by: Scott Lodder [ ]
Originally published on:
Here again; all diorama builders need to include plants in our project at some point. Some of us have quick access in our gardens to some of the plants we want to model. Too often we don't, we live in an urban area where plants don't just grow 'across the fields.' Unlike in the after market world for model kits, there aren't lots of manufacturers or distributors of these types of products. That's where Military Miniatures Warehouse steps in. Military Miniatures Warehouse collects and packages its own products (as well as being a distributor for other lines of products.)
Four Product Review
This review will cover four different product kits in an effort to give you an overall idea of the product line from Military Miniatures Warehouse (MMW.) These four packaged products are all within the same realm of scenery and are very compatible.
The products are:
1. Leafy Weed Plantings MMW54048
Product Description: Contains 8 Plantings. Ideal for 1/32 (54-mm) & 1/35 scale, although works with any scale. Simulates weed growth for woodsy & forest scenes. This natural product is paintable, and glues with white glue. $6.99
2. Wildgrass MMW54047
Product Description: Contains two clumps, multi scale (Directions: can be separated into smaller clumps; glue to base with white glue; paintable). $5.99
3. Grass/weed MMW54029
Product Description: Grass/weed for groundwork. Instructions included works with any scale. $4.99
4. Wheat Stalks MMW 54046
Product Description: Ideally suited for 1/32 - 1/35 scale, and works with larger scales. Made of natural materials, Instructions included. $9.99
These four kits are all compatible kits. They are mostly grassy types of products used to cover a large space. The Leafy Weed Planting kit is not in that category. The leafy weed planting is smaller in coverage and more for a dynamic detail in a scene. The other three are more for coverage and backdrop.
Leafy Weed Plantings
This is an interesting product. You'll get a nice stiff styrene box with eight 'clumps' in it. Each 'clump' may vary in size. I got a package with about eight clumps as advertised. Each clump is a cluster of seed pods at the end of a stalk/stem. The clusters ranged from a few pods (3 or 4) to a large number of pods (6 or 7). Some clusters had their own small stem making them a bit more unique. The pods are nice and unique and will give your diorama flair. Each looks like a thick fern in the smaller scale. You can see that some small pods come free during shipping.
I don't believe I would use the full primary stalk/stem as the stalk in a diorama (as seen in the highlight or in the ruler photo). I would probably shorten it or cut the secondary stems off and use those to plant smaller clusters. With the primary stem the weight would be overbearing and drag down the plant in short order. The loose pods are great for this detail/customization type work.
In my opinion, from what I've seen in reference pictures, I would use this as a support/detail plant. I can't recall where I've seen a large quantities of this (or similar) type of plant in a European setting. The unique shape and character this plant brings is really nice. Maybe in a bright green it would make a nice jungle setting.
It's a good size for roughly 1/32 - 1/35 projects, each pod is about 5mm (plus). It could support 120mm pretty nicely too. It is all one basic natural color so you'll need to vary it a bit with some washes and paint. I talked to the owner of MMW and painting and finishing these gems should not be a problem.
Talk about a natural grass plug. You get two decently sized clumps of tall grass. The size will vary a bit, but they are basically 50mm by 10mm (at the base). Check out the images, they tell the size story better. The grass is dry and pliable. You shouldn't have to worry about being overly careful when working with it.
The instruction on the product header says you can cut these down to make smaller clumps. In reviewing the plugs, and critiques of dioramas with grass clumps in them I would suggest breaking these MMW plugs down to more scale appropriate clumps. At the shipping size they look very unnatural at 1/35 or 54mm. At 120mm they may be ok at the shipping size. Being faced with trimming these down to smaller clumps means you should have a side supply of a grass product to blend in the wild grass with the rest of the surroundings. Maybe the Grass/weed product included in this review. Along with splitting the clumps, you could cut the length down too and shorten the grass. This will get you more coverage and also act as a blending grass too.
Great Balls of grass, actually seaweed. This is a very unique product; it's two balls of wound up seaweed. It looks like really good scale grass. It is fine and very grass like. Now, the application of the stuff remains to be seen. You do get an instruction sheet with it and there is webpage on MMW's web site you can reference too. Quantity wise I think there is a lot of grass wrapped up in these balls. They are heavy and tightly wound, they start at about 50mm in diameter. I don't think you'll be disappointed with the amount of product you get. The instruction directs you to use this in conjunction with static grass, so it is a support product. I believe that the quantity and texture would support a primary role too. This is the product I am looking forward to using the most.
The name speaks for itself. This one is a huge bag of wheat. This is a nice quantity of product. There are two main stalks, with lots of smaller stalks. The stalks are long 'wispy'/'wave in the wind stalks'; reminiscent of Kursk. The size is nice, you can see that they look pretty good next to a 1/35th scale figure. Sometimes when you use natural products the real size does not translate to smaller scales which makes a project look more 'toy like'. These stalks give a nice balance between a very natural look and a nice scale.
If you want to get really 100% accurate, wheat stalks don't have seeds all the way down. As a modeler you get to decide if want to trim down the main stalk or leave it as is. This comes with a nice quick instruction sheet that will help and gives tips. These stalks are paintable.
From the first impressions up to now (pre use) all of these are really natural and really dynamic. Once you get comfortable with the implementation they will be easier and nicer to use. While there may be a slight scale issue with the wheat and wild grass; if deployed properly I think the scale issue will not be a problem. Look to use them in conjunction with other products and blend them well.
The natural look is very good and I would rather use a natural product vs. a manufactured one. Looking at the price points of these products they are priced competitively. I included the price above in the description area.
Leafy Weed Plantings 88
Wheat Stalks 88