by: Scott Lodder [ ]
Originally published on:
You will find a nice sturdy cardboard box in your postal system. There is no skimping on the packaging. Inside you will find a nicely rolled latex road sheet and instruction sheets. These are packaged in a poly bag to keep out any moisture.
The Instructions include two pages. The first page is a very comprehensive written instruction page. This page outlines the product itself, parts and pieces. It offers you tips on how to combine the pieces into a nice layout. The sheet includes tips on how best to cut, apply, paint, and finish the latex. Kancali does not assume that you know how to use latex products. The second page of instructions is a unique touch. This page is a photocopy of the latex sheet. On the written page Kancali tells you how to use this sheet. Its role is that of a template. You can cut and test fit the different template pieces to see how they work together and to see how different layouts will look. As I have said many times, planning is a very important part of diorama building. This template plays right into that phase of a project. I always like being able to moch up a scene using alternate material so I don’t ruin the original. This template is not a full 1:1 version of the latex sheet so you will have to make some size adjustments during planning or cut out your own template out of a piece of paper. Sometimes we get into a routine of planning and building that we forget techniques that we learned long ago. Once in a while all we need is a reminder of an old technique or step that can really help out. This template (even with its size differential) is just that nudge/reminder.
This product is advertised as a complete kit. You don’t see many After Market (AM) street “KITS”. There are a lot of plane sheets. This one is different. It has multiple parts all molded into the product. There is a huge main brick street section. Along the sides there are raised stone sidewalk sections. You’ll find an ‘at grade’ brick sidewalk street detail with additional edging. To top it off they include manhole covers, and what I call ‘planters’. The instructions call the rectangular pieces next to the manhole covers (see photo) parking strips. If you look at the included ‘in-use’ photo you will immediately understand what they are. They are the end caps on rows of parking places that usually have shrubs or trees planted in them. You certainly can use your creativity to implement them for any number of things, a small fountain base, or a planter are two things that pop to mind.
When you order this kit you get one sheet that is 14” x 9 ¼”. There is a strip of excess “overmold” material that won’t be usable. The sheet has a [b]main brick street[/b] section that is 8 ¾” x 6 13/16”. At the end of this there is an ‘at grade’ sidewalk path. This is the section of bricks with the single row of separator stones on either side. This is 1 3/16” x 6 13/16”. On either edge of the street is a section of raised sidewalks three stones deep. There are two three stone sidewalks and each is 1” x 10”. On the top and bottom are two raised sidewalks two stones deep, each of these are ¾” x 8 7/8”. On the very bottom is a strip of paver stones that can be used to edge an ‘at grade’ sidewalk. This is 3/16” x 8 5/8”. Lastly in the detail section are four box edger’s (the planter/parking pieces). Each of these is 1 ¼” x ¾”. There are three ¾” manhole covers. The last piece is a raise sidewalk (two stone type.) It is ¾” x 2 5/8” long. While there is a bit of excess ‘flash’ Kancali has done a good job at packing the entire sheet with usable product.
The detail is very good. The bricks are all nicely proportioned and well laid out. The stones have a good amount of texture even at this Braille scale. There is even a nice crosshatch pattern on the manhole covers. If you hold the sheet up to the light it is very solid. Some latex products are very transparent. The darker a sheet is the more latex is in the product. The more latex, the better the end result and the easier it is to use. If you notice the back side of the sheet there is a high thread count. These threads are reinforces that stabilize the product.
This particular sheet is marketed toward railroad customers, but, there is no reason why a 1/72 scale diorama can’t use it to. There are lots of 1/72 scale kits available to build a diorama around. This kit lays the foundation for them. You may have cross over to the railroad world to get what you need. Buildings, trees, groundwork, armor and aircraft are all available.
The detail is shown in the images. The ones with the penny and 1/72 scale figure stand on their own. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll be quiet and let the images do the talking.
I have used many Kancali products and find them an absolute joy to work with. This will be no different. The latex is great, the firmness, and flexibility is wonderful. I know this will take paint and pastels very well. It is easy to cut and apply. For people new to latex the instructions outline how best to use it.
In Braille scale the biggest criticism is soft or lacking detail. Not here, they have really provided a highly detailed product.
I'd like to thank Kancali for supplying this kit for review