by: Andras [ ]
MiniArt has been steadily issuing sets that can be described best as "diorama accessories". Telegraph poles, buildings, ironworks, fences, and now champagne and cognac bottles. This is a very welcome trend as these accessories were only available as limited run resin kits. Now we have plastic alternatives with decals included.
The bottles are provided as 9 transparent brown and 9 transparent green sprues; each sprue holds 5 small (Cognac) and 5 large (Champagne) bottles. In total we get 45 of each type of bottles (large brown, small brown, large green, small green).
We also get 6 large crates holding 15 bottles, and 6 small crates holding 10 bottles each. This means weíll have some leftover small bottles after filling up all the crates, which is nice. The crates have some nice wooden grain, which would make painting easier.
The parts for the crates are very thin, so be careful when cutting them off the sprue. The sprue attachment points are thicker than the crate parts, so cleaning them off is a somewhat delicate process. (If you damage the wooden part a bit, itís not a problem as the wood tends to get damaged in the real crates as well.)
The bottles have no molding seams (which I was worried about), and in general they look great. The only thing about the plastic is that there are some bubbles present; I think itís unavoidable. They are not very noticeable though.
The decals are very fine, but there is some where the different colors were printed a bit off-set. Again, the difference is less than a millimetre, but if you look close itís there. Youíll need some serious decal setting solution to get the decals conform the round surface; it took me about 20 minutes to apply the solution, wait, massage the decals into place, then repeat, until they were in position.
We only get the labels as decals; the paper covering the neck of the bottles will need to be painted on. Another issue Iím still unsure about is how to seal the bottles. The decals will obviously need to be sealed, so a clear varnish is necessary; however the labels are paper, so they should be matte. It might mean that youíll need to cover the decals with matte varnish separately.
The assembly and decal guide is on the back of the box; while itís not an issue with the assembly, it might have been a bit more useful to have a more comprehensive decal guide than putting on the box art with the decal numbers on it. Iím not clear what make the different kind of liquors are; they are clearly specify products, but itís difficult to know which colored plastic bottles should be used with a certain decal set. Iím also fairly sure that there are no brown Champagne bottles to be used according to the guide; however we do not get enough green bottles to fill in all six crates. Since Iím not familiar with liquors, itís all highly speculative.