by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has released a good number of diorama type products recently; one of these offerings is a set of Champagne and Cognac bottles and some crates in which you can display them. So is this set up to expectations or will it drive you to drink! Letís take a look.
This product is supplied in one of MiniArtís end opening card cartons. Inside the carton you will find a sealed plastic bag containing 12 brown sprues and another bag containing 9 green and nine brown clear sprues. Also provided is a very nice decal sheet.
In this offering from MiniArt you are provided with twelve boxes in two designs. One of the box designs is designed to hold 10 bottles in two rows of five; the other design will hold fifteen bottles in three rows of five. The wood effect is well represented on the parts, yes I know wood grain would not show in this scale, but I would rather have it and remove if desired than having to add it because it is not there and desired. The bottles themselves are provided as 90 green and 90 brown bottles, 10 on each sprue. Further diversification is provided by providing five Cognac shaped bottles and five Champagne shaped bottles on each of the brown and green clear sprues; this gives you forty five of each bottle shape and colour. The decals provided are a very nice selection of choices. There are five styles of bottle label and six types of box label. The bottle labels are too small to read, but none the less look appropriate for the purpose. The box decals are very nicely done and leave no doubt as to what you are getting.
The assembly of the wooden boxes takes a surprising amount of finesse by the modeller; this is not due to the fit of the parts, but due to the very thin nature of the parts and the difficulty of cleaning the sprue gates. If you try to cut corners with the clean up on mating surfaces, you will regret your actions. The Cognac boxes are by far the easiest to assemble, but I have left the sprue gate connection points on the non-mating surface area in order that you can see what I am talking about. I believe the difficulty in cleaning these parts up is that the sprue gates are wider than the parts they are attached to, this in turn creates three areas that need to be cleaned as opposed to the usual single surface.
The Champagne boxes are the more difficult of the two to assemble due to the slots of the internal structure being a loose fit; this means that getting everything square is a little difficult due to all of the six pieces having the ability to sit out of true and the structure as a whole could also be out of true as well. Once assembled and squared off the effect is very good and realistic, once painted these should look very authentic. Where I have left the sprue gates undealt with you can I believe clearly see what I mean by three faces needing to be cleaned up.
The bottles are all attached via the bottom and so are easily cleaned up. The decals are one aspect to bringing realism to the bottles, but it should be noted that some painting will also be needed to make the most of this offering. I am wondering if the use of Tamiya clear paints or Klear polish with food colouring will make these look partially emptied or not.
I am on the whole very pleased with this offering from MiniArt as it provides a number of display options; everything from having a drink on a vehicle after liberating a town or city to grabbing some booty for later consumption. I was especially pleased with the quantity of the product offered and the decals included with them. MiniArt has done a very good job of avoiding ejection marks on the mouldings, that is a big plus for me. The quality of this product has left me really looking forward to MiniArt's efforts with the announced milk bottles.