by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has made a niche for themselves in the diorama markets by releasing products that can be used in the entirety or elements of in many styles of diorama. Recently MiniArt has released two different sets in a similar style, one of these is titled ‘Garage Workshop’ and covers elements of a garage before the days of plug and play cars.
This offering from MiniArt arrives in the usual packaging of a cardboard tray with a separate card lid; the artwork on the lid is visually appealing to me in that it shows a garage scene from 1930’s trough to the 1980’s. Inside there is a fold out instruction sheet and a single plastic bag containing all of the plastic for the model elements. There is a sheet of photo etch included with this release and that is protected by a card envelope in the packaging.
In this offering there are some very nice elements for the modeller looking for items for a diorama regardless of if it is some tools for a tank or other armoured vehicle and even a garage workshop or home garage and so a broad spread of uses in this offering. An examination of the contents reveals no horrors that I could pick up on, the parts are well moulded and in good order’ I was pleased to see MiniArt using rubber bands around sprue groups that prevents movement and possible damage.
Starting with the storage items provided in this sets and we are provided with a fair mix by MiniArt. There is a substantial desk with eight large draws in it; this is a nice visual element for the dioramist but I would have liked to see the option of having at least one of the draws open. There are two good sized shelf units that I again feel will draw the eye if depending on what is put on those shelves. An absolute must for any garage is some seating and we get a high backed chair and a stool in this offering; in those days it would be somewhere to have a quiet smoke or be comfortable while working on the lower areas of a vehicle as the bones have got older. The last storage items are two tool boxes of the hinged type. MiniArt has provided one open and the other closed with some nice use of photo etch to replicate the hinge flats which provides a nice scale effect.
Moving onto the tool side of the equation and I will start with the large items in the set and there are a couple of oddities in here. There is a very nicely replicated compressor here that is made up of 18 parts, a paint gun is attached to the compressor; a number of air powered tools came into being in the 1930’s but I suspect they were not in general garage use until the 50’s and 60’s. A belt driven pillar drill makes for an interesting element. On the smaller side we have an electric bench mounted grinder/polisher, a well thought out bench vice and moveable bench vice. Let’s take a look at the items that I feel are a little unusual in this set there is a hand wood saw and a two man wood saw that seem out of place to me, there is also an anvil which seems out of place; while this seem odd inclusions I should point out that I am pleased to have them available. A nice aspect to the saws is that the blades have been provided in photo etch with plastic handles and so have a very good scale effect to them. The last two oddities here are a carpenters wood plain and a flame paint stripping gun; all of these oddities I have included would be perfectly at home in a home garage setting, but seem odd for a commercial garage. Returning to the more conventional and we have a very well done hacksaw using plastic and photo etch to good effect. Lastly on the tool front there is a very good selection of spanners, wrenches, pliers and a hammer in a mix of plastic and photo etch.
The last elements in this set cover lubricants in the form of oil containers. MiniArt has provided two 40 gallon fuel drums with a single lever pump for getting the oil out. They have also supplied an applicator gun for use with this which is more akin to a grease gun; I have seen grease delivered and dispensed from these large drums in the past and so would be happy to accept that but MiniArt has supplied a decal for it with ‘Castrol’ on it and so I would leave this off. Finally there are a couple of small oil cans with a number of decal options as regards company logos. I am very pleased to see that MiniArt has gone to the trouble of supplying finishes for the oil containers and correct decal placement.
MiniArt has indicated that the modeller will need to add lines between the compressor and gun plus the oil drum and grease gun, but the modeller is not nudges to add the power cables for the pillar drill, compressor and grinder; so consider this review a nudge not to miss the obvious.
The instruction sheet is a nice addition in this set by MiniArt as it not only covers construction, painting and decal placement, but also included here are good number posters covering the World War 2 period which I consider an unexpected bonus.
This is a nice offering from MiniArt if a little eclectic in nature. There are items I would not expect to find in a period commercial garage, and others I would not expect to find in a private garage. With this said the items provided are great for the dioramist to use in different settings or even in use with suitable figures. The decision by MiniArt to use photo etch for saw blades with plastic handles is a good one scale and detail wise.