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First Look Review
Diorama Foliage & Groundcover
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by: James Bella [ C5FLIES ]

Originally published on:


Even though I was a day late and a dollar short for The Scenic Factory's sample offer on Armorama, John was kind enough to send me a few samples of his products. The Scenic Factory, located in beautiful upstate New York, has a wide variety of diorama plant life available ranging from pine trees to forest floor. Prices include free USPS Priority shipping in the continental United States.

the samples

I was sent a very nice variety of samples which consist of:

Plumosa Fern
Dead Branch
Forest Floor, Green
Forest Floor, Autumn

a bit more detail

Plumosa Fern:
Some of the items are marked as preserved, which uses a glycerin solution process. This preservation process helps to retain color and keeps the product more pliable and easier to work with. The Plumosa Fern is preserved and resembles pine tree boughs very well in this scale. Coloring is a rich, dark green for "fresh" boughs, a bit of tan/brown paint will simulate drying branches if desired. These are perfect for use on pine trees (of course!), camouflaging, and as general greenery such as ferns. These arrived in a re-closable blister pack to keep them protected until ready to use.

The Caspia are preserved also, making them much less brittle than other Caspia I have used. I couldn't get a decent photo of these, but they are a dark forest green with dense "flowers". These make nice bushes and scrub brush, a bit of paint on the ends make for great flowering bushes and wild flowers. Re-closable blister packed.

Dead Branches:
These are preserved so they don't crumble when handled, even though they look dry as a bone. Having excellent branch definition these can be used for dead branches, deadfall, or saplings in an Autumn/Winter setting. Re-closable blister packed.

These ranged in length from about 4" to 6" and various diameters from ultra thin to log size in 1:35 scale. Various uses from forest floor to bundled up on AFV's.

Forest Floor:
These are the best forest floor scatters that I've seen so far. The coloring, mix of material and texture is absolutely perfect. The Autumn has a nice mix of red, yellow, orange/brown with just a touch of green, all mixed with some very fine twigs. The green mix has many shades of green along with some yellow/tan and also some small sticks. A little should go a long way as groundcover...smells good too! These arrived in screw lid plastic containers.


High quality products pretty much sums it up. The use of glycerin on certain products sets them apart with color preservation and pliability. These should provide a very lifelike appearance to your diorama setting. My personal favorites of this bunch are the Plumosa, Dead Branches and Forest Floor, which I'll be ordering more of. Although listed as 1:35 scale, much of this undoubtedly could be used with other scales as well. Highly recommended.
Highs: High quality products with little to no waste. Easy to use packaging doesn't make a mess all over.
Lows: I'll have to go and order more! Otherwise, I cannot think of anything.
Verdict: It's nice to use non-brittle and pliable Caspia, Plumosa and Dead Branches. The Forest Floor scatter is second to none. All high quality.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: Varies
  Suggested Retail: Varies
  Related Link: Scenic Factory Item Page
  PUBLISHED: Mar 04, 2013

Our Thanks to The Scenic Factory!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About James Bella (c5flies)

My main interest is 1/35 scale WWII armor, Axis and Allied, and will occasionally branch out into other areas. The builds I have done so far have been pretty much OOB, and considering what most newer kits include, that is usually more than enough for me. Even though my projects do not always end up ...

Copyright 2020 text by James Bella [ C5FLIES ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


