by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has made a niche for themselves in the diorama markets by releasing products that can be used in their entirety or elements of in many styles of diorama. Recently MiniArt released a modern street cafe set suitable for a very broad period of time and locations and fast on its heels is another offering of a street fruit shop that also offers great scope. This offering covers from the 1970ís to the current day, so letís take a look over this offering.
This offering from MiniArt arrives in the usual packaging of a cardboard tray with a separate card lid; the artwork on the lid is functional in that it shows the contents in context of their purpose. Inside there are a fold out instruction sheet and a single plastic bag containing two further plastic bags with all of the plastic for the model elements. There is a decal sheet, but no photo etch fret with this release.
When it comes to adding elements to a scene for a diorama or even a vignette it is my opinion that no company has done more for the modeller than MiniArt. They recently released a nice street cafe set that has been well received and this latest offering is in the same vein offering a great mix of elements that can be used on their own or as a whole scene.
I am sure many of us either has in their garden or has at least seen or owned the plastic garden chairs that can be purchased cheaply, well you get one of them in this release which is shown in green; I remember seeing white offerings but not green. MiniArt has done a particularly good job of these being moulded in a single piece just as the originals are. This is accompanied by with a sun parasol that is supported by one of the moulded plastic filled with sand stand. The hard part of this set up is the parasol which is made using seven very fine mouldings that could easily be broken or damaged. In the belief that you manage to get the frame together without breakage MiniArt has provided a parasol printed in colour inside the instruction sheet that adds a really nice look to the set and I am pleased to see that MiniArt has left the reverse side clean.
Another large item in this offering from MiniArt is a chest ice cream freezer with two sliding clear tops and I suppose it could be intended to represent a fridge containing soft fruits that don't like the heat; something I did not expect to see is an alcoholic drink advertised in a Middle Eastern scene!. A wooden slopping display stand is also included adding a nice touch, when looking at it I think artificial grass cover is needed. Lastly on the non-edible side we get a couple of pallets which are very welcome additions that can be used for a plethora of purposes.
In the instructions we are provided with seven foldable boxes for bananas in three styles and in plastic we have 24 hands of bananas to fill those boxes. Again in the instructions are ten printed boxes in four styles for unspecified contents. In plastic MiniArt has provided neatly partitioned fruit in the form of pears, apples, tomatoes and what I think are kiwi fruit. Lastly we are provided with eight halves of melons, with eight honeydew and eight water melon halves. These have been tackled in such a way that the halves could be glued together to make whole melons if so desired and these can be displayed in the excess boxes.
This offering from MiniArt is a really nice mix of elements for a great little scene backdrop or via the use of various items in many different settings. The box artwork shows this in a Middle Eastern setting, but I would be equally happy to show all or some of the elements in a setting just about anywhere during the 1970's and 80's. Moulding quality is very good and I like that MiniArt has provided paper boxes and then plastic fruit to go in as it enables ease of painting and in my opinion a more realistic look to the finished item. All told another great set that every modeller should have to hand for use of the elements either on a vehicle or as a setting in a diorama or vignette.