these makes them more versatile than others. These did not have any bubble holes to fill in which is great. The size is wonderful, it’s always better to have a large sheet and cut it down rather than ‘cobble’ together smaller pieces.
For detail on which pieces are available and which pieces come as a full kit, please check out Smith Military Modeling Inc.. You can find them at the review vendor link or on the right side advertiser bar.