To be honest I`have to admit that I am not very impressed by this offer. (I definitely think of their regular offer; if someone is willing to give away free samples I definitely appreciate this contribution to anothers hobby, even if I am not interested in and therefore did not ask for this). I am just the opinion that I can get everything of this for a small percentage of the price and in bigger amounts. Glycerine is with 10 Bucks a liter ( should at least be half of a lifetime support) cheap enough to preserve everything getting in your way. I will get double the amount of Fern for free or a Dollar if I ask kindly enough at the flower shop and the rest can be easily collected when taking the dog for a walk for half an hour, even in Citys. And, what can of course be a matter of personal liking, I think that the ground cover looks very coarse and definitely has to be painted to give a realistic look. Personal liking anyway, as I said. In my opinion the products shown above are the best example of "high quality"- products which can be made by your own with moderate work and very, very low costs in the same fashion and quality and therefore save you a lot of money for your hobby. Of course everybody is free to use these products but I definitely admire the modelers who are going to use their imagination and skill to reach a certain lokk of their work, especially when it comes to pretty simple things like ground cover and dead branches. Anyway, thanks a lot for the review. Even if I don`t like the product I appreciate your work and your time spent on this. Best Regards
MAR 04, 2013 - 12:22 AM
DKdent, I appreciate criticism always - good and bad, though I feel you may have a chip on your shoulder for some reason. First off I decided to give away some samples so modelers could get a taste of the product without buying it. I have been an avid modeler for 30 years and I wish sometimes I could have gotten a sample before buying and they are "samples" not full packaged product, full amounts and sizes are located on the website. As far as cost, in reality I could buy a goat and use his milk and churn my own butter for fraction of what I buy it for at the store, its personal choice. I think you may be misinformed on the process in which glycerin is used for the preservation process and to say the groundcover has to be "painted" to give a realistic look is way out in left field, thats why I send it in for review so someone who has product "in hand" can decide and pass his findings along to modelers. I do offer some products that can be collected right out your door, depending where your door is ,or if you have time or even want to, those products are there for those who choose otherwise . Again I always accept criticism
MAR 04, 2013 - 01:26 AM
As with everything in our hobby, items are geared for those who wish convenience and possibly lack the raw material and skill. There are those that can scratchbuild an entire model, mix their own paint, washes and filters from bulk pigment, rend their own glue from roadkill...but for some of us these products are a godsend and add enjoyment to the hobby. The Scenic Factory is, by far, not the only company that offers diorama groundwork products, and my review was based on other products that I've seen and used. Personally, I found these very realistic looking and high quality. Perhaps I should have added something in the photos to give a sense of scale as the images of the groundwork are very close up. As far as samples, I thought that was very generous of John to offer these to a limited number of people in a reasonable shipping rate area...and a good business move as well. In my case, The Scenic Factory now has a lifelong customer
MAR 04, 2013 - 04:38 AM
Hello, first of all I want to state that English is not my native language. Therefore a perhaps very formal or "unique" style of writing may seem kind of offensive to native speakers. I have no intention to sound harsh, unfriendly or kind of captious, but I fear that I can not avoid this at all. It is quite hard or at least impossible to show the right emotions or perhaps a small smile in english as native speakers perhaps could do to take the edge of a moment; especially over the internet. My intent was not to start a (verbal) fight over the internet. So I can say that I don`t have some "chips on the shoulder" (I think this phrase means something like this). I also had no intent to criticize or even complain about a manufacturer giving away free samples. Why should I? I can, unfortunately, not figure out where I`ve made this impression. As mentioned in my first post I appreciate and honor the extra work and money spend on this by manufacturers. I also have been offered free samples from other manufacturers here in Germany and, of course, was very thankful. I have visited the manufacturers homepage to get an additional idea of the products he`s offering. So I took these as a reference for my statements, not the sample package. Once again: it was not my intent to sound as I would like to critizise the size of (free of charge and postage) sample Packages. Regarding your products I fear that I still don`t think they are very convincing to me. To be fair one should mention that I noted these statements as a matter of personal licking in my previous post and never tried to promote these as the ultimate truth. I see the point that some people will rely on these products for reasons of availability, abilities of the modeler, convenience and others. Even if I like to make as much as possible by myself I see the necessity of convinience or "prefabricated" products (90% of MIG/AK"-products fall into this category). Still I feel free to comment on other points like "realism" (a word prone to cause arguments, I admit freely), price performance ratio and else. This is a review made on the internet and, even if I see the wish of a manufacturer to promote his product, one can not await that everybody likes every product. I have, as well as fellow modelers around have done, preserved natural components using glyzerine. Again, a review was made, some or perhaps many may like this product. Yet I feel it should be allowed to comment on price and other facts. Perhaps some others will join the discussion to give some more opinions. Best Regards Dennis
MAR 04, 2013 - 05:43 AM
The fern, Aspargus Plymosa, can be bought in ordinary flowershops. It usually comes as fresh, dried and preserved. The latter is most suitable for our needs. I have pines that I made with this for more than 14 years ago. It was painted. This was actually me second build and figure when I came back to the hobby. Cheers
MAR 04, 2013 - 07:49 AM
These look like good products. While this flora is available to many of us, there are some who have no heard of it before, or who don't know exactly how to use it. I think Scenic Factory has taken existing ideas and materials and packaged them into easy to use kits that guide the novice through the tricks of the trade.
APR 18, 2013 - 04:03 PM

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