by: Darren Baker [ ]
While at Scale Model World in Telford I purchased a new product from Reality in Scale that they describe as LandScape mats. I have a selection of five LandScape Mats here to look at, all of these cover rural or countryside settings.
Each LandScape Mat is packaged in a re-sealable plastic sleeve with a sticker at the top with the products name. I should state that when I picked these products up from Reality in Scale they were so new they were not on their website and many did not have identification stickers, as such I cannot accurately name all of the mats I have here.
It is obvious to everyone that the packaging these items are supplied in are not up to the rigours of any postage system and will require a good deal of protection. I am also surprised not to see some sort of hanger system present as these products will not be easy to display at their best by any retailer who stocks them. With that said it is a new product and packaging can always be changed as feedback is received.
Taking a look at the mats themselves, I am happy with them visually at least, letís be honest I would not have bought any otherwise. Each mat measures 8 X 12 inches or 205 X 305mm, this is a little longer than an A4 sheet of paper and not quite as wide as an A4 sheet. So the size of these maps is very suitable size wise for any reasonable model to be displayed upon. The design of these mats also makes these a very good choice for displaying armour models on which I will cover shortly.
You may of course want to display figures or a figure and the size of these mats is way too big or wasteful for the purpose, another feature of these mats again makes them suitable for the task. The beauty of these LandScape mats is that the base is a soft felt like material, and so the weight of vehicles can be depicted, of course showing the track or tyre marks behind a model will require some work on the part of the modeller. The material itself comes to the modellers add in some respects here as the material 11mm or 3/8th inch thick, and so removal of some material and replacement with alternative material is a relatively easy task. The felt like base of the product also makes cutting it into smaller pieces an easy task and so vignette bases can be quickly achieved of the modellers preferred size.
The five mats I have here cover a broad selection of what is available from Reality in Scale, but only two for the five products are labelled, due as I said to them being a new product. The named are:
Wild Grass Type 1: this is a patchy grass on a dry earth, the colours used also give the impression of a patchy frost, at least that is my opinion and I like the look a lot. The surface of the mat has gentle undulations present in a random pattern, this is another aspect I like due to rarely seeing ground that looks like a cricket or football pitch.
Wild Grass and Hills Type 1: the soil and grass in this offering is far more evenly dispersed than in the first offering. There are three much more pronounced hillocks in this offering and each is about 3/8ths to Ĺ inch high, I do feel that the sides of the hillocks are a little on the sharp side and would benefit from being more staged edges.
No Name: this offering is more Russian step or Scottish landscape in my opinion. There are some subtle raised areas and the grasses completely cover the base, but the colours of the grass/heather is nicely mixed and this adds nice variation.
No Name: This offering looks a lot like flowering heather in a random pattern with some soil is still visible. There is very little in the way of undulations on this offering, but of the one I bought this is the one I like the most as I find it very pleasing visually. This finish could also be a light covering of snow, but the grass looks a little green for this purpose.
No Name: this one is similar to land at the edge of a wooded area. This offering is fairly flat with solid grassed areas in broken patches. Littered in a couple of spots are pieces of wood, I like the small pieces but I am not so keen on the larger piece of wood. The beauty of this product is that I can remove elements such as this from the base and of course add whatever I wish, I would like to add a decent sized branch and some leaf litter.
It is my understanding that there are about 20 different LandScape Mats so far coming to market and if I had had more money I would have bought at least one of each, that is perhaps the highest recommendation I can give them. The prices are going to be in the £12 - £15 range, and I feel this is a proportionate price for the product. One thing I would suggest as a potential addition to these offerings in general is to include a small selection of materials to add to them such as tree root and some extra grass and soil as used in each offering.
These items will be on general release as of the week starting 12th December.