When looking at roadside or rural dioramas one thing that generates lots of 'ohhs and ahhs' are flowers. Model Scene is a Czech Republic company that has a bit of a twist on after market diorama details - it's a set of Dandelions in laser cut paper.
The box and parts
This kit is a small box 2.25"x1.5". Inside is paper so it's a very light product. The box was a bit of a challenge to even get open. On the good side, your product will not get lost. On the bad side, it's a bit tough getting into the box. I used a hobby knife to wedge in the seam and gently pry the lid off.
Inside you'll find one yellow sheet, one light green sheet, and four dark green sheets. Each sheet is equivalent to a 'sprue'. The yellow one represents the flower part of the Dandelion. The light green will be used as the stems, with the dark green being the leaves.
There are no instructions and only a small image of a dandelion on the box. I don't find this as a negative, because the notion of a flower is quite ubiquitous. The parts aren't hard to figure out.
The three components are all on slightly different weights of paper. This is for form and function. The leaves are the lightest paper and the stems are the heaviest. The leaves should be thin and delicate while the stems need to be a bit stiffer to stand up and also to represent a round natural stem. The paper is nicely colored and the weight of the paper is great. I have not seen any paper that is this thin and strong and that comes in colors at any of the hobby stores I have access to.
The connection points on the sprue are logically placed and shouldn't pose any problem when removing the parts. The leaves have two connection points at the tips of two leaves. A good connection point and an easy one to fix if there is any excess left after removal. The stems and flower are connected at one point.
The quantities of each component part are interesting. The product is billed to make 12 plants. There are 41 flower parts, 41 long stems, roughly 40 short stems, and 24 leaf parts. The image on the box shows a plant with more than one leaf part. I can see that you would want to double up leaves to add variety and realism. It doesn't 'match' with the quantities of the other two parts. I guess you may want to glue some of the short and long stems to similar size stems to give them thickness. You could glue the flower parts together and 'fluff' up the edges to give it depth. Also looking at real plants there are two or three stems per plant.
One thing you'll have to consider is the two dimensions of the paper. The leaves will be easy to 'fold' a bit to get some depth. The stems and flower will be 'ok' as is. The flatness of the flower will be ok from a distance. If you intend to enter your diorama in a competition I would say you should enhance the flower part with some three dimensional material, maybe a clump of QTip end or a bit of putty. The stems could be enhance by replacing the paper with a bit of round wire.
I built one of these to see how well it went together. The first recommendation is to use a very sharp hobby blade. The paper cuts easily, but a good sharp blade will enhance the look of the pieces. All the pieces came off the main page easily. The stems and flowers were tiny and very hard to manage. You better have a really good pair of tweezers that are very small and sharp.
A good thing is there really isn't any clean up with paper. Cut off right down to the part, it's only two dimensions so you won't have any sprue mark.
I decided to try to add volume to the whole thing so I double up everything: double leaves, double thick stems (2 of them) and double up on the flower parts. I used white glue to hold everything. Be careful and don't use too much. Once you get the hang of the size, the pieces aren't too hard to manage. I did find that using a pin to put a hole in the middle of the leaves made assembly much easier. I used the same pin trick on the flowers. The tip of the pin held the two pieces together until the glue grabbed hold.
Assembly was delicate but easy. I think the flower looks pretty good. It's a bit tall, most dandelions I get in my yard are only six to ten inches tall. This one comes up to the solders thigh. Yes, you can cut down the stems and customize the flower to your liking. I wanted to show an OOTB build to give you a good representation of the product.
Overall a nice product, not a bad price. After market products fall into a few general categories. Some kits are enhancement kits that add detail. Some are full kits that add subjects to a project. Some are time savers that you use to quicken the build process. This one falls into what I call a 'process saver'. It can save you the time of 'figuring' out how to make the subject. Could it be scratch built, sure. Could you go without, maybe. If you have the a bit of extra cash this will save you time an energy and add a bit of flair to your diorama.
Model Scene supplied the kit to their US distributor Military Miniatures Warehouse
who graceiously sent them to me for review.