by: Darren Baker [ ]
MiniArt has made a niche for themselves in the diorama markets by releasing products that can be used in their entirety or elements of in many styles of diorama. Recently MiniArt has released a modern street cafe set suitable for a very broad period of time and locations. This offering covers from the 1970ís to the current day, so letís take a look over this offering.
This offering from MiniArt arrives in the usual packaging of a cardboard tray with a separate card lid; the artwork on the lid is functional in that it shows the contents in context of their purpose. Inside there is a fold out instruction sheet and a single plastic bag containing all of the plastic for the model elements. There are two small decal sheets, but no photo etch fret with this release.
I am sure many of us either have in their garden or has at least seen or owned the plastic garden chairs that can be purchased cheaply, well you get six of them in this release which are shown in green and white; I remember seeing white offerings but not green. MiniArt has done a particularly good job of these being moulded in a single piece just as the originals are. These are accompanied by two of the round tables with the hole in the centre of them for the sun parasol. A look under the table reveals the correct detail present there as well. The hard part of this set up is the parasol which is made using seven very fine mouldings that could easily be broken or damaged. In the belief that you manage to get the frames together without breakage MiniArt has provided three parasol options printed in colour, two of these have English text on them and the third has French and Afrikaans text. These will add a really nice look to the item and I am pleased to see that MiniArt has left the reverse side clean.
Another large item in this offering from MiniArt is an ice cream freezer with two sliding clear tops. What I donít understand is that MiniArt has not supplied anything to replicate the ice cream tubs and so some scratch building will be in your future. I do give them praise for including suitable decals for the ice cream freezer. I am kind of surprised that MiniArt has not provided a beer and wine cooler as that would seem to have been a better match for the contents.
There are eleven boxes to be cut out from the instruction booklet and made up; this is another nice inclusion from MiniArt. The boxes are a mix of beer and wine boxes, but for reasons known only to MiniArt there are two bulk boxes of tobacco; perhaps they belong to a Brit bringing them back to the UK supposedly for their own use?
The smaller items provided with the set consists of 24 tin cans which MiniArt has provided decals for Coke, Pepsi, Fanta and one I do not recognise. There are 20 green wine/beer bottles again with suitable decals included. There are three wine glasses, three lager glasses and three beer glasses; these have been slide moulded and so colour can be added to the interior surfaces. The last items in the set are three tea cups with saucers that are again slide moulded and three coffee mugs which adds a nice touch for modeller looking to create a scene.
This offering from MiniArt is a nice mix for the most part for creating a street cafe look on your diorama. The inclusion of the tobacco boxes and lack of ice cream containers seems odd for the scene, but one could easily be scratched and the other used in a different setting. All told this should meet the expectations of most.