Perusing the website of Monroe Purdue Studios (MPS), out of Simi Valley CA, will uncover a variety of unusual modeling products, including a growing set of very affordable laser-cut wood sets, among a lot of other interesting items. Visiting their booth at the 2021 Las Vegas IPMS Nationals, I looked at a dozen or so build-ups in various stages of completion, demonstrating the uniqueness of their products. I came home with two sets; a 1/35th scale laser-cut wood French Wine Crates set for cases of wine (the subject of this review), and a complete zimmerit set for the 1/35th scale HobbyBoss King Tiger II (the subject of a separate IPMS review).
The French Wine Crates set comes with enough pieces to create a dozen cases of wine. The product comes on a single, laser-cut ‘wood’ sheet that is to scale yet sturdy enough to go together easily. Each box has six pieces, four of which fit together via a delightfully working dovetail-joint design, with the remaining two pieces (top and bottom) added last. Each piece has just a few tiny ‘nubs’ that connect it to the sheet, much like photo-etch. You just push your hobby knife through the nubs to release the piece – very nice. The best part is the laser-cut relief burned into the outer box surfaces, representing the artwork and verbiage on the sides, and box lines along the top and bottom.
MPS suggests to weather the raw wood sheet up front, before assembly, since doing so afterwards is problematic – all six sides of each box sports detail so there is no ‘blank’ side to place down during weathering. I used a thin filter of Mig Dark Brown Wash (enamel), mixed 20/80 with Mona Lisa White Spirit. Once dry to the touch, I assembled each box using Mig Ultra Glue, mostly because I have more experience with that product then other white glues. The key here is to add just enough to do the job so that glue doesn’t squeeze out of the joints, which can be cleaned up with a damp cloth or paper towel.
MPS doesn’t provide any specific drying time, so I followed the instructions for the brand of glue I was using (about 10 minutes).
The first boxes took about 4 minutes each to do, the last ones about half that time as I worked down the learning curve. The crates – which are, in fact, made of wood - will take all types of paint and weathering products, although I am betting that paint will cover up all that artwork on the outside of the boxes for good.
The relief detail on the outside of the boxes popped as expected to render a nice set of wine crates, ready for any modeling application or diorama. I am currently building the ICM G4 Staff Car, where a few of these cases will look perfect in the back seat.
I really like these MPS products; simple to use and affordable. The stenciling and the inter-locked pattern of the dovetail joint on the boxes absorbs the dark filter well and really pops – just like the real thing.
I would like to thank the good folks at Monroe Purdue Studios for providing this product for review, and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to review it.