by: Mario Krajinovic [ ]
Anyone building a diorama was eventually facing the problem of depicting natural growth, plants and other type of foliage. There’s a number of ways of tackling this, one of them being picking natural dried roots and small leaves, various spices etc. There are also PE shrubs and weeds but as any PE it lacks 3D and is only good for flat type plants. One problem with PE is the thickness accuracy as well.
Now there is something that looks very useful. Laser cut paper products from J’s Work – a China based manufacturer that specializes in diorama accessories. This looks very promising as it’s very simple to use, and on top of everything affordable since creating flora for your diorama can get very extensive as well expensive.
So what do you get? In a thin clear package there is a single sheet of paper printed in various earth tones with laser cut plants of the “Typical leaf 2” variety. On the back some basic instructions are provided how to “assemble” the plants together as well as a few preview shots of other products in the Paper Plant series. If you’re looking for more pointers on the assembly, the J’s Work website also provides some step-by-step photos how to do this.
The paper is thin enough for bending and retaining the shape you fold it to by using fingers or some kind of burnishing tools. The finish is somewhat glossy in appearance but this can easily be toned down with a thin layer of your favorite flat coat. The plants can also be used straight from the box, as the entire sheet is colored in various hues of green, yellow and light brown. This can be a nice base for further airbrushing to add more detail to your diorama. The single thing about the pre-painted job is a thin black border that comes (I guess) from the laser cutting itself what I consider paper-burn border. This doesn’t look all that un-natural so it can be used without any preparation.
There are 2 types of plants divided into 3 different sizes in these quantities:
• 8 x size 13mm
• 7 x size 18mm
• 5 x size 22mm
• 9 x size 15mm
• 7 x size 20mm
• 5 x size 25mm
You can probably tell I don’t mention the plant type in this review. It’s because these are pretty generic types of fern and low-level plants. The sizes and types can be mixed together and according to the photos of the assembled plants look realistic. I wouldn’t use these as a single type of plant, but instead use them to give your diorama some dimension and 3D effect as they can be made to appear to be slightly elevated from the base plant work.
It’s really simple to use and a bunch of these can really raise your diorama ground work to a different level. With affordable prices of these sets, even those Viet Nam dioramas can now look pretty accessible to most modelers. Mixed up with other products from the Paper Plant series, this set is definitely recommended.