by: Scott Lodder [ ]
This is the second review for this company and maybe the first introduction to some of you, so I am including a bit of background on the company too.
Smith Military Modeling (SMM) is a web based retailer that started from a lack of diorama products on the market. The owner came from 25 years of modeling and not having the ‘right’ pieces readily available. Like many of us he thought of filling this void by making what he needed, unlike many of us he turned it into a full business.
SMM offers a wide range of resin products that are designed to be interchangeable and modular. This allows the customer to ‘pick and choose’ the pieces the want for their specific application.
Along with this modular approach SMM has taken some of the guesswork out for you. On their website you will see the individual pieces that are interchangeable, right along side you will see items that are pre-packaged and combined in Kit form.
Since SMM offers component pieces this review will cover a few of the building oriented pieces. This review will focus on the product and its potential integration with other building and road pieces. Note that there is a dedicated page on their website for New Products.
Look for other reviews of the line(s) to help in reviewing how well these will work for you.
what will arrive
SMM ships its products in nice sturdy cardboard boxes. The size and strength will go a long way to ensure a safe arrival. Inside the box you’ll find your products safely tucked in bubble wrap. You will also find a brief descriptive write up on the item. This is not really instruction, more of a usage type of document. On the outside of the box there is a picture of the item fully painted and complete. If the item is small, or there are multiples, they will be shipped in a zip-lock type bag.
The walls I am reviewing are:
1. Broken Wall 06 – Item #SMM_00073 – 5x5.5”
2. Broken Wall 07 – Item #SMM_00074 – 6.25x5.5”
3. Broken Wall 08 – Item #SMM_00075 – 5x4.25”
The first thing I noticed about the walls was the detail. The detail is very good and I found myself examining every nook and cranny. The resin used pours well and reproduction of the mold is good. The weight and texture of the resin is very substantial and comparable to the resins you get from Verlinden and Custom Dioramics. All the pieces are comfortable to handle and are strong enough to be handled a lot. These pieces feel sold and well cast.
Close examination of the pieces shows attention to detail on all but the back. These pieces are from a one piece mold. One piece molds yield a flat ‘top’ during pouring (which becomes the back for the consumer). SMM does pay attention to this blank side by sanding it down so you don’t have to worry about the clean up process. There was no over-pour or resin blocks on any of my pieces, buildings or roads.
The molded sides have detail everywhere. The cast window frames have nice wood texture as well as battle damage. The edges of the pieces have detail showing the double layer architectural element. The plaster outer layer has a lot of texture also. This can be used and shaded to show a heavily worn building or filled in with some thin putty to represent a newer building. The exposed bricks have a good texture and aren’t just rectangles butted against each other. There are mortar gaps throughout.
Even with a 1/35th scale focus these pieces can be used in a wide array of scales: 1/35 – 1/32 – 54mm. With a never ending debate over one manufacture’s scale vs. another, this review will let pictures tell the story.
The pictures show two different figures in and around the doors and windows. The figures are from Tamiya and Warrior. The Tamiya figure is an older injected figure and the Warrior is a newer resin figure.
It appears that the doors are bit large for certain figures. This will affect your diorama composition. You have choices in that you can use large figures or position figures in strategic locations as to not accentuate their small stature. You can also use creativity to shorten doors. You can build in a cornice molding at the top or add decorative panel under the Lintel. Or you can put in a threshold that elevates the bottom. All these creative adjustments are very easy to do.
At an in-box review stage a dry fit of the various pieces shows off the component nature of SMM’s pieces. The walls are compatible in style, size and scale. The walls work well with the related sidewalk and road pieces. There is added attention to the ‘elevation’ of the doors. The doors are molded in to give the appropriate height when using sidewalk pieces. This height is then relayed to the height of the windows.
I have used a number of types of buildings and also made my own and in a review of all of them SMM items are quite nice. The detail and texture of all of these items is very good. A very nice feature is that there is no clean up to speak of.
The component nature of these makes them more versatile than others. They work well with other walls and the road systems.