MiniArt has released a huge number of diorama and scenic kits, all designed with the scratchbuilder and kitbasher in mind. This kit is a simple unreinforced brick workshop, suitable for almost any era or location in the world that has used this type of construction technique. I have kitbashed this into a two-story custom building and changed the scale of the model closer to 1:48 (a.k.a., O Scale or 28mm for Wargaming).
This kit consists of 140 parts – vacuformed styrene brick and roof components molded in metallic grey, and the usual high quality injection-molded styrene accessory sprues molded in light grey. All vacuformed kits have flash that needs removed.
The vacuformed walls are two parts each that need to be cut out of the sheet and joined together along the length of the brick walls, forming hollow, two-sided walls. The workshop is intended to be a one-story workshop in 1/35 scale; however, my goal was to change the scale of the model to fit my 1/48 Wargaming needs, and I did not want to model the inside, so I used each wall half to get twice as much from the kit, resulting in a two-story urban industrial building. This type of 19th Century construction is common all over the world, so this fits my futuristic, dystopian Warhammer 40,000 theme quite well.
To change the scale, I had to remove or omit any "scalebuster" items, including most of the excellent 1/35 accessory pieces included in the kit, replacing them with scratchbuilt or appropriately "Grimdark"-scaled versions from my Bitz boxes.
Windows: I turned one half of the door arch wall into a large industrial window on the second floor. The kit part windows could have possibly worked, but I wanted smaller window panes (to represent large, multi-paned factory windows), so I built my own window inserts from ¼" hardware (chicken) wire, and then built frames around them out of styrene H-beam and U-channel. The glass in the windows is made from overhead transparency film. The narrower side windows were fitted with ventilation units on the bottom third, cut from Games Workshop (GW) Manufactorum wall panels. For the keystone in each door/window arch, I glued Forge World photo-etched brass Aquilla plates that fit those keystones perfectly.
Doors: I inset a GW Manufactorum double door panel into the ground floor arch, and framed this new vestibule area with some textured O-scale brick patterned plasticard from Micro-Mark that matches the kit brick perfectly. The second story steel-reinforced door is also from the GW Manufactorum kit.
Details: I scratchbuilt the fire escape with Plastruct O scale stairs and railings; the platform is a dental plaster cast of my own design. The air-conditioning unit under the stairs is another fan bit cut from a GW Manufactorum panel framed and riveted with plasticard. The pipes are a mix of GW and Plastruct tubes and fittings. The pipe valve wheels are from the Pegasus Chemical Plant kit. I built mounting brackets from thin styrene strip. The ornate lamps are cut from GW street lamps, mounted on scratchbuilt riveted plates. Rivets, nuts, and bolts are all sliced styrene rod.
Painting: Was done with Vallejo Air acrylics. Washes from GW, Vallejo, and Secret Weapon Miniatures, as well as Didi's Magic Inks were used extensively, working from light to dark in many light layers. Rust was also added by mixing washes out of Forge World weathering powders and thinner. The freehand graffiti was outlined with a Sharpie, then brush-painted but meant to look as if different people tagged the building with their own styles. Ninety-eight percent of the painting was done with airbrush; only rust and small details were done with a conventional brush
I had a lot of fun with this kit. Changing the scale forced me to keep a scale eye on the project at all times and allowed me to use a lot of different materials. I'm also much more comfortable building vacuformed kits now that I have more experience with them. Hopefully, this review shows the enormous flexibility these modular wall kits can provide to modelers of any kind.
Many thanks go to MRC and IPMS-USA for the sample kit and the review opportunity.