Dioramas Plus was founded in 2008 and has been producing 1/35 bases and buildings for the diorama builder. These products are plaster cast and quite robust. When the box arrived I could tell that just walking it up my driveway tired the mailman out it was so heavy (OK, so maybe I exaggerate). Upon opening the box I found the content wrapped carefully in bubble wrap and an examination of the parts revealed no broken bits. You get 4 main cast pieces consisting of the walls and the street base; a thin wood laser cut sheet with window frames and a door, a clear sheet with holes and jagged edges for the window glass and a bag of loose bricks as well as some large debris piles cast as one piece. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the castings – the relief and detail is excellent and the damage convincing.
A five page instruction packet covers all of the details of assembling and painting the kit, including some interesting tips and techniques for weathering. I started by assembling the main pieces with 5 minute epoxy, which took all of 10 minutes – followed by 30 minutes trying to clean up the epoxy that dripped onto the floor. After the epoxy had set I primed everything (including the debris piles) with grey auto primer to seal the plaster or else the plaster would soak up paint like a sponge. I decided to brush paint the buildings and for paint I went to the local Ace Hardware and purchased some of the small sample jars of their latex wall paint in the appropriate colors. For this application they went down smoothly, covered quickly and cleanup was easy. Once the primary color coats were done, I then highlighted individual bricks with different shades of the base coat to add variety as indicated in the instructions. Some detail painting of the debris piles and I was done with the initial stages.
After adding a length of cooper tubing at a wall seam to simulate a downspout, I started placing the larger debris piles into a pattern that I found to my liking. I also painted and installed the window frames and doors, which are thoughtfully provided with an adhesive backing so the broken ‘glass’ can be added quickly and without glue smudges. I decided to forego any glass as I planned on breaking up the frames into pieces. Once everything was placed, I started filling in the spaces with loose debris using crushed cat litter (this adds variety to the pieces and provides some finer dust) and extra bricks (I had picked up a bag at AMPS for this purpose). Everything was fixed in place by using Woodland Scenics thinned glue applied with a dropper. Once set, I then sprayed a coat of Future to further seal the litter and provide a base for the washes.
For the wash I used Citadel Miniatures “Devlin Mud” and I applied it generously. The sharp relief and detailing took the wash beautifully. After it was dry I then vigorously dry-brushed everything using colors that I mixed from the Ace paints (which are the ideal consistency for dry-brushing btw). A quick flat coat followed by painting the edges black and voila`, an excellent diorama base suitable for vehicles or figures.
I have previously built a MiniArt building and I have to say that the Dioramas Plus product is head and shoulders above in terms of detail and ease of assembly (and heft too). It now sits in my cabinet awaiting a vehicle – I haven’t decided which yet!
My thanks to Dioramas Plus for the review sample